Movies for July 2014

Posted on: 7th July, 2014

Category: Ryan's Reviews

Contributor: Ryan Edwards

Chef

15A 114mins

Director: Jon Favreau

Starring:  Jon Favreau, Robert Downey Jr, Scarlett Johannson, Sophia Vergara, John Leguizamo        

Plot: A chef who loses his restaurant job starts up a food truck in an effort to reclaim his creative promise, while piecing back together his estranged family.

Review: The brilliant Jon Favreau is back and not just on writing and directing duties but also as main character Chef Carl Casper. The opening sequence is perfect, as we see Chef Casper working in a restaurant kitchen, creating a visual feast of food and prepping for the day ahead. After the introduction of long time loyal friend Martin (John Leguizamo) as a member of the kitchen staff, Casper leaves Martin to finish while he heads off for more ingredients as tonight in their restaurant is a big night, tonight the most respected food critic Ramsey Michel (Oliver Platt) is coming in to review. After Casper’s menu is shot down by restaurant owner Riva (Dustin Hoffman) he instead serves up the classics they have been serving for years. This leads to a scathing review from Michel and prompting a social media sensation when Casper challenges him to try his real food, this however turns from bad to worse for Casper as his menu is still refused by the owner and causes a downward spiral in his life. With the support of his friends, ex wife Inez (Sophia Vergara) and estranged son Percy (Emjay Anthony) Casper sets upon a course that will not only bring back his passion but will ignite the lives of the people around him. With a story this strong, the film doesn’t need to be spectacular, but that is absolutely why this film works so well. It isn’t trying to be clever nor have the hero of the story have some major metamorphosis of character but instead just realises that sometimes taking a step back and really appreciating what you have is all you need. Favreau is believably passionate about his food and plays his part almost as if this is his actual story, with a lovable and loyal friend in Leguizamo and a brilliant young actor in Emjay Anthony who I think will do well in the future this is one of the non blockbuster films to watch this summer. With a great supporting cast from Sophia Vergera, Scarlett Johannson as well as a cameo from Robert Downey Jr there is a lot to keep you more than entertained. **** 4 Stars

 

The Fault in our Stars

12A 126mins

Director: Josh Boone

Starring:  Shailene Woodley, Ansel Elgort         

Plot: Hazel and Gus are two teenagers who share an acerbic wit, a disdain for the conventional, and a love that sweeps them on a journey. Their relationship is all the more miraculous given that Hazel’s other constant companion is an oxygen tank, Gus jokes about his prosthetic leg, and they met and fell in love at a cancer support group.

Review: From the start we meet Hazel (Shailene Woodley), a young teenager suffering from Thyroid cancer, which then spreads to her lungs. During one of her visits to her oncologists, her mother Frannie (Laura Dern) explains that she thinks her daughter is depressed. This leads Hazel to start attending a cancer support group where she meets Augustus Waters, (Ansel Elgort) a teenager at the group supporting his friend, who is having a his second eye removed because of a tumour. His friend is a former osteosarcoma cancer sufferer, who has had his leg amputated. After an exchange of awkward glances and conversations, Hazel goes back to Gus’ and a beautiful relationship unfolds. From the trailer you get the idea of an ill teenager being wooed in a lovely way by a charming young man, and it is every bit that, as well as so much more. Even with the romance building you are never far from being reminded (in case you forgot) that Hazel is suffering but not just for herself but the worry of how her parents will cope when she is gone. From the main performances from Woodley and Elgort to the supporting actors, including a small role for the brilliant Willem Dafoe, this is a film you should watch at least once even if it’s only a date night movie *** 3 Stars

 

 22 Jump Street

15A 112mins

Director: Phil Lord, Christopher Miller

Starring: Jonah Hill, Channing Tatum, Ice Cube        

Plot: After making their way through high school (twice), big changes are in store for officers Schmidt and Jenko when they go deep undercover at a local college.

Review: The undercover cops of Jump Street are back (even if it is across the road to number 22) and show no signs of letting up from where the first one left off. Schmidt (Jonah Hill) and Jenko (Channing Tatum) start off by watching online lectures in the hopes of finding a clue to the next lead; this brings them face to face with the notorious boss, The Ghost (Peter Stormare), who ironically seems easy enough to find. The two head back to Jump Street after their captain tells them that they need to solve a new drugs case exactly like last time. With the welcome return of Capt Dickson (Ice Cube), as their ever-angry leader, the guys head off to college. Hill and Tatum are on fine form yet again, as the bumbling duo, and with a brilliant supporting cast of Ice Cube, Peter Stormare and Amber Stevens, this is almost as brilliant as the first. I say almost as brilliant as the first, but really the only thing that makes this not as funny, is that it’s not original. I know that everyone says that about a sequel, but I don’t mean it in that negative way, I think the first film worked so well because nobody expected it to be really that funny so it really made you laugh, whereas we now expect more. The other thing that could be regarded as a negative (although personally I don’t see it like that) is the blatant reminders that this is the same film as before, so much so, that Deputy Chief Hardy (Nick Offerman) even says, ‘do exactly the same as before’. Even with those minor issues, the film still delivers great humour, action and thrills as well as a pretty good (even if seen before) plot. If you liked the 21 Jump Street, then there shouldn’t be any reason you don’t like this, even if it’s not exactly as the same as before. **** 4 Stars

 

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