Movie Review: Chef (2014)

Chef
Written and Directed by: Jon Favreau
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Watching Jon Favreau’s film Chef, almost felt like eating a sumptuous full course meal at a 5 star restaurant. He starts off with the appetizer or an amuse-bouche you could say, laying down the foundation of the story, and providing some funny anecdotes. He then moves on the next course, slowing refining the narrative like a warm soup. From there he moves on the main course, the bread and butter of what is at the heart of the entire movie and finally giving viewers a delicate dessert to top off the experience. What you will not get with this meal is an elaborate, over blown, action film with crazy special effects, so if that is what you are expecting than realize that this is not Favreau’s Iron Man type of movie.

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The film is about a renowned chef in Los Angeles, Carl Casper (Jon Favreau) who is the typical executive chef; he has a big ego and the temperament of an artist. What he lacks in working at a restaurant owned by Riva (Dustin Hoffman), is free reign to cook as he pleases and create dishes that truly inspire him. Molly (Scarlett Johanssen), the restaurant’s hostess and wine sommelier of sorts, sees him as the badass chef that he is and tries to pull that out of him, the best she can. His ex-wife Inez (Sofia Vergara), a successful woman in her own right, keeps nudging him to open up his own food truck and cook food that he believes in. They see each other because they share custody of their son Percy (Emjay Anthony), who wants to be part of his dad’s world so badly and hates being in the middle. Yet he handles it like any kid born in this millennium, he negotiates with his parents through his iPhone.

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When food critic Ramsey Michel (Oliver Platt) comes into his restaurant to eat, Carl comes up with a whole new menu to tantalize him with, but unfortunately Riva will not let him execute it out. Instead he serves what is on the menu every night; it is cooked to perfection, but lacks any imagination or heart. When the review goes out, it crushes him and he takes to Twitter haphazardly and ends up starting a feud with the food critic.

He has his Jerry Maguire moment, where he stands up tall and asks his other chefs to join him, to which the sound of crickets appears. Only one of his line cooks follows him Martin (John Leguizamo) and they take off on a journey, a culinary voyage of sorts to Miami where he decides to finally open up a food truck. He takes his son along for the ride and Percy helps to put his dad on the map as a revived culinary star by using social media in a really smart way. He takes to Twitter, Vine and Instagram and gains a whole new following. Kids these days are much smarter and tech savvy then generations before them and this is apparent through Percy.

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What ensues from here is fun to watch and the viewer gets to go along with Carl as he not only rediscovers himself as a born-again chef de cuisine, but as the father he was always wanted to be. The relationship and bonds that form over food are endless and that is what truly is at the heart of this story.

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I loved watching him cook the food, perfectly stacking the pieces, to create a beautiful dish. When he made a grilled cheese for his son, he didn’t just make a basic one with white bread and Kraft cheese. Instead he uses an ooey-gooey fancy cheese on top of artisan bread, perfectly made on his grill, with edges that look crisp and browned and a sandwich that looks heavenly. Now who wouldn’t want a dad who is a professional cook?

I also liked seeing a movie that seemed to embody what chefs today have become, some are almost exalted to rock star status with hip new restaurants and have the swagger and tattoos to boot. With the character of Molly, it is evident that she sees his potential and his passion for food seems to turn her on to the point that she is almost a food groupie. What better food groupie (no, not the fruit and vegetables food group kind) to have then her, even though she was in the movie only sporadically she was just as vibrant and sexy as I have ever seen her.

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Favreau worked with one of the most famous food truck chefs, Roy Choi, to learn the ropes of running a truck and being a chef. Choi made it a point to show him how real kitchens look and the care for the details are evident in the film. In an interview with LA Eater magazine, Favreau says he took into account the first thing that Choi said to him, “’When a chef sees a bag of shallots he gets excited because they know they’re going to get to peel them all,” and I really think the essence of that sentence alone was captured in the feeling of the film.

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The story was warm and thoughtful and I really enjoyed the simplicity of the film. Yes, we know that Favreau can make entertaining films like Iron Man, but he is also able to push that away and create something that is simple and fun to watch. This film turned out just right, simple, fresh and with a focused story. If you are a foodie, then you will drool over this film or if you are just in the mood for a heartfelt comedy try this one on for size.

}}Melissa

November TV Favorites

November is already upon us friends, what the hell is going on, time is flying so fast and before you know it the New Year will be here! This past month was quite lazy for me, I have been feeling as I mentioned before so overwhelmed with everything that November was rather drab. I caught up on reading a lot, literally immersing myself and I will mention the books as a fave below, plus I want to prove to you guys that I just don’t watch TV all day because I swear I do other things! I just have a really on point schedule with my shows and my husband is worse than me and he pushes me to finish and binge watch. Yes, I just totally did that female thing and blamed him (haha). How were your holidays? Do tell! And for everyone else around the world, I commend you for saving the lives of so many turkeys out there.

