Review by Cole Groth
Jeff Chan's 2019 thriller Code 8 is an underrated modern science fiction film. After a crowdfunded campaign led to a feature adaptation of his 2016 short film, the film was released to modest reviews. To see it get a sequel five years later is certainly a surprise. It's fun, interesting, and slick. If you haven't seen it and discovered its existence because of Netflix's release of Code 8: Part II, I'd wholeheartedly recommend you watch both that and this film! Picking up a few years after the ending of the first one, Jeff Chan has directed a sequel that feels delightfully updated for modern times and looks a whole lot slicker than before.
Both films occur in Lincoln City, Oregon, in the late '90s. In this world, some people are "power-enabled," giving them various superpowers. Society used to make them perform labor for them, but automation eliminated their jobs, forcing them to turn to a life of crime to make ends meet. Picking up after the events of Code 8, Part II sees Connor Reed (Robbie Amell) back to his lowly ways. The LCPD has created a new era of attack robots meant to hunt down every last power-enabled person. After Connor discovers a young girl (Sirena Gulamgaus) on the run from the police, Connor makes it his duty to protect her.
Simply put, this is a lot like a technologically-focused version of Logan. It's gritty and intense, playing more as a thriller than the first film did. It feels a little stuck in generic city at points: corrupt cops, crazy chase scenes, and occasionally lazy dialogue. The point is, this isn't pushing many boundaries, but sometimes the comfort zone is the best place for a movie to exist.
Like the first film, both Amells are great. Robbie Amell plays the friendly, protective hero perfectly, and Stephen Amell the bad guy gone good. Sirena Gulamgaus is great, alongside Alex Mallari Jr. Unfortunately, Robbie Amell isn't focused on quite as much as he was on the first one. We spend a little too much time on the secondary characters that, at points, the focus slips from what it should be on.
Since the budget was so small for Code 8, it's incredibly impressive how good this movie looks in comparison. The special effects and cinematography are much better than before, with the Netflix budget showing through each scene. It's sleek and exciting, full of this intensity of a filmmaker who can finally afford to live out the true scope of his vision. Jeff Chan has improved on the first film in many ways. It explores new avenues without losing what made the original so good.
If Code 8 was an undiscovered gem, I hope that Code 8: Part II will bring it into the limelight. Both films are excellent science fiction flicks, and each stands on its own while forming a thoroughly thought-out story. As far as Netflix's original sci-fi films go, this is one of their best. It provides solid social commentary on the modern police state and is a fun ride. Fans of the first will undoubtedly love this, but it also offers a fresh experience that those unfamiliar with the story can also love. Either way, it's certainly worth a watch.
Code 8: Part II releases on Netflix on February 28.
Review by Cole Groth
Inspired by a true story, Meg Tilly and Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret filmmaker Kelly Fremon Craig tell the story of Sharon Stevens (Hilary Swank), a recovering alcoholic hairdresser who finds a new purpose in life: saving the critically ill daughter of a recently widowed father (Alan Ritchson) in Ordinary Angels. Directed by Christian filmmaker Jon Gunn, this film feels a little overly sentimental at times. Still, it will make for great viewing for family or those looking for a story of everyday heroes doing something remarkable.
Ordinary Angels is one of those saccharine movies meant for your grandparents. It’s incredibly satisfying and fairly easy to follow. Bolstered by two knock-out performances from Hilary Swank and Alan Ritchson, the film presents a pretty easy format: there’s a big problem that Ritchson’s character faces, and Swank’s character finds a way to solve it. The problems mount up very quickly. Hundreds of thousands of dollars in medical debt, failing livers, snowstorms, you name it, and he probably had to deal with it.
The principal problem with a movie like this is that even though it’s framed through a true story narrative, it seems outrageous that anything like this could happen. I simply don’t believe that a woman could convince a group of hospital executives to forgive $400k in medical bills from one visit or get five CEOs to get private planes on standby to help out the little girl. It’s all a little too inspiring, and say what you will about how cynical that sounds; the film doesn’t do an amazing job of making the unbelievable stuff seem believable.
Even if it doesn’t seem entirely believable, I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t emotional towards the end. Tilly and Fremon Craig’s script brings a great deal of sincerity, and Gunn also handles the emotions quite nicely. It’s perfectly illustrated to have everything come together in an almost magical way towards the end.
