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Cinematic treats in the story about gastronomic ones
Davor-Blazevic-195910 January 2010
Twenty years after writing her best screenplay so far, When Harry Met Sally... (movie directed by Rob Reiner), Nora Ephron has finally matched it, at least with one story in her latest attempt titled Julie & Julia. In the meantime, combining it with her writing talents, she has directed a string of movies, including her commonly most acclaimed film Sleepless in Seattle, as well as seriously under-appreciated, though oddly amusing lineup of eccentric characters, brought together in the movie Mixed Nuts, remade from its French original.

Julie & Julia has immediately placed itself on top of my personal list of her self-penned directorial accomplishments. Based on two true stories, movie combines six decades separated lives of Julia Child (Meryl Streep), wife of an American diplomat (Stanley Tucci) in post-WW2 Paris, discovering her passion for French cuisine, then introducing it to American amateurs, and modern era Julie Powell (Amy Adams), professionally reduced to a hot line counselling 'cubicle girl', desperately entertaining her unfulfilled literary ambitions via blogging about her attempt to try and finish all 524 recipes from Julia Child's cookbook in 365 days.

Ms. Streep's acting is great as always, this time even aided by the physical grandeur of her greater-than-life on-screen persona, undoubtedly achieved by means of never visible pair of platform shoes, providing that she's impersonating genuinely tall person, as real Julia Child apparently was. Adding to it Mr. Tucci's notable performance in his role of a diplomat and supportive husband, as well as Ms. Adams's, well, not so remarkable, but still passable performance in her role of Julie, backed by yet another understanding and supportive husband (Chris Messina), combined they present us with the movie abundant not only with gastronomic treats, but cinematic ones, as well. (8-star rating as a rounded up average between 9-star Julia's and 6-star Julie's story.)
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Meryl Streep
nycmec10 August 2009
Ms. Streep's performance alone makes this film worthwhile--in recent years she has really shown her great talent as a comedian (Adaptation, Devil Wears Prada, this film). She has great comic timing, and always goes just far enough for the laugh, and usually not too far that it feels staged or unnatural.

From the reviews I read, I was really expecting not to like the "Julie" half of this movie--but I was pleasantly surprised. I read both "Julie and Julia" and "My Life in France" earlier this summer, and I have to confess that I didn't love the Julie Powell book. Amy Adams really brings this character to life and makes you care about her (more so, I think than the book did). One problem with the balance in this project is that Julia Child did something really important for cooking in America, and so her story is inherently interesting. Julie Powell wrote a book. That became a movie. Add to that the fact that the heavy hitters in the film all live on the Julia side--Streep, Stanley Tucci, and a great cameo by Jane Lynch--and the deck feels fully stacked. Full credit to Amy Adams and Chris Messina, then, for making us care about the half of the film that teetered on the edge of the perfunctory.

This film is all the more remarkable in that it is so rare to see a film these days that just revels in joie-de-vivre. I'm sure a lot of the rough edges of Julia's personality are smoothed over--but some of the stressful moments are there. I just felt so much affection for Streep's Julia Child in this movie--and I laughed repeatedly and heartily at her antics. A fun time at the movies--which is a rarer pleasure than it should be.
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Delightful Instant Classic. I Laughed. I Cried. But "Julie" Part a Bit Weak.
Danusha_Goska11 August 2009
The good parts of "Julie and Julia" are so darn strong, beautiful, and new that J&J becomes an instant classic. Grateful audiences are going to be laughing and crying and being inspired by this movie for a long, long time. The Julie portion is the weaker of the two, but not so weak that it sinks the film.

Meryl Streep as Julia Child is one of the most endearing, arresting performances ever. That the real Julia Child and her groupies irritate me no end in no way interfered with my appreciation of Streep's amazing characterization. I laughed and cried several times, I was so engaged in the cinematic Streep/Child's story.

Streep's chemistry with Stanley Tucci as Paul Child, Julia's husband, is breathtaking. No attempt is made to make Streep or Tucci conventionally attractive. No attempt is made to make them look young and dewy – they weren't – Julia married Paul when she was in her thirties and he was ten years older. Julia is tall; Paul is short; Julia is loud; Paul is bald, quiet and retiring. It is implied that they can't have children. They don't share conventionally romantic movie moments; they don't "meet cute," there's no candlelight, no slow dances, no full frontal nudity, no vulgar language (with one hilarious exception involving cannelloni).

All Paul and Julia do is share the drudgery and rewards of working life: hers as a cook, his as a state department official. The key to Streep and Tucci's chemistry is that they portray two characters who love each other. Watching a loving, married couple in a marriage that works is one of the great, and sadly rare, pleasures of this film. Steep and Tucci are every bit as charismatic a couple as Tracy and Hepburn. Jane Lynch is also brilliant in a small role as Julia's sister.

The Julia segments take place in post-war Paris, and the Paris of this film, one of elegant cafes, haute couture and vintage cars, is someplace we all wished we lived (except for the ever-present cigarette smoke.) No matter how you feel about cooking, the film gets you to care about Julia's slowly being drawn into her destiny as one of the legendary chefs of all time. You also care about, and respect, Paul, his career and its ups and downs in the McCarthy era, and his support of his wife.

