Friday, May 30


The Film Fatales serve up a review that's sure to cleanse your palate. 

Chef. 2014. R. 114 minutes. Starring Jon Favreau, John Leguizamo, Bobby Cannavale, Sofia Vegara, Scarlett Johansson, Robert Downey Jr., Dustin Hoffman, Oliver Platt, Emjay Anthony. Written and Directed by Jon Favreau. 

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. (IMDb)

Nicole: Every now and then a movie comes along that renews your faith in the art of storytelling. Chef is one such movie. I can't wait to express my enthusiasm for this movie. I gotta get it said right now: I loved every second of this wonderful film. From the originality of the story, to the stellar art direction, to the ingenious casting, to the toe-tapping, hip-swaying soundtrack--Chef adds up to one satisfyingly delectable watch.

elizabeth: Look at this: Every time you start a review, you read my mind about what I am going to say. Stop it! The day after we saw Chef, I posted that this movie will make you happy, hungry and you will move your moneymaker. Someone sent me a note asking if a moneymaker meant one’s butt. Dear Nervous Smile, yes it does. And this is from someone who just got a new right hip. I couldn’t sit still. It took my mind off the hunger pangs. If this movie does not get some Oscar nominations, I will sell off my red carpet gowns. Once I buy them.

Nicole: I'm sure the personal stylists at Givenchy were really looking forward to that commission, Cassidy. How will they ever recover the loss? So, Chef Carl Casper (Favreau) is stuck in a culinary rut, no thanks to his tyrannical, afraid-of-taking-risks boss Riva (Hoffman). A supremely terrible review of the restaurant's menu and Carl's skills sends him into a downward spiral that forces him to reinvent himself by sacrificing his pride. Along the way, Carl not only gets his mojo back in the kitchen, he learns the true meaning of loyalty, family and friendship. 

elizabeth: It was almost like watching a man make love (I did that a lot; the restraining orders prove my point) when Carl gets back to what really matters in life. Watching him prepare food made my knees weak. And for the record, I tend to favor heroin-addicted looking men, but the joy and delight you see painted on Favreau’s face made him quite…dare I say…incredibly sexy. I think that is the right word for this movie – it was sexy from the great dialogue, to the food and let us not forget the music, which they were smart enough to make into a soundtrack. Hello, Amazon! 

Nicole: Seriously downloading that soundtrack! This movie was a feast for the eyes and ears. It was shot with the intent of making food and music central characters. Each, in their way, express the soul of this both food and music can bring people much tradition and roots make life meaningful. 

elizabeth: Did you play a Sunday school teacher in a former life? I feel like putting on sensible shoes.

Nicole: Don't make me threaten you with a ruler. Oh, and what a cast, by the way. You can really tell how much Favreau enjoyed this role. His lows are our lows. His highs are our highs. And he surrounded himself with people who complemented his love of the material. Leguizamo as Martin and Cannavale as Tony are terrific at providing comic relief in an already light-hearted movie. And, Favreau's Marvel-franchise buddies Downey Jr. and Johansson lend well to the cast.

elizabeth: Kudos to Sofia Vegara and Scarlett Johansson; they added had just the right amount of cool and H-O-T! But, you had to bring up Marvel didn’t you? You were doing so well until now. Do tell: I bet you never left one of those movies wanting to dance. I will say this about you: I have never seen anyone bring in as much chocolate as you do to a movie. I am not surprised they don’t make you check in your luggage. And for the record, I don’t like being used as a human shield.

Nicole: What can I say? I like to be prepared. Except this time, I really would have rather had one of El Jefe's Cuban Sandwiches...

The Film Fatales give Chef 

Tuesday, May 20

Four Weddings and a Funeral...20 Years Later

Hard to believe, isn't it? Four Weddings and a Funeral found its way into theaters, and our hearts, twenty years ago. Crazy! So, the Film Fatales sat down to re-watch this Richard Curtis classic and see if it evoked the same reaction as it did the first time around. You may find the results of this little experiment surprising... Read the full review at our home across the pond, Smitten by Britain.

The Other Woman

The Film Fatales know revenge is a dish best served with a side of funny. 

