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meeza

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Chef (2014)
2 out of 14 people found the following review useful:
Chef sizzles!!!, 24 May 2014
10/10

There is something cinematically catching fire that many people are not aware of, and no it has nothing to do with a district-wide apocalyptic survival competition. The hunger game I am referring to is the immensely entertaining independent movie "Chef", which was mustered up by the great Jon Favreau. The former swinger returns to his independent roots by writing, directing, and starring in the tasty film dish that is "Chef". Favreau stars as Carl Casper, a passionate chef who runs a kitchen in a Los Angeles restaurant whose patrons include Hollywood socialites and celebrities. Carl is divorced to the beautiful Inez played modernly, I mean moderately, by Sofia Vergara. Carl has a 10-year old son named Percy (Emjay Anthony), who idolizes his father but unfortunately Carl sometimes disappears as Casper the semi-friendly Ghost Dad and does not provide the full attention and companionship that Percy deserves. Things get overheated for Carl in the kitchen when he is pressured by the restaurant's owner Riva to cook up his tasty, regular dishes against Carl's wishes of expanding his menu offerings. When Carl goes Carl Cray-Cray in response to a negative food review by a famous L.A. food critic, Carl ends up losing his job. In trying to start anew, Carl decides to get into the food-truck industry in the 305 or 786 (for that matter), and the meal wheels start rolling up the right path for him. Favreau cerebrally spices up "Chef" with a diversified offering; including the use of social media (most notably Twitter) in today's business world, the fruits of fatherhood, and the resiliency to strive for success. Favs also includes the right mix of verbal ingredients with his engaging screenplay of the movie. "Chef" also utensilizes I mean utilizes famous actors in supporting roles; this menu includes Robert Downey Jr. as Inez's ex-ex husband Marvin who actually helps Carl start up the food truck business, Scarlett Johannson as Molly the restaurant hostess who shares the pot with Carl, John Leguizamo in a pivotal role as Carl's right-hand cheffie Martin, Bobby Cannavale as Tony who diffuses the motion that there are too many cooks in the kitchen, and Oliver Platt as the stringent food critic Ramsey Michel. Oh, and this little-known actor named Dustin Hoffman also turns out for this one with his not-so-riveting role as Riva; Sorry Dustin, I am punning here!!!! My favorite thespian delivery of the film was of Favreau as the title character; all of the other performances were not a bit underdone or overcooked (except Hoffman's), but were not of the culinary thespian spectacular arts variety. "Chef" gets a five-star review from this pseudo film & food critic, and I do highly recommend that you reserve some time to digest this wonderful movie. ***** Excellent

It's Super.............. (fill in the rest)!!!!, 18 May 2014
9/10

"Saving Mr. Banks" is a "supercalifragilisticexpialidocious" flick about how the Disney classic "Mary Poppins" popped into its development. The movie stars Emma Thompson as P.L. Travers, the author of the "Mary Poppins" novel who refused for years for her eye-popping book to be adapted into a Disney movie no matter how eagerly Sir Walt Disney tried to persuade her. Due to financial problems, Travers reluctantly takes the road well-traveled and decides to travel to Hollywood and meet with Walt and the Disney movie clan. However, she does have lots of reservations about how Disney wants to tinker with her "Mary Poppins". Sorry that I am feeding you a spoonful of puns, by the way. "Saving Mr. Banks" delves in also to Travers' childhood, most notably her relationship with her loving, but alcoholic father. But the magic of this movie is witnessing the interactions between Walt Disney and P.L. Travers. Director John Lee Hancock, who previously helmed "The Blind Side", opens our eyes on dreams, imagination, wonder, adversity, insistence, and of course magic; which are all elements Hancock had a hand in to make "Saving Mr. Banks" worth the ride. Kelly Marcel and Sue Smith's screenplay was divine. Thompson's performance was excellent as Travers, and it was a bit of a travesty that she did not get nominated for a Best Actress Oscar. Tom Hanks not only helped save Private Ryan, but also had a hand in "Saving Mr. Banks" with his superb charismatic performance as Walt Disney himself. Other worthy supporting turns came from Colin Farrell as Travers' father, Paul Giamatti as Disney limo driver Ralph, and B.J. Novak & Jason Schwartzman as film composers Robert & Richard Sherman. "Saving Mr. Banks" is a lovely movie that everyone should experience, and you can take that to the bank. ***** Excellent