The Julie Powell portion of the movie is the weaker portion. I really like the film's structure of switching back and forth between contemporary Queens and post-war Paris, contrasting a career woman's attempt to cook all of Julia Child's recipes with Julia Child herself, before she became famous. I just think that the film fails its own structure by simply not making the Julie Powell portion as interesting as the Julia Child portion. Some have complained that Queens is depicted as being too dismal, and Paris too elegant. It's more than that, though.

I think Ephron, a brilliant filmmaker, drops the ball with Julie Powell because she never engages the tough questions about Powell's experiment. Was Powell just someone eager for fame in the Warhol era of "Everyone is famous for fifteen minutes"? Was Powell parasitizing Child's fame? Was Powell a bad wife to her husband as she obsessed on completing her self assigned task? Have blogs killed quality writing? Was Julia Child correct in her condemnation of Powell? I am not saying that the answer to any of the above questions is "Yes." I'm not bashing Julie Powell. I'm saying that by not engaging them, Ephron made the Julie portion of the film simply not as interesting as it could have been had these very real questions been engaged. Instead, Ephron tries to turn Julie into a cute, bland Meg Ryan character, and it never works, not for an instant. When Powell has lunch with her career gal friends, her friends are such Gordon Gecko style sharks that we care less for Powell for being so needy as to want to impress them. The absolute worst scene in the movie comes when Powell, who has never been depicted as feeling happy or fulfilled, not with her job, not with her husband, not with her home life, plays 65 answering machine messages from agents, editors, and publishers who want to make her famous. As these messages play, she has sex with her husband, and her husband's comment lets us know that this is the first time in a long while that he has experienced satisfaction from his wife.

The message of that scene is so tawdry, it cheapens the glow created by the Julia portion of the film, that shows Julia Child achieving satisfaction *before she ever becomes famous*. Julia *loved* cooking. Julia *loved* her husband. Yes, she celebrates when Knopf wants to publish her book, but she is so divorced from the rat race that she doesn't even know how to pronounced "Knopf" – whether the initial K is silent.

Julie Powell is depicted as needing fame to feel good about herself, and the movie never interrogates that. Had it done so, the Julie segments would have been as interesting as the Julia ones.

In any case, this is a great film that will enjoy a much deserved embrace by its fans.
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Meryl's Julia: What A Dish
littlemartinarocena19 August 2009
Meryl Streep continues to amaze. There's never been an actress quite like her. Her body of work is a gallery of character without parallel. After 3 decades she is still brand new. She never became a parody of herself like many other great actresses before her and, chances are, she never will. Here she recreates a popular icon, fearlessly. Her joy is utterly contagious and her side of the film is a marvel. Amy Adams, good as she is, becomes an unwelcome distraction. We want to stay with Meryl's Julia all the way. I think that Norah Ephron (Mixed Nuts) must have known, she must have! Didn't she notice in the cutting room, that we were going to be turning away from the story every time we move away from Julia Child? In any case I'm glad we had the chance to see this new Meryl Streep creation. Kudos also to Stanley Tucci. Stanley and Meryl create one of the most original believable couples in decades. Thanks to modern technology we will be able to re-edit the film for private consumption and have a sensational short : Julia in Paris.
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Still too much Julie
Favog11 August 2009
Saw it at a Sunday matinée in the multiplex up the street. The place was packed and we got there just in time -- the theater sold out right after we got our tickets. Seems to be a popular movie, here in DC anyway.

Young married Julie Powell is a miserable cubicle-dweller whose husband encourages her to write a blog about preparing every recipe in volume one of Julia Child's "Mastering the Art of French Cooking" in the space of a year. Great premise, right? Clever story involving a young woman finding fulfillment through Julia Child, the French Chef, the first Public Television superstar? Well, I read the book and I gotta say I didn't care too much for Julie Powell, who came across as a basically unpleasant human being I'd never invite to dinner. But the premise really got to me. "Mastering the Art..." is the cookbook I have always turned to when I want to prepare a truly special dinner. I've had the box set of volumes one and two since the 70s, and gotta tell you they're well-used. Volume one is falling apart, in fact. (Anybody know a good book binder in DC?) So what WOULD it be like to devote a year's spare time to that wonderful instruction manual for home chefs? I wanted to have the experience without doing the work, so of course I read the book. But golly, I didn't want to read about Julie's ovaries and her girlfriends' weirdnesses and her lust for some actor and on and on with the girl talk. What a totally tiresome book it was.

Anyway, I plowed through Julie and Julia thinking I'd eventually be charmed, but I wasn't. Too bad. And now comes the movie, and I'm thinking Nora Ephron will surely correct the book's biggest flaw, which was too much time (~90%) devoted to Julie's blog-slog and only a few fascinating pages devoted to Julia Child.

And I was right. The movie gives the stories I'd say about equal time, which is still too much Julie/Amy Adams, and not enough Julia/Meryl Streep, but it's SO much a better mix than the book. The life of Julia Child could make a good movie on its own without all the gimmickry. But this is a perfectly entertaining movie in spite of it.

Speaking of Meryl Streep, she is a marvel to behold in this movie. Her impersonation is dead on, even better than Dan Ackroyd's, which is featured prominently and hilariously in the film.

