15th Oct2017

The Meyerowitz Stories (New and Selected) – Film

by timbaros

MeyerowitzStoriespic1-600x429A dysfunctional family deals with the illness of its patriarch in the new film ‘The Meyerowitz Stories (New and Selected).’

Including a cast of very famous actors, ‘The Meyerowitz Stories’ is, appropriately enough, about the Meyerowitz family, their lack of cohesiveness and irregularity in ways that gets a bit too much at times. There is constant yelling and a general unlikeability (and lots of continuity errors) in this film that could’ve been made by Woody Allen (it’s written and directed by Noah Baumbach).

Dustin Hoffman is Harold, the patriarch of a family with children who come from different mothers. The children include Adam Sandler, who is very good as Danny. With no place to live due to bad luck, he decamps back at the family home with Harold’s fourth wife Maureen (Emma Thompson). Danny has a daughter who is Eliza (Grace Van Patten), a college student studying film who makes raunchy and disturbing lesbian films, even though she’s straight. Matthew (Ben Stiller) lives in Los Angeles and is a powerful and wealthy businessman with a family of his own. Then there’s the miscast sister Jean (Elizabeth Marvel), whose awkwardness in appearance and behavior alludes to an abnormal upbringing. When Howard falls ill and is sent to the hospital, all hell breaks loose. Matthew flies in to be by his father’s side (with eyes on selling the family home for big bucks), and it’s him and Danny and Jean who practically fall apart and can’t cope, not only because their father is gravely ill, but also because of the mess their relationships, with each other, and with their father are in. Very bad shape doesn’t even come close.

‘The Meyerowitz Stories (New and Selected)’, brought to us by master storyteller Baumbach, is one film that’s a bit hard to sit through. While all the actors are fantastic in their roles, the script is, as mentioned, a bit too much to take, and a bit unbeiveable. There’s also a scene where Sandler completely damages a car in broad daylight, in front of the hospital where his father is, but is not challenged or arrested. And it’s get very overdramatic in the hospital scenes where we know that all is going to be ok in the end. It’s worth a watch for the fine acting but that’s about all.

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07th Oct2017

London Film Festival Press Conference for “The Meyerowitz Stories: New and Selected”

by timbaros

IMG_3562

As part of the The 61st BFI London Film Festival, today there was a press conference held at London’s glamorous Corinthia Hotel for the film “The Meyerowitz Stories: New and Selected.” Attending were the film’s stars Dustin Hoffman and Adam Sandler, as well as writer and director Noah Baumbach.

“The Meyerowitz Stories: New and Selected” is the gala for the Laugh strand of the festival. In the film, Dustin Hoffman plays a moody patriarch in a film about a screwed-up New York family. To suggest that sculptor Harold Meyerowitz (Hoffman) is a model father would be pushing it. His adult children, like his artistic career, have not exactly met his expectations, but he has succeeded in selling them a rather delusional version of his own achievements. His eldest son Danny (Adam Sandler) is coasting through life while Harold’s daughter Jean (Elizabeth Marvel) enjoys being in the background. Matthew (Ben Stiller), who live on the West Coast, is very successful. Meanwhile, there is Harold’s drunk bohemian fourth wife Maureen (Emma Thompson). It’s pure dysfunction all the way, more so when Harold winds up in the hospital and everyone has to decide what’s best for Harold, together.

“The Meyerowitz Stories: New and Selected” is out in UK cinemas on October 13, 2017.
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02nd Apr2016

The Program (DVD)

by timbaros

the_program_132489Director Stephen Frears brings us the rise, and fall, of cycling champion Lance Armstrong in the new film ‘The Program.’

We all know Armstrong’s story: winner of the Tour De France for a record seven times after surviving what was supposed to be a fatal diagnosis of stage 3 testicular cancer; and suspicion and later a confession by him that yes, he did dope on every tour that he had won. Based on the book called ‘Seven Deadly Sins: My pursuit of Lance Armstrong’ by Sunday Times Journalist David Walsh, ‘The Program’ takes us through Lance’s career highs, and eventually, his very low lows. But for being a cycling film about competition, stamina, drugs, celebrity, and money, its not a very exciting film.

Walsh is played by Chris O’Dowd, and ‘The Program’ is his story told through his eyes and how he uncovered what is the biggest doping scandal in sports history. It’s about how he pursued and investigated Armstrong and was persistent in finding evidence that Armstrong was doping.