Do not half this Assault! It was actually pretty good!, 18 April 2014
8/10

Yes, I did make a huge time investment and decided to take a risk with the "straight-to-DVD/Streaming" flick "Assault on Wall Street"; but you know, it wasn't bad. Writer-Director Owe Boll's ballistic movie is about an everyday man who goes on a vengeful rampage against the banks, CEO's, and stock brokers who cheated him, took his earnings, and left him for broke. The man is Jim Baxford played by Dominic Purcell. All goes haywire when Jim loses all his money due to the greed & corruption of the aforementioned. Jim's wife Rosie is sick and cannot work. When things don't get rosie for Jim and ends up rock bottom, he decides to get on "Falling Down" mode and stock up on his rifle machinery to seek revenge. His main target being Bank CEO Jeremy Stancroft (played by John Heard), who better had not stayed Home or Work Alone; a little Heard pun reference there since Heard was in the "Home Alone" flicks. Anyways, Boll does energize the film with some pretty good scenes, but at the same time, you could see a few times why it was in the "straight to DVD" caliber. His bold Boll screenplay was also not verbally challenging, but it did have its good verbal fires. Purcell was a bit too monotone for me in his starring role as Jim, but at the same time he Purcelled, I mean persuaded me enough to believe in his character. I cannot terminate this movie review without noting that Edward Furlong shows up in this flick as John Conner who helps Jim terminate the bankers. OK, Furlong did not play John Conner, but he was in the movie as Jim's co-worker Sean. So go ahead and charge me with way too many pun assaults in my review of "Assault on Wall Street", but I won't hold it against you. To cap things off, "Assault on Wall Street' is no "Wolf of Wall Street", but it will not hurt you to give this assault a shot. ****Good

Last Vegas (2013)
What happens in "Last Vegas"......., 18 April 2014
8/10

"Last Vegas" is no grand scale of a motion picture, but at the same time you will not be a sinner if you roll with this movie set in the city of sin. The movie stars legendary Oscar winning-actors Michael Douglas, Robert De Niro, Morgan Freeman, and Kevin Kline. They play four lifelong friends who have reunited in Las Vegas for the wedding of Billy (played by Douglas) who is taking the plunge with a woman half his age. So basically it was not much of a stretch for Douglas playing this character; Sorry Mr. D, just had to lay out all the cards on that one. The wedding weekend itinerary also includes a bachelor party; come to think of it, I think I liked this movie better when it was called "The Geriatric Hangover". Kidding! De Niro plays Paddy, the loner widower who unwillingly goes on the Vegas trip, but goes ahead and does it with a little help from his friends; even though he has recently held a grudge against Billy. Freeman portrays Archie, who had suffered a stroke so his son goes all out to make sure that he does not have another stroke by looking out for him like a hound. However, this Archie opts to get some "sugar sugar" in Vegas and lies to his son about his Vegas voyage. Kline plays Sam, the bored Florida retiree who surprisingly gets a hall pass from his wife to sexually sin it up in Sin City; so it might be his time to for Sam to sing "Viva Viagra" in Vegas. Director Jon Turtletaub let the legendary actors have fun with their roles and it seemed that he was more in turtle mode in orchestrating the picture; which is not a bad thing in this type of landscape. Dan Fogelman's screenplay had its wins & loses but for the most part it was a verbal success. None of the performances were standout from these Oscar winners, but it was great to see them have fun with their roles. Mary Steenburgen, a past Oscar winner herself, also seemed like she was having a ball with her role as lounge singer Diana. "Last Vegas" is not a movie to taken seriously, but if you have fun with it, I am sure you will like it; kinda like the city of Las Vegas itself. The concept of four lifelong friends still having a strong bond through thick and thin was what lured me in to a fun slot to visit this movie. So go ahead and have a good old time with "Last Vegas". **** Good