"Julie and Julia" argues that Julia Child changed the way America eats, and the more I learn about her the less I feel inclined to argue about that. The movie brings her fascinating story to life and if I had to put up with a few scenes of Julie Powell melting down, well ... so what? It's a great movie if you have been in love with Julia Child as I have for many years, and a perfectly good one if you haven't.
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emshark14 July 2009
I was lucky enough to receive tickets for an advance screening, and was plenty excited about attending.

There was a slight hiccup when someone started the film 15 minutes before it was meant to start so they stopped it ten minutes in and then restarted it again at the actual time. This actually was not annoying at all because it gave me a chance to look at the background details. Mid-20th century Paris is beautifully rendered and early 20th century New York is given gritty charm with a primary setting of an apartment over a pizza parlor.

Now I know it was an advance screening and everyone was excited to be there, thus much more prone to laugh, but honestly, this film had brilliant moments of humor in it. Myself, friends, and the rest of audience had a number of laugh-out-loud moments. A lot of these stem from the mannerisms of Julia Child, which are as incredibly endearing as they are humorous.

Meryl Streep's acting is, of course, superb. Though my familiarity with Julia Child is a combination of what seems to be legend, a visit to her kitchen in the Smithsonian, and Dan Akroyd's SNL impersonation, Meryl plays Julia so charming and so convincing, you can't help but feel like Julie and fall a little in love with her. On screen, Meryl's Julia brought a constant smile to my face.

Amy Adams is also wonderful, and I really connected with her as Julie Powell. She also does great humor. I found her to be very subtle in her approach and even quite sympathetic when not going through her good moments. Chris Messina as Julie's husband, Eric, does a lot to keep these moments fresh. Finally, Stanley Tucci as Paul Child plays well off Meryl, and dare I as a 21-year-old say it about actors so much older than me? Meryl and Paul honestly have great chemistry.

What really steals the show and appears great on cinema is both Julia and Julie's cooking expenditures. Make sure to eat before attending, I can't stress that enough because the food looks amazing.

As for the negative, the film does drag a bit in the middle. The switching between Julie and Julia POV works great at the beginning and at the end, but I think in the middle, it just makes the plot drag.

Overall, definitely worth going to see and quite enjoyable just make sure to eat before attending!
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Wonderful! Charming! Don't go hungry!
fifibelle10 July 2009
Saw this movie at a private screening last night. What a lovely movie! Amy Adams is playing Julie -- a part that Meg Ryan used to play when she was young and adorable. Amy so is! Chris Messina as Eric, her husband, is a saint (you'll understand why I say that when you see the movie). Stanley Tucci is wonderful and you'll just love him. But nobody can top La Streep! Every time she appears on screen, the film just glows. She is amazing and you will smile every time you see Julia on screen. The only thing that might upstage Meryl is the food being cooked. I had eaten dinner before I went but was actually salivating several times during the movie. Julia Child made French food accessible and you will want to eat -- a lot afterward. Everyone was laughing a lot -- sometimes on top of lines being said, which made us miss the next few lines. This is NOT a chick flick -- I highly recommend this for people 14 and older (younger kids will probably be bored ---- silly younger kids!). I am just amazed at Meryl Streep! She's a true talent. Oh, I was happy to see Jane Lynch appear briefly. Love her! Go, go, go!
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"Julia hates me!" and for good reason.
Irie21210 December 2009
The moment that Julie flops on her bed, lamenting "Julia hates me!" is the only moment that made me credit writer/director Ephron with some small degree of insight and artistry, because in that moment Ephron acknowledges that Julie deserves no admiration for her kitchen marathon. Throughout the movie, it's obvious that the supremely accomplished Julia Child would never have respected Julie Powell for turning the former's masterpiece into the latter's superficial stunt.

Streep is superb as Julia Child, playing her as she gloriously was, larger than life and vull of vigor, making believable her passion for food and for cooking. Amy Adams is fine, too, but Julie is a thankless role. The most obvious problem: Only a fool would cook 524 recipes in 365 days, let alone 524 French haute cuisine dishes from a two- volume tome that, incidentally, isn't a simple cookbook. And by the way, Julie the fool would also have to be (1) wealthy enough to afford the rich and meaty ingredients and the well-equipped kitchen that the 524 recipes call for, and (2) willing to eat leftover boeuf Bourguignon or lamb stuffed with kidneys for breakfast or lunch.

But let's just accept that Julie is a determined fool (and a wealthier one than she pretended). What I could not accept in Ephron's formulaic film or in Powell's original project is the fact that Julie never actually learns how to cook, or even seems to want to learn-- yet she miraculously succeeds in nearly every recipe the first time! She cooks by rote, more like an assembly-line worker at an auto plant than a creative chef. Hardly admirable, or believable.

Julie needed to be a woman with the soul of a gourmand. She isn't. She's a blogger with the soul of a clerk.
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Bon appetite!
Rick_Swift14 August 2009
"Julie & Julia" is based on the book by the same name, which is based on the true story by Julie Powell about "The Julie & Julia Project". Julie (Amy Adams) is a government employee working in New York City in the year following 9/11. She, her husband Eric (Chris Messina) and their cat live in an apartment above a pizza parlor. All of her friends are successful in their careers. Julie is not. Of course, we all know who Julia Child is!! Meryl Streep was a fantastic Julia Child, who started out as a bored housewife in Paris looking to fill her time and ended up being a major influence on American cuisine.

