Chef

Chef

Chef: Independent Film and Great Startup Film Independent films seem to be delivering the best storylines and most complete character development in film these days, and Chef by  Jon Favreau continues the tradition. The brainchild of Jon Favreau, Jon wrote, directed, and starred in the primary role of Chef Carl Casper. In addition to Carl Casper we are treated to great performances by John Leguizamo as his best friend and sou chef, Martin, and Emjay Anthony, who plays Favreau’s son turn in equally impressive performances for a delighted audience. Jon Favreau, John Leguizamo, and Emjay Anthony in Chef The story of a promising young chef, who is no longer young, and who is turning stagnant in Dustin Hoffman’s pleasant but predictable restaurant, Jon Favreau has been pushing away his son as well as his creativity. However, things are about to change. His ex-wife urges him to get a food truck from a friend of hers, a cameo performance by Robert Downey Jr., and after a public meltdown made even more public by social media, Carl finally takes the leap. His best friend Martin leaps right along with him, as they go back to the Cuban roots of the area. Chef: Do What you Love – Startup Film The movie turns into the untimate start up film, as Chef Casper tests his Cuban fare in his food truck, El Hefe, with groups in Florida, and then winds his way across the U.S. his son and Martin by his side. Carl learns how important social media marketing is from his tech savvy son, and his son learns how important doing the right thing for the customer is from his...
My Lucky Elephant

My Lucky Elephant

Every now and again, I have the pleasure to review a great little family film that tells an interesting story, and teaches kids something along the way. My Lucky Elephant is one of those films. The film starts out by introducing us to a young boy who has lost his father, and a young elephant who has been separated from its family. The two of them cautiously get to know each other, and the boy trains the elephant to understand his directions. This is Thailand, and the boy knows that they have to work if they are going to survive. Over and over, the boy and his elephant are turned away as too small, until he finally doesn’t take no for an answer and he proves that he can work hard. Unfortunately, the Thai lumber industry hasn’t seen the Lorax, and soon there are no more trees to cut down in the area, so there is no longer any work. Once again the boy and his elephant, Lucky, have to move on to see if they can find some other type of work. Thailand has a tough economy with little support for orphaned kids. This film gives young children a bit of a taste for how hard it is in other countries when kids are on their own. We watch as Lucky and his friend are chased and harassed by police, drugged and attacked by poachers, and just try to stay alive in general. What everyone underestimates is the intelligence of Lucky and the deep friendship that has developed between him and his friend. The latter part of the...
The Perks of Being a Wallflower

The Perks of Being a Wallflower

One of my favorite films this year, The Perks of Being a Wallflower, is by a young writer, director, and producer named Stephen Chbosky. Having written the screenplay for Rent, which I thought was not especially well done, and spending the past couple of years working on a TV series named Jericho, Stephen was apparently able to leverage his experience into a shot at his own film project, and quite a shot it was. There is definitely something to be said for limited budget films that are a complete vision from writing through film production. Chbosky’s characters have a richness and truth about them that will resonate with you. For all of the teens out there who are out of step with the rest of the school, which seems at time to be the majority of the students, and all of the adults who still remember what it was like to be in that position, the characters will be your friends, and your heroes as they struggle their way through life. Logan Lerman, who plays Charlie, Ezra Miller, who plays Patrick, and Emma Watson, who plays Patrick’s step-sister Sam, whom you probably spotted as the reknowned Hermione Granger; were all brilliant in their respective parts. Every wallflower in school needed a duo like Patrick and Emma to bring them under their wings in High School. The two seniors bring Charlie into their world as Patrick acknowledges him with the statement, “I didn’t realize there was anyone still worth discovering.” The 102 minutes of The Perks of Being A Wallflower are spent smiling, laughing, crying, and if you are older,...
Moonrise Kingdom

Moonrise Kingdom

It appears that teaming up Wes Andersen with a member of the Coppola family was a marvelous idea. The screenplay for Moonrise Kingdom was written by Roman Coppola and Wes Andersen, and directed by Wes Andersen. For me, this film has taken Wes’ work to an entirely different level. I’ve really enjoyed his work through the years, although I’ve thought some of his work was more successful than others. I was not a particular fan of The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou, but I felt it suffered for want of a more aggressive editing than it received in post. In contrast, Moonrise Kingdom is impeccably edited and I wouldn’t change a thing. Wes Andersen’s comedy’s have always had their own quirky voice and pacing and Moonrise Kingdom is no exception, but this film has something different. In Moonrise Kingdom, Wes Andersen connects with his audience in a way that he hasn’t in the past. I think the collaboration with Roman Coppola has added a richness to the film’s vision that it was lacking before, but that can be the incredible strength of collaboration: a synergy that didn’t exist for either person on their own. I adored the quirky characters in Moonrise Kingdom, the sweet awkward love story of the pre-teens was so perfectly handled, I can’t imagine a better scene than the one on the beach. After spending a night on the beach in a little pup tent, the young people awake to a search team descending on them. Jared Gilman zips up the tent and then he and Kara Hayward huddle inside clutching each other in their minds...
Shame

Shame

Shame is a movie that has lingered in my mind long after I exited the cinema. I was moved when I saw Steve McQueen’s 2008 directorial debut, Hunger, but I felt that some of McQueen’s art world tendencies relegated it to a limited audience.

The House of the Devil

The House of the Devil

The horror genre may appear to be going through dry spell; however, there is always room for great films in any genre. The majority of horror films use dark shadows, blood, guts, and torture to scare their audiences. These aspects are present in The House of The Devil; however, they are not the filmmakers’ primary devices.

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