Tag Archives: Movie review

French Fridays – My Friends, My Love

This French Friday is a review of the French rom-com: My Friends, My Love.

My Friends, My Love Poster

After being fired from his job at a bookstore, Mathias finds an opportunity to move to London to run his own bookstore. The perks? His ex-wife and daughter live in London, as does his best friend Antoine. Hoping to win her back, Mathias relocates, only find his ex-wife leaving for Paris that same day. Now Vincent and his daughter move in Antoine and his son in a modern-day odd couple relationship. Trying to manage the day-to-day rules along with new love interests proves to be challenging for the friends.

Although this story is fairly formulaic, I still found it fun in a way that only a rom-com can be. The plot was overly simplistic and at times unrealistic. The main character’s best defining characteristics is his fear of heights. I actually found Antoine’s character more layered, but neither actor really sold their character. There were a few dull scenes, plus a death that made absolutely no sense whatsoever, in timing or with its addition to the story. The film is an adaptation of the novel of the same name. So maybe the book has an explanation for that scene.

What I really appreciated about the movie was that it centered on the friendship of two single fathers, trying to do the best for their children while still trying to navigate (or completely ignore) their love lives. It was a refreshing take on gender roles. The movie is set in London, in a little district known as “Frog Alley”, being heavily populated by the French. I loved the landscape, the cute little streets and amazing architecture. I think I watched the movie more for the setting than for the story.

Overall, I’d give it 3 out of 5 stars. Its not good, but its not bad either.

Weekend Cooking: The Kitchn’s Kitchen Cure

The Kitchn Cure 2015

One of my favorite recipe websites, The Kitchn hosts an annual Kitchen Cure event to declutter, tidy, clean and organize the kitchen. Its a 20 day program. Once you sign up with your email, you’re given a daily alert as the day’s task. This is actually going to be my first year partaking in this event. Its one I’ve seen, but always forget about, or see after the fact and don’t actually finish.

Now that I’ve been working full, the attention I give to the kitchen has dwindled to scouring the pantry and the fridge for midnight snacks. Although my tummy is happy, I am not. Stuff has just been piling up (those damned Tupperware containers) and its really time to downsize the junk. I’ve been wanting to re-organize it all summer, but I keep putting it off. I’m hoping that this 20 day challenge will actually get me to make some valid and much needed changes to the kitchen.

Does anyone else want to join with me?

A More Mindful Kitchen

This year’s Cure is led by Dana Velden, the author of our Weekend Meditations column, and of the new book, Finding Yourself in the Kitchen: Kitchen Meditations and Inspired Recipes from a Mindful Cook. Dana will offer you a daily assignment to get your kitchen a little cleaner and your mind a little clearer when it comes to cooking and loving your home just a little bit more. You’ll end with a cleaner kitchen and a refreshed love of your space

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Weekend Cooking hosted by www.BethFishReads.comWeekend Cooking is open to anyone who has any kind of food-related post to share: Book reviews (novel, nonfiction), cookbook reviews, movie reviews, recipes, random thoughts, gadgets, quotations, photographs, restaurant reviews, travel information, or fun food facts. If your post is even vaguely foodie, feel free to grab the button and link up anytime over the weekend. You do not have to post on the weekend. Please link to your specific post, not your blog’s home page.

Weekend Cooking: Haute Cuisine

Haute Cuisine (2012) Poster

The simple story behind Haute Cuisine is that this is the story of chef Danièle Delpeuch, who was brought in as a personal chef for President François Mitterrand. The more complex story is one of a single woman plucked from her country farm and brought into the bustling world of the Palais at N 55 Saint Honore to cook in the private kitchen strictly for this president and his guests. In this fictionalized version, Hortense Laborie portrays Delpeuch. The movie is told through flashbacks juxtaposing Hortense’s time between Paris and Antarctica. Hortense is cooking her last meal as the cafeteria chef for an Antarctic expedition. Her year-long commitment is over and she is planning on returning home to her truffle farm in France. The movie goes back and forth, starkly displaying the differences in how she is treated, respected and considered by the two worlds she inhabited. During her two-years at the Palais, she dealt with staunch sexism and opposition from the male staff of the main kitchen. They dubbed her “Du Barry” in reference to King Louis the XV mistress. What really brought the movie together was its devotion to simple yet intricate meals. What the President and Hortense consider to be simple meals reminiscent of what grandmother cooked seems so overly ornate and complex to my peasant taste buds.

For the most part, the movie is about food. Despite the tension between the two kitchens, there isn’t really much of a developed plot. Its about Hortense’s struggles to cook what she and the president want against the rules set against her by the president’s staff. The movie is… I don’t know what. I wouldn’t classify it as a drama, but its serious in tone. I do love the friendship between Hortense and her pastry chef assistant Nicolas. The quips they share back and forth in the kitchen are endearing. I should note that the movie is in French with English subtitles.

