Sunday, April 12, 2015

Chef (2014) (R)

Writer/Director: John Favreau

Starring: John Favreau, John Leguizamo, Bobby Cannavale, Emjay Anthony, Scarlett Johanson, Sofia Vergara, Dustin Hoffman, Oliver Platt

There is the idea that two kinds of motion pictures exist: Films and Movies. Films make you think. Movies make you turn your mind off and enjoy. Now, these are broad terms to put them in, but for the sake length I hope you can forgive me. My point being, there is a place for both mediums in the cinematic pantheon, but being proficient at creating both thought provoking and shoot em’ up is not every director’s forte.  It’s not often a director manages to take on significantly varying projects and find success in the process. Thankfully, John Favreau is a member of this echelon of filmmakers. Whether a light Indie comedy or a flashy summer blockbuster, Favreau makes it look easy. For this go around, he has chosen to keep it small with Chef (2014).

Stifled creatively by his boss, which leads to a bad review going viral on Twitter, once renown chef Carl Casper (Favreau) finds his career at a stand still. Scrambling to find another job, he becomes neglectful of his young son (played wonderfully by Emjay Anthony). Following the advice of his ex-wife (Vargara), Carl starts a food truck with his buddy Martin (Leguizamo), where he can be free to create dishes that matter again, while mending the father/son bond.

What’s a hashtag?

Right off, this is a great film. Well written, funny, emotional. The actors, all at their best. But it was the little touches that makes it stand out. For instance, the look at social media and how the most mundane post can mean triumph or tragedy to one’s livelihood. Tearing you down one minute or building you up the next. It tackles how family has become second to our jobs. And what we see as success means nothing without passion (It sounds corny, I know, but read on.). In the wrong hands this concept could have easily been a television movie with no heart, but as previously stated, success means nothing without passion. Proven perfectly here by Favreau and his skill for story telling.

If you haven’t already guessed, I am giving Chef a big recommend. I wasn’t sure what to expect going in but the end results are great. There is a bit of language that brings the picture into R territory, although I don’t think the older kid’s will be traumatized (I’m sure they have the internet). And do be warned, you’ll be starving afterwards. The cooking scenes are drool inducing.

So, go make reservation to watch Chef (Oh, that last line even made me cringe.). You may even want seconds (Why do I keep doing that?).

I’m really craving “pasta" right now. (Mmm, pasta.)

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