One evening, while bemoaning the lack of meaning in her life, Julie picks up Julia Child's cookbook and decides to cook all 524 recipes in the book in a year, while blogging about her experience. At first, no one is interested, but as time goes by, Julie gets more and more followers of her blog.

I liked the parallel stories of Julia and Julie. They had similar experiences, yet there were drastic differences. Julia's husband Paul (Stanley Tucci) was extremely encouraging of Julia's cooking, while Julie's husband was kind of a jerk!! He was not very supportive of Julie's project. Seriously, if someone was going to be cooking me delicious food for a year, I would be 100% encouraging them along every step of the way!! Julia and Paul had a beautiful residence (with a maid!!), while Julie and Eric lived in a tiny apartment.

I enjoyed seeing the delicious meals both Julia and Julie prepared, especially boeuf bourguignon (YUM!!!). One of my favorite scenes in the movie was when Julia's sister Dorothy (Jane Lynch) comes to Paris to visit her. It was adorable to see two grown women squealing like little girls because they are so excited to see each other. There was quite a bit of passion in this film – passion (romantic and non-romantic) for each other and passion for food.

The movie dragged a bit, with a running time of just over 2 hours – I thought some scenes could have been trimmed down a bit.

Overall an enjoyable dish – go see this movie with your mom, your sister, or your best friend. Whatever you do, DON'T go hungry because you will regret it!! Madison Monroe - iratefilms
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"Bon Apetit!"
jordathan10 July 2009
i never really liked Meryl Streep that much until "Doubt" last year. and i've always been in love with Amy Adams. so when i found out the two were in yet another film together, i jumped at the chance to go to a prescreening.

i expected the film to be good, but it was even better than expected. humor was one of the driving forces of the film, but that didn't take away from some more serious moments- rather, it accentuated them and made them all the more poignant and even heartbreaking.

Ms. Streep is nothing short of perfect as cooking personality Julia Child. in fact, it may be the best performance yet i've seen from her. hilarious, lovable, passionate, and tender, she hit every note perfectly.

Ms. Adams, likewise, was superb as Julie Powell, a government worker who decided to tackle Julia Child's 500+ recipes in her groundbreaking cook book in a year's time while documenting online the whole process in a blog.

the two true stories are perfectly balanced, and the screenplay (adapted by the director Nora Ephron) strikes some wonderful parallels between the two women, and paints, or rather, cooks up two great ingredients to become one delicious dish.

there is a bit of a lag in the second half of the movie, but this is forgiven by the fact that the movie never becomes distracted from its purpose. excellent cast, fantastic story-telling, and wonderful direction. Julie & Julia will have you holding out your dish begging for more.
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a pleasant comedy
kmbartz22 July 2009
I saw this film in preview last evening and believe it's a winner on several levels. The performances by the leads and the many supporting roles are great - you can't help loving the characters portrayed. The biographic nature of the 'Juila' story combines nicely with the more present day 'Julie' storyline - leaving the viewer to route for Julie's cooking goal while simply falling in love with Meryl Streep's Julia Child. In both stories we are treated to the women's relationship with food, husbands and the challenging worlds they inhabit. Predominantly, there is a real sweetness about the support each husband gives his wife and a fair amount of chuckles throughout. I'll admit that there could have been a few more edits but this film still satisfies while paying homage to the iconic figure that Julia Child is.
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Two kitchens
claudiaeilcinema20 August 2009
Nora Ephron's terrible miscalculation doesn't spoil things completely but it certainly hurts what it could have been, one of the best films of the year with a superlative performance by Meryl Streep. The performance more than survives, thank God, because I believe in years to come it will be considered one of Meryl's best. Imagine that! I loved her! Her Julia Child is total, complete, overwhelming, enchanting, inspiring. A woman of her day that was way, way ahead, in every department. A woman who was capable of love in the most direct and powerful way. She even loved the French for all the right reasons. When the films moves away from her the film suffers, terribly. The modern, neurotic kitchen of the modern woman is much more "passè" than the vintage one. In fact the vintage one is the ultra modern. But, as Billy Wilder used to say, we have to take the bitter with the sour. The film gets your gastric juices going and vindicates the power of butter in a way we hadn't seen since Last Tango In Paris. Stanley Tucci is also a delight and a perfect foil for her much taller wife. Bravo Meryl. once more, thank you, you're my hero.
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High Hopes Dashed! The Lame Modern Story De-Bones The Solid Older One!
Michael-7027 August 2009
Warning: Spoilers
Big disappointment here. I was really looking forward to this film based on the trailers I had seen some months ago. The thought of Meryl Streep playing Julia Child with Stanley Tucci as her husband Paul was, like creamy butter spread on fresh baked French bread, a combination too delicious to pass up even though it seems so obvious in retrospect.

It was much later on that I began to understand that this film was not going to be solely about Julia Child, but was going to be a combination of two stories.

The first story was about Julia Child, a woman who by all rights should not have succeeded at any of the things she tried to do, but because of her indomitable spirit and tenacity and after suffering years of humiliating failure, she finally succeeded in the harshly competitive worlds of serious cookery, book publishing and television and she would change the way America looked at food and life forever.