Oh yes, I wanted to mention, I have a cousin Sebastian, who just started on WordPress. His blog is MyMovieVerse, so please check  him out and support another movie lover.

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Resurrection: Season 2 (ABC)
Not sure if anyone else out there is watching this show, so if you are I would love to discuss. I also hope that other people are watching because I do not want this to get cancelled. I need to know how it all ends. A quick synopsis if you don’t know, this show is centered on the town of Arcadia, Missouri, where people who were once dead, have returned home. They seem to be alive and well, they know who they are and how they died, but why they have returned they do not know. Can you imagine a dead ex-gf who killed herself coming back to town? Umm hello, mood spoiler for your current gf and yes that happened on the show. What about that annoying brother or mother in your life who always nagged at you, yup they come back too.

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Season 2 is focused again on going even deeper into the “returned,” some town’s folk hate these returned people and think they are part of an evil scheme and some are very content with their new found family members and friends. The problem this season is that the returned are getting oddly sick. The main character Maggie Langston (Devin Kelley), is the town doctor and is trying to investigate what is going on with these people, and is very sympathetic towards them and their plight. Agent Bellamy (Omar Epps) is also charged with figuring out what to do with these returned individuals and we are finding out he has many secrets of his own. The doctor’s father and town sheriff, Fred Langston (Matt Craven), is also on the case and has many issues because not only has his mother returned, but also the wife who was cheating on him. So much is going on with different families and it is pretty fun to watch. There are many familiar actors on here like Frances Fisher, Kurtwood Smith (that 70’s show dad), Michelle Fairley (Stark momma), and they add a good mix to the show. This is no HBO created drama, but it is nonetheless entertaining.  If you get a chance you can catch season 1 on Netflix right now.

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I think I like this version… haha.

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Top Chef: Season 12 – Boston (Bravo)
Anyone that reads my blog knows I love my Bravo shows. Please Andy Cohen let me work for you! My dream would be to be on his Watch What Happens Live show and dish about all current events, gossip and talk about bitchy stuff and hot guys because that is just the kind of stuff I love. Anyhow, I have been a fan of the Top Chef series since the beginning; in fact one of my favorite lines ever came from Season 1, when Dave Martin yelled at Tiffany Faison and said, “I’m not your bitch, BITCH.” There are so many days I want to say that to people (haha).

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Season 12 brings our contestants to Boston and again we have the same competitions as usual, but this time around I feel that the judges are much meaner. Instead of talking behind their backs about the food, I noticed that they are giving the chef feedback as they eat the food in front of them. This week was actually their infamous restaurant wars episode, which always brings people down and sometimes the best of the best get cut on this round. So far the chefs this season are entertaining and seem like a good group, but honestly not some of the best I have seen. Some seasons have given us chefs like Richard Blais and the Voltaggio brothers, who really just blew everyone away, this round we have a few contenders, but no one that seems absolutely phenomenal. I do like Katsuji Tanabe so far, he is kooky and says weird stuff, I am sure he will be in the running for fan favorite this year. I love Tom Colicchio and his comments and Padma Lakshmi is so sexy and dresses on point and cute, I love seeing her outfits (gosh I am so superficial). Regardless, I am addicted to this crap, so yeah that’s my story and I am sticking to it.

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Game of Thrones Book Series
I spent a lot of time catching up with my reading as I mentioned ealier; I really have been doing more reading than ever. I am now on book 4 of the Game of Thrones series and I can’t wait to be totally caught up when it starts next year.

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Oh yeah, I will finally know all the deets and I have to say if you haven’t read these books, boy does the show do them justice. I felt just as emotional reading all the crazy stuff that happened in seasons 3 and 4, I felt like I was reliving that entire trauma. If you are in the mood for a new series and a fan of the show, then you should give this a shot, but you will have to commit to reading because it’s a lot of books!  I have to give a shout out to Zoe, who inspired me earlier in the year when I first started reading her blog to get back into enjoying books. I know she has done the same for Eric, so we must commend her for being so freakin’ inspirational (damn you Zoe now I have no life!).

