7 Sep 2014

Rachel's choice

My lovely wife is currently spoiled for choice for films at the moment.  The Trip to Italy, My Old Lady, Boyhood, are all on her radar. However, by the use of science she narrowed her choice down to food porn + France.  And so today's review is .....


Hassan () and his family owned a successful restaurant in Mumbai until they were forced to leave India forever. The family traveled as refugees through Europe searching for a new life.  The family break down in a French town where Papa () discovers a disused restaurant where his family can start again. However, directly across the road is a Michelin Star restaurant ruled by the formidable Madame Mallory (). Despite Madame Mallory's meddling and objections, Papa and Hassan establish an Indian restaurant in the middle of France.   

Enuse spicey Hijinx

Director Lars Hallström's  previous works include; Salmon Fishing in the YemenWhat's Eating Gilbert Grape, Chocolat, and The Cider House Rules. Like Chocolat, The Hundred-foot Journey is not just about food tasting good, but food stimulating all your senses. 

In the film Hassan's mother said that "to cook you must kill"; "You cook to make ghosts". Good food stimulates your body and soul and can create strong memories, or ghosts if  you will. For many of us there are certain foods that create strong memories of home. It may be a cake, home made bread, or the way you mother made a tomato sandwich?  But eating those foods can conjure up ghosts of dinners past, and memories of home. 

Hallström's use of light and back drops exposes the viewer not just to the world of Hassan and his family, but their place in the world. I found it interesting that he could position Hassan's family into a long shot of the  French countryside and have it look comfortable, but put Hassan is a similar shot in Paris and make him look terrible. But that's the point though isn't it.  

It is a great cast and they work well together. There are few surprises in this film, except that there is more to it than you expect, and also it is not a farcical comedy based entirely on ethnic differences, and comical situations.

It is easy to use words like sumptuous, extravagant, "a feast for the eyes", I think I will go with a nice sweet little film. It is like a good lemon meringue pie, both sweet and tart in places but very enjoyable.  If you like Chocolat or fun food porn movies then you will probably love this. 

6.5 Monkeys

2 Sep 2014

Shadow and Hannibal meet Game of Thrones

Sounds like an odd mix but Bryan Fuller the writer and creator of such cult TV shows such as;  Pushing Daisies, Dead like Me and Hannibal  is the executive producer on the up coming series  American Gods based on the best selling novel of the same name written by one of my favourite authors Neil Gaiman

 According to an interview on craveonline, Fuller reveals that Neil Gaiman who is an executive producer will also be writing.

Much like the Game of Thrones HBO series, American Gods will be following the book closely but Gaiman wants to expand on the story so that fans of the book can expect surprises. It is rumoured that Gaiman wanted to write so much new material the network was a little concerned that it would depart too much from the source material.

I suspect that the Stars network will try and challenge Game of Thrones  popularity with American Gods.  Both have dedicated fans and while Game of Thrones  is a longer series than Gaiman's single novel, if you include the short stories and the Anansi Boys Novel  and the fact Gaiman is expanding well beyond the source material, American Gods  could run for six to seven series.

Except for the involvement of Fuller,  Gaiman and Michael Green (Heroes, The Green Lantern) ,there is not too much to tell.  Although I admit that any writer involved in the terrible green Lantern movie doesn't impress me, I am still very excited.

There is a currently a real renaissance of quality television productions, with high profile and talented stars both in front and behind the camera involved in shows that rival and surpass many films, I am excited and optimistic.