The other person in the film was Julie Powell an uninteresting little cubicle worker who wrote a blog in Queens.

Let me state here very clearly, no matter how important the events, tragedies, loves, losses and happenings of your life are to you personally; that does not make them interesting for a movie audience.

I don't doubt that the real Julie Powell found true solace in cooking after spending her days in a cubicle listening to tales of woe from 9/11 victim families and I certainly don't doubt that she is sincere in her love and respect for Julia Child; but what did Julie Powell really do? Cook recipes from a book that thousands and thousands of other people have already cooked? Write about it on a blog? From this they made a movie?

Forgive me, the real Julia Child deserves a movie all her own. If the movie studios don't want to touch it, how about you cable channels. Come on Showtime, HBO! Julia Child really did learn to cook, really did write a great book and really did change TV and the kitchen for millions of people in America and elsewhere.

She's certainly as interesting as Truman, Bernard & Doris or the wacko mother and daughter from Grey Gardens.

Julie & Julia is a choppy film, every time Meryl Streep and Stanley Tucci are on screen, the film is interesting and has the tangy lightness of a beurre blanc, every time Amy Adams and Chris Messina are on screen, the film falls like a flat soufflé.

This is not their fault. Amy Adams and Chris Messina are both talented and attractive people, but Stanley Tucci and Meryl Streep, locations in Paris and a credible sense of history are tough acts to follow. Especially when the best they can muster is a second floor walk-up above of a pizzeria.

There are a few times when Amy Adams is out with her snooty friends when the screen crackles but overall, the film stops cold whenever we cut to the modern story.

The big problem is there is an attempt to compare the two lives, Julia Child and Julie Powell, and there is no comparison. Julia Child on her most dull days was more interesting than Julie Powell. I realize that may be unfair, but I am calling it the way I see it.

There are a couple of good things to observe however. I am thrilled that Julie Powell decided to find in Julia Child a guru of sorts. When you consider how many people suffering from the existential angst that Julie Powell was dealing with turn to goofy New Age nitwits like Deepak Chopra or humorless cults like Scientology; please drugs and alcohol are better for you and no where near as brain numbing. Julia Child is a much better influence by far.

But there is something else happening since the release of Julie & Julia that gives me huge hope for America. Since Julie & Julia hit the multiplexes, I have read that copies of Julia Child's book Mastering The Art Of French Cooking have been flying off bookstore shelves everywhere the film is playing. But that has not happened with Julie Powell's book. This confirms something I have long suspected; the American people know the real thing when they see it.
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Half and half
rbnn11 August 2009
Warning: Spoilers
Film intercuts story of Julia Child in the 40s writing her first cookbook with Julie, a present-day New Yorker writing a blog in which she cooks each dish from a Child cookbook over a year.

The Julia Child scenes themselves are excellent. Terrific evocation of the France of the era, and some wonderful scenes.

The modern-day Julie scenes, however, are difficult to watch. Julie is a character without, as far as I can see, any particularly redeeming or even interesting characteristics. She is selfish, dishonest, and whiny. Other than fetishes for profanity and self-pity, it's not clear to me what's interesting about her.

Had the Julie scenes been cut out entirely, the movie would have been better; had they been replaced by scenes with Julia Child, it would have been an excellent film.
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I have an idea for a zombie sequel with Julia Child
dj_allin19 January 2010
I have an idea for a zombie sequel with Julia Child. It goes like this:

After Meryl Streep receives an Oscar for her ridiculous and insulting performance in the movie Julie & Julia, real Julia Childs rises from the grave as a zombie, with one mission: "must eat brains of Meryl Streep and Nora Ephron". So she breaks into the mansion of Nora Ehron, and realizes that Nora has no brain after all. Starving and frustrated, she captures Meryl Streep, and sautés her brain in fine sauce. She realizes that she has to publish new book: "Cooking Brains of Rich & Famous - Mainly Empty Calories". So she proceeds to collect brains of 99% of Hollywood, and develops recipes that will bring her the biggest fame known to mankind so far. It is important to emphasize that this is a non-violent movie where nobody dies, because all Julia's victims still continue functioning in their lives without brains, and nobody can tell difference. Bon Appétit!
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too much Julie, not enough Julia
cadpgmr23 August 2009
I want to reiterate what Anderson said. I read the book and was so utterly disappointed that I tossed the book into the rubbish. I rarely do that and usually donate to libraries, but in this case, I didn't want to share the pain inflicted by reading it.

Nevertheless, being a fan of Julia I was compelled to see the movie. Meryl Streep and Stanley Tucci were outstanding. Her portrayal of Julia Child was captivating and nothing short of brilliant. Unfortunately those parts were too few. Instead the viewer gets an overload of this self-absorbed whiny bi-polar type character that annoyed me so much that I left during one of her parts. While she was on the screen it was as painful as reading the book.

It would be wonderful if they would take the same two actors (Meryl and Stanley) and make a full movie of just that.

It was so apparent that Julie was trying to use the fame of Julia Childs for her own benefit. It's not ethical, period! And she even tries to be a sad little victim after it was implied that Julia didn't endorse her. grrrrr! I don't admire anyone who uses people like that, especially passionless whiny people who seem to act like everything revolves around them.

