Chef

Chef trailer

“Be an artist on your own time! It’s my restaurant!” Metaphors are cool, okay? Similes and parallels and references are awesome literary devices that can often work wonders when translated into different realms of art — like filmmaking, where traditionally written nods to other things and people and senses can be portrayed visually. Or, in the case of Jon Favreau‘s Chef, they can be shown quite overtly, because there’s little doubt that the filmmaker’s latest outing is its own giant reference to the Hollywood machine that he is still a part of. Favreau pulls triple duty on the film — he wrote it, directed it, and stars in it — and it’s clearly a passion project for him. But how much of it has he pulled from his own life? In the film, Chef Carl Casper (Favreau) is a talented cook who gives into the demands of his boring boss (played by Dustin Hoffman, which sounds awesome) and subsequently biffs things big time. An unfavorable review sinks Carl, and he attempts to rebuild his life and career — one ruined by critics and people who don’t want to let him do his own thing — by setting out to make his own food in a rehabbed little food truck. The food truck may as well be the indie movie of the chef scene, and Hoffman might as well be wearing a shirt that says “executive producer” on it. See what Favreau’s cooked up (and how many parallels you can find with Hollywood) with the very first […]

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Oliver Platt in X-Men First Class

It’s a scientific fact that if you add Oliver Platt to anything it gets 34% better. There are numerous examples of Platt elevating films even with his smallest of appearances. However, this week he took off his actor’s hat and served as a narrative feature juror member for SXSW. He also has a role as a food critic in Jon Favreau‘s Chef, which premiered at the festival, but Platt was in attendance to be a part of the festival, not to promote a film. And yet, he made the time to speak with us. Platt was my final interview of the festival, and it couldn’t have been a better note to end on. Interviews can be tough during SXSW. Sometimes you’re lucky to have more than 10 minutes with whomever you’re interviewing. In many cases, it’s never done in a helpful setting, either. Too often you’re in a small room or restaurant packed with people speaking at an excessively high volume. Or, in one instance, you’re on a stage under a spotlight in some darkly lit bar being watched by 15 strangers. Thankfully, that wasn’t the case with Platt. At the last minute, an interview slot opened up and we met him in his hotel lobby the following day for a lengthy conversation. It was an all around ideal situation, and we used it to explore the overriding theme of the festival.

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Jon Favreau and Aaron Franklin in Chef

During his introduction of his new movie Chef on opening night of the SXSW Film Festival, Jon Favreau talked at length about how nice it was to be able to make a movie that is personal, to be inspired to make something that didn’t have to appeal to every demographic, as is the requirement placed upon so many blockbusters. He talked about being so inspired in a way that he hadn’t seen since Swingers. This got some applause, for sure, from an audience anxious to see him bring that kind of film. Because when he said that it was nice to make a movie that would appeal to a smaller, more passionate audience, it was almost as if he had made it for that particular audience. It is a movie about good food and music with a cameo from Austin’s favorite city (Austin), after all. The only problem is that with the sweetness with which Favreau has imbued his latest movie comes a bit of bitterness toward online critics, an aged view of social media and the Internet and a movie that comes away from the wreck of its conflict too clean for its own good. All things that, if they weren’t so drunk on BBQ, wouldn’t get by such an audience.

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favreaudinner

Jon Favreau seems to be the type of guy who’s pretty into food. No, that wasn’t a fat joke—he who lives in glass houses and whatnot—it’s just an observation coming after he hosted a talk show called Dinner For Five that was based on a crew of interesting people gathering around a table full of food, and now he’s reportedly taking a break from making wildly profitable (when not involving cowboys *and* aliens) blockbuster tentpole pictures in order to put together a little independent project that will see him doing a lot of cooking. The project, according to a scoop that came out of Variety, will see Favreau writing, directing, and starring in a film called Chef, which is said to be a comedy about an emotional chef who runs a Los Angeles-based restaurant.

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Bradley Cooper

Once The Hangover hit it big at the box office, Bradley Cooper and the rest of that film’s gang of miscreants suddenly found themselves in the position of transitioning from being utility players in the showbiz landscape to being viewed as commodities that could anchor films of their own. But ever since Cooper showed people that he could do a whole lot more than just play the cocky, funny guy with his Oscar nominated performance in Silver Linings Playbook, it’s looked like the sky is the limit concerning how far he can go as an actor. Today, with the news that Cooper has two big, new projects in the works, we see that sense of possibility begin to bear fruit. First up, Deadline is reporting that Warner Bros. has acquired the rights to the James Renner novel “The Man From Primrose Lane,” a book they intend on developing into a starring vehicle for our new favorite actor. Black List-approved screenwriter Chad Feehan (Beyond the Pale) will be doing the adapting of the story, which the book’s Amazon page describes by saying: “In West Akron, Ohio, there lived a reclusive elderly man who always wore mittens, even in July. He had no friends and no family; all over town, he was known as the Man from Primrose Lane. And on a summer day, someone murdered him. Fast-forward four years. David Neff, the bestselling author of a true-crime book about an Ohio serial killer, is a broken man after his wife’s inexplicable […]

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published: 04.19.2014
A-
published: 04.19.2014
B+
published: 04.18.2014
C-
published: 04.18.2014
C

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