I mentioned earlier that Gunn’s a Christian because he does a great job incorporating religion into the film. Hollywood doesn’t quite understand how to integrate Christianity into movies, and it’s important that films like this recognize it as a very helpful thing for some people. Ritchson’s character is anchored through his religious beliefs, which is believable, and Swank’s character is not. This is what life is like, and it’d be nice if other movies could do this.
Life is so miserable nowadays, and maybe nostalgia isn’t the best way around it, but it’s also necessary to remember that movies are supposed to be an escape. Do you want to feel happy during this bleak winter? You’d be well off watching this. If you’re looking for something to see with your mother that doesn’t push any boundaries and is just decent overall, Ordinary Angels is that movie.
Ordinary Angels releases in theaters on February 23.
Review by Cole Groth
Jennifer Lopez is ready to bare it all on her ninth album. After her recent marriage to Ben Affleck, she's ready to tell everyone the "greatest story never told" with an Amazon Prime subscription in This is Me… Now: A Love Story, a narrative version of the album of the same name. To fans of the pop icon, this serves as a love letter to you. It's a sweeping and audacious story of Lopez's hopeless romanticism and deserves praise for being such a wild vision. It's a little full of itself at times and sometimes so bizarre that it verges on insanity, but it is an ultimately interesting journey worthy of a watch.
This Is Me… Now is what the title promises: Jennifer Lopez's story of her life… so far. Here, she plays a fictional version of herself as a young woman navigating her life as a former love addict who, after three divorces, finds herself no longer to love. We navigate between reality and fantasy as the film crosses from Earth to the celebrity-filled Zodiac council, who are trying to make her fall in love again. It's an inspired story that moves through the album fairly well.
The album itself, at least shown in the film, is fine. This isn't exactly the place to review albums, so I'll refrain from covering that here, but none of the songs are particularly noteworthy. There's plenty of great choreography for each sequence, and while each could serve as a pretty good music video, they're brought down overall because they were all produced simultaneously.
Now, if you expected some sort of grounded story of love, prepare to be slapped in the face with one of the most ridiculous movies of all time. It's such a viscerally strange experience that ultimately works more than it doesn't. One second, Lopez is sitting in a sterile therapist's office. The next, we're sitting in the Zodiac council chamber with Trevor Noah, Post Malone, Keke Palmer, Sofia Vergara, Neil DeGrasse Tyson, Jane Fonda, and Kim Petras hitting on each other and talking about star signs to justify why Lopez keeps getting engaged. So much of the film is made up of CGI straight from a Robert Rodriguez movie, and it honestly adds a lot of charm to it. It's campy in a way that is actually worthy of praise.
Now, one of the fundamentally difficult things about watching a story about Lopez's life is that through all of her emotional struggles, she's clearly this obscenely wealthy woman. This obviously isn't supposed to be a relatable story, but it gets especially strange as we watch Lopez mouth along to The Way We Were on her weirdly CGI-ed television while lounging in a three-story megamansion. It creates this discordance between fans of Lopez and regular human beings. Fans of hers will understand the struggle and enjoy it because it's uniquely her story, but people who aren't obsessed with her work will find some of this eye-rolling.
At only 65 minutes long (more like 55 because the credits are obscenely long), This Is Me… Now is worthy of a watch for its sheer audacity. It's not the best musical and could use lots more work to be more appealing from an auditory and visual perspective, but Lopez has created something pretty special here. If one of the biggest singers of all time can make a movie look this impressively weird, hopefully, this will encourage others to do the same. Maybe Taylor Swift's upcoming movie will be some gonzo science fiction thriller instead of a grounded drama.
This Is Me… Now: A Love Story releases on Amazon Prime on February 16th.
Review by Cole Groth
Fans of Joe Keery will remember his ridiculous turn as a murderous streamer in Spree a few years ago. To those who enjoyed that, you'll be interested in his equally wild character in Marmalade. There's plenty of romance, crime, and drama in this twisty heist film, but the twist ending is ultimately too confusing and undermines the sweeping story set up by the first two acts.
Marmalade follows Baron (Keery), who's recently been imprisoned. He recounts his life story to his cellmate Otis (Aldis Hodge). Most of the film is one big flashback, showing us Baron's romantic connection with Marmalade (Camile Morrone), a free-spirited woman with a mean streak who convinces Baron to turn to a life of crime to save his mother. Throughout the film, we learn that Otis might have a vested interest in Baron and Marmalade's story.
