Thursday, May 22, 2014

THE CHEF (5/21/14)

Saw THE CHEF written and directed by Jon Favreau -a "Foodie Road"
film - riches to rags to riches (through an unconventional path,) while maintaining one's creative integrity is the underlying theme of this delightful and very entertaining movie. Has something in it for everyone to love: an adorable child actor/get up and dance latin music/closeups of colorful and sizzling food/ and cameos by Scarlett Johansson/ Dustin Hoffman/Robert Downey Jr. etc. 

I relished viewing the food preparation - the art of chopping up veggies, the subtle delicacy of making a Grilled Cheese sandwich with that very special touch. Jon Favreau, John Leguizamo and Emjay Anthony were naturals and became a solid team. BUT I like to write about movies that I can chew on for days to come. This one is a tasty appetizer!

Thursday, May 15, 2014

LOCKE 5/16/14

Steven Knight, a filmmaker whose work I deeply respect (EASTERN PROMISES AND DIRTY PRETTY THINGS) has done something unorthodox; he has written and directed LOCKE, a movie which runs for 90 minutes on the shoulders of a singular actor Tom Hardy (Ivan Locke) in one location - a car - whose life unravels before us while he is driving to London. There is suspense, tension and psychological mood swings that encompass a universe of emotional stillness, despair and resolution.

Ivan Locke is a builder whose love for the material he works with - cement - is akin to an artist’s passion for the viscosity and the tactile quality of paint/clay; both are aware of the importance of the strength of the foundation for the future integrity of structures. We meet a man who is a “righteous” individual - who prides himself on being conscientious, painstakingly meticulous and in “control” of his life.Tom Hardy’s one-man performance is stunning in that we see on his face the spectrum of life’s unexpected caprices and jolts episodically flitting across his moods, like nature’s fleeting atmosphere.

The other characters in the film are only heard - voices projecting rage, anxiety and dreams that are both realized and broken; their contrasting tones resonating in the tight enclosure. The car phone is Hardy’s connection to life-changing events in the microcosm that is his world. We also get insight into Ivan Hardy’s personal relationship with his father and the disillusionment with him is deeply anchored into the bedrock of who he is, and who he tries to be today - pushing back against his own familial history. 

The cinematography is both beautiful and strangely enigmatic with extreme close-ups of objects inside and outside the car becoming mysteriously decomposed; lights from other cars create a montage of saturated color and chromatic intensity transporting and confusing our sense of space and expectations of what exactly are we looking at.

Life’s fragility is conceded - one “wrong” act; one misjudgment has repercussions. To do the honorable thing has repercussions as well. Ivan Locke tries his best to straddle this vulnerable human dilemma; in so doing he reveals his inner turmoil with exquisite grace and sensitivity. A belief that has steadfastly sustained him throughout adulthood - a faith in the construction of his personal architectonics -  is now threatened and solutions are uncertain.