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Have you ever wondered why some critics review films? They don't even seem to like movies that much from what they write. I LOVE movies, and think about them long after the last credits roll across the screen. My reviews are meant to inform, entertain and never have a spoiler.
Enjoy my reviews and please comment and come back frequently! Thanks for visiting!

Saturday, August 11, 2007

No Reservations

One of my passions is to a) Bake; b) Cook. That is why the Food Network is on my small list of favorite channels. I love watching chefs whip up tantalizing entrees and exquisite desserts, and then trying a few of those recipes to make them my own. So I was delighted when the film No Reservations was released. What could be better? A romantic comedy where gourmet food is practically a character.

Kate (Catherine Zeta-Jones) has suddenly become responsible for her young niece Zoe (Abigail Breslin) after their sister/mother dies. While she is attempting to adjust to her new role with Zoe, Nick (Aaron Eckhart) is hired as a chef in the restaurant where Kate has long been the head chef ruling the kitchen with discipline and structure. Initially Nick seems to be her opposite, but what they share in common is their love of food. Zoe quickly warms up to the effervescent Nick, and Kate starts to fall for him too.

Zoe struggling with having lost her mother makes this film more of a drama than what I expected. Abigail Breslin’s performance makes our hearts ache for Zoe as she slowly comes to terms with the turn of events that has changed her life. You may remember Abigail from her role in Little Miss Sunshine for which she earned an Academy Award nomination for best supporting actress. She is growing into a fine young actor the likes of which we haven’t seen since Anna Paquin.

As in all romantic comedies (as in life itself), the path to love is never a straight line, and we are kept guessing about Kate and Nick until the end. Aaron Eckhart is appealing and it’s not difficult to see why Kate is attracted to the opera singing, Italian chef. The food does play front and center in many scenes. It’s nourishment, not just for our physical bodies, but also for our souls. The communal table where the waiters and chefs eat and practice their litanies of the ingredients of each new dish of the day, the makeshift tent where Zoe, Nick and Kate eat homemade pizza, the crowded cafĂ© where friends meet for breakfast, provide more than just food, they bring a sense of belonging to a world where people can grow increasingly isolated and distant if they’re not careful.

Anyone who likes a film that goes deep into the characters and what they’re experiencing will like this one. And if you prefer a sit down restaurant where the food is cooked after you order it instead of before you arrive at the drive through, you will like this film. See it with No Reservations.

Saturday, January 13, 2007


If you enjoy musicals, you will enjoy Dreamgirls. Based on the Broadway musical of the same name, it boasts a fine cast of actors and singers. The film is nominated for Best Motion Picture-Comedy or Musical at this year’s Golden Globe Awards. There are other film musicals I liked more overall (Chicago comes to mind), but this film has something Chicago never delivered: a really great singer. You may remember Jennifer Hudson from the 3rd season of American Idol. She didn’t even make it to the top two, but beat out winner Fantasia Barrino for the coveted role of Effie in Dreamgirls. She proves that one need not win the title of American Idol to go on to have a lustrous career.

The story follows the lives and dreams of a Supremes-like girl group. The turbulent 60’s with civil rights front and center, and later the 70’s with the movement toward disco are the backdrop for the action. Beyonce Knowles as Deena Jones, Anika Noni Rose as Lorrell Robinson, and Jennifer Hudson as Effie White, are the three young women with dreams of stardom. Effie’s brother C.C. (Keith Robinson) is a songwriter, and the four meet a manager, Curtis Taylor (Jamie Foxx), and the singer James “Thunder” Early (Eddie Murphy), as they navigate the world of entertainment and recording. Danny Glover and Loretta Devine are also featured.

Eddie Murphy received a Golden Globe nomination for Best Performance in a Supporting Role. I recalled that he had released a single or album in the 80’s (My Girl Wants to Party All the Time) and his performance on stage is fun to watch. It is puzzling that Beyonce Knowles netted a Golden Globe nomination for Best Performance in a Comedy or Musical, while Jennifer Hudson was relegated to a nomination for Best Performance in a Supporting Role. From the beginning of the film, it is Jennifer as Effie who steals our attention, not Beyonce. It is Effie’s story, and Jennifer is definitely the better singer, and the one who will be remembered. Her voice is extraordinary, and although I hate to compare her with the other queens of soul, she is up there with the ranks of Aretha and Billie.

I overheard someone say they did not wish to see Dreamgirls as it would be depressing. This person went on to say she had heard the film was based on the Supremes, and thus thought it would be a sad ending. I was happy to discover it did not have a sad ending. It doesn’t stick strictly to the Supremes story, and is the better for it. It is in the end, a story of redemption for the good people in the film. I laughed, shed a tear, enjoyed every minute, and left the theatre feeling great.

The film is rated PG-13 for language, some sexuality and drug content. Bill Condon, who had a hand in writing the screenplay for Chicago, directed. Whereas Chicago is for me about the incredible dance numbers, Dreamgirls is all about the music. See it on the big screen.