Keery is pretty good in the film. He lays down this corny southern accent but overall feels authentic as the affably dumb hopeless romantic suckered into a life of crime. Hodge also lays it on thick, sounding like a generic black guy from the hood written by an out-of-touch writer. However, like with Keery's accent, this is explained away as being intentionally ridiculous. Morrone is pretty brilliant, too. She's this great combination of intensity and cunning who's a consistently great presence on screen.
Although the big twists at the end can be fun, they leave the film with zero rewatchability. When the first 70 minutes of a 100-minute-long movie are undermined by a twist, it makes the whole experience feel like a waste of time. This sort of twist would work much better in a TV show, and there were times when I was just hoping the film would be longer to allow the final act to breathe. It just feels like a corny twist that would've been better off on the cutting room floor.
There's some interesting commentary on the pharmaceutical industry and how evil its price-gouging practices are. It feels lost in the grand scheme of things but gives the movie some much-needed depth. It's a shame that it only gets tackled in depth toward the ending because it's confusing to listen to a bunch of ham-fisted lines about why greedy pharmaceutical CEOs are ruining America after car chases, bank robberies, and complicated FBI plans to take Baron down.
Marmalade needs polish on its script. It's torn between being an occasionally funny satire on modern American country living and a wild crime thriller full of twists and turns. While the twist leading into the third act is too stupid to be forgotten, it's made up for by a nicely satisfying ending. It's interesting, to be sure, but too muddled to be a truly good crime/thriller.
Marmalade releases in theaters and on VOD starting February 9.
Review by Cole Groth
To put it simply, Founders Day is fine. People with a proclivity for campy kills and stupid dialogue, this film is for you. For those uninterested in slashers or who aren’t already fans of this genre shouldn’t use this as the slasher benchmark because it’s a tonally confusing mess for the most part. With a few decent scares, this is only a bit worse than your average slasher flick.
Founders Day tells the story of a small town shaken up after a masked killer begins hunting down the various townspeople in the days leading up to an unusually intense mayoral election. Twists and turns ensue. There are plenty of characters to follow, but the leads here are two teenagers, played by Naomi Grace and Devin Druid. Rounding out the cast is a smattering of decent actors waiting to be slaughtered, including William Russ, Amy Hargreaves, Catherine Curtin, Emilia McCarthy, Jayce Bartok, and Andrew Stewart-Jones. Each character is pretty interesting, and most are nicely acted.
The biggest place this film struggles is in its politics. It’s nice that the movie is trying something new with a political twist, but it falls flat because of its lack of nuance. There’s a generic asshole politician who’s a clear stand-in for Donald Trump. He’s brash and obnoxious — a clear villain from the start. It’s all so eye-rollingly evident from the get-go and has nothing new to say. Even if it’s pretty cringeworthy, another big fault is that it doesn’t go far enough with the politics. It’s just cringy enough to be noticeable but not ballsy enough to go all out.
As far as the kills go, this is decent. There are a few creatively inspired deaths and a few standard ones. It’s a good mix; this is where slasher fans will enjoy the film. The kills are just silly enough to be fun but also scary enough to be taken seriously. That said, the special effects on so many of the kills fall flat. Digital blood is used in a few kills and looks absolutely ridiculous. Some of the practical stuff is weird, too. There’s one throat-slitting kill where the knife slides at an odd angle. It takes you out of the immersion, and that’s important for horror films.
Like the kills, the technical stuff is a mixed bag as well. The cinematography is pretty good, but the lighting is all off. Sometimes, it’s a visually interesting film. Other times, it’s plain and uninspired. The score is generic as far as slashers go. Don’t go into this expecting a great-looking movie. The editing is a little manic, too. Sometimes, it’s hard to follow. The big killer reveal at the end is convoluted but also plenty of fun.
By the end of it all, Founders Day amounts to a campy yet mostly enjoyable time. If I had to describe it briefly, it would be “Scream if it was political and much worse.” The kills are alright, the characters aren’t very good, and the writing sucks. It’s a little forgettable but ultimately a little better than its worst moments. Again, if you enjoy this genre a lot, you might have a good time. If you don’t like them, you definitely won’t like this, either.
Founders Day releases in theaters starting January 19.
Review by Cole Groth
Have you ever gone out swimming all alone at night? After watching Night Swim, I doubt you ever would again. This creepy Blumhouse production is the first wide release of 2024, and if it’s any indication of how the year will go, we’ll be fine. It’s certainly better than your average studio horror flick. With great scares and a fresh premise, this horror film is worth the dive.