‘The Program’ begins in France in 1993 where 21-year old Armstrong (played by a determined Ben Foster) is riding his first Tour de France. He’s young, cocky and confident, but two years later he’s diagnosed with cancer. Determined to come back better than ever, Armstrong pushes himself to the limit, and he fully recovers enough to go back to professional cycling. But he starts taking EPO (Erythropoietin), a drug that makes athletes go faster. It’s a drug that he procured from a French pharmacy and later from French doctor Michele Ferrari (Guillaume Canet). But Armstrong makes one mistake while he’s in the hospital for his cancer treatment; he tells the attending doctor about all the drugs he is taking or taken, including the EPO. His friends, fellow rider Frankie Andreu (Edward Hogg) and his wife Betsy (Elaine Cassidy) overhear this and Betsy questions Andreu who has told her that he as well has taken EPO. During this time a team doctor has been caught with performance enhancing drugs, which leads the police to raid the Tour only to discover that drug use is normal.

Armstrong fully recovers and is asked to be part of the U.S. Postal Tour de France Team. Armstrong, and the rest of team, are blatantly doping. In ‘The Program’ we see deliveries to their trailer, needles put into shoes and, after injected, put into soda cans. Meanwhile, Walsh is hot on the tails of Armstrong. He tries to convince his editor that his instincts are correct, and says “Is it real or is it dope?” At the same time, Armstrong creates a cancer charity called Livestrong, where we see, in the film, him giving speeches to raise money for the charity.

Armstong wins not just one, not just two, not just three, but seven Tour de France championships in a row – the most ever wins in a Tour de France. In the meantime, Dr. Ferrari is arrested by the police for his illegal drug dealings. And Walsh finds a link between Ferrari and Armstrong that makes his case, and story, more credible. Fellow teammate Floyd Landis (Jesse Plemons), who was part of Armstrong’s team and who doped as well, and who wins the Tour de France in 1995, has his blood tests come back positive for testosterone. He’s stripped of his title, and Armstrong doesn’t accept him into the next year’s team, which becomes the catalyst for Landis to confess about the Armstrong, and the rest of team’s dope usage. Meanwhile, the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency starts investigating Armstrong. At press conferences, Armstrong vehemently denies doping. But almost everyone in the rooms knows he’s lying. And Eventually Betsy (former rider Frankie Andreu”s wife), and others seek out Walsh to tell him all they know about Armstrong. Insurer Bob Hamman (Dustin Hoffman) has been hearing rumors about Armstrong, and if the rumors are true, will save his company $5 million in payouts to Armstrong for his win. It’s 2009, and Armstrong wants to make a comeback, and Landis ask to be let back onto the team, but Armstrong says no because he got ‘caught’ which becomes the Lloyd’s catalyst for Landis to confess about the rest of team’s (and Armstrong’s) dope usage. Meanwhile, Armstrong takes third place, very bitter that the new star on his team, Alberto Contador, has beat him. And Finally, we see Armstrong, after all these years, and allegations, on the Oprah Winfrey show, in which he tells her, and us, that yes, he’s been doping on every tour that he’s won. And hence his downfall, not just from racing, but from everything. Sponsors drop him right and left and his career, and perhaps his life, is left in tatters.

‘The Program’ follows the meteoric rise and dramatic fall of one of the biggest celebrities in the world of sport. But somehow director Frears misses his mark. Frears, who brought us the fantastic ‘Philomena’ and ‘The Queen,’ – both movies about two determined, strong and powerful women, doesn’t quite know how to grasp the story of a man who is conflicted by his quest for winning versus his choice to dope. His Armstrong is a bit of a cartoon character, a man who seems more possessed and less determined. And the women in his life are non-existant. There is Armstrong’s 2008 marriage to Anna Hansen in the film, but there’s no introduction to his first wife Kristine (with whom he had three children), nor his 2003 relationship with singer Sheryl Crow, nor his 2007 relationship with designer Tory Burch. Foster is fine as Armstrong, if a bit too passionate and overwhelmed, while O’Dowd is his usual self, dramatic and comedic when needed. But screenwriter John Hodge appears to have taken Walsh’s timeline of what’s in the book line by line without creating any dramatic license to make the film a bit more lively. And while there is exciting footage of bike races (and actual footage from the Tour de France), it’s not enough to make ‘The Program’ worth a view as it does not present us with anything new about Armstrong.



