Film Review of Deepwater Horizon

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Deepwater Horizon is a true story filled with the greed of the oil business and how it leads to  tragedy.   Yet in the midst of tragedy there are heroic true stories.   It features Mark Wahlberg, Kurt Russell and John Malkovich.   And the trio all put in fine performances.   I was especially drawn to John Malkovich performance.   Honestly, it was lost on me until this moment that father and daughter  were in this film, Kate Hudson and stepdad Kurt Russell.   Kate has a quiet supporting role.  Find out  a bit more about this film by watching the review below.

Film and Foodie Review: The Accountant

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Don’t believe the critical bad hype about “The Accountant”,  go with the audience reaction which is very positive.   Although, the movie is evidently flawed in some areas like contrived coincidence.   The second plot point twist toward the ending is way too verbally expository rather than executed ins .   Despite these two factors.  I would lean to what is positive more than what is negative.

For those excited about the pairing of JK Simmons and Ben Affleck together in this film, you really will not get to see them play opposite each other.   If you don’t know, these will play opposite each other Ben Affleck’s version of Batman and JK Simmons will play Commissioner Gordan.    As for Anna Kendrick, she is likeable.  I was concerned about the age difference but Affleck looks rather young in this film contrary to the mature slightly grey look he has been celebrating in other films.

Watch the  Non-Spoiler Film and Foodie review:

Film and Foodie Review: Spotlight

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The Film: This is a movie I didn’t want to see, a movie about the sexual violation of children by priests. However, this film is a well done account of the Boston Globe’s dedicated Spotlight team 2003 Pulitzer winning investigation on the crimes committed by priests.  Spotlight is the oldest continuously operating newspaper investigative unit in the United States.  In the early 2000s, theteam uncovers the widespread problem of child abuse by priests in the Boston area.   The string of trackable crimes dates from the 70’s to the early 2000’s.   For a disturbing topic, the highlight is delightful cast including  Mark Ruffalo, Michael Keaton, Rachel McAdams, John Slattery, Stanley Tucci, Brian d’Arcy James, Liev Schreiber, and Billy Crudup.   Each actor seems to bring nuances of internal agony about the situation.   The story illuminates the fraternity of silence about suspected crimes.  I expected the film to be slanted with Hollywood propanganda but it seems just to be honest storytelling.

The Food:  I deliberated about broaching the topic of food.  It’s such a heavy movie.  Set in Boston,  I thought a bread bowl of  New England clam chowder and Sam Adams beer would be perfect comfort food.  You’ll need for this for this uncomfortable topic.

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Film and Foodie: The Revenant

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The Film: Well, it is a bloody good movie.  It takes you into a beautifully cold world.  It is a picture chronicles our not so distance past and the American/European fur trading business.  What was the cost of fur in exchange for lives?   In The Revenant we follow the story of fur trapper Hugh Glass.   The semi-biographical story follows the main character trying to survive.  The now famous bear scene makes you wonder how did post production do it?   Like  Mad Max Fury Road it is the kind of visual story telling that bring back credence as why you spend the extra money to sit in a movie theater rather settling for watching it on TV, laptop or phone.   Those mediums albeit great to have will never do what the movie theater experience can.  Isn’t it splendid that we may be moving in the a realm of film making warrants our expensive tickets.

It is a pretty linear  and somewhat predictable in what the end goal.  The director expands the survival story with embellishment such as Glass having a Native American wife and bearing a son with her.  This is not true but exacting revenge withe motivation of it not just be about me but you killed my blood widens the audience empathy for the character.  The trailer tells you in a nutshell

Leonardo Di Caprio and Tom Hardy in the Trailer for "The Revenant"

Leonardo Di Caprio and Tom Hardy in the Trailer for “The Revenant”

what is going to happen.    The treat is getting to see  Leo DiCaprio and Tom Hardy play opposite each other as enemies.  They are both top of the line actors.  They are both close friends in real life and really work well together for on screen chemistry the brilliantly layered by both.  The two have worked together before in the hit film Inception: however I think this film may solidify seeing this duo work together more.  One week after the release of the film both DiCaprio and Hardy have earned Oscar nominations.  My hope is that the both will win.