0 out of 4 people found the following review useful:
No boos in this Wes Budapest creation!, 6 April 2014
8/10

"The Grand Budapest Hotel" is more of the unique craftsmanship of Writer-Director Wes Anderson, which many Wild Wes Wes Lovers will adore. The movie stars Ralph Fiennes in an excellent performance as Hotel Concierge M. Gustave of the titular hotel. Gustave is a suave concierge with his ways of romancing geriatric women heiress who stay in his hotel. One of them would be Madame D, who dies and leaves Gustave a priceless painting in her will and testimony. Madame D's ferocious sons have another plan in mind to relinquish Gustave of the painting. Gustave confides in a young lobby boy named Zero, who saves Gustave out of many near brushes with death & disaster; maybe Anderson should have shown Gustave singing The FIxx 80's tune "Saved by Zero" in one of the film's scenes. As in any Wes cinematic offering, there is much quirkiness involved in the film's scenes and characters. But as much as I enjoyed the film's creative ways, I do not think "The Grand Budapest Hotel" resides in the presidential suite of the greatest independent movie comedies of all-time even though it did have some elements of a first-class stay; which included Fiennes' grand work as Gustave, and other grand thespian works coming from F. Murray Abraham as the older Zero, Jeff Goldblum as Deputy Kovacs, and even the young Zero himself played by newcomer Tony Revolori who is quite a revelation in this picture. Anderson should be credited with another worthy idiosyncratic screenplay and direction of an independent movie. In all, I do think you should check-in and check out "The Grand Budapest Hotel". And for those of you who did not like this review, just please "get your hands off my copy boy", it was not his fault. **** Good

Now is when you should see this!, 5 April 2014
9/10

Put on your specs (if you need them) and take a closer look at a luminous teen romance movie which is very reminiscent of the classic teen flicks of the 80's such as "Say Anything", "Pretty in Pink", and "Some Kind of Wonderful". The present-day some kind of wonderful movie I am referring to is "The Spectacular Now". The movie stars Miles Teller as Sutter, a hard-partying high school senior who has some internal emotional battles going on. Sutter is a pleasant guy but his hard- partying ways might be a recipe for disaster. He has just been dumped by his ex Cassidy which puts him even more in the partying mode by dealing with the heartbreak. But things quickly change for Sutter, as fast as a Bruce Sutter fastball from the 70's (OK, only baseball fans got that one), in the like of Aimee played by Shailene Woodley; she is a nice, pretty, but not-too-popular classmate of Sutter. They first meet when Aimee finds Sutter passed out on her front lawn. That is when she gets a rifle points it at him and says "get off my lawn"; Kidding, Kidding! I am writing this as am riding in a Gran Torino. OK, enough. What that lawn incident really commences is a friendship then romance between Sutter & Aimee. Director James Ponsoldt spectacularly orchestrates "The Spectacular Now" not with a caricature stereotypical aspect of teenage characters, but with a refreshing authentic look at modern teenage life and the challenges & situations brought upon them in family life, high school environments, and romantic relationships. Sutter lives with his single mom who is estranged from Sutter's father. Sutter is upset with his mom why he cannot get in contact with his father; and that sets up a major "BabySutter" moment in the movie; OK, maybe not that baby, but its an integral part of the narrative. Writers Scott Neustadter and Michael Weber's screenplay of the movie was touching, comical, and endearing. Tell him and tell her about it when I say that Miles Teller reminds me of a young Tom Hanks! Did I Sutter, I mean Studder!! His work as Sutter was nothing short of phenomenal. Woodley also brought the acting hardwood here with her astounding work as Aimee. Other admirable acting performances were derived from Brie Larson as Cassidy, Mary Elizabeth Winstead as Sutter's sis Holly, Jennifer Jason-Leigh as momma Sara, and Kyle Chandler in a small but poignant role as Sutter's self-absorbed poppa Tommy. "The Spectacular Now" might not be the most spectacular film of 2013, but it is one of the most spectacular movies I have seen about teenage life in a long, long time. So live in the now, and go see it right now! ***** Excellent