The Program [DVD] [2016] (DVD)

Director: Stephen Frears
Starring: Ben Foster, Chris O'Dowd, Lee Pace, Dustin Hoffman, Guillaume Canet
Rating: Suitable for 15 years and over

United Kingdom released, PAL/Region 2 DVD: LANGUAGES: English ( Dolby Digital 5.1 ), English ( Subtitles ), WIDESCREEN (2.35:1), SPECIAL FEATURES: Interactive Menu, Scene Access, SYNOPSIS: Ben Foster and Chris O'Dowd star in this sports drama about the Lance Armstrong doping scandal which was the subject of David Walsh's book 'Seven Deadly Sins'. Irish sports journalist David Walsh (O'Dowd) grows suspicious of professional cyclist Lance Armstrong (Foster)'s success, certain that he has been taking performance-enhancing drugs. As Walsh investigates, looking for evidence to prove his theory, Armstrong continues to deny his consumption of banned substances. The cast also includes Lee Pace, Dustin Hoffman and Guillaume Canet. ...The Program (2015)
New From: £4.69 GBP In Stock
Used from: £2.23 GBP In Stock

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19th Oct2015

The Program (Film)

by timbaros

UCP_01023_LARGE_PRESS SITE-2Director Stephen Frears brings us the rise, and fall, of cycling champion Lance Armstrong in the new film ‘The Program.’

We all know Armstrong’s story: winner of the Tour De France for a record seven times after surviving what was supposed to be a fatal diagnosis of stage 3 testicular cancer; and suspicion and later a confession by him that yes, he did dope on every tour that he had won. Based on the book called ‘Seven Deadly Sins: My pursuit of Lance Armstrong’ by Sunday Times Journalist David Walsh, ‘The Program’ takes us through Lance’s career highs, and eventually, his very low lows. But for being a cycling film about competition, stamina, drugs, celebrity, and money, its not a very exciting film.

Walsh is played by Chris O’Dowd, and ‘The Program’ is his story told through his eyes and how he uncovered what is the biggest doping scandal in sports history. It’s about how he pursued and investigated Armstrong and was persistent in finding evidence that Armstrong was doping.

‘The Program’ begins in France in 1993 where 21-year old Armstrong (played by a determined Ben Foster) is riding his first Tour de France. He’s young, cocky and confident, but two years later he’s diagnosed with cancer. Determined to come back better than ever, Armstrong pushes himself to the limit, and he fully recovers enough to go back to professional cycling. But he starts taking EPO (Erythropoietin), a drug that makes athletes go faster. It’s a drug that he procured from a French pharmacy and later from French doctor Michele Ferrari (Guillaume Canet). But Armstrong makes one mistake while he’s in the hospital for his cancer treatment; he tells the attending doctor about all the drugs he is taking or taken, including the EPO. His friends, fellow rider Frankie Andreu (Edward Hogg) and his wife Betsy (Elaine Cassidy) overhear this and Betsy questions Andreu who has told her that he as well has taken EPO. During this time a team doctor has been caught with performance enhancing drugs, which leads the police to raid the Tour only to discover that drug use is normal.

Armstrong fully recovers and is asked to be part of the U.S. Postal Tour de France Team. Armstrong, and the rest of team, are blatantly doping. In ‘The Program’ we see deliveries to their trailer, needles put into shoes and, after injected, put into soda cans. Meanwhile, Walsh is hot on the tails of Armstrong. He tries to convince his editor that his instincts are correct, and says “Is it real or is it dope?” At the same time, Armstrong creates a cancer charity called Livestrong, where we see, in the film, him giving speeches to raise money for the charity.

Armstong wins not just one, not just two, not just three, but seven Tour de France championships in a row – the most ever wins in a Tour de France. In the meantime, Dr. Ferrari is arrested by the police for his illegal drug dealings. And Walsh finds a link between Ferrari and Armstrong that makes his case, and story, more credible. Fellow teammate Floyd Landis (Jesse Plemons), who was part of Armstrong’s team and who doped as well, and who wins the Tour de France in 1995, has his blood tests come back positive for testosterone. He’s stripped of his title, and Armstrong doesn’t accept him into the next year’s team, which becomes the catalyst for Landis to confess about the Armstrong, and the rest of team’s dope usage. Meanwhile, the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency starts investigating Armstrong. At press conferences, Armstrong vehemently denies doping. But almost everyone in the rooms knows he’s lying. And Eventually Betsy (former rider Frankie Andreu”s wife), and others seek out Walsh to tell him all they know about Armstrong. Insurer Bob Hamman (Dustin Hoffman) has been hearing rumors about Armstrong, and if the rumors are true, will save his company $5 million in payouts to Armstrong for his win. It’s 2009, and Armstrong wants to make a comeback, and Landis ask to be let back onto the team, but Armstrong says no because he got ‘caught’ which becomes the Lloyd’s catalyst for Landis to confess about the rest of team’s (and Armstrong’s) dope usage. Meanwhile, Armstrong takes third place, very bitter that the new star on his team, Alberto Contador, has beat him. And Finally, we see Armstrong, after all these years, and allegations, on the Oprah Winfrey show, in which he tells her, and us, that yes, he’s been doping on every tour that he’s won. And hence his downfall, not just from racing, but from everything. Sponsors drop him right and left and his career, and perhaps his life, is left in tatters.

