Film and Foodie Review: Mr. Church

mr-churchAt the request of a fan of film and foodie,  curious about what I would suggest for the foodie portion, I am reviewing Mr. Church .  Let me admit,  Mr. Church is a movie that I never wanted to see because with as many stories that there are to tell about the Black experience, the one that Hollywood loves to green light are the ones where African Americans deeply love the White people they serve.  With that said, I do have to say this film has a little bit more to offer because of the writer, Susan Mc Martin’s deep love and appreciation of the person that Mr. Church is based on.  She wants him personified with dignity and layered with intelligence and class.  She  want viewers to know how he enriched her family’s life.  mr_church_2016_12446304

Mr. Church is an African American man who is the cook for a a White woman and her young daughter.   In the opening credits to the film, we are informed that this is based on a real friendship.  And the more you watch, it is evident that story is filled with truths and love.  It feels like a love letter, not in the romantic sense but a story of deep love and regard for a person would impact the writer’s life.  Eddie Murphy gives a quiet performance.  He restrains any impulses to be comedic.  And in doing so,  I believe as an actor he is giving real homage to who the character of who Mr. Church is.   There is an air of mystery to Mr. Church that keeps you guessing throughout the film.

This is slow moving film. It is a bit of simple story of friendship and family can be the same thing.

The Foodie:  Grits take center stage among the stews, and cakes that Mr. Church whips up.  I will differ to a recipe from the now closed Baltimore based and Black owned Darker Than Blue restaurant.  It was a top notch upscale restaurant with mostly soul food.   Watch this video of the chef preparing Catfish and Grits:

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Film and Foodie Review: Dr. Strange

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Before I get into the film,  for a change I want to talk about the star power behind the leading man in Dr. Strange. There is a rising star in Benedict Cumberbatch, often called the “internet’s boyfriend.”  He does silly video gags on the internet.  He reads audiobooks of classics.  I suggest you find his narration of Casanova on You Tube.   Then there is his work in the acclaimed PBS Version of Sherlock Holmes which stars Cumberbatch and in England he has body of work that has made him a bonafide star there for years.  America was teased with him in the 2nd installment of the Star Trek reboot, Into the Darkness by his portrayal as the notorious Khan.   Most notably was his Oscar nomination for his portrayal of Alan Turing in the Imitation Game. Yet, with all this work under his belt nothing will propel his star to general public like Dr. Strange.   It is not because this is his best work but it is the right work to be attached to doing.   Marvel movies are remarkable success stories.   And lately, the less popular comics like Guardians of the Galaxy and Dr. Strange are having outstanding box office success.

Despite strong box office, add my voice to the choir of folks saying Dr. Strange is not the strongest script.  It could have been punched up a tad more.   Writers were added to inject some humor in the film; however, good ole fashioned intensely dramatic verbal content lacked.  How unfortunate when there is such stellar talent on board such as MacAdams, Ejiofor, Swinton and Madsen.  Not of one of them disappoint yet there are not stretched to vibrant performances.   The saving grace for Dr. Strange is where the script lacks, the visuals astound and will not disappoint the Dr. Strange Comic book fans in be the trippy film desired to match the books.

Spoiler: My only  spoiler comment is about the villains which usually disappoint us in Marvel movies.   Dr. Strange should get some slack if you consider that you have ultimately two main villians, three if you wait for the post credits.   Mads Milkkelson is who we see in the trailers but on some level he  is simply a guide to Dr. Strange’s ultimate showdown with the more significant villain of Dormamu.   And once you see the film, you will be hip to what is now becoming a classic line from the end of the film.

See more commentary about the film and listen to the foodie pairing. 

Review of Hateful Eight

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This will be one of my shortest reviews for a film.  As, it says below…”Hated It.”  Normally, there is a foodie review and I could give you some witty suggestions on what to eat but in light of not advocating this film,  no food review.

Now why do I hate it?  At 3 hours and 7 minutes, it is too long given the execution of the story which could have been finished 60 minutes earlier.  There is no payoff by the end of the film and no truly likable hero.  This a bloody mess of a film.  However, in my opinion less bloody than most Tarentino films which admittedly in the past I have enjoyed.   Django, Pulp Fiction and Reservoir Dogs are some of my favorites.   If you insist on seeing this then please don’t have children around.  Multiple heads  are blown off.

