Tag: food


Paris Can Wait

May 10th, 2017 — 5:20am

***

Paris Can Wait – sp

If you are a Francophile, a connoisseur of French wine, appreciate tasty French food, love the beautiful French country side with small historic towns and are touched by French romanticism then this may be the movie for you.

Eleanor Coppola, wife of famed director Francis Ford Coppola, a woman who recently turned 80 and is an accomplished documentary filmmaker herself, undertook her first feature film in the role of producer, writer and director. She based this story on a circuitous trip that she once took from Southern France to Paris with her husband’s male colleague when a combination business and vacation trip in Europe was interrupted by her husband’s business needs.

Mrs. Coppola morphs into Anne Lockwood who was intriguingly played by Diane Lane. Her character is the wife of Director Michael Lockwood who was played perfectly by Alec Baldwin who has to fly away on a business trip with plans to meet up with his wife in Paris. Coincidently, his colleague, a Frenchman by the name of Jacques Clement (played by a relatively unknown French actor, Arnaud Viard) offers to drive the director’s wife from Southern France to Paris since she has a minor ear infection and really should not fly.

What follows is a most subtle blend of scrumptious food, velvety deep red wine, magnificent scenery of lakes and mountains, attractive middle-aged people who the more you know about them, the more you are drawn to them as you see them drawn to each other. This is not a hot R-rated movie. Perhaps the sexuality, which is in the mind of the beholder, or in this case, in the viewer, is therefore all the more powerful.

Although only a little bit more than one and a half hours, some might find this film a little drawn out, probably depending on how much you appreciate the previously stated elements of the movie. The best part of this movie treat is that what you bring to the table will determine how well you will digest and remember this cinematic experience. (2017)

2 comments » | 3 Stars, Drama

Chef

May 24th, 2014 — 9:40pm

**** Screen Shot 2014-05-24 at 1.17.07 AM

Chef-rm This is an extremely well done movie about food and much more. Chef Carl Casper is played by Jon Favreau who write the screenplay, directed and coproduced the movie) is the famous chef of a well know restaurant in Los Angeles. He finds himself at odds with owner of the restaurant (Dustin Hoffman) who wants him to prepare and serve his standards rather then be newly creative on the day that famous food reviewer Ramsey Michel (Oliver Platt) will be visiting the restaurant. The critic pans the Chef for being unimaginative and at an expected repeat visit, Casper quits rather be then be forced to stifle his creativity once again. This ultimately leads to foodie road trip in a food truck with Casper, Percy (Emjay Anthony) his 10-year-old son and Martin, a staff cook who formerly worked for him(John Leguizamo). We see the great passion that the deposed chef has for food and it’s preparation but also see the tender father son relationship which is played out by the son wanting to learn about food and the father who really puts him to work but teaches him his love and skill of this genre. Sofia Vergara has never looked better as the beautiful but very caring ex-wife. Scarlett Johansson likewise is very appealing as the empathic hostess at his previous restaurant. The road trip starts off in Miami where the food truck is put together and we can almost taste the Cuban food, which becomes an important part of the menu of the truck. The Cuban music beat becomes the pulse of this film and the face of it is Cuban musician Jose C. Hernandez who plays the father of Casper’s ex-wife and the grandfather of the boy. His playing is a recurrent strong part of the wonderful musical background of this story. We also experience the great music and atmosphere of New Orleans which is the next stop on this trip. The food truck becomes very popular here and we are shown the familiar views of this great city while the musical beat goes on. Perhaps characterizing the chef’s relationship with his son, as he buys him the famous product from the Café Du Mundo, he says to him, “ Eat it slowly, you are never going to taste your first beignet again.” Next stop was Austin, Texas where the food truck also achieved great popularity while the music of Gary Clark Jr. played on. Final stop was back home in Los Angeles where this food truck and it’s great crew held their own against other food trucks in downtown LA. Aside from the great screenplay and very fine acting by an outstanding cast, especially Mr. Fareau who is on screen most of the time, there are three non-human stars of this movie. We have already highlighted the music. Of course there is the food and Los Angeles chef Roy Choi should be included in the kudos since he was the food consultant and there were many mouthwatering scenes of very appealing food. The third star was modern technology, particularly social media and the cell phone with constant tweeting. It was tweets that spread the word about the food critic’s views, the counter arguments of the chef and the popularity of the gallivanting food truck. Also the movie was topped off with a few weeks of one second per day video clips posted on the Internet, put all together by Percy the Chef’s young son which summed up his affection for his dad and the journey on which this movie had taken us all. (2014)

