“Get Ready To Dance… With Danger!”
Where last year offered some real quality additions to the genre of animation with films such as Inside Out already solidifying itself as a Disney classic whilst The Tale of the Princess Kaguya all but continued the riveting success of Studio Ghibli, this year has only succeeded in adhering to the well-established notion that animation is on the rise with last week’s Anomalisa being yet another wonderful piece of animated-driven cinema. Rivalling the success of both Disney and Studio Ghibli is that of DreamWorks Animation, with their latest venture, Kung Fu Panda 3 being a solid, highly entertaining continuation of the highly successful series in which a wholly impressive voicing cast lead the way to a variety of laugh-out-loud set pieces in which all family members can take something away from. In terms of the film’s plot, after being reunited with his long, lost father Li Shan (Bryan Cranston), Dragon Warrior Po (Jack Black) is required to take over the reigns of Master Shifu (Dustin Hoffman) and become the role of teacher, much to Po’s and and the Furious Five member’s bemusement. After coming under attack from the spirit warrior Kai (J.K. Simmons), Po must train under the wing of his father in order to defeat this legendary foe once and for all, training to become the teacher his master believes he can be all the way.
Of course, as with most DreamWorks Animation pictures, Kung Fu Panda is a delight to take in and admire visually, with fluorescent and vivid animation filling the screen in almost every section of the film’s incredibly family-friendly runtime. Wherein it may suitably pass the time and do wonders for the younger generation, in terms of its’ overall longevity and originality, it does seemingly go in one ear and come swiftly out the other, with the formula of the Kung Fu Panda franchise not exactly being broken to an extent that its’ third instalment could be classed as something excellent, yet for the time it is on-screen, Kung Fu Panda 3 is ridiculously enjoyable, with laughs and sniggers being constant throughout. That’s right, Kung Fu Panda is much funnier than Hail, Caesar! The kid inside me has been truly awoken. Kung Fu Panda is no mere masterpiece, but it does what it needs to and does it well. Pandas… ASSEMBLE!
Overall Score: 7/10
Throughout most of his rather bland and unremarkable career in film, Adam Sandler has at least managed to dial down his annoying and slightly repulsive acting ability to demonstrate how, if he chooses to be, he can actually be a solid comedic actor with some degree of talent, with my personal preference in his back catalogue being Big Daddy, a film, that although has a range of flaws, is rather funny in some places and overall, is a good solid comedy. Also, Little Nicky gets minor kudos for the hard-rock soundtrack and having Harvel Keitel as the devil. Now in 2015 however, we have The Cobbler, a film so muddled in its’ own mix of comedic and magical elements, that its’ almost the type of film you expect an actor of Sandler’s pedigree to be a part of, particularly when looking back at his most recent endeavors into cinema. Aside from The Cobbler not being funny throughout its’ overlong running time of 100 minutes, it is also one of the most boring experiences I have felt within film so far this year with the magical element that the film completely hinges on losing steam after about twenty minutes or so as well as being an element that settles more on the creepy, stalker side rather than the empowering, life-improving one. To be fair to Sandler, The Cobbler isn’t the worst thing he has ever done, but it might be the most boring, with Sandler himself actually being better than usual and not making me want to hang myself every-time he is on screen. So overall, not awful, but not any good either.
Overall Score: 3/10
If you’re looking for a new movie to get your teeth into, Chef is going to be your cup of tea. Just be sure to bring plenty of snacks as you’re going to come out with the cravings of a pregnant mother to be. If it’s not clear, Chef is about a Chef called Carl Casper (Jon Favreau) whose known as one of the best cooks in one of the best restaurants in LA. With world renounced Food blogger; Ramsey Michel (Oliver Platt) ridiculing him and his work, the job becomes too much for him and he embarks on a journey from Miami to LA in an old Taco truck selling the most delectable Cuban sandwiches with the help of his friend Martin (John Leguizamo) and son Percy (Emjay Anthony) in a bid to bring back the meaning to his life and become the father he wants to be with the aid of social media.
So you’re probably wondering where the various big names come into play. Inez (Sofía Vergara) is Carl’s ex-wife and Percy’s mum. Inez’s previous husband; Martin, played byRobert Downey Jr. is a character that is irrelevant. Merely a seat filler whose only role in the movie is to hand over the taco van to our protagonist with a little comedic scene thrown in for good measure. Much the same can be said about Scarlett Johansson and her role as Molly the head greater and waitress who has had a relationship with Casper and then disappears of the face of the earth when the story develops. The loss of the characters and possibly story avenues left me questioning what could have developed and how heavily they were played upon by sexualising both of them simply to fill seats and bring a few of Favreau’s friends along to play. With the overpriced cameos, the acting was alright. I don’t feel that there was any exemplary cases especially considering that I’ve seen little of Favreau’s other acting projects to really decide if he was any good. My strong annoyance with many movies are young kid this is due to the fact that the children are typically terribly annoying characters and actors. Now, Percy was a little different. At times he was annoying as both a character and an actor yet the majority of the film he was fairly good.
Billed as a comedy, I was expecting a lot more from it in that department. What humour existed was light hearted and genuinely funny and was portrayed through interactions rather than the typical slapstick that we are usually inundated with so it’s refreshing to see something that isn’t trying to polish a turd. I’m looking at you James Franco. However, at points Chef doesn’t feel like a comedy. Drama seems to dark and adventure to extreme. Perhaps a family adventure summarises it best, much like Walter Mitty but with less daydreaming and world travel. The ambiguity of the genre is nothing in the grand scheme but perhaps its variation has allowed it to become individual.
The overall outcome of the movie works together brilliantly. With some gorgeously bright scenes and a huge variety of shots of the mouth-watering food with a blend of music that is catchy and aids in livening up the travel scenes. Then the additional social networking shots that include the Twitter bird flying off into the sky was a great extra! It’s genuine individuality and charming story alone is enough to warrant a watch and the comedy just increases that potential. Chef is a fantastic movie and deserves 8/10.
What did you think of Chef?