Coenheads disappoint here a bit, but Mr. Isaac is where is at!, 30 March 2014
7/10

As I went "Inside Llewyn Davis" (please please please, don't take that the wrong way) I discovered I was watching a mediocre film that was a bit overrated by the film critic industry. But Inside Joel "Meeza" Mesa there is a disturbed pun cerebral cortex that causes Mr. Mesa to actually think he is part of the film critic industry; so there you have it. Anyways, this Coen Brothers feature stars Oscar Isaac as Lllewyn Davis; a struggling 60's folk singer who leaches of acquaintances, strangers, and other musicians for places to stay as he tries to make a folking name for himself in the music industry. Llewyn is not a nice guy; he is bitter, abrasive, and narcissistic; but boy does he love pussy. Get your mind out of the gutter, cause the pussy I am referring to is a cat of a couple friend of Llewyn who accidentally gets stuck with him, and he does go beyond the call of duty to safeguard the cat. Joel & Ethan Coen are filmmaking legends, so it's hard to nitpick them; not good to nitpick a Joel anyways. But I don't think their direction and scribe of the picture captivated me, but at the same time it was not a folking bore either. Many say that Oscar Isaac got snubbed of an Oscar nom for his starring role here. I do agree that Isaac was phenomenal, but with such a heavy competitive field in the Best Actor race this last season, I think Oscar was properly snubbed; but Oscar's Oscar time will come, try saying that six times in a row at a fast pace. Carey Mulligan and Justin Timberlake give fair performances as the folk duo singing couple Jane and Jim, or is it Jim and Jane. Llewyn impregnates Jane by folking around too much with her; I guess he was having too much fun with "Dick and Jane". "Inside Llewyn Davis" was not the movie I thought it would be, but as an outsider looking inside to the film critic industry, I still suggest you take a look for yourself. And if you did not like my review, Folk You!! Kidding! Kidding! *** Average

I give it an 10 out of 10!, 24 March 2014
10/10

The British rom-com "I Give it a Year" is not the movie of the year, but it had mucho charming wit and earnest comedy for you to give it a chance. "I Give it a Year" does resemble the monarchic film of British rom-coms- "Four Weddings and a Funeral"; but I would not propose it to be in the same category. "Four Weddings" is in a class in itself. "I Give it a Year" stars Rose Byrne and Rafe Spall as British newlyweds Nat and Josh. The movie chronicles the ups and downs of Josh and Nat's first year of marriage. As in "Four Weddings", the film also includes an eccentric group of friends of the leading protagonists; with one friend being Chloe (Anna Faris) who just happens to be Josh's ex-girlfriend, and another being Danny (Stephen Merchant), the zany "play by no rules" clown of the clan. Nat and Josh are challenged by several circumstances during their first year of matrimony which includes this guy named Guy (Simon Baker), who is a Solvents business tycoon and is working an advertising deal with the ad agency where Nat is employed at; but what this Guy really wants to do is close the romance deal with Nat. Writer- Director Dan Mazer did an amazering I mean amazing job in helming & scribing this picture; especially how he was able to get around the formulaic rom-com maze and give the movie an authentic cool wit to it. My only problem though with Mazer's effort is how he depicted the Guy character falling hard for Nat without knowing anything about her. I adored the performances of the movie. Spall and Byrne were a jpy to watch in their leading roles; give this Spall chat a year, and he just might be a wholesome name in the industry. Faris was fairly good, and Baker was a bit too alike like a similar role he had in "The Devil Wears Prada", but he fit the bill. The Comedy Merchant Acting Marine (is there such a thing?) should sign up the British comedic talents of Stephen Merchant, who was just a riot in his small role. Hey, how can I forget? Even the Minnie Driver rode smoothly into "I Give it a Year" with her role as another friend of the clan, who is quite hilarious with her insult bits of her husband. I do give my blessing that "I Give it a Year" is worth walking down the cinematic aisle with, so please don't separate from watching it. ***** Excellent