Comment » | 4 Stars, Drama

Tasting Menu

April 17th, 2014 — 5:47pm

***Screen Shot 2014-04-16 at 11.08.21 PM

Tasting Menu- sp–  This film is mostly in Catalan with some English and has English subtitles. It is an ensemble movie nicely blended together as a well-crafted meal. None of the characters or their stories is very heavy with details but they are combined into an absorbing tale, lightly sprinkled with some comedy and some touching emotional moments. Chef Mar Videl (Viventa N’dongo), who has won the award for the world’s best chef three times, has her world famous restaurant which only seats 30 on Spain’s Costa Brava with her partner Max (Andrew Tarbel). They have decided to close their restaurant and move on to other things but will serve one last sensational meal. One couple has a reservation there on the final night for over a year. However, they split up but neither wanted to give up their table so Rachel, (Claudia Bassols) a famous writer and Marc, a young prominent pediatrician, (Jan Cornet) do attend this last meal. So does Danny (Timothy Gibbons), Rachel’s editor and wannabe boyfriend who wangles a reservation to be in this select group. There is the Countess (Fionnula Flanagan) who in her healthier younger days would eat there many times with her illustrious husband who will attend this time in the form of his ashes in an urn. Two competing businessmen, ( Toto Igawa and Akihiko Serikawa) from Japan, who want to reopen the restaurant in their country are in attendance as is Mina (Marta Torne), their guide for their visit to the U.S. The final main character and perhaps the most mysterious and interesting of all is Walter (Stephen Rea) who we never quite figure out. Before we get to the dessert there is a boat lost at sea which includes the musicians who were to play that evening and this unlikely group might even try to save them. There is very little logic to this screenplay by Roger Gual who also directed it but the chances are you will come away satiated with a good feelings and delighted by its charm. (2014)

Comment » | 3 Stars, Comedy, Drama, Foreign

Super Size Me

October 4th, 2011 — 7:21am

 

****

Super Size Me- nf  We decided to see this documentary which we had missed when  it  came out 6 or 7 years ago. The topic of obesity in American and what we can do it about it seems to be as relevant today as when this film was made. It also pertains to the  current political dialog as one side of the debate appears to be saying that the government and it’s  regulatory bureaucracy should keep it’s hands off successful business enterprises especially ones that hires lots and lots of people. McDonalds fits that category and millions of people voluntarily eat there and clearly endanger their own and their children’s health. The film showed that McDonalds especially markets to children and cultivates many of them as lifetime customers. Incidentally that life expectancy will probably be lower than if they had chosen to eat healthier foods. At the rate that McDonalds and other fast food businesses are succeeding, one of three children will develop diabetes by the time they are adults. Whenever we drive by a local high school and a local Community College we have been dramatically impressed how many kids walking around are quite obese. Film maker and director Morgan Spurlock with a light touch uses humor, human interest, well documented facts, some credible interviews mixed with a realistic scare tactic to hold the interest of the audience. He also pulls in the viewers with his project to go on a full time 3 meals/day McDonalds diet for 30 days. He is closely monitored by a team of health experts while he diligently pursues this task and even has a rule where he will “supersize” his food item whenever he is asked by his order taker if he wants to do this. While very few people will go on such a radical diet, Spurlock makes his point as he gains 25 pounds in the 30 days and develops dangerously high blood  lipid levels and begins to show liver damage . This film  is really a model in what a documentary should be. It takes an important topic, addresses it with facts figures and  talking head experts but yet has a story line which holds the interest of the viewer with a time thread which moves the film along. Spurlock, the centerpiece is likeable, serious, dedicated but with a nice sense of humor. This film with a few small edits should be shown to kids from middle school through college age if they have not caught the message by then. The DVD includes an interview by Spurlock made after the film came out with Eric Schlosser author of the book  Fast Food Nation which doubles the value of this DVD experience. Scholosser has a whole new set of  facts, figures as well as some very revealing insights into McDonalds and the fast food industry. The tagline on the DVD is “a film of epic proportion”. We would add this is something you can really sink your teeth into. (2004

1 comment » | 4 Stars, Documentary

Babette’s Feast

August 16th, 2011 — 8:01pm

**

Babette’s Feast- nf-  Somebody mentioned to us that we should catch this 1987 Oscar winner for the best foreign that year. While there was a great scene of the preparation of a French meal , this was not a great feast  for us.  Two sisters live in a remote Danish town. They are the daughter of a minister who has captivated the small group of people who live there and follow his religious teachings even  after he has passed on. The sisters Phillippa   (Hanna Stesgaard) and Marina (Viveke Hastrup) each pass up the opportunity to fall in love with a dashing military officer and opera singer respectively and continue to live in their cloistered community.  A persecuted French women comes to live with them as their cook for 14 years until circumstances lead her to prepare them all a wonderful French meal with wine and all the trimmings. The underlying theme is the spirituality or religiosity that allows them to all  hold on to their values and believe they ultimately will be rewarded.  To us it is ultimately a sad commentary on missed opportunities for relationships, love and realizing your full potential as a person. We didn’t find it moving , although the characters were mildly interesting and the acting and direction under Gabriel Axel was top notch. We obviously have missed something here. As we noted it was chosen best foreign film and we usually find that there are some great films made outside the US. (1987)

Comment » | 2 Stars, Drama, Foreign

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