So, seven stars go only to the portrayal of Julia and husband. and 1 star to the Julie character because it was a fun idea to do the blog on the recipe experiment. I just didn't like the lack of passion and the free ride she took on a lovely brilliant lady who gave so much to us amateur chefs.

Most anyone can be taught things, but the charm and passion come from within. Julia was one in a million!
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What's for Dinner?
ferguson-612 August 2009
Greetings again from the darkness. Meryl Streep is amazing. I can't imagine how many times I have said or written that over the years. In a short period of time, we have watched her as the cold, manipulative nun in "Doubt"; the free-wheeling, singing mother of the bride in "Mamma Mia"; and now as TV and cooking icon Julie Child. She always delivers more than can be expected.

That is an odd way to begin the comments on this film, but Ms. Streep is so far and away the best thing about the film, that it only seemed appropriate. She captures not just the spirit for life that Julia Child carried, but also the ambition and focus to create something for many to enjoy. Many are laughing this off as an fun loving impersonation of Ms. Child, but there is much more depth to the performance than that. She brings the pride of accomplishment to the role.

I experienced a very odd sensation while watching the film. During the Julia portion, I was glued to the screen and focused on every nuance. When the "switch" would occur, I could feel the droop in my body - literally like a balloon that was losing air and then got a shot of helium for the good segments! I just found the Julie Powell chapters to be lame and a drag on the film. If not for the lovable Amy Adams, I would have thoroughly disliked Ms. Powell and her selfish antics. No wonder Ms. Child was no fan.

Definitely a must see for the amazing Meryl performance. I know it's early, but another Oscar nomination seems a must for this treasure of film.
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How to kill great food 101
aikanaro-earfalas23 October 2009
Ephron and Streep have much to answer for. They turn Julia Child into a twittering, blithering idiot, the kind of irritating flibbertigibbet that makes you want to reach for a baseball bat and take a wild swing. Ephron is clearly not just sleepless in Seattle, but equally clueless in the kitchen. She has no feel for food, no sense of the indescribable joy of a great dish. Her screenplay is flat, the film's staging is sophomoric and the dialog inane. Where Chocolat brought us the sensuality of a patisserie, and Ratatouille celebrated the act of transforming ingredients into food -- an appeal to all the senses -- this film dumbs it down to some uber-Neanderthal level. The characters are unidimensional. Streep quacks like D. Duck. The ladies' relationships with their husbands make no sense. Ephron can't even get a kiss right -- the actors sound like suction cups.

And just when you think it can't possibly get worse, there's Streep again, squeaking like wet rubber, lolling her head drunkenly and rolling her eyes. That's not acting. That's just stupid.

The film insults your intelligence, tests your patience and desecrates food.

And, by the way, Ms Ephron, it's not "boof bourguignon", it's "boeuf". Pronounced *berf*.

You're better off spending the running time of the film over at epicurious.com.
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Julie & Julia
gingerliu15 August 2009
Warning: Spoilers
Julie & Julia is essentially two films about how passion and food can change peoples lives. Although in Julia Child's case, the bon vivant American cook with French sensibilities changed the lives of a whole nation used to eating convenience food in post war America and beyond. The other Julie of the title is Julie Powell. The only life she is changing is that of her own and she represents the vanity of everyday bloggers who are looking for instant fame and attention. Originally conceived as two separate movies, director-writer Nora Ephron decided that Julia Child's memoir, My Life in France and Julie Powell's blog memoir, Julie & Julia, didn't have enough meat to sustain a 90 minute feature on their own. This is a shame because Julia Child's other life in France is not only thrilling reading, but with Meryl Streep's performance as the passionate lover of life Julia Childs, the film is absolutely riveting and laugh out loud funny. Unfortunately, Julie Powell's life is hardly the stuff of legend and hardly changes lives. Comparing her contemporary life as an unfulfilled writer in NYC to Child's talent, hard work, and genuine need to teach others, is nothing short of insulting. Nora Ephron is no stranger to juxtaposing lives in her work in films such as You've Got Mail (1998) and Sleepless in Seattle (1993). Her trademark comic timing and direction will not disappoint Ephron fans. But my heart sank every time Ephron returns to the story of Julie Powell. Amy Adams, Streep's co-star in Doubt, fails to ignite any sympathy or even much care from audiences as her portrayal of Powell as nothing more than an under achiever who is jealous of her friends successes and embarks on a project that she at least hopes she will finish. Adams' Powell is not cooking for the greater good or writing a self-help book, she isn't even teaching herself the fine art of cuisine. But maybe this is Ephron's point all along about how blogs and the internet as a whole, validates our existence, or at least goes to prove that with as little effort as possible, a blogger's mundane life can be pitched against the life of one of the most influential people in America. How many of us rushed to write blogs on hearing of Julie Powell's book deal? How little of us want to put in the hard graft, the real work into being another Julia Child. Ephron's second and by far less interesting story of Powell makes the biggest statement of our 21st century lives. Julie Powell works as temp middle manager in a New York government office, answering calls from distraught 9/11 victims and families. The work is full time strain on her emotions. Living in Queens with her loving editor husband Eric (Chris Messina), she cooks in their tiny kitchen and uses the time as her only escape from the day. Powell is approaching thirty and is constantly aware of her unfulfilled life. Her husband suggest she start a blog about cooking and Powell, with Child's cook book in hand, Mastering the Art of French Cooking, embarks on a year long project to cook up all 524 recipes and blog about her adventure. Back in 1948, Julia Child and her husband Paul, dashingly played by Stanley Tucci, are brought to Paris because of Paul's job as a cultural attaché at the American embassy. The couple's liberal outlook and enjoyment for life and French food, give Julia a reason de'tair. Julia's hobby turns to passion after she becomes the first American to study at the Le Cordon Bleu culinary school. She meets fellow foodies, Simone Beck (Linda Emond) and Louisette Bertholle (Helen Carey) to co-write Mastering the Art of French Cooking. There's no contest as to whose life is more appealing and Streep and Tucci's chemistry, united again after their starring roles in The Devil Wears Prada, is a joy to watch.
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rickprovost11 December 2009
Meryl Streep's performance masks what is a confection of a movie - overly sweet, too filling, ultimately unsatisfying... empty calories. Nora Ephron patronizes the audience with what became a trite formula, post-Sleepless in Seattle. Amy Adams is her new Meg Ryan, and does perky, plucky cute better than anyone, but her Julie Powell character felt less beguiling and more like a manic Ephron proxy assaulting us with her cleverness. Watching Chris Messina, who plays Julie's impossibly patient husband, chew and smack with his mouth open (a mouth that belongs to a Simpson's cartoon character) in an overly-directed attempt to portray "gosh this food is good!", made me faintly ill and eye-rollingly annoyed. But enough about the good stuff. At 2 hours 13 minutes, it was get-up-and-walk-around too long. I guess I was just Restless in Richmond.
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No Substance
radomski-216 January 2012
As I was watching this film something bothered me. I began to suspect that it was because neither of the protagonists was appealing; here were two self-absorbed women, obsessed with their pet projects and supported by bland, indulgent husbands. Now literature is full of unappealing characters, but, in good literature, the author takes on the responsibility to deal with these characters' issues and make sense of them. That doesn't happen in Julie & Julia. We just watch the protagonists go through their motions and, I guess, we're supposed to applaud them.