The Other Woman. 2014. Rated PG-13. 109 minutes. Starring Cameron Diaz, Leslie Mann, Kate Upton, Nikolaj Coster-Waldau. Directed by Nick Cassavettes.  

After discovering her boyfriend is married, Carly soon meets the wife he's been betraying. And when yet another love affair is discovered, all three women team up to plot revenge on the three-timing S.O.B. (IMDb) 

Nicole: You know when you see a trailer and you're convinced that it's been packaged to show you every single good part of the movie? I was so sure that was going to be the case with The Other Woman. I'm glad to say I was wrong. Uber feminists may be up in arms, but I really enjoyed this tale of revenge a la femme.  

Elizabeth: I consider myself to be a feminist and yet sometimes I can enjoy a politically incorrect storyline. But three women without cellulite coming together to plot against a two-timing dog….well, I think Hollywood must have killed millions of brain cells on this plot. Excuse me while I go burn someone else’s bra. 

Nicole: Hey! Get out of my dresser drawer. What starts out as a somewhat unoriginal plot (alluring husband cheats on unsuspecting, devoted wife with high-powered attorney) quickly turns into something you'd never imagine. And, most of that is to the credit of Leslie Mann (The 40-Year-Old Virgin, Knocked Up, This is 40), who plays Kate, the much-wronged, cheated-on party. She's put everything into her marriage to Mark (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau of Game of Thrones), including putting off having kids so he could focus on his career...except what he was really focusing on was juggling other women on the side.  

elizabeth: I do like Leslie Mann and would love to see her go up against Melissa McCarthy in anything comedic. But I would imagine that playing some wishy washy wife would have uber feminists up in arms. Isn’t it time that that type of role be put into the vault of roles that insult the intelligence of women? And are we to see Kate Upton play Richard the Third in Shakespeare in the Park soon? 

Nicole: That would be a huge stretch... Cameron Diaz plays the other woman, Carly, who accidentally reveals Marc's adultery to Kate. And, instead of Kate and Carly going apeshit and tearing each other's hair out, as you might expect, they do something sillier...they become besties. Slumber party-having, hair-braiding, secret-sharing besties...which sounds positively women's lib reducing, but is actually fun to watch play out. Mann and Diaz share great on-screen chemistry as two women united in one goal: to bring the man who wronged them to ruin. But that plan isn't fully fledged until they realize that he's been cheating on both of them with Amber (supermodel Kate Upton), your typical blonde bombshell airhead with a twist...she has a conscience.  

elizabeth: Dear Universe: I think now would be the right time to strike me down with a really dreadful migraine. Give it your best shot. I triple dog dare you. 

Nicole: Know what's good for a self-righteous headache? Taking a chill pill. Now, can I get on with the synopsis without the diatribe? Hmm? While Kate's brother Phil (Taylor Kinney of Chicago Fire) tries to talk some sense into the trio, his advice falls on deaf ears. The three cook up a series of plots to make Mark's life unbearable, and too much hilarity (albeit it crass, ridiculous, and juvenile, but satisfying to watch because he's a scoundrel who deserves his just desserts). There's some hemming and hawing and a plot twist or two before they achieve their desired goal, naturally. But the journey is enjoyable, mostly because of Leslie Mann's acting choices. I have to say, this part in another actor's hands might not have been so funny. She has a very unique way of delivering a line that lent well to this part. Some may say it was an over-the-top performance, but it's slapstick comedy, folks, not high art.  

elizabeth: This sounds like every dreadful and sophomoric comedy that men have made over the years. Paging Adam Sandler.  We are women; we don’t have to be crass and juvenile. That is why God created men. She wanted a chance to show off her sense of humor.  

Nicole: But why should any type of humor be relegated to one sex versus another? Some of the best female comedians work blue. Funny is as funny does. I know a lot of female reviewers are opposed to everything about this film, claiming it set the women's movement back a notch. I'm a card-carrying feminist, and I enjoyed the movie. The two don't have to be mutually exclusive. I guess that makes me a bad feminist. Excuse me while I go rescue my bra from the flames. 

One half of the Film Fatales gives THE OTHER WOMAN

The other half of The Film Fatales gives it