‘The Program’ follows the meteoric rise and dramatic fall of one of the biggest celebrities in the world of sport. But somehow director Frears misses his mark. Frears, who brought us the fantastic ‘Philomena’ and ‘The Queen,’ – both movies about two determined, strong and powerful women, doesn’t quite know how to grasp the story of a man who is conflicted by his quest for winning versus his choice to dope. His Armstrong is a bit of a cartoon character, a man who seems more possessed and less determined. And the women in his life are non-existant. There is Armstrong’s 2008 marriage to Anna Hansen in the film, but there’s no introduction to his first wife Kristine (with whom he had three children), nor his 2003 relationship with singer Sheryl Crow, nor his 2007 relationship with designer Tory Burch. Foster is fine as Armstrong, if a bit too passionate and overwhelmed, while O’Dowd is his usual self, dramatic and comedic when needed. But screenwriter John Hodge appears to have taken Walsh’s timeline of what’s in the book line by line without creating any dramatic license to make the film a bit more lively. And while there is exciting footage of bike races (and actual footage from the Tour de France), it’s not enough to make ‘The Program’ worth a view as it does not present us with anything new about Armstrong.

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08th Nov2014

Chef – DVD

by timbaros

851433-chef-movie-posterChef, now playing in cinemas, is a real treat, from start to finish.

Jon Favreau, who also wrote, produced and directed, plays Carl Casper, a chef in a popular Los Angeles restaurant. He’s in control of his kitchen, and proud of the food that he makes for his customers. However, one day a restaurant critic (Oliver Platt – who actually looks like a restaurant critic), eats in the restaurant and then proceeds to give it a bad review, lambasting Casper’s cooking, Not happy with this, Casper, at the urging of his son Percy (Emjay Anthony), opens an account on Twitter and starts tweeting bad things about the critic, picking up hundreds of followers in the meantime. Casper decides to give it another go with the critic, so via Twitter he invites him to the restaurant to eat a new menu he plans to prepare. However, this doesn’t go well with the owner of the restaurant (Dustin Hoffman), who says they will stick to the menu they’ve got and that if Casper doesn’t like it, he can walk away. Casper does walk away, much to the dismay to the rest of the restaurant staff, including Martin (a very well-cast John Leguizamo) and sous chef Tony (Bobby Cannavale). But Casper can’t stay away from the restaurant for two reasons, he’s dating the restaurant’s hostess (an unglamorous Scarlett Johannson) and he feels the needs to get even with the restaurant critic. So Casper decides to go to the restaurant the same night the critic is there, and, in front of all the customers and staff, yell at him and tells him he doesn’t know what good food is. After his rant, he is banned from the restaurant forever.

Deciding what to do next, besides spending lots of time with his son, his ex-wife Inez (an always good Sofia Vergara – who’s becoming quite the screen goddess) urges him to come with her and their son to Miami while she is on a business trip to take some time away and mellow out. While there, he comes up with the idea of a new business – a food truck selling Cuban food. He buys a run down and dirty food truck, and with the help of his son, fixes it up and calls it ‘El Jefe.’ Martin flies in and wants to be a part of the new business so together they create delicious Cuban food, especially Cubanos – a Cuban Sandwich of cheese and ham. With his son, they take the food truck on a road trip back to Los Angeles, stopping in various cities along the way. Thanks to Emjay, they have quite a following on Twitter and Instagram and it’s with social media where they pick up loads of customers along with way, with queues stretching down blocks in every city. Arriving back in Los Angeles, they’re a hit and have a new business.

While the story of Chef is very predictable and could’ve been guessed without me writing about the entire plot, it’s, of course the food that plays a starring role in the film. Beginning in the restaurant to Casper making a delicious meals at his home, the food looks vibrant and succulent and delicious. And the Cuban sandwiches want to make you have one after the movie, so if anyone knows where I can get one in London, please write in! The cast is very good, and credit is due to Favreau who wore four hats in the movie (5 if you count his cooking in the film, well I presume it was him cooking) and for creating what is a simple film into such a delight. The rest of the cast is fine, with Leguizamo and Vergara bringing a va va va voom Latin spice to the movie. All in all, Chef is a pretty good movie. Please go see it, and you will definitely want to eat after.



Chef [DVD] (DVD)

Director: Jon Favreau
Starring: Jon Favreau, John Leguizamo, Scarlett Johansson, Sofía Vergara, Robert Downey Jr
Rating: Suitable for 15 years and over

Chef [DVD] - DISC ONLY, does not include case or cover.
New From: £3.89 GBP In Stock
Used from: £1.00 GBP In Stock