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Kyla’s Movie Review

CHEF (R) - Starring Jon Favreau, Emjay Anthony, Sofia Vergara, John Leguizamo, Bobby Cannavale, Dustin Hoffman, Oliver Platt, Amy Sedaris, Robert Downey Jr., and Scarlett Johansson. Directed and written by Jon Favreau. Carl (Favreau) plays a chef who started out ten years ago and has now fallen into a groove of fried scallops and lava cake. At the start of the movie, he is preparing for that night’s visit by the area’s most important restaurant critic (Platt), but the restaurant owner (Hoffman) won’t let Carl try something challenging. He wants Carl to play his hits. From the movie’s first moments, Favreau lets us know that Carl’s commitment is profound, that he’s a great chef, and that it would be a privilege to eat anything he cooked. At the same time, we recognize that he is going through a crisis, and that the crisis is on all sides, personal and professional. Later, when it’s all over, we can see the pathway out of the fog, but in the midst of it, we just share in the character’s dilemma - that he’s getting older, that he’s no longer the hot new thing, that he has no money, and that he’s ignoring his 10-year old son and feels guilty about it. Social media - mainly Twitter - has a recurring presence in the film. Every time Carl tweets something he shouldn’t, a little blue graphic goes twittering across the frame and off to do merry mischief. Favreau and Anthony share an interaction that is so convincing. Favreau’s delicious, full-hearted comedy is as close to food porn as it gets. Sexy close-ups of robust fare are luscious and you will leave with your mouth watering. RATING: B+

22 JUMP STREET (R) - Starring Jonah Hill, Channing Tatum, Ice Cube, Peter Stormare, Wyatt Russell, Amber Stevens, and Jillian Bell. This is the sequel to 2012’s 21 Jump Street. The original, loosely based on the 1980s television series, was about two police officers who went undercover at a high school to bring out the people behind a flood of illegal drugs. Part of the fun was that the former jock, Jenko (Tatum), had a lot of trouble fitting in while the former nerd, Schmidt (Hill), became popular. This time they are after an international smuggler known as the Ghost (Stormare), with whom they have a disastrous run-in with at the start of the film. So their boss, Captain Dickson (Ice Cube), decides to send them back to school… only this time it’s to a local college where a student has died in an incident involving a drug cocktail dubbed Whyfhy. According to Dickson, they are to do exactly what they did last time. It doesn’t quite work out like that, but the fact that the characters seem to be aware that they’re in a sequel is a cue to the audience not to take anything too seriously. At school, Jenko makes the football team and is pledged to a fraternity, bonding with Zook (Russell), who is one of their suspects. Zook and Jenko are so on the same wavelength that Schmidt starts becoming jealous. Meanwhile, Schmidt falls in with an arty crowd that prefers sipping fine wine to guzzling beer, and connects with Maya (Stevens) with hilarious results. There are also several amusing cameos, and a hilarious closing credit sequence. (There’s also a gag after the full credits so you may want to stick around.) Tatum and Hill have an unusual comic chemistry that works once again, and Ice Cube proves once again that he’s still funny. RATING: B

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