Tag: Twitter

CHEF: The Best I’ve Seen in 2014

Ladies and gentlemen, I watch a lot of movies and I try to be blunt and brutal in my critique. Jon Favreau’s latest, CHEF, was a masterpiece and the finest slice of cinema I have digested in 2014. The movie season is starting to find its legs so there will be more and the last month has produced some fine films, but CHEF was something else. A special blend of comedy, food lovers delight, old school storytelling, great acting and crackling sharp dialogue. Here is my review.




Running Time-115 minutes

Written and Directed by Jon Favreau

Cast-Jon Favreau, John Leguizamo, Sofia Vergara, Bobby Cannavale, Scarlett Johnansson, Dustin Hoffman, Emjay Anthony, Oliver Platt and Robert Downey Jr.

Plot-When Chef Carl Casper (Jon Favreau) suddenly quits his job at a prominent Los Angeles restaurant after refusing to compromise his creative integrity for its controlling owner (Dustin Hoffman), he is left to figure out what’s next. Finding himself in Miami, he teams up with his ex-wife (Sofia Vergara), his friend (John Leguizamo) and his son to launch a food truck. Taking to the road, Chef Carl goes back to his roots to reignite his passion for the kitchen — and zest for life and love.

Buffa’s Take-Great food can make a fine palate for heartfelt filmmaking, and Jon Favreau has created a masterpiece here with his latest, Chef. The title of the film is as simple as it gets and when cooking is done right, master chef’s stick to the basics and go where their heart takes them. Favreau sticks to genuine funny character interaction, a juicy script, great ensemble acting and a sure handed direction. Chef is easily the best film I have seen in 2014 and one of those films you simply want to root for and push into the street and urge people to be a part of.

The opening of the film hooks you instantly, with Favreau’s long time “El Jefe” Carl Casper slicing through veggies, fish and assorted fruits as he preps his kitchen for a day of service. Favreau must have gone to culinary school because the man’s love for food here is no act and is invested with something personal and romantic. The best cooks love their food as much as they appreciate the next gasp of oxygen and we get that right away with this guy. Casper is a lion in a growing world, and wants to open his creative recipes up on the high end Los Angeles customers at his restaurant, but the owner (a signature stern and blunt Hoffman) wants him to stick to his old boring menu of classical dishes. Casper wants to spice it up, and when his restrictions lead to a legendary food blogger trashing his food, the chef’s life crumbles.  He finds his mojo again in a food truck and that’s when the film takes off.

The food indeed plays a supporting role, but Favreau wisely integrates the rapid growth of social networking into the film’s story. Twitter plays a huge role in Casper’s collapse and his ability to rise up. As a writer who hinges his work and interaction on the social media site, it’s great to see a filmmaker putting it front and center and taking his moviegoers to school on how powerful the underground media and social party hound site has become. Tweets are shown above the characters like Archie comics as they type away and it’s not a gimmick. Favreau is telling you how it is but doing it with classy appeal and wise comedy so the story of redemption never seems too far away.

The film never gets too heavy and keeps the engine moving but the scenes between Casper and his son, Percy(a sharp newcomer in Anthony) bring an equal dose of emotion and suave confidence. A father teaching his son not only the ropes of cooking but the high appointed tasks of making a living and doing something you love.  The two actors are better than two performers showing chemistry. They convince us that in some far off land they could be embody these two desperate souls.