The Food:  My suggestions are eating something like a burger rare/medium rare or steak prepare the same way or raw vegan or sushi.  Since this film is all about surviving in nature when this hits dvd it you can cook out doors do so.  If you can watch the movie outdoors even better.   After seeing, The Revenant, a friend of mine had this to say:

“I can’t believe we could eat meat after so much blood & guts, but the movie was excellent!”

Watch How to Make

Burger Sous Vide Medium Rare Burger

Film and Food: Peanuts Movie

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The Film: Welcome The Peanuts Movie to the world of 3D animation.  Although this film is not a visual spectacular, it is a respectful and classy update to the look of the Peanuts gang.  The story is a bit of a payoff about who Charlie Brown is to lovers of ole Charlie Brown.  At times, this film really felt like it was for adults who grew up enjoying the TV special and the comic strip.

In theater where I attended, I felt the the children’s engagement level and laughter came midway in the film.  It was too busy building connecting with nostalgia and briefly building backstory for a new generation.

The scene stealer of this movie is none other than Snoopy.   When this film hits dvd, it will be a nice addition to the any family movie collection.

The Food:  How about cracking open some peanuts in shell and enjoying a healthy fruit punch concoction like an aqua fresca in the summer.  In the winter maybe boiled peanuts still in shells and white hot chocolate.

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MCCN Editor and film Critic with Peanuts Gang

Film and Foodie Review: Creed

 

The Film: As much as I would love to be knocked out by  “Creed”as many film critics and fans are, I am simply not.    I wanted to love the film.  For me there was only one moment that  felt electrifying  but then it was over…quickly.  The movie felt long.    The love story felt contrived.  Every time the love story entered, I wanted it to disappear.

What I did love was Sylvester Stallone’s performance as the veteran world champion heavy weight boxer of the world.  Stallone conveyed sadness and wisdom as it all seemed believable not only because of his acting performance but it is a story that a Rocky fan knows.  Fans have watched the underdog revel in simply good enough to contend with the best.  We the fans, have watched people believe in Rocky when he didn’t believe in himself.  We have seen Rocky grow from relationships and we have seen the relationships that he has lost along the way.  Thus,  the relationship between young Adonis Creed( son of Apollo) and Rocky is believable.    There is a convincing story of young man trying to have a connection with a Dad that he never knew.  It is plausible that a relationship with Rocky would be important to him.  It believable the Apollo’s death would haunt rocky_8colRocky enough that he would do just about anything for Apollo’s son because we watched Rocky and Apollo train together and become very close.  So when Rocky trains Adonis, the flood gates of wisdom pour out with movie history trivia quotes of the future.

It is hard to compete with scene stealing boxing opponents that Stallone was never afraid to put in the ring like Apollo Creed, Clubber Lang and the Russian but I enjoyed the opponent of Adonis, “Pretty” Ricky Conlan played by Tony Bellew.  Albeit his appearances are rather brief in the film.  He is pretty, he had swagger and I was impressed with him.   In real life, Bellew is a British fighter who was once the WBC International Light Heavyweight Champion.

So what about the star?  Michael B. Jordan is a great actor.  I was impressed with him within 30 seconds of watching the independent film hit Fruitvale Station.  Jordan has superstar written all over him.  I look forward to hopefully seeing him in a range of roles in years to come.  As for for his performance in Creed,  he does a good job.  He really knows how to tap into a convincing range of emotions.  And you get to see it this film.  I anticipate seeing  a beefed up version of Adonis Creed in the sure to come next installment to this franchise.

Despite not being knocked about by this film, it is a generally good story with strong acting.  This movie sets up what I hope will be a better second installment.  And I hope, the writer is not stuck on this leading lady being the one for Adonis.  Nevertheless, the love story will not make or break the next film.  Although, the love story of Adrian and Rocky was absolutely weaved beautifully that you couldn’t walk out of film not knowing Adrian’s name.  With this film although, I saw the actress more than I wanted to see her.  I don’t remember the character’s name at all.  Don’t get me wrong, actress Tessa Thompson is a good actress.  The love story was just underwhelming. I know it sounds like I am looking for a love story but I am not.  What I was looking for was plenty of drama, action and the unbelievable music that elevates a Rocky film.  I saw some drama, some action and didn’t get enough of the unbelievable score.