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Other shows I loved in November, but I feel I have already mentioned them are:
Homeland: Season 4 (Showtime)
AHS: Freak Show (FX)
Sons of Anarchy: Final Season (FX)

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}}Melissa

The Walking Dead Recap: Season 5, Episode 8: Hostages and High Hopes

The Walking Dead Recap
Season 5, Episode 8
**SPOILER ALERT

This past week, was the mid-season finale for our beloved zombie show. Now did it live up to everyone’s expectation and were we all blown away by the surprise ending? Overall, the season started off with a bang, it was fast paced and fun to watch them get out of Terminus, to find a new place and to see them off wandering again in search of supplies and resources. Finding Beth was at the forefront of every fan’s mind and we got to find out where she was being kept and we have seen her maturation come to fruition. She started off as a sheltered farm girl, progressed to Judith’s babysitter and after hanging out with Daryl for a while, she turned into a full-fledged take no prisoners bad ass.

Then slowly, the show started to dwindle down with too many fillers and the pace slowed down a bit. That has been my biggest gripe with the show, don’t get me wrong I am a total TWD fan and I will continue to watch this to the bitter end, but I really get annoyed by so many filler moments and how situations get dragged the hell out. Regardless of my little rant, I still enjoy watching, I just hope it picks back up and the pace gets heightened a bit more when the show comes back on in February.

Let’s get to the juicy bits, and no not Bob’s leftover leg and talk about what happened.

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New Trailers: Jurassic World, Star Wars, Pan, Game of Thrones Teaser

Hey guys! Hope everyone is enjoying some post-Thanksgiving leftovers and relaxing the day away. Or if you are not in the US or don’t care about Turkey day, then you are enjoying your Friday! Unfortunately, I have to work today, but I am trying to make the best of this slow day. Over the past couple of days, a handful of exciting trailers have come out. I thought I would share them with you guys if you haven’t already seen them. Check them out.

Jurassic World: I am so freaking excited about this one. As a kid, the original Jurassic Park was one of my favorite films and book. I probably saw it in the theaters like ten times, to this day my family makes fun of me for being obsessed with it. I cannot wait to see this new adaptation with Chris Pratt and Bryce Dallas Howard. Set for release on June 12, 2015.

Star Wars: The Force Awakens: I think every Star Wars fan out there woke up today thinking, “WTF, I have to see this right effing now!” Just hearing that old light saber noise is enough to get any fan excited. Ok or maybe that was just me, but I am very curious to see what J.J. Abrams does with the franchise and if he can lift us past the last series. Set for release on December 18, 2015

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Pan: The timeless Disney classic is finally getting a much needed revitalized version. The last cool Peter Pan movie that came out has to be Hook. I am excited about this film because for one we finally get to see Peter played by a little boy, not a 25 year old girl dressed as him and two, I am stoked that it is not an annoying musical version, like the one that is set to come out in a few days on NBC. This one looks like it will have everything that comes to mind with the Peter Pan, magic, fun, fantasy and a bit of danger lurking around every corner. Set for release on June 26, 2015.

Game of Thrones: Season 5: Ok this one is seriously not even a minute long teaser, but for all GOT fans out there this is enough to quench our thirst and get us super excited for what is to come next year. Here we see Arya grasping a sword, could this be needle? Where is she and what is she up to? Will she finally get close to avenging the perils that have struck her family? The waiting is horrible, but I know it will be worth it! Set for release on HBO sometime in April 2015.

What are you guys excited to see?

}}Melissa

 

The Walking Dead Recap: Season 5, Episode 7: Never Let Your Guard Down

The Walking Dead Recap
Season 5, Episode 7
**SPOILER ALERT

In this past week’s episode, we finally got an episode that was not solely focused on one character. At times I don’t mind those episodes, especially when we really end up getting to the root of the character, but on the other hand watching everyone together is part of the magic of the show. This one gave us a look at all the characters and where each one stands at the present moment. I found this episode to be a bit lackluster and drawn out. At the end it did pick up a bit and I am excited for the next one, but considering it was one of the last episodes it was a let down.

Let’s discuss this little gem of an episode and break it down by location.

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Question of the Month at Oracle of the Film: Best Character of 2014

Another month is here and Luke has brought us a difficult question to ponder, who is the best character of 2014? I mean trying to pick an answer for that one seemed pretty hard especially from a group of movie lovers. I have to say that I am really jealous of Eric’s response! Luke also has an upcoming drunk quiz video and that should be the highlight of everyone’s holidays, so keep your eyes peeled for that one. Oh what a wonderful gift he will give us all. Cheers Luke!

Originally posted on Oracle of Film:

Who is the best character of 2014? It is a question that has been bandied around for decades (well, since 2014… halfway through 201… at the start of the month), and finally, maybe, we might just have some answers for you. Like all of the major challenges in my life, I ran running and screaming for the WordPress family to do my homework for me and got them to write you some answers. Hell, one of them might even be coherent. So, without further ado, let’s investigate the answers.

