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Monday, May 26, 2014

CHEF



When I travel the world, I now and then dine at Michelin 3-Star and Pellegrino Top 50 restaurants (here are #s 51-100, for there are 106 Michelin 3-Stars).  There are also many other great restaurants here and there, with two from Stockholm, for example, worthy of consideration.  Thus the movie, Chef, was one I especially wanted to see.



While box office revenues for the weekend only barely placed it in the Top Ten, I felt that this was the best film I've enjoyed this year.

I tend to avoid food trucks (called lunch wagons in Honolulu because they generally don't do dinners--and here is our top ten for this year), worried about sanitation and quality, and am not particularly fond of Cuban cuisine (although Soul de Cuba Cafe in downtown Honolulu is quite good), this movie is based on both, featuring the
  • travails of gourmet chef Carl Casper (played by Jon Favreau, who also wrote, produced and directed), 
  • who was impaled by food critic Ramsey Michel (Oliver Platt), 
  • triggering his fall and return to Miami roots, 
  • where he is convinced by his former wife Inez (Sofia Vergara, right) that a food truck was ideal for an independent and creative thinker, for he can work for himself,  
  • so was helped by Inez's second divorced husband (Robert Downey--who apparently also created the movie soundtrack cover, below--and the music was an integral part of the production) and his son to build a food truck:
  • selling cuban sandwiches, with variations and
  • with his son and best friend  (John Leguizamo as Martin a line cook), drives back to Los Angeles, with a particularly memorable stop in New Orleans:

Click on Gayot to find the top five food trucks in the nation, but you might want to avoid the one in Minnesota, for it features tongue tacos:


The all-star cast in Chef also includes Dustin Hoffman (playing an almost villainous owner of the fashionable restaurant Casper leaves), Scarlett Johansson, Bobby Cannavale and Emjay Anthony as Percy, the son.

The ending was classical Hollywood, which was okay.  The hero, it turned out towards the end, was a pleasant surprise, so let me leave this at that.  (But hint:  could this perceived insensitive troublemaker be the guy?)

Rotten Tomatoes reviewers gave Chef an 87% reviewers'  rating, and 89% of audiences liked it.  I highly recommend this film.

I might still go to the latest X-Men (RT=91%/95%) and Godzilla (RT=73%/74%) to experience the 3D and Titan XC effects.  I just don't like these supernatural/superhuman films, and if animated, worse, so I must warn you that an animated sequel is soon to arrive:  How to Train Your Dragon 2, for Rotten Tomatoes has already given it 100% reviewers' and 98% audience ratings.

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Hurricane Amanda in the East Pacific is weakening, now down to 120 MPH:


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