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Film and Foodie Review: Mad Max Fury Road

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I am very impressed with reviews by Salty Popcorn so from time to time I will defer to review by this great website.  Yes, I will still at my two cents on a food pairing with the film. – Crystal Johnson, Editor

Thirty years following the campy MAD MAX BEYOND THUNDERDOME Max is back with a technically advanced George Miller in the conductor’s seat again. MAD MAX FURY ROAD is the fourth film in this high octane franchise and this one basically removes dialogue, mundane plot and personality and gives the action a shot of crack – it should be more CIRQUE DE SOLMAX ON CRACK. Read More.

The Food: (some what spoiler alert) The opening says it all.   Tom Hardy’s Version of Mad Max apparently will eat reptile like it is sushi.  Recently, I got a chance to dine at a long time establishment in Vegas called the Hush Puppy.  It is off the beaten path but locals are likely to know about it.  And there, they serve alligator.  It was tender, fried and delish.

It’s this winds up being a DVD night for you then try Paula Deen’s Fried Gator recipe.

Film and Foodie Review: Chef

The Review: Chef is great little cooking film with some serious star power (Robert Downey Jr) for writer/director/actor, Jon Favreau.  He is the director of the Iron Man movies and co-star/writer of the 90’s classic film, Swingers.  His latest film is about a chef who has become stifled in his creativity while also recently dealing with the side effects of being a weekend parent to his son.  The ultimate crisis come for the chef when a food critic and popular blogger tweets his thoughts about his recent dining experience.  He also learns that his son refuses to play the part of a side order in his life.  And the rest of the adventure of this story unfolds from there.  No spoiler here,  check out this great little film.  Sofia Vergara, Robert Downey, Jr, John Leguizamo and Scarlett Johansson also star in Chef.

The Food:  The story takes place primarily in LA and Florida.    But it is in Florida that we watch the making of a Cuban Sandwich.  There is also multiple discussions about the opportunity to taste certain foods where the originate or gained reputation for authenticity.  We suggest making a Cuban sandwich and enjoying this film.  Click photo for recipe

Film and Foodie: St. Patrick’s Day Movie List

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This March 17th celebrate St. Patrick’s Day with an assortment of great Irish films and food:

Bloody Sunday: Director of he last two Bourne films, Paul Greengrass, gives a harrowing account of a protest and massacre on January 30th, 1972. If you like Greengrass’ style then this is the film for you.

Food Match: Try some Coddle, a dish made with bacon, sausage, sliced potatoes and onions. Dublin-Coddle

Michael Collins A tale about an Irish political leader in the 1910’s who forged forward for Ireland’s freedom and starring Liam Neeson, Julia Roberts and Aiden Quinn.A powerful film from Neil Jordan that will have you enraptured until the last frame.

Food Match: Fix up a bit of Bacon and Cabbage, which is back bacon and cabbage served in a buttermilk sauce.

The Quiet Man: This classic John Wayne film with the lovely Marueen O’Hara is about a boxer retiring to Ireland and finding love.

Food Match: Have some Irish stew with lamb, beef, or mutton and an assortment of vegetables from potatoes to parsley.

My Left Foot: Daniel Day-Lewis’ amazing performance as poet Christy Brown is fascinating to see and heartwarming to experience. This film is where Day-Lewis got his notoriety as a method actor as he stayed in character throughout the filming.

Food Match: Try the traditional corn beef and cabbage with your favorite Irish beer.

In the Name of the Father: Daniel Day-Lewis’ performance as a son falsely imprisoned after a forced confession that ends up jailing his father as well is powerful and compelling. An overlooked film of Day-Lewis’ career.

Food Match: Have some Dublin Lawyer, Lobster cooked in whisky and cream.

