Tag Archives: movie critics

Asleep in my takeout

I am fascinated by the critics’ take on the movie Chef, which is currently 88 percent fresh on RottenTomatoes.com.

I found it stale and oh-so-overcooked.

chef movie

I watch a lot of Food Network, so I had high hopes for the film’s ‘recipe’: a chef gets fired after he starts a Twitter war with a restaurant critic,  and opens a food truck.

Seems new, seems current.

Turns out all the conflict that drives the film is in the first 15 minutes.  After the chef (Jon Favreau) loses his job, everyone and everything starts working in his favor.

  • Need a food truck?  His ex-wife gets her other ex-husband to provide one.  Takes him to Miami to get it. Appears to bankroll the enterprise, too. (Sure, that happens.)
  • Need help setting it up?  His former junior cook travels across the country — without pay — to help him get started. That sainted ex-wife even takes orders at one point.
  • Need to reconnect with your kid? The ex-wife — again, the most non-confrontational divorced couple in the history of movies and life, for that matter — lets an 11-year old kid work as a line cook on a food truck for the entire summer. Without checking in. Right.

I don’t want to give away the ending in case you plan to see it.  But let’s just say that, once the food truck is parked —

Nothing really happens then, either. Or if it does, they don’t show it.

Because conflict might wake you up out of your food coma.

 

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Rush out and see this

I’ve never watched Formula One Grand Prix racing, so I wondered if I could love the film RUSH as much as the critics.

Never doubt Ron Howard.

RUSHHis retelling of the 1976 rivalry between racers James Hunt and Niki Lauda simultaneously celebrates the sport and rises about it.

Yes, there is amazing driving footage, and Howard chronicles the races and locations of their real-life points race.  But the differences between these two men — in looks, personality and approach to the sport — and their very complex relationship is the most compelling part of this movie.

And when you see photos of the actual Hunter and Lauda —

Real RUSHYou realize what a tremendous job casting director Nina Gold has done.

Wave the checkered flag, people.

Sensitive much?

Comedy is the art of making people laugh without making them puke.” -Steve Martin

I saw We are the Millers this week and did not puke once.

we are the millersI did laugh a lot — often very loudly.

In fact, I am confounded why a majority of movie critics were so harsh toward the comedy.

Perhaps I have seen too many R-rated comedies, but I think the “offensive content” in Millers pales in comparison to The Hangover trilogy or, say, This is the End.

The movie actually supported family values, for cripes sake…albeit in a subversive, round-the-bend way.

Kathryn HahnPlus, watching Kathryn Hahn — who plays the wife of an RV family the Millers encounter on their journeys — scream bloody murder for a full minute is worth the cost of the ticket.

So ignore the critics like you usually do and laugh a lot.  If you find it offensive…

Well, consider that a bonus.

Say it isn’t so

This is my final Twilight saga movie review.  No doubt my friend Tina is already poised to type the words “Barf.”

I wonder if she is feeling sentimental, too.

I saw Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 2 last night at a special early screening.  I was curious if director Bill Condon could pull together a fitting end to the series, since he  had already used in my estimation all the ‘good stuff’ from the final book in Part 1.

The audience at the early show was pumped, but there was none of the mania of years past.  I’d like to think we’ve all matured a little.

The film has, too.

The screenplay has a sense of humor.  It was funny…on purpose.  And at times also sweet and sad.

Part 2 also features vampire Bella.  For all the critics who have slammed her character for being weak and codependent, come see her being seriously bad-ass. To everyone.  All she needs is a bow-and-arrow and ‘luck forever in her favor.’

Most importantly, Part 2 is action-packed and full of surprises.  I haven’t made this much noise watching a movie in ages — the vampire battle is shocking and strewn with death.

Even if you’re not a big Twilight fan, I strongly recommend you come see how it all ends.

Epic?  Indeed.

Scared for life

Halloween weekend is here.

The pumpkins are carved. Parties planned. Costumes conceived.

And now critics on-air and online are recommending what horror films you should include in your Halloween movie marathon. The expected have risen to the top — the Halloweens, the Nightmares on Elm Street, the Screams, the Exorcists.

Your basic nightmares.

And while Paranormal Activity 3 has been advertised to have 15 minutes that will “mess up your life,” I’ve already “been there, done that.”

The Town that Dreaded Sundown (1976)

I saw this film in the theatre with my sister, mom and her good friend Jeanean who loved horror movies. (The rest of us really didn’t know what we were getting ourselves into.)

Based on a true story, The Town that Dreaded Sundown follows a Texas ranger’s hunt for a serial killer who terrorized the people of Texarkana, Arkansas in 1946. The killer wore a pillowcase over his head as he preyed on the residents of the town, primarily young people parking in the woods.

He was brutal and cruel and terrifying. And he was never captured.

Suffice to say no one slept in our house that night. Actually, I’m not sure any of us slept much that week, even knowing he was probably long dead. The imagine of his face covered by that pillowcase — breathing in and out like an animal — will haunt me for the rest of my life.

If you like really scary movies, I recommend it.

But it will mess you up.

Not again

Making movies cost the big bucks, it’s true.

So perhaps we shouldn’t judge producers too harshly when they remake blockbusters from years past to ensure box office success…like The Great Gatsby or Footloose.

This may also explain ‘sequel-itis’…although quality seems to figure less in that equation.

Case in point:  New Year’s Eve from director Garry Marshall.

New Year’s Eve is the sequel to last year’s horrible Valentine’s Day, a romantic comedy jam-packed with stars, cliched story lines and performances that were shallow to say the most.

(Sorry; it was that bad.) 

I’m not surprised actors are drawn to the sequel; it’s the easiest money they’ll ever make.  And Garry Marshall probably just used the Valentine’s Day shooting script and changed the California locations to New York City.

But why do it at all?

Critics skewered the first film, and audience reviews were only slightly warmer.  And while Valentine’s Day did break $100 million at the box office, there were a lot of celebrity salaries to pay.

Well, after seeing the trailer, I think I’ve figured it out.

Garry has directed a train wreck of a film…and we all know how hard it is not to look at one of those.

Cha-ching!

Fight club

In yesterday’s Egg, I mentioned I was looking for a fight.

Today, I found one.

I am going to defend — almost a year after it hit theatres — the critical and audience pounding of the action film Knight and Day, starring Tom Cruise and Cameron Diaz.

It’s available on HBO OnDemand right now.  (I assume that means it’s available on Netflix as well.)

I saw it in the theatre last summer and really liked it.  I remember being surprised that the reviews were so lackluster.  A quick visit to RottenTomatoes.com confirmed the movie was 53 percent fresh — not awful, but not great.

What was even more surprising was that the audience felt the same, judging the movie 52 percent fresh.

I’ve already watched it twice OnDemand, and I respectfully disagree.

Tom Cruise is at his action star best in this film, but the action is purposefully over-the-top, making it one of his best comedic performances.  Snaps to Tom for being willing to make fun of a genre that has been his bread and butter.

Cameron Diaz is the perfect foil for Cruise, too.  She has the energy and the presence to match him shot for shot.  Even when she is in damsel in distress mode, she is his equal on-screen.

The movie uses a lot of CGI to make the impossible possible.  Again, I found that as funny as the rest of the comedy in this film.  Maybe 48 percent of the audience members didn’t get the joke.

But you will.  I know it.

And if you don’t…we can just fight about it some more.