In the case of Julia Child, I think this is the result of the way she was presented in the screenplay—and this was an injustice to her. In the case of Julie Powell, I think the self-absorption is real and, judging from her actual blog, actually worse in real life. She is a woman who sought to gain notoriety by staging a clever stunt. Well, she achieved her aim, but I'm left wondering: "So what?" That's not the kind of person whose life I want to spend two hours contemplating. Should we make a film about the person who came up with the idea of a "Pet Rock"?

In this film there was no character development, no depth in either the characters or the situations. I had heard of the marvels of Meryl Streep's portrayal of Julia Child. The problem was that it was all a caricature: at every moment you find yourself saying "Oh, that was clever how she captured this or that mannerism" or "Oh, she's wearing large shoes to capture Julia Child's mass." People say that the sign of a failed film score is when it draws attention to itself. I feel the same way about acting: when you find yourself noticing the cleverness of the actors rather than living the part with the character they're portraying, then I think they've failed.

I felt vindicated for my negative feelings towards this film when, in the course of it, the real Julia Child expressed disapproval of Powell's stunt.

Judith Jones, Julia Child's editor, stated: "Flinging around four-letter words when cooking, isn't attractive, to me or Julia. She didn't want to endorse it. What came through on the blog was somebody who was doing it almost for the sake of a stunt. She would never really describe the end results, how delicious it was, and what she learned. Julia didn't like what she called 'the flimsies.' She didn't suffer fools, if you know what I mean." (quoted at Wikipedia)

"Flimsy" is a good way to describe this screenplay: it has no substance. What an injustice to Julia Child! If she disapproved of Powell's blog, one can only imagine what she would have thought of this film.
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Vile Movie
stiffman-rosenthal18 August 2009
The whole picture is weak - unbelievably weak. For starters, casting Stanley Tucci as Paul was puzzling. He came across as a sensitive guy - not someone who would be married to a woman who is portrayed as an idiot. Meryl Streep plays Julia Child as a buffoon - a cartoon of the real person. Ever looking like she can't focus her eyes, giggling, and making inane remarks as if in a drunken stupor. Dan Akroyd's skit which was hilarious on SNL in comparison to Streep's performance is more thoughtful and less offensive. The only scene which was believable and well done, was where Julia receives the letter from her sister. It was so weird: Paul is normal; Julia is an idiot, and Julie and her husband are bland, bland, bland. It's unbelievable that a woman as bland as Julie would devote so much time and effort to cooking. Julia Child must be turning over in her grave. Shame on Nora Ephron! The true star of the movie was the butter.
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Deliciously light entertainment!
JaysonT7 August 2009
Warning: Spoilers
Biopics are hard to sit through if you're tired of seeing drug addicts, hookers and mafia types mingle their way to fame and fortune. Luckily "Julie & Julia" is light entertainment that isn't about any of these things.