The meals concocted and devised in this movie had me staring at my kitchen in resentment and jealousy. I’ve been working as a full-time librarian for the past 2 months and as a result, I haven’t been cooking or baking anything besides peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for lunches for the family. I didn’t realize how much I missed it until I began watching this movie. The care and thought that goes into planning each meal in the movie is so mesmerizing. I want those skills. I want that knowledge of food and how to incorporate it all together into one amazingly “simple” meal.

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Weekend Cooking hosted by www.BethFishReads.comWeekend Cooking is open to anyone who has any kind of food-related post to share: Book reviews (novel, nonfiction), cookbook reviews, movie reviews, recipes, random thoughts, gadgets, quotations, photographs, restaurant reviews, travel information, or fun food facts. If your post is even vaguely foodie, feel free to grab the button and link up anytime over the weekend. You do not have to post on the weekend. Please link to your specific post, not your blog’s home page.

Uncertainty – Movie Review

UncertaintyUncertainty
Written & Directed by Scott McGehee, David Siegel
Starring: Lynn Collins & Joseph Gordon-Levitt
Genre: Drama / Romance
Find this DVD at your local library

Synopsis

A young couple living in New York face a life-changing decision in their relationship. Standing on the Brooklyn Bridge, they flip a coin to see where the day and their decisions take them. One path leads them to Brooklyn and the discoveries about family, loss, and each other, while in Manhattan they delve into an urban nightmare of pursuit, suspense, and murder.

Review

This film is almost 2 movies in one. There are two different storylines for the couple, Kate & Bobby. One path has them on a rather mundane trip to see Kate’s family, all the while figuring what their status is as a couple and what their future is as a family. The second path is an action/adventure wherein Bobby comes into possession of a valuable cellphone that belongs to a very dangerous man. The two are chased around New York City by hired gunmen.

The scenes alternate between these two stories, and the transitions are seamless. Through careful cues (clothing colors & styles, locations, etc) we are able to make the switch from one story to the other. One fun trivia is that no dialogue was written for this script. That was improvised by the actors during rehearsals. That being said, I preferred the slow-paced story (the Green story) to the action paced one (the Yellow story). Much of the activity in the Yellow story seemed forced and unrealistic. The story had many loopholes, especially regarding the mysterious owner of the cellphone and the data contained on the phone. If it was its own story, I thought it could have been expanded and would have been a lot of fun to follow. As a short, it didn’t really hold up well.

The Green story is definitely realistic and is meant to be the total opposite of the Yellow story. Kate has issues with her family, doesn’t want to be like her mom, and has a big decision to make in her life regarding her and Bobby’s future. Along the way, they pick up a stray dog that somehow brings them closer together. There is a lot unsaid in this story, and I like that. It left me wanting to know more, but it was also perfect for the time-frame.

The main message of both films is that life is filled uncertainties. We never know which decision is really the right one. Something as simple as trying to return a phone can go terribly wrong, and something as simple as picking up a stray dog can be the best decision of the day. Lynn Collins and Joseph Gordon-Levitt have good chemistry together, too. The characters are layered and intricate. A lot could be said about them based on the little snippets into this one day of their lives are we witness too.

Up in the Air – Movie Review

Up in the Air is the newest movie by director Jason Reitman (Juno and Thank You for Smoking). For some reason unbeknownst to me, there is only 1 movie theater in the  entire Bay Area that is playing this movie, and it just happens to be in San Francisco. I think that is a shame, because this is one of the best movies I have seen all year, and I really wish more people would be able to go see it. The screenplay is based on the novel of the same name by Walter Kirn. The book was written in 2001, but the plot and execution of the film is timely given today’s recession and epidemic levels of lay-offs.

The plot: George Clooney plays a man who travels almost 90% of the year, firing people. When managers are too coward to lay-off their own staff, they call a separate corporation to send someone to do the job. Clooney’s character, Ryan Bingham lives in an isolated world, surrounded by strangers. Airports are his home, he has no solid relationships with anyone in his life, until he meets Alex. A female frequent flier that seems to be his exact female match. To cut the story short, Clooney takes on a travel partner, a 23 year old Columbia graduate who wants to revolutionize the firing industry through technology and the internet (firing people via computer screen rather than in person).

I heard the interview with Jason Reitman on NPR and I instantly wanted to see this movie. I liked Thank You for Smoking, but I really did not like Juno. Ellen Page really killed the movie for her. I thought her delivery was forced, her character was too witty to be realistic, and I’m really just sick of Michael Cera always playing the desolate loser. But, that’s a tangent.

Up in the Air is a really emotional movie, where you see people at their most vulnerable. The people getting fired and the people doing the firing. You learn a lot about the value of friendship, of love, of compassion. You see how technology, although bringing people together all around the world, is also putting up a wall against human contact. One thing I found interesting about the movie, was that except for the obviously famous actors, all the people being laid off in the movie, are real people who have been laid off by the recession. Jason Reitman put out an ad, touting this movie as a documentary about job loss and the recession. I think going this route, really gave the movie a more human feel to it, than if actors had played those roles. It gave a face, numerous faces actually, to just how severe this recession is.

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