In a world of streaming and quarantine, it’s a good time go back and check out old movies. Over the years, word of mouth has spread about “The Founder” , a movie about the founders of McDonalds, the McDonald brothers and Ray Kroc. It’s a stunning story, the type of movie able to make you lose your taste for the Big Mac for a week. The story is mostly true and also takes artistic license as many movies do.
It stars the always entertaining Michael Keaton in the lead role of Ray Kroc. Laura Dern and Linda Cardellini among other actors of note also star. It follows the evolution of McDonalds from one spot in San Bernardino, CA to an international phenom.
During the holidays, there are often many extended family meals and get-togethers. Once the holidays are over, however, we often go back to our busy, everyday lives. School, work, homework, and after-school practices and activities take over, while family meals and time spent together often take a back seat to quick, on-the-go meals in the car or in front of the TV. There are so many benefits to eating dinner as a family, even if it is only a few times a week. READ MORE
In the movie, Shazam there is an emphasis on family, saying grace and breaking bread together. Hopefully, the hit film which tugs at the heart strings will inspire families. Read more about the film below.
Even though there has been a ton of critical praise for Shazam, I’ve been skeptical. Moreover, the last thing I expected was such a diverse cast, a sweet message and well crafted story. Rush out and see this movie especially if you are looking for something family friendly. Wow, the cast is great.
The Case for Christ is based on the the best selling book and true story of former Chicago Tribune Acclaimed journalist, Lee Strobel. “If your mother tells you she loves you, check the facts.” This motto sums up Strobel’s approach to life and a key reason he was passionately atheist. Where is the proof of there being a God? Aren’t the stories in the Bible just fairy tale? Did Jesus really rise from the dead? This movie and Lee Strobel ask those questions and more concerning the deity of Jesus Christ. His journey to discovering the answer is what The Case for Christ revolves around.
The movie is very slow in pacing. Truthfully, I didn’t fathom this would be an exciting film. I am very familiar with Strobel’s story. Mike Vogel who plays Lee Strobel is easy on the eyes so it helps you get through it to a degree. However, I kept thinking this movie is so slow. It is great looking though with filter that gives it a rustic look. It is a period piece set in the eighties. Script wise, the A, B, and C storylines come together well. The lead and supporting actors give convincing performances.
It is fair to say a believer or nonbeliever can walk away with different experiences and sentiments about the film. The credibility of the author of The Case Christ makes an interesting bio pic.
The Foodie portion:
A theologian suggests that he and Strobel grab a cup of coffee. If you invite a friend to see this with you then coffee shop talk suits this film well. If this is a dvd or download by the time you check it out then maybe a Chicago style deep dish pizza since the story takes place in Chicago and often shows establishing shots of the Chicago Tribune.
All the movie staff singing “Be Our Guest” as you enter the theatre like a Caberet. Wouldn’t that be a treat? Well, that probably not happen but seeing Beauty and the Beast is a treat. Let me get my one issue over with and that is the CGI for the Beast as it moves. It so fake looking. It was way too distracting but on almost every other account I really enjoyed the film. I actually found myself thinking that I would like to see it again, matinee of course. But the cast is enchanting from the lead the supporting characters. Unless you’ve read up about the film or recognize the voices, many of animated household items and furniture characters will be a big reveal when you find out who they are played by.
Although many fans of Dan Stevens knew he was the beautiful prince transformed into a beast, Disney make up artist did a great job of doing make up in the opening party scene that allows a reveal of what he looks like by the end of the film. Yes, there are people who don’t know the actor’s work, afterall is he is still somewhat a rising celeb if you aren’t a Downton Abbey fan or Legion fan.
Then their is the other cult following actor, Ms. Emma Watson of the Harry Potter franchise who play Belle. She does a fine job but it is the supporting actors that are scene stealers whether it be Luke Evans as Gaston or Josh Gad as Lefou. You’ll engaged in caring for a candle stick, a clock, a pot or a chipped cup.
The next chapter in the saga of John Wick is compelling, smart and a surprisingly good follow up to the first film. Everyone knew that after the success of the sleeper hit found in the original John Wick that its sequel would be bigger but how could it be better. I am not in the camp that this film is better or worse. It is strikingly good for different reasons than the first.