Amy Adams is Julie Powell, an underachieving nobody who moves to Queens with her husband in a small apartment above a pizzeria. Every day she sits at her cubicle coping with callers who are still sick with 9-11 trauma. While her more successful girlfriends are all VPs of their companies, Powell is a minute insect who longs to be someone at the age of thirty. Can we blame her? She's impending on a mid-life crisis and is stuck with a husband whose more dull then a stack of nails.

One night she decides she does have a talent- she can throw down in the kitchen like nobody's business. And the food she prepares is yummy and good! So she decides to blog about her cooking all 500+ recipes in "The Art of French Cooking" from Julia Child, the famous renown chef and Television personality. Adams, who has found a knack for her films roles (she's Australian but sounds perfectly Midwestern) falls right into home with her whiny character.

Enter Meryl Streep, who plays Julia Child. Director Nora Ephran ("Sleepless in Seattle") has merged these two women's stories together, and as Adams' storyline unfolds, so does Streep's. The Julia Child storyline is more fun, as we embark on a journey to see how Ms. Child came to be the robust, lively and 6'2 legend that she will remain today. Streep has the gusto to play her to, though sometimes her uncanny accent goes a little over the top ("Ohhhhh yessss, I knoowwww"). Still, there's a lot to like in the performances, contrived from Streep like a Saturday Night Live sketch with more stuffing, and plenty of imminent chemistry with co-star Stanley Tucci, as her patient husband.

"Julie & Julia" is a fun time in the theater (and it makes you hungry), but what lacks from this two-character tale is tension and plot. What really happens? Julie has a few meltdowns in the kitchen and keeps dropping her boneless chicken on the floor. Julia can't pass the exams to get her cooking certificate? Where's the savage villain? Where's the subplot involving Child and her distaste of Powell later on when she found out about the blog? Now THAT would be something to boost the structure of the plot. There's never a dull moment in the movie (except maybe in the final fourth), but there certainly was room for MORE concise paranoia in which we could see the two women really tackle their issues. Another critic made a good point about the Adams character- where's her supportive gay work friend? Is her bland husband the only source she has to lean upon- and feed? Streep lost the Oscar for Best Actress last year to Kate Winslet in "The Reader". While I highly supported a win for Streep in "Doubt", there was no 'doubt' Winslet was past due for her subversive work in Daldry's masterpiece. However, is "Julie & Julia" really going to win Streep her third Oscar? She's charming as Julia Child, and nails the characterization- but there isn't a scene that truly depicts her as a woman (minus perhaps the breakdown in the kitchen, but that's nothing to hoohah about). A tasty morsel that's best described as a prominent appetizer.

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Go see it!
dmasursky5 August 2009
I was lucky enough to attend a free preview of this movie in Syracuse a few days before it's release in theaters. It is really fine entertainment and totally worth seeing. Perfectly cast, with people you love to watch - not just Meryl, who gives, as always, a pitch perfect performance, and Amy Adams, who is going to be around a long, long time. But also Stanley Tucci, who is wonderful, and Chris Messina, and many other minor characters who enhance the story and the movie overall. The movie intertwines the two stories really well and you get to follow both women as they develop and grow and find meaning in their lives, and accomplish their goals. It's funny, warm, and even a tiny bit inspirational. Totally enjoyable.
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A minor "jule", er, jewel, not perfect, but, very, very admirable
inkblot113 August 2009
Julie Powell (Amy Adams) is an aspiring writer but, at present, has a day job as an insurance administrative assistant. She and her supportive husband have just moved from Brooklyn to Queens, to an apartment above a pizza palace, on a busy street, but with more floor space than their previous digs! Yet, when Julie lunches with her more successful, executive-type galpals, she ends up feeling diminished. One day, as she is cooking dinner, she announces to her mate that she could be a writer and he encourages her to start. a "blog". Taking it one step further, Julie launches her blog with a vow to cook her way through Julia Child's cookbook in one year. So, it begins. But, will her dream of stepping out of "also-ran" status be achievable? Meanwhile, in flashback, Julia Child (Meryl Streep) and her diplomat husband, Paul (Stanley Tucci) have just arrived in Paris, France, to her great joy. Not only will the couple have a breathtaking ambiance for the few years but, since Julia loves to eat, the daily, very sumptuous restaurant fare is a food fantasy come true. Yet, with Paul away at work, what should she, Julia, do to keep herself occupied? Why not enroll in cooking school? But, gaining entry to the best-of-the-best, the Cordon Bleu, is not easy for a woman in the 1950's. Nevertheless, Julia does so and also becomes interested in writing a French cuisine cookbook in English, for none exists. Will her dreams be realized, too? This is a very admirable film with terrific performances and eye-opening biographical details. Child was an amazing women and Streep brings her to life most wonderfully. But, how cleverly Ephron has brought her story to the screen, by interspersing it with the tale of another admirable woman, Julie Powell! This is a major feat, deserving great praise. Adams, too, does very fine work as Powell, while a "toned-down" Tucci gives a beautifully understated and touching performance as Paul. The rest of the cast is quite nice, too. As for the film's amenities, from sets to costumes to camera work, they are very fine indeed. Ephron's script and direction deserve a hearty congratulations, also, although there are a few moments when the story seems to lag. Perhaps a sharper edit would have done the trick. Nevertheless, here is a film that is far above the typical Hollywood offering, so, anyone interested in quality film making should make plans for a viewing very soon.
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