Departed: The film takes place in Boston, Massachusetts, where Irish Mob boss Francis “Frank” Costello plants Colin Sullivan as an informant within the Massachusetts State Police. Simultaneously, the police assign undercover cop William “Billy” Costigan to infiltrate Costello’s crew. When both sides realize the situation, each man attempts to discover the other’s true identity before his own cover is blown. Stars Leo DiCaprio, Mark Wahlberg, Martin Sheen and Alec Baldwin. Directed by Martin Scorsese. There is plenty of bagpipe music throughout the film.

Drink Match: Pull out the green beer tough guys as you watch this flick.

Review and Food suggestions by Michael Fusco

 

Addition  by MCCN Editor, Crystal Johnson AKA CrystalJFilmdiva-  Editor’s Choice-Brooklyn which came out in 2015.

 

Film and Foodie Review: Need For Speed

The script for Need for Speed is like a stalling car, you try to figure out it if it needs gas or if there is some other problem.  Aaron Paul is not the problem.  In fact he does the best he can with a limited script.  Michael Keaton and Dominic Cooper also star.  The story is set in small town America.  At times, I thought I was watching the remake of Footloose(By the way Footloose is better) .  Need for Speed tries to be uplifting, intentionally corny American film where your root for the blue collar mechanic and race car driver Tobey Marshall (spoiler alert) who has falsely been accused of a crime that he did not commit.   When he gets out of prison, he and his  friends from the auto body shop have to avenge their enemy.     The film based on the successful video game of 20 years, opts to go with  real life car stunts and little to no animation.   The cross country adventure will have some visuals the are reminiscent of game.  See Version of Game if you haven’t played the game a would like a way to compare the adventure scenes , obstacles and finish.

This film maybe for folks who don’t care about a good script, just have a need for speed.

The Food:  Let’s go with man food like steak sandwiches, bbq sandwiches, hoagies,  chips and coleslaw.  The drink should be your local microbrewed beer.  If this is a date night flick while still in theaters, a diner match the small town American feel of the film.

Get Your Tickets to New York Food and Film Festival 2012

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It’s baaaaack. NYC Food and Film Festival will take place on October 18th and this time MCCN is a media sponsor.   To us it was a natural fit because we feature the film and foodie section on our main website at multiculturalcookingnetwork.com .   MCCN’s editor Crystal Johnson is a foodie with a masters degree in English/Screenwriting. Last Year MCCN had the opportunity to cover both the New York and Chicago Festivals.

The Food Film Festival sprang from the imagination of Festival Director George Motz, the documentary filmmaker behind the award-winning Hamburger America film and book, along with co-creator Harry Hawk, formerly of Schnack and Water Taxi Beach. Through documentaries, features and short films, the Festival showcases the best, and the most memorable, of the world’s favorite foods. Along with a heaping helping of mouth-watering films, Motz, Hawk and company serve up the food that guests are watching on the screen for a multi-sensory, full-bodied experience.  If your are registered at Multiculturalcookingnetwork.com, you get 10% of the ticket price.  Once registered you may access a code.  See Details

Tickets are now available. Hope to see you there.http://thefoodfilmfestival.com/tickets-sale-full-event-details-announced/

Read Coverage of NYC Food and Film 2011

Read Coverage of Chicago Food Film 2011

Film and Foodie Pick: Kings of Pastry

Kings of Pastry is a truly thrilling and informative look at the somewhat secretive and incestuous world of French patisserie – specifically, the pastry- and candy-making portion of the quadrennial Meilleur Ouvrier de France (MOF) competition among craftsmen in various disciplines. Acclaimed filmmakers D.A. Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus (Don’t Look Back, The War Room) follow three competitors as they prepare and compete in this high-pressure contest whose winners will forever hold the highest distinction in their field.   READ MORE

Film and Foodie Review: The King’s Speech

Utterly Charming from the cast to the story, The King Speech’s earns a majestic place among films. Colin Firth, Helena Bonham Carter, Geoffrey Rush and Guy Pearce make up a splendid cast. From the beginning, it is easy to see this film is an actor’s film. It is a clever film about Queen Elizabeth’s dad King George VI of Britain, his impromptu ascension to the throne and his relationship with his speech therapist along the way. READ MORE