0 out of 1 people found the following review useful:
Counseling madness or badness!!, 22 March 2014
5/10

"The Counselor" was misguided in so many different ways that it needed some major counseling in effective filmmaking, very pronto!!! Director Ridley Scott, who by great scott is a legendary film auteur, should have canceled his "counseling" plans in helming this picture; this just might be the worst directorial effort in Scott's career. Ridley, believe it or not, but it's true. This atrocious movie stars Michael Fassbender as a (yea, you guessed it) a counselor lawyer who gets involved with some shady dealings involving luxurious diamonds, a Mexican cartel, and a nasty-looking murdering instrument. It's so ridiculous how everyone called our leading protagonist Counselor and not by his real name; It did not add any mystery to the character just some bad old formulaic tactic. The movie co-stars Javier Bardem as Reiner, a conniving businessman whose electric-follicle look reminds me of Young Einstein's cerebrally-challenged uncle. Cameron Diaz also gets into the counseling scene with her role as Malkina; Reiner's lady-friend who might or might not have some bad teaching up her sleeve to the counselor and many others. Penelope Cruz, Bardem's real life wife, also pops in here as the Counselor's girlfriend Laura. Brad Pitt, yes that Brad Pitt, is in the supporting plan also playing Westray, a west-end urban cowboy who ends up in one of the most outlandish gruesome gore scenes I have seen in a movie, and I mean that in a "pitiful" way; sorry Brad. Yes, these are all well-acclaimed actors who have shown their thespian worth, but not here. However, to give them the benefit of the doubt, they were all entrapped with a profoundly silly screenplay by Cormac McCarthy. Yes, that same McCarthy that wrote the great book "No Country for Old Men". Unfortunately, McCarthy's scribe of "The Counselor" was not meant to entertain any old or young men; and of course women. It has to be the worst screenplay of the year! Yes, I said it! Are you gonna excuse me now of McCarthyism!!! I am still trying to figure out what "The Counselor" was all about, not because it was a cerebral challenge but because it was cinematic bore. So my good counseling "movie tip of the day" is to not seek counseling from Ridley Scott's "The Counselor". ** Needs Improvement

Carrie (2013)
0 out of 2 people found the following review useful:
Don't carrie on with this one! Another remake hell!!, 18 March 2014
5/10

Why o why do Hollywood filmmakers get "carrie" away and decide to remake classic horror 70's movies to a new generation that can care less about the 70's movies? And this monstrosity of a mistake has once again been executed in the remake of Brian DePalma's classic telekinetic revenge horror flick "Carrie". Director Kimberly Pierce, most famous for directing the gripping "Boys Don't Cry", sure made me cry in how she remade "Carrie" into a ridiculous imitation about a bulled teen named Carrie who just wants to be liked; but circumstances lead Carrie to end up in a bloody prom affair that causes her to go all telekinetic cra-cra against her tormentors and the entire school population for that matter. Oh and of course, Carrie does not have it too good at home either living with a maniac overreligious psychotic mommy. Well, I don't know why I got "carrie" away there with the plot of "Carrie" which is known to most of you. Chloe Grace Moretz does a decent job playing the title character, but it was not Sissy enough for me;, if you get my Spacek homage there for Sissy's brilliant leading work in the original. The great Julianne Moore goes acting overboard in her clownish work as Carrie's mother Margaret White. The film's screenplay was very dull and cliché-ish and did not cut like a knife and did not feel so right, sorry Bryan Adams. Her name is still "Carrie", but her cinematic power has faded. So run away far from this remake as fast as you telekinetic can! ** Needs Improvement


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