}}Melissa

October TV Favorites

It is already almost the end of October, so please excuse the lateness. I actually wrote this a while ago and it has been sitting here not getting posted, what the hell! I have been procrastinating a lot lately and feeling really bogged down with work, so much that writing for fun has been proving difficult. I have probably seen in the past two weeks, seen a good 10-12 movies. Now the problem is I am having writer’s block in getting anything written, do you guys ever feel like this? What do you do get yourself on a good writing schedule? Tips would be appreciated. I also have so much catching up to do on your guys’ blogs too, so please forgive! Ok I put it out there and admitted my inadequacies (insert sad face here). Moving on here are the shows that I loved for the month of October.

The Affair: Season 1 (Showtime)
I have been loving this new series on Showtime, it is both a romance story and thrilling drama in one. The show centers about writer Noah Solloway (Dominic West), he has three kids and a wife, who live a bustling busy life in New York City. As many New Yorkers are accustomed to doing, they leave for the summer to Montauk to get away from the city and to stay with his wife’s family. Her family is beyond wealthy and  infamous in town. Her father Bruce (John Dorman) is a very accomplished writer, he has sold millions of books and of course this only adds to some frustrations between Noah and him. If you are a fan of The Wire, then you will be excited to see McNulty and his old boss Rawls, back in action, battling with one another. In town he meets Alison (Ruth Wilson), a local woman who works in the town restaurant and is married to Cole Lockhart (Joshua Jackson). His family also has a legacy in town, as they have a ranch that has been in the family for many years. Noah and Alison launch into a steamy relationship, as the title states and with every episode we get two viewpoints of their love affair. From his perspective, we see Alison as flirty and sexy and in hers, she is much more reserved and sees him as a bit sex starved and anxious to rip her clothes off.

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Under this town lies deep seated secrets and relationships and that is what is at the core of the story. A local accident or murder takes place and everyone is being questioned. At this point in the show, the audience does not know who the victim is or what exactly happened. Slowly the story is coming together and I have to say it is pretty exciting to watch. If you like love stories mixed with crime drama, then you will enjoy this show. Also Wilson And West are great in this show and if you are a fan of either, you will like seeing them in these roles.

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Sons of Anarchy: Season 7 (FX)
After seven seasons, Sons of Anarchy is soon coming to an end. This has seriously been one of the best seasons ever! Not all final seasons are ever that great, sometimes they are bit underwhelming as if the show has run out of ideas, but not with SOA. Kurt Sutter has been pushing the envelope week by week and keeping audiences on the edge of their seat. The final season has focused primarily on the culmination of Jax Teller (Charlie Hunnam), who he is as a person, how he has matured and grown over the series and who he now is as a man. How he deals with problems in his personal life and the club are at the heart of the matter and primarily his relationship with his mother, Gemma (Katey Segal). If you are a fan of the show and you are up to date with the series, then you will know how exciting it has been. I don’t want to give out too much, but I will say if you have not see this show, do yourself a favor and binge watch it because you will not be disappointed at the end.

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Boardwalk Empire: Season 5 (HBO)
This last season just ended and it was also the series finale for the show itself. I have to be honest, I do not think this show was ready to end, unlike SOA which timing wise feels right, but with Boardwalk, I feel that it could have had another 2 seasons to finish telling the complete story. To date, Boardwalk has never disappointed, it has to be one of the best shows in my opinion ever created. One of the primary reasons I love it, is because it has Martin Scorsese’s touch. The writing is exceptional, every scene flows into the next and the cinematography is beautiful. Rarely do I say that about television shows, but every shot is executed perfectly and arranged in a way that the symmetry and composition of the frame is on point. It is obvious that meticulous precision goes into the camera shots. The costumes are gorgeous and only add to the exacting of the show.

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This final season flew by quick and gave us a look into Nucky Thompson’s (Steve Buscemi) past and how he grew up and came to the point in his life where he is in the present. Again, I don’t want to give away too much here, because if you haven’t seen the show, but plan on watching it I don’t want to ruin anything. What I will say is that in this final season, we see how the main characters all end up, so I can tell you that every story is finished and shown, including Nucky, Capone, Chalky White, Van Alden, Eli, Gillian and Margaret. Also because the show is tied into historical events and people, we see the culmination of Al Capone’s ruthless career and how he got caught, the status of prohibition, trade with Cuba, Joe Kennedy’s rise to power and the stock market crash. I love that the show highlights and weaves historical moments with the narrative of the main characters and everything blends together seamlessly. Regardless, this was a great season and I have to admit the ending was a bit disappointing and felt rushed, but overall the show is fantastic, so if you haven’t seen it you should give it a shot.

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}}Melissa