 

The Food:  Hmn, I just finished watching muscles for two hours.  Do I want beefcake or cheesesteak.  Okay,  just stop for a proper Philly Cheesesteak.  The film also acknowledges soul food but the food for the soul of a Philadelphia location story has to be the cheesesteak.

The cast enjoyed cheesesteak nearly every day while on set in Philadelphia. Yahoo News reports, Jordan’s choice of ingredients might surprise you. Instead of picking a traditional Philly cheesesteak stuffed with delicious beef, the 28-year-old star prefers chicken. In fact, that was the controversial preference offered up by nearly everyone that Yahoo spoke to from the film, including director Ryan Coogler. The 29-year-old filmmaker doesn’t even like red meat, he said, so it’s got to be chicken. Tessa Thompson, who co-stars in the film, is also on the chicken bandwagon — but even more controversially, doesn’t like ketchup.-

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Chicken Cheesesteak

As for Sylvester Stallone, the original Italian Stallion, he’ll take it with all the ingredients — even if, as he joked, the liquid cheese always ends up ruining his clothing.

 

  • Bonus commentary– This I did love, an explanation of “Gonna Fly Now.” It was a completely organic moment with Rocky and Adonis and a great ode to one of the great songs in movie history.

 

Review by Crystal A. Johnson

 

 

 

 

Flashback Film and Foodie Review: Instructions not Included

Mexican superstar Eugenio Derbez (whom you may know from Adam Sandler’s Jack & Jill or Rob Schneider’s canceled sitcom ¡Rob!), tells the story of an Acapulco playboy whose life is rocked when an old fling leaves a baby on his doorstep.   The movie is supposed to be a comedy but it falls more in the category of dramedy.  It is a smart film with the predictable and unpredictable balance of events that occur through the story.

For the average American blindly taking a chance of selecting this foreign film, they are not likely to know the comedic body of Derbez’s work; however,  he clearly finds moments to showcase his slapstick abilities.  Derbez is a well known comedic for in Mexico.    I managed to watch this film even without subtitles.  I was able to follow and enjoy the film.   If you understand Spanish then look the film titled as “No Se Aceptan Devoluciones.”

The Food: Make it a simple DVD night of chips, salsa and margaritas.  Why such a simple selection of food?  There are few moment in a cantina which just screams that kind of food.  Although not Mexican like the film you could have tostadas with ceviche.   Not the margarita type, try Micheladas as the beverage sip on while watching this film.

 

Film and Foodie Review: BELLE

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BELLE  is inspired by the true story of Dido Elizabeth Belle (Gugu Mbatha-Raw), the illegitimate mixed race daughter of Admiral Sir John Lindsay (Matthew Goode) and  enslaved African woman known as Maria Belle. . Raised by her aristocratic great-uncle Lord Mansfield (Tom Wilkinson) and his wife (Emily Watson), Belle’s lineage affords her certain privileges, yet her color prevents her from the traditions of noble social standing.  To take things at surface value just will not do. It is as if God takes the imperfect situation of illegitimacy and works it for the overall good.

Dido grows up alongside a first cousin of the same at who was probably so isolated and lonely the only thing she could do would be to welcome and love Dido. In the film we watch the bond and the timing for finding a suitor.  It seems Dido’s great uncle and aunt never envisioned she would find husband.  The didn’t want her to marry down in social standing and they never thought she could marry up.

The story of Dido Belle goes beyond the tragic mulatto but how the influence of being the niece of the Lord Chief Justice may have played a significant factor in helping to build the road to end slavery.

And yes, there is an enchanting romance in the story too.  No Spoiler, just go see the film to see how the love story plays out.

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Food: When this hits dvd, it just scream movie and tea party with the ladies.   So grab your favorite type of scone, finger sandwiches and the very best tea then sit back enjoy the movie.   Check out our Tea and Garden Party menu.

