Chef

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I’m a big fan of the Iron Man movies, so in turn I became a big fan of Jon Favreau. Those films are a perfect balance of action and story with a touch of humour on the side. When I heard that Favreau would be releasing a new film away from the superhero genre, I was expectedly excited.

Chef follows Carl Casper (Jon Favreau), a chef at a high-end restaurant, who quits his job when he receives a poor review after not being allowed enough creative license by his controlling restaurant owner (Dustin Hoffman). He then decides to open up a food truck specialising in traditional Cuban food with the help of his son, Percy (Emjay Anthony), ex-wife (Sofia Vergara) and chef-friend, Martin (John Leguizamo). They tour the country as their popularity increases with the help of an ever-growing social media presence.

The film is a foodies delight with delicious cuisine being served up at ever corner. This, and a mildly funny script were the only things that won me over in the two hours I spent in the theatre. A very clichéd storyline, along with average grade acting and some pacing issues made me continuously look at my watch throughout. The fact that two big named stars in Scarlett Johansson and Robert Downey Jr were used so sparingly gave the impression that they were included only to draw in a crowd. The ending was cheesy and really countered the little development we saw in the characters. The constant push of Twitter and other social media gave it the impression that Favreau was trying just too hard to be cool.

It’s a feel good film, I’ll give you that – but a chocolate bar costs $2 and makes you feel pretty good too.

CONCEDED PASS.

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Transcendence

 

Directed by Wally Pfister

Ever since Ross mentioned the concept of living on as an AI after we die in that episode of Friends, I’ve been kind of fascinated with the idea. When I saw the trailer for Transcendence a couple of months ago, I sat prepared, waiting in eager anticipation.

The story surrounds Dr Will Caster (Johnny Depp), a highly renowned researcher in the field of Artificial Intelligence, who is targeted by technology-resistant terrorists. After he is tactically taken down, his wife Evelyn (Rebecca Hall) and close friend Max (Paul Bettany), both fellow researchers, manage to upload his consciousness to a highly powerful super-computer.  This artificial Dr Caster, however, develops a seemingly endless thirst for power and knowledge, sending the whole world into craze.

I was really hoping to like it.

Reeaaallly hoping.

Whilst the concept was entertaining enough, there were endless problems with the writing. Huge pacing issues, minimal character development and rather confusing story arcs left me asking myself “wait, what?” far too many times. Also, anyone with a minimal scientific grounding could poke holes in story left, right and centre. The acting was sub-par, which was disappointing considering the talent on display. Only the mildly entertaining special effects – which were kind of ridiculous in itself – made it an acceptable two hours to sit through.

In truth, Transcendence is like fitting a Ferrari without an engine. It’s flashy and pretty, but with nothing to power it home.

PASS.