Night Swim is the directorial debut of writer/director Bryce McGuire, who made a short film of the same title a decade ago. The premise is simple: after being pushed out from his life as a professional baseball player because of an MS diagnosis, Ray Waller (Wyatt Russell) and his family, including wife Eve (Kerry Condon), daughter Izzy (Amélie Hoeferle), and son Elliot (Gavin Warren), settle into a new house. It’s a quaint home in a lovely city. The only problem? The pool’s haunted.
Typically, films with this type of silly premise don’t embrace what’s advertised and find a way to turn it into your average ghost story. Here, the pool is haunted, and McGuire does not lose focus of that. It works very well because it’s a believable story. The family starts experiencing scary things when they swim in the pool at night, but they’re initially hesitant because why would anything bad happen in their pool? When things get too freaky, Eve works with her children to figure out what’s happening. Meanwhile, Ray is drawn to it because of the mysterious healing properties helping him with his illness. There are a few moments where the film drags, and at a 98-minute runtime, you can’t help but wonder if it would be better at an even 90 minutes. Outside of that, though, there isn’t much to complain about.
For a PG-13 horror movie, this is full of surprisingly great scares. There’s a good combination of your typical jump scares, creepy monsters, and weird blood things, keeping the film feeling very original. It’s not afraid to get gory, but it also isn’t a gross experience. There’s one particular scare toward the end of the film that, without spoiling anything, works so well that you almost wish the rest of the film was intense. McGuire does an excellent job of balancing body horror with ordinary scares and crafts a horror experience worthy of a big-screen watch.
On a technical level, there’s a lot to appreciate here. The cinematography stands out as particularly interesting, with cinematographer Charlie Sarroff taking advantage of the creepiness of being alone in the water at night. The set design is great because the home and pool used by the family in this film actually feel lived in. It’s a little thing, but so many movies fail to make homes feel like actual places of residence, and that’s not the case here.
Night Swim ticks all the boxes you’d want from a horror movie. First and foremost, it’s scary. It doesn’t rely on one method to get you out of your seat and instead crafts a creepy narrative that’s original in its scares. It’s nicely shot and has great performances. Kerry Condon, in particular, stands out. McGuire is confident in the premise of his film, which makes it work so much better. His script has plenty of well-timed jokes that cut through the tension, but he never once makes a joke out of the creepy pool where the film takes place. It’s an all-around solid experience that earns its title as the first good theatrical release of 2024.
Night Swim releases in theaters starting January 5.
Review by Cole Groth
If you were offered $1 million to survive a 30-day hunt for your life, would you take it? Probably not. If Andy Samberg offered you this opportunity and added in a loophole, allowing you only to be hunted when you’re completely alone, would you take the chance now? Jake Johnson proposes this absurd and fascinating concept in Self Reliance. Johnson’s directorial debut matches the humor from his acting career but fundamentally misses the mark since it doesn’t take anywhere near full advantage of the concept.
In this comedy, we follow Tommy (Johnson), a so-so man whose dull life takes an exciting turn after being proposed the earlier-mentioned idea. He has 30 days to live, all while trying to keep somebody by his side to keep him alive. At first, his family refuses to help him because they think he’s going insane - which is a little silly because Tommy doesn’t seem like the kind of guy to lose his mind this completely.
Several days go by without any hunters in sight, but once he spots somebody coming after him, he hires a homeless man (Bill Wiff) to always be by his side. Thus, no hunters come after him. After the film becomes a little boring, Johnson introduces Anna Kendrick’s character of Maddy. Maddy also claims to be a part of the game, leading the two to pair up in an effort to beat the game together. Again, though, with 30 days of the game to be played, the premise becomes stale very quickly.
The issue with this movie is that the hunters never feel like a threat. In fact, they aren’t even much of a thought in the background. We know they exist because the film keeps flashing a counter to show us how many days are left, and the characters talk about it constantly, but Tommy rarely has to survive these attackers, and when they do come after him, it’s lame. The 30 days of survival is too long of a time period because we skip through weeks at a time with almost nothing happening. If he made the game take place over a week and instead spent more time each day, the film would feel much more thought out.
As far as the cast goes, Self Reliance works. Johnson is a very funny leading man, playing Tommy with a level of sincerity that helps the film from feeling too goofy. Bill Wiff is hilarious as the homeless man turned sidekick for survival. Anna Kenrick is underutilized and doesn’t quite give the film her all — although it’s plain to see that her character’s writing holds her back, too. Andy Samberg makes a couple of brief appearances and steals the show every time. The rest of the cast does a pretty good job, but nothing is too notable.
Self Reliance is decent on a technical level but, again, will leave you feeling ‘meh’ after watching it because some great action sequences would’ve elevated the film to something so much more. It ends up feeling a little like a first draft of the finished product because there aren’t enough jokes to keep you laughing throughout the lack of thrills. With a better script behind it, this has a lot of potential to be great, but what stands is a funny movie without much to keep it feeling like the dark comedy it desperately wants to be.
Self Reliance releases in theaters for one night only on January 3 and hits Hulu on January 12
Review by Cole Groth
A new champion has emerged between Adam Driver’s two biopics where he puts on a ridiculous Italian accent in Michael Mann’s Ferrari. This isn’t to say that the film is a masterpiece — neither one is. But, where House of Gucci was a dreadfully stupid movie that never found its footing, it has a somewhat clear vision and an incredibly compelling story. Here, Mann directs the life of Enzo Ferrari, splitting the film into two distinct pieces. The first is a slightly dull, soapy story of the automotive mogul, with the second being a thrilling action piece about racing. The second piece works a lot better than the first.
Enzo Ferrari was an incredibly complicated and powerful man. In this film, we see his chaotic life choices play out: a decade-long affair has forced him into a double life with his wife, Laura (Penélope Cruz), and lover, Lina (Shailene Woodley). After the death of his first child with Laura in 1957, his declining marriage with her, and the impending demise of his company, Enzo decides to enter his team into the Mille Miglia to bring the Ferrari brand back into the limelight.
Driver, Cruz, and Woodley are all pretty fantastic in their roles. Driver and Woodley are hindered by these gaudy Italian accents, but Cruz shines in every way. The three weave a complicated love triangle that feels authentic. It’s one of the best portrayals of an affair I’ve seen in a movie because of how the three interact. Enzo cares for both Laura and Lina while engaging in his double life. He’s in a complicated relationship with the two that works because of his chemistry with each actress.
There’s a scene toward the film’s end where everything comes to a head. It’s one of the most shocking scenes in a biopic in a while, and I’ll refrain from spoiling it because it’s the moment where the film moves from being a somewhat average biopic to something much better. Mann spends most of the movie with as little grandeur as possible. He strips away any of the bells and whistles that directors like Ridley Scott or Adam McKay bring and, in a scene, decides to bring them back together. It’s an incredible moment and one of the better ones of the year.
The film’s editing is the biggest boon to it being a masterpiece. Mann struggles with balancing the exciting racing stuff with the dramatic interpersonal relationships. Both are good on their own but are so juxtaposed that they feel like two separate movies. There is also some iffy special effects stuff, most notably in the earlier-mentioned shocking scene, that took me out of the film’s realism, but otherwise, the production design is very well done.
Ferrari is a little all over the place. Anchored through great performances from the leading three and some killer racing sequences, this biopic of a larger-than-life personality is mostly a winner. This will undoubtedly be a controversial watch for many, but it’s certainly not a bad film. It’s been eight years since Mann released his last movie, and while this one is a little underwhelming, his return to film is a Christmas present of its own.
Ferrari releases in theaters on December 25.
Review by Cole Groth
Anthony Hopkins has had an incredible career resurgence in this last decade. After receiving the Oscar for his pitch-perfect turn as a dementia-addled father in The Father and becoming the oldest-ever winner of an acting Oscar, he's pumped out eight films. While these films have varying quality, one thing is undeniable: he's one of the greatest living actors. Freud's Last Session is similar to his recent films. It's a decent movie with an interesting enough script, but without Hopkins, it would fail.
Freud's Last Session is an adaptation of a stage play based on a book called The Question of God by Armand Nicholi. It follows a fictional meeting between the founder of psychoanalysis, Sigmund Freud (Hopkins), and British author C.S. Lewis (Matthew Goode). The two engage in a series of back-and-forth discussions on the nature of God, politics, sexuality, and a great deal of other things. This comes at the end of Freud's life, giving him plenty of time to reflect, making this somewhat of a biopic of one of the most influential psychologists.
