August 1, 2007

Foodies At the Movies

The Cinecultist is reporting to you today via free wifi from the second floor food court of the Whole Foods on Houston Street and thus it is fitting that we want to discuss No Reservations, a movie we saw last weekend. Foodies and cinephiles seem to be cut from the same bolt of cloth, and CC likes to think of ourselves as both a food and film fan. It's really all about Taste, a commodity that's important in our ever increasingly homogenized culture. However unlike the excellent Ratatouille, No Reservations is not about the quest for good taste. Rather, it's about how uptight, career driven girls should loosen up, listen to some opera and learn to Feel.

CC has some friends who are quite devoted to Catherine Zeta-Jones, or CZJ as they lovingly refer to the Welsh actress. While we've never been an unabashed fan, we did find her performance as Kate, a superstar perfectionist chef at a West Village boîte who has to care for her orphaned niece, to be quite charming. She really is lovely to look at, and her chemistry with her costars the square-jawed Aaron Eckhart and the cutie pie Abigail Breslin is believable.

So what's the problem?

No Reservations is yet another merely serviceable Hollywood romantic comedy. Two hours of mildly diverting entertainment floats by, but are we changed or moved? Hardly. It seems overly cranky to really get worked up about a movie like this. Sure, it's not as cute as the European original and its depiction of Kate's New York single life is wholly unrealistic but are either of these gripes those new arguments about mainstream cinema? Watching movies like No Reservations is probably why Janet Maslin went back to review books for the NYT—if yet another movie is neither really bad nor particularly good, what can you even say about it?

In other movie news, CC was saddened to hear we also lost Michelangelo Antonioni so shortly after Bergman. A film artist who brought us coal-eyed Monica Vitti on screen is someone to be sorely missed. Also, if you're curious about our opinion of Milos Foreman's Goya's Ghosts we wrote about it for the Movie Binge.

Posted by karen at August 1, 2007 3:32 PM
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