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.
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:
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.
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.
The Film: If you are Christian this a film that may renew your faith and if you agnostic you might find real hope. War Room is a faith based film by the successful producer, the Kendrick brothers. This dynamic duo have created small budget films with the hope of providing a bigger picture for people. War Room is the next in a series films including Fireproof, Facing the Giants or Courageous by the Kendrick brothers.
War Room on a basic level is about a couple with marital problems but when they both dig deeper they find that they are more than war with each other. Prayer is the the much needed weapon to save their lives. This is a very touching film. I witnessed people pull out tissue and wipe their eyes. It is a great family film. The movie features as the lead actress, Priscilla Shirer Christian Inspirational teacher/speaker. How does she fair in the acting departing? She does pretty well for her first crack at this. Having seen the movie twice, I can recognize the lack of range in expression at times. Nevertheless, the movie doesn’t suffer for it.- Review by Crystal A. Johnson
Click for Peanut Butter Hot Fudge Sundae
The Food: Well, this film provides us with two great options. When in theaters, make sure you go to a coffee house or an ice cream shop because you may find yourself with plenty to talk about.
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
The name is the same. The premise is generally the same but the execution of the story takes a new path while beating to a new drum for a new generation in the remake of Sparkle Instead of Harlem the setting is Detroit. Aside from some familiar songs,Carmen Ejogo (Jefferson in Paris) is the element bringsSparkle of old and new together with her performance as Sista. At time she embodies Lonette McKee yet she offers her own brand to the interpretation. Deep in my heart I wish she was playing opposite the acting chops the likes of the talent Mary Alice, the original woman cast as the mother of the three daughters. However, I understand this was Whitney Houston’s dream to make and it serves as a beautiful goodbye to a beloved singer. READ MORE
Film Producer TD Jakes and Singer/Actress Jordan Sparks
Robert Downey Jr. and Jude Law are back again as Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson for another caper. This go round, the film has a slower pace. One can’t help but compare the first Guy Ritchie production to the latest. Everything about the original film in the series was fresh and shocking but not so much this time. READ MORE.
The Film: Jumping the Broom is a witty, comical and oftentimes predictable movie about an African American couple that hail from two very different socio-economic backgrounds who get married in Martha’s Vineyard. The focus is primarily on the weekend of the wedding—of course, but is filled with heartfelt, tender and soulful moments. The movie stars Paula Patton, Angela Bassett, Loretta Devine and Laz Alonso. (READ MORE)
The Film: Eat Pray & Love- Based on the best seller, Julia Roberts plays the main character of Liz, a lost miserable soul. Pretty early in the film she realizes that her marriage is not for her but she rebounds into the arms of the gorgeous James Franco, a younger man. However, he is not the answer. She comes to conclusion that she needs time to be single and figure some things out. First a few months of indulgent eating in Italy and then a quest for spirituality(balance).
Eat Pray and Love is entertaining but is does not quite live up to the hype. Richard Jenkins, James Franco and Javier Bardem are the brighter spots in the film.
The Foodie: Liz had to learn to let go and enjoy life. She decided to enjoy the pleasures of food its ok if muffin top happens. We watched Liz stuff her face in Italy with proscuitto and melon, pizza and chicken carbonara then prepare an American Thanksgiving dinner turkey. Then we watched her eat naan in India and down a Thumbs up soda with Richard Jenkins. In Bali, unfortunately, we did not get exposed to their cuisine. However, coffee and rice are cultivated there.