The only thing that didn’t work for me was the horrendously high body count for a guy who wants to walk away from the assassin’s life. However, he is pulled right back in. No spoiler alert need, who doesn’t know that?
This film is equally as stylish as the first film and it gives us more to the legend of The Continental. John Wick fans will not be disappointed. He even has a formidable opponent.
The food: Duck is eaten by one of the central characters. So if this is an night out order Duck Confit, duck sliders or at home try your hand at making duck fat fries. Click to See the recipe or duck confit sliders. (click to see recipe)
We also find out that when John Wick wants a stiff drink, Blanton’s bourbon whiskey is his thing.
Hidden Figures is the most pleasant surprise in film and that may be for me because I am a history buff. Moreover, Hollywood shedding light on how African American women were instrumental in a history not commonly known attached to one of America’s biggest feats is what makes this movie worth seeing. Based on Margot Lee Shetterly’s book, Hidden Figures: The American Dream and the Untold Story of the Black Women Mathematicians Who Helped Win the Space Race, confidently I will say the history will knock your socks off more than the actual movie. Being privy to this knowledge elevates gratitude for the film being made. These top notch actresses give enhance the film with layered performances. As for the movie, it is entertaining but the story is so remarkable or unique that one might question the validity. Then when you find out it is true then you become disturbed because facts like this truly feel like they are hidden whether they were meant to be or not. After the film, I just had to verify the facts. I found a great article on NPR. Click Here and Popular Mechanics has a great and telling behind the scenes truth telling of this story. Click Here.
In Black and White are the Real Groundbreaking Genius Women of NASA.
Taraji P Henson tones it down in her performance which is actually quite refreshing to see her take on a more understated role. Janelle Monae, is probably one to look out for as musician turned actress with some actual acting chops and stunning beauty to match. Octavia Spencer just knows how to quietly bring it with power and emotion. Other recognizable cast include Kevin Costner and Kirsten Dunst. And the guy who portrays John Glenn is Glenn Powell, gees he is good looking. But more than a pretty face, despite much of the film there was a gimicky line coming from his lips. However, near the end of the film he exemplifies some depth at the right moment. The kind of acting with subtle looks that say it all. Powell is 7 years younger then Chris Evans, think replacement Captain America when Chris Evans wants to retire. Powell and Costner are the two standout male performers. Yet. they never steal the film from the leading ladies. Hear a little bit More of my thoughts at the film and foodie review below.
Every time I think of this movie I want to whistle and you will know why when you see. There is a song called City of Stars which is one of the best songs in the movie and among a lot of catch tunes. But music is not all that La La land has going for it. It has a smart script and enchanting lead actors with great chemistry. Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone are extremely endearing. Although there are few notable celebs in this film as well, it’s like when you are in love and nobody else seems to be in the room but the two of you. That’s Gosling and Stone. The film is bright, romantic and nostalgic. It pokes fun at Hollywood while loving it. It is a look at the both the film and music industry. Check out the Film and Foodie Review.
Hell or Highwater is one of the best films of 2016. It is filled with suspense, action and great acting performances especially by Jeff Bridge and Chris Pines stretches himself as actor with this role as strong dramatic lead.
Arrival is a smart alien invasion story, sophisticated in story telling and full of suspense. Among the engaging cast of characters featured are Adam Adams, Jeremy Renner and Forest Whitaker. Amy Adams brings a wide range of emotion to the screen from subtle to overt. She is the lead character, a professor of languages needed to crack learning how to understand and communicate with the aliens. Spoiler Alert! Liken this film to The Sixth Sense with unexpected twist. With that said it is best not to say to much about this film but rather simply give a thumbs up to see it.
A Side Note: About a half hour into the film, I believe we meet the aliens. The look of the creature was an interesting choice. It seems to blend a least three animals together. That’s all I kept think when I was looking at it. I was torn on whether I liked the alien depiction because it wasn’t the typical alien or if it looked too much earth based animals.
Here a little bit more about what CrystalJfilmdiva has to say about the film and the out of this world foodie picks:
At 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 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: