Tag Archives: john leguizamo

Chef

Chef is a 2014 dramedy film written, directed, produced, and starring Jon Favreau. Favreau plays Carl Casper, a successful celebrity chef who has become stuck in a rut, cooking the same dishes over and over again. After a bad review from a notable critic, Casper goes on a rant that gets uploaded to the internet and goes viral. Casper ends up quitting his restaurant and gets his own food truck at the behest of his ex-wife, Inez (played by Sofía Vergara). Casper and his young son start to bond while fixing up the truck. Casper’s love for cooking returns and the relationship with his son becomes stronger and stronger. Casper’s food is a hit with customers and critics alike, and the film concludes with Casper opening a new successful restaurant and remarrying his ex-wife. Sorry, spoiler alert. I always forget to mention the spoiler alert.

Chef is an enjoyable movie. It was a passion project of Favreau and you can tell. I have a few complaints though. For starters, it’s too long. It takes about forty-five minutes for him to even get the truck. We didn’t need that much exposition. It shouldn’t take that long to establish that he’s a great cook and a lousy family man. And the film seems to be a commercial for Twitter, Vine, and other forms of social media. I thought I was watching a movie about food, not technology.

The supporting cast is great, although somewhat underused. Robert Downey, Jr., Scarlett Johansson, Oliver Platt, Dustin Hoffman, and John Leguizamo all play supporting roles. John Leguizamo’s character, Martin, is there in the beginning, disappears for a while, and suddenly comes out of nowhere halfway through the film to work with Casper in his truck for no money and no reason other than to give Casper more time to bond with his son. Martin seemingly does all of the prep work and does most of the cooking during the food truck scenes. He’s more of a chef than the titular chef.

Watching this film makes you hungry. Be forewarned. Make sure you have something to snack on because your stomach will be grumbling every five minutes. It’s a good movie, a little redundant at times, but still solid entertainment. I watched it on Netflix. You can too.

Critically Rated at 13/17

Written, Rated, and Reviewed by Brendan H. Young

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Titan A.E.

Titan A.E. is an animated sci-fi film set in a future where an alien attack has destroyed Earth and a band of human survivors trying to locate a spaceship called Titan, humanity’s last chance for recovery. The film combines computer graphics and hand-drawn animation and the end result is visually stunning. It was directed by Don Bluth and Gary Goldman (they also directed The Secret of NIMH and Anastasia), and Joss Whedon contributed to the screenplay (so you know that it’s going to be good). It has a pretty impressive voice cast as well, featuring Matt Damon, Bill Pullman, John Leguizamo, Ron Pearlman, Drew Barrymore, Nathan Lane, Janeane Garofalo, Jim Breur, and Tone Loc.

The film begins in the year 3028 when an alien race known as the Drej attack and destroy Earth. Luckily Professor Sam Tucker has been preparing for this, and he’s built a spaceship known as Titan to ensure humanity’s survival. He’s forced to abandon his young son, Cale, on an evacuation ship, and the two go their separate ways. The film then jumps ahead fifteen years, and Cale is working in a salvage yard in space somewhere. Humans are scattered across the galaxy and are considered a lesser species because they have no home of their own anymore.

Cale eventually encounters Captain Joseph Korso, another human and former friend of Cale’s father. Korso reveals that the ring that Cale wears is a genetically encoded map that will lead them to the Titan. Together they could save mankind. Cale joins Korso’s crew, which consists of Akima, his sexy female human pilot and a couple of aliens of various species named Gune, Stith, and Preed. Then it becomes a race to find the Titan before the Drej can catch them and kill them. Of course there are lots of action scenes, a few twists and shocking revelations, and character developments that you saw coming a mile away. But it’s all enjoyable.

This movie bombed when it came out, and I’m not sure why. It was a mix of bad marketing and confusing publicity. It was advertised as a kid’s film, but it’s more of an action-filled sci-fi that happens to be animated. And the animation is gorgeous. It looks and feels unlike any other space fantasy flick that I’ve seen. And the action sequences are nothing short of thrilling. This movie is underappreciated and unrespected but it’s become a cult classic to some, myself included.

Critically Rated at 13/17

Written, Rated, and Reviewed by Brendan H. Young

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The Fan (film)

Robert De Niro and Wesley Snipes star in Tony Scott’s adaptation of the book by Peter Abrahams that you never read. You probably didn’t see the movie either. It’s not that good. It’s not that bad either. It’s just not that memorable.

            Robert De Niro plays a San Francisco Giants fan with an unhealthy man-crush on star player Bobby Rayburn. Gil is a shitty knife salesman with a failed family life. His wife has divorced him and he alienates his son with his obsession with the Giants. When Gil loses his job, he loses his mind and becomes dependent on Bobby Rayburn to distract him from reality.

Rayburn is a Barry Bonds caliber player but he gets injured and starts struggling on the field. Gil takes it upon himself to get Rayburn back to star status. And when Rayburn refuses to acknowledge the fans, Gil takes it personally and tries to kill Rayburn and kidnaps his son. It’s safe to say that he’s slightly unhinged.

            Benicio del Toro and John Leguizamo play supporting roles, and you see John Kruk lumbering in the background as one of the Giants players. As usual Robert De Niro does a good job as his flawed character descends further and further into insanity. But Bobby Rayburn is the more interesting character. He has more of a character arc because Gil was always kind of crazy. Rayburn has his own demons to battle, like his batting slump, competition from his teammates, having to hit homeruns for sick kids, and dealing with a psychotic fan.

            This movie is all right if you’re a baseball fan. It’s even better if you’re a Giants fan. But I wouldn’t recommend this movie. It just is what it is. If anyone tells you that this is their favorite movie, they are either lying or an idiot.

Critically Rated at 8/17

Written, Rated, and Reviewed by Brendan H. Young

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