Film and Foodie Review: Captain America – Winter Soldier

Honestly, when I come from seeing a Captain America movie I become a Yankee doodle dandy.  Serve me some Apple pie becausechris-evans-captain-america-95e1533eb1b20a97777749fb94fdb944 Cap puts the patriotic spirit in you.  Chris Evans also just seems to fit the character like a glove.  Personally, I get lost the the puddle of his blue eyes any moment that he is distressed.  He seems to carry the weight of not only America but the world on his shoulders.  In addition we know our hero is trying to persevere in a very new world with different ideals.  Evans portrays his character with vulnerability.  Couple that with the Winter Soldier in this film and you’ve got more to torment Steve Rogers AKA Captain America.    The history between the character is rich as any comic book fan would have understood the Winter Soldier was coming based on the first film setting it up.

This script is smart.  It seems to have more action than its predecessor but I like the warm sepia tones of the first Captain America;however, that  touch was because it was a period piece.  The agents of shield also seem to more comfortable in their roles.   Scarlett Johanssen and Samuel Jackson up their screen time in this film.  Plus there is the addition of Anthony Mackie as Falcon.      Also expect to see Robert Redford with a central role.

The Food – Buy me some some peanut and Cracker jacks.   Also the Jello Flag Cakes or pops may be a good idea when this film hits dvd.

The Original Anti-Valentine’s Day Movie List Part I

When the list hit our website, it also made IMDB’s hit list with over 22,000 hits over one weekend.

Every year on Valentines Day, single men and women, without a Valentine of their own, are left to their own devices. Not saying there is anything wrong with Valentine’s Day, but for those who aren’t exactly “looking forward” to February 14th — have no fear. If you are among the many who will stay at home this Valentines Day, MCCN has the ultimate Anti-Valentine’s Day movielist, plus some comfort food dishes to keep you in good spirits.  Happy Anti-Valentine’s Day!

North by Northwest
Need an escape from reality? There’s nothing like a little case of mistaken Identity to shake things up. A New York ad executive is mistaken as an agent by foreign spies, and has to flee to surive. While enjoying Cary Grant run from a biplane, try a helping of potato salad with Sausage and vegetables in light of the Dakota’s German heritage.

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The Big Lebowski
“The Dude” abides as Jeff Bridges turns in a pop culture worthy performance as Jeffery Lebowski. Wrongly targeted by kidnappers, The Dude must track down the right Lebowski and fix the wrongs done to him. In keeping with the lackadaisical tone of the film, either have some breakfast for dinner (Pancakes recommended) or order out. Just remember to pair it with the Dude’s favorite drink, a White Russian.

My Bloody Valentine 3-D
For those in a foul mood, a horror film about Valentine’s Day might do the trick. Either the 1981 version or the 2009 remake should satisfy your distaste of Valentines Day. Just remember to fix yourself a nice Devonshire Sandwich. Don’t forget to pour on the Heinz Ketchup.

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Memento
Sometimes after a particularly bad relationship, we all hope for a little memory loss. Why not watch a man who can’t quite remember what just happened? Memento is an amazing film that follows a man as he tries to solve his wife’s murder. Munch on something you love, be it candy, ice cream or a hot dog as you follow along with the twists and turns of the film.

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Editors Picks: Chasing Papi
Three women are in love with one man but learn new lessons about love and personal identity. This one is sure to put a positive light on being single. Have some sancocho (a soup with meat and vegetables in a broth) in light of leading actress Sophia Vergara’s Colombian heritage.

The Namesake: The namesake stars Kal Penn and is based off of the best selling book.  American-born Gogol, the son of Indian immigrants, wants to fit in with Americans. This is a story of a young man working working through identity. Since this movie is rich with traditions check out our article on India’s Tea Time.

Thelma and Louise: How American, this classic film’s ending truly means give me liberty or give me death.  Although, not a suggestion for the second option this film is truly a single woman’s bon bon eating film with a side of young Brad Pitt.

Waiting to Exhale: Liberation, Desperation, love and realization all take place in Waiting to Exhale starring Angela_Bassett_fireAngela Bassett, Whitney Houston, the late Gregrory Hines and more.  A perfect story for Anti-Valentine’s women to feel comfortable with being  single. Check out Sylvia  of Harlem’s drink recipe named for the movie.Waiting to Exhale Drink

See Anti-Valentine’s List Part II

Reviews by Michael Fusco and MCCN Editor Crystal Johnson