Monday 11 December 2017

gone for rout

Comedy/Drama. Starring Melissa McCarthy, Susan Sarandon, Allison Janney, Kathy Bates, Toni Collette, Sandra Oh, Dan Aykroyd, Nat Faxton, Mark Duplass, Gary Cole. Directed by Ben Falcone. Cert 15AOh dear - what to do about Melissa McCarthy? With an Oscar nomination for Bridesmaids and two subsequent hits with the awful Identity Thief and the marginally less dreadful The Heat - plus a cameo in the abysmal third part of The Hangover - she's established herself as a genuine comedic presence in 
Hollywood. The only problem is that she's found herself utte rly typecast.McCarthy's roles to date have been confined to those of a large lass possessing no social skills and prone to potty-mouthed outbursts. So, what can we expect from her first leading role? Well, she plays a large lass possessing no social skills and prone to potty-mouthed outbursts. Oh dear.lazyMcCarthy has no one else to blame for such lazy typecasting, considering she's an executive producer of Tammy and co-wrote it with her husband, Ben Falcone, who also directs this dire excuse for a comedy. The opening scene sets the tone as we see the titular character driving in a beat-up car, listening to 80s rock and stuffing her face with crisps. Suddenly she hits a deer, is late for her job in a fast-food outlet, gets fired by her boss and throws a most unfunny tantrum in front of the customers. To compound matters, she then discovers that her husband (Nat Faxton) is having an affair with a neighbour (Toni Collette), whereupon she goes home to her mother (Allison Janney) and embarks on a road trip with her alcoholic grandmother (Susan Sarandon). Good God, Susan Sarandon is playing the sexy granny role now?There could be some weird riff on Thelma & Louise going on, but it's lost amid lame pratfalls and a tone that veers close to mawkish at times. You get the feeling this began as a much more serious film until the studio suits suggested that audiences really just want to see the large lass falling over and swearing at people, with the result that some slapstick scenes feel like they've been stitched in during re-shoots. There are some odd diversions - a trip to a "lesbian Fourth of July party" hosted by Kathy Bates - but the balance between mush and messing about is never properly established. Tammy is a waste of a fine cast and a waste of everyone's time.RATING: HIIIICHEFDrama/comedy. Starring Jon Favreau, Sofia Vergara, John Leguizamo, Scarlett Johansson, Dustin Hoffman, Oliver Platt, Emjay Anthony, Robert Downey Jr. Directed by Jon Favreau. Cert 15AAnyone who thought the lovely Indian movie The Lunchbox would be hard to beat as the best food-related film of the year (the less said about The Food Guide to Love the better) had better rethink their bets as this low-key charmer gives it a good run for its money.Writer/director/star Jon Favreau takes time out from delivering Hollywood blockbusters to return to his indie roots with a story that's hardly the most original in 
the world but eases its way along with 
consummate ease.Favreau plays Carl Casper, a one-time hotshot chef who's stuck in something of a rut through the conservatism of his LA restaurant owner (Dustin Hoffman). Following a blazing row with a snooty food blogger (Oliver Platt) that goes viral, Carl loses his job, but his ex-wife (Sofia Vergara) persuades him to travel to Miami to restart his career with a food truck provided by her other ex-husband (Robert Downey Jr, paying back Favreau for the first two Iron Man movies) and bond properly with their 10-year-old son, Percy (Emjay Anthony).So, with Percy and former sous-chef 
Martin (John Leguizamo) in tow, Carl returns to LA via New Orleans and Austin, cooking up a storm along the way. Chef combines the tropes of several movie genres - road trip and father-son bonding chief among them - but is done with such heart that it's impossible to be too sniffy. Above all else it's acted superbly and gives a genuine sense of the love and work that go in to creating great food under difficult circumstances. By the way, make sure you eat well beforehand or you'll be chewing your arm off halfway through this understated delight of a film, such is the way the joy of good food is represented.RATING: HHHIICYCLING WITH MOLIEREDrama/comedy. Starring Fabrice Luchini, Lambert Wilson, Maya Sansa, Camille Japy, Laurie 
Bordesoules. Directed by Philippe le Guay. Cert 15Athe synopsis for Cycling with Moliere might have you thinking this is a parody of a French arthouse movie. Two actors meet at a rundown farmhouse on Normandy's Ile-de-Rey to discuss a forthcoming performance of Moliere's Le Misanthrope, talk about life and art, cycle and fall for the hot Italian woman next door. And yes, you'd probably be right on that score, but there's much more to this.The performances are outstanding, with retired thespian Serge Tanneur (Fabrice Luchini) reluctant to step into the spotlight again, while Gauthier Valence (Lambert Wilson) has swapped the stage for fame in a soap. Thus, professional and personal jealousies surface over the course of their week together, the fact that the pair agree to swap the two chief roles in the play blurring the differences between what they're rehearsing and what's going on between them. Luchini, despite making his name as a classical stage actor, has magnificent comedic chops, while Wilson, in the straighter role, conveys the exasperation of a man caught between popularity and his craft. The sparring between the pair is a joy, the setting spectacular and the Sunshine Boys aspect of the story leaves Cycling with Moliere wide open for a Hollywood remake.RATING: HHHHILOVE ETERNALDrama. Starring Robert de Hoog, Pollyanna McIntosh, Amanda Ryan, Emma Eliza Regan, Declan Conlon, Xenia Katina. Directed by Brendan Muldowney. Cert 18With certain exceptions, Irish movies have a hard time gaining an audience. This is particularly true of Irish arthouse movies, lucky to drag a couple of hundred hardy souls to the IFI or Lighthouse. However, when the chief themes of such a film are mental illness and necrophilia, I can't really see the cineplexes dumping Mrs Brown's Boys D'Movie.Brendan Muldowney's last film, Savage, was an efficient and suitably nasty revenge thriller, but here he's adapted a Japanese novel, In Love with The Dead, and come undone.The central performance from Robert de Hoog as a death-obsessed young man who, as a boy, found a girl hanging in the woods but didn't report it, is fine as we follow his descent into madness. Intending to commit suicide, on a couple of occasions he takes the corpses of women back to his house and pretends to have a relationship with them. A chance meeting with Naomi (Polyanna McIntosh) hints at some form of redemption, but even the relatively sympathetic treatment of such dark material is unlikely to gain this film anything but a very niche following.RATING: HHIIITransformers: Age of Extinction 
was screened too late for this column's deadline.

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