One of the problems of this kind of psychological discussion in film is that too many things are tackled, leaving many topics decidedly underdeveloped. This is where writer/director Matthew Brown misses the mark. It feels a little like he's trying to inject his own beliefs into those of these men, who have been very intricately detailed, and at times, it's too silly to take seriously. Freud and Lewis's theological discussions are incredibly corny in certain moments. That being said, there's a lot to take out of this. It's fun to play along with the film, listen to both sides of the argument, and see who you agree with.
As I've established, this film works primarily on Hopkins' performance. This is pretty much two hours of scene-chewing, and for those interested in these types of stage plays that consist of almost only dialogue, this will hit the right mark. Hopkins is balanced nicely with Goode's excellent performance as Lewis. The two spars at a believable pace and excellently embody their characters. Liv Lisa Fried, Jodi Balfour, and Jeremy Northam make up the supporting cast and are decent enough, neither sticking out for being particularly strong nor weak in their roles.
The ultimate issue with Freud's Last Session is that the script doesn't feel genuine enough. For starters, it feels like a pretty standard day in the lives of Freud and Lewis. The two engage in some interesting debate and leave. It's not quite impactful enough to feel like a movie. The debate the two engage in feels too blunt, especially given how they masterfully used language in their times. It's clear that this was written from a modern perspective, and sometimes, that makes the film feel too silly to be fully enjoyable. That said, there's still a lot of interesting stuff tackled in the screenplay, making it a net positive.
If you're a lover of Anthony Hopkins eagerly waiting for another outstanding performance from him, you won't be disappointed with this aspect of Freud's Last Session. The script manages to squeeze in a lot of psychological debate within two hours, but it's not polished enough to be as good as its potential. It's a little corny, overlong, and slightly dull, but it's still an interesting enough movie worthy of a watch for Hopkins alone.
Freud’s Last Session releases in theaters December 22.
Review by Cole Groth
Few films have emerged throughout history as delicious-looking as The Taste of Things. It’s one of the year’s most exhilarating culinary experiences wrapped in a fantastically warm romantic drama. Beautifully written, shot, and staged, it’s hard to find a flaw here. Directed by Trân Anh Hùng, this film, nominated as France’s entry for the Best International Film Oscar this year, is an absolute must-see for foodies and cinephiles alike.
Set in the idyllic 19th-century French countryside, The Taste of Things follows a chef, Eugénie (Juliette Binoche), who cooks for a powerful restauranteur, Dodin (Benoît Magimel). As Dodin engages in a series of high-society engagements, with accompanying feasts served up by Eugénie, we watch a romance unfold between the two. It’s a tender and beautiful relationship, oozing with this sentimentality the French are famous for. Their relationship goes through trials and tribulations as Eugénie develops a mysterious illness.
If it isn’t abundantly clear already, the heart and soul of this film come from the food. French chef Pierre Gagnaire served as the culinary director for this, and where many other food-forward films like Chef or Big Night have thrived before in classy presentation, this film blows it out of the water. It feels like you’re a fly on the wall at a three-Michelin-star restaurant during a tasteful dinner rush — dish after dish gets pumped out, each more creative than the last. There’s a fantastic mix between classic cooking and new, inspired choices. It’s exquisite viewing that hurts a whole lot on an empty stomach as you feel truly immersed in a journey of culinary artistry.
Outside of the deliciousness of the in-film food, the romance is genuinely remarkable. Binoche and Magimel were previously married and have a daughter together, so it’s unsurprising that they have a ton of chemistry on screen. It’s a romantic drama that’s fully sincere and heartwarming. The development between the two leads feels simple and works all the better for it. At a little over two hours, there’s a lot of time to develop the relationship between the two. What makes this movie so great is that Hùng’s script is free of any cynicism, giving the two characters time to exist in the glory of each other.
The Taste of Things is a dizzyingly gorgeous film on all fronts. The romance is tender and heartfelt, the food looks incredible, and even outside that, it’s beautiful. Everything is washed in a golden light. The cinematography is simple and focuses on the petite beauties of these characters’ worlds. The kitchens feel lived-in but dreamlike at the same time. It’s a deceptively simple movie that draws you in with a gorgeous exterior and will melt your heart afterward.
On all accounts, The Taste of Things is destined to become a classic. It’s easily one of the best culinary films of our time and perfectly balances deliciousness and romance. Hùng quietly delivers a powerhouse directorial performance, supported by his fantastic screenplay and the perfect duo of Binoche and Magimel. This complete sensory experience should be seen on the big screen.
The Taste of Things releases in theaters on February 9 after a qualifying run beginning December 13.