Chef tells the story of a Chef (fancy that!) called Carl Casper, who quits his job at a prominent Los Angeles restaurant after refusing to compromise his creative integrity for its controlling owner. He is left to figure out what's next. He ends up in Miami, teams up with his ex-wife, his friend and his son to launch a food truck. Taking to the road, Chef Carl goes back to his roots to reignite his passion for the kitchen -- and zest for life and love.
Before the cynical 'few' amongst you tags this film as some kind of blatant cinematic (albeit fictional) cash-in on the current penchant for cookery, chefs and reality TV, there's far more to this than meets the eye.
First, it is directed and stars Jon Favreau, clearly enjoying taking a break from the big action flicks like Iron Man and going back to his comedic roots. Second, it has a gargantuan cast of A-listers in its roster. That said, by directing himself in the main role, and penning the script, you can clearly see Favreau is directing something he is hungry for, quite literally. Although the trailer seems to say everything you need to know, providing its funny, zippy, has a good score and the food looks good, then it's likely to be a sure fire hit!
Cold in July (15)
Cold in July is an American crime drama film directed by Jim Mickle who previously brought us the entertaining vampire flick Stake Land which demonstrated Mickle's flair and sense of cinematic atmosphere.
The film focuses on Richard Dane (played by Michael C. Hall), who after accidentally killing an unarmed intruder, must contend with the man's angry father, Ben Russell (played by Sam Shepard). However, Dane begins to suspect that cop Ray Price may be hiding information from him that would indicate that he was involved in something much more complicated.
Described by American critics as smart and full of twists, the film is also notable for a star turn by Don Johnson. Definitely worth a look this weekend!
The Fault in Our Stars (12A)
This film tells the story of Hazel (Shailene Woodley) and Gus (Ansel Elgort), two extraordinary teenagers who share an acerbic wit, a disdain for the conventional, and a loving relationship that is all the more miraculous, given that they met and fell in love at a cancer support group.
This is a "teenage cancer romance", and whilst this is an effective description of what the film is, it (hopefully) underplays the multiple dynamics at play here. It is based upon the bestselling novel by John Green, and promises to pull at the heart strings and explore the funny, thrilling and tragic business of being alive and in love
As with all these things, if the characters and emotions are real then this will often be enough to convert the most hardened sceptics out there.
Yet another tv comedy getting a big screen makeover, the plot focusses on Mrs Brown responding to a company's attempt to shut down her fruit and veg stall. She and her family embark on a campaign to save her stall, aided as only the Browns by a motley troop of blind trainee Ninjas, an alcoholic solicitor, and a barrister with Tourette’s Syndrome
I have never found Mrs Brown particularly funny so that doesn't bode well for my wanting to see it. That said, I don't speak for the millions who have watched on the BBC, and I guess it on those viewers that the success of this film will most likely depend!
Walking on Sunshine (12A)
Operating somewhere between Mamma Mia! and Sunshine in Leith (I'm probably doing a disservice to both), Walking on Sunshine is a musical set to the hit songs of the 1980s and set in a beautiful coastal village, present day Italy. The plot follows Maddie, who after a whirlwind romance, is preparing to marry gorgeous Italian Raf, and has invited her sister Taylor to the wedding. Unbeknownst to Maddie, however, Raf is Taylor's ex-holiday flame, and the love of her life I must admit that the trailer has filled me with a certain amount of dread, partly because I'm not a fan of (contrived) musicals, partly because there are different types of cod and this is the sort I don't like, and finally because it really does look like a sort of Mamma Mia clone of sorts.
So depending on where you stand on that, will ultimately determine whether you'll entertain the idea of going to watch it. One critic has said, "If you threw a camera, boom mic and clapper board into the monkey enclosure at the zoo they'd produce something more worthwhile than Walking On Sunshine."
Venus in Fur (15)
It's great to see Roman Polanski's film Venus in Fur getting a showing at the mac this week. Building, to a certain extent, on 2011's Carnage, this film is based on David Ives' play, and builds on Polanski's cycle for power plays set in a single location. The film focuses on a frustrated theatre director who meets a determined actress, who may be the perfect choice for the main role in his eponymous play. Annoying at first to the director, the actress's ever-developing eroticism and domination starts to fascinate him. The film stars his wife and regular star Emmanuelle Seigneur alongside the always excellent Mathieu Amalric. I look forward to the film's mirror approach of how the characters start to turn into the play characters that they are rehearsing for! When at his most fun, Polanski is the master at the manipulation of small ideas. I hope that this lives up to that.
That's it from me this week. As always, any comments, please drop me a tweet @timmy666.
More, as always, next week.