CHEF [2014] [Blu-ray + Digital ULTRAVIOLET] [UK Release] Funny and Touching! Wonderfully Feel-Good! Robert Downey Jr. is Awesome!

Jon Favreau [Screenwriter, Director and Producer] leads a hilarious all-star cast including Sofía Vergara, Scarlett Johansson, John Leguizamo, Bobby Cannavale, Dustin Hoffman, Oliver Platt, Robert Downey Jr. and young actor Emjay Anthony in this deliciously entertaining comedy about starting from scratch. When gifted chef Carl Casper [Jon Favreau] suddenly quits his demanding job at a trendy Los Angeles restaurant, he's on his own to pick up the pieces of his once promising career. Finding himself in Miami, he decides to team up with his successful ex-wife [Sofía Vergara], best friend [John Leguizamo] and son [Emjay Anthony] to launch a no-frills food truck business. Taking to the road, Carl Casper reignites his passion for the kitchen, and along the way, discovers a renewed zest for life and love.

FILM FACT No.1: Awards and Nominations: 2014 Tribeca Film Festival: Win: Audience Award for Narrative for Jon Favreau. 2015 AARP Movies for Grownups Awards: Win: Movies for Grownups Award: Best Comedy. 2015 Broadcast Film Critics Association Awards: Nominated: Critics Choice Award for Best Actor in a Comedy Movie for Jon Favreau. 2015 Casting Society of America, USA: Nominated: Artios Award for Outstanding Achievement in Casting – Studio or Independent Feature for Comedy for Sarah Finn and Tamara Hunter (associate). 2015 Guild of Music Supervisors Awards: Nominated: Best Music Supervision for Films Budgeted Under 25 Million Dollars for Mathieu Schreyer. 2015 Location Managers Guild International Awards: Nominated: Outstanding Achievement Award for Outstanding Locations in a Contemporary Film for Kei Rowan-Young.

FILM FACT No.2: Jon Favreau wrote the script after directing several big-budget films, wanting to go "back to basics" and to create a film about cooking. Food truck owner and chef Roy Choi served as a co-producer and oversaw the menus and food prepared for the film. Principal photography took place in July 2013 in Los Angeles, Miami, Austin and New Orleans.   

Cast: Jon Favreau, John Leguizamo, Bobby Cannavale, Emjay Anthony, Scarlett Johansson, Dustin Hoffman, Sofía Vergara, Oliver Platt, Amy Sedaris, Robert Downey Jr., Russell Peters, Chase Grimm, Will Schutze, Gloria Sandoval, Jose Caridad Hernandez, Alberto Salas, Alfredo Ortiz, Daniel Palacio, Mauricio Del Monte, Leonardo Da Nilo, Nili Fuller, Charles Lao, Benjamin Jacob, Aaron Franklin, Gary Clark Jr., Roy Choi, Chad Bird (uncredited), Maria F. Blanco (uncredited), Santos Caraballo (uncredited), Rachel Faulkner (uncredited), NM Garcia (uncredited), Michael P Gardner (uncredited), Sandy Garza (uncredited), Julian Graham (uncredited), Joshua Gutierrez (uncredited), Priyom Haider (uncredited), Leigh M. Harris (uncredited), Noa Lindberg (uncredited), Quintin McKemie II (uncredited), Teebone Mitchell (uncredited), Leonardo Montelongo (uncredited), Scott Mulvania (uncredited), Chris Nuñez (uncredited), Rigo Obezo (uncredited), Gustavo I. Ortiz (uncredited), Elbin Palencia (uncredited), Jay Pennington (uncredited), Tanner Priest (uncredited), Xavier Ramirez (uncredited), Gary Teague (uncredited), Carlos Valenzuela-Durr (uncredited), Minn Vo (uncredited), Kristin Miller White (uncredited) and William Shannon Williams (uncredited)

Director: Jon Favreau

Producers: Anne Sheehan, Boris Teterev, Craig Chapman, Dylan Russell, Gleb Fetisov, James D. Brubaker, Jason Rose, Jere Hausfater, Jerry Fruchtman, John Bartnicki, Jon Favreau, Karen Gilchrist, Marina Bespalov, Mark Brooke (uncredited),  Mark C. Manuel, Molly Allen, Oleg Teterin, Olga Lesnova (uncredited), Peter Fruchtman, Philip Elway, Roy Choi, Scott Steindorff, Sergei Bespalov, Ted O'Neal and Tim Smith

Screenplay: Jon Favreau

Cinematography: Kramer Morgenthau (Director of Photography)

Image Resolution: 1080p

Aspect Ratio: 2.40:1

Audio: English: 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio
English: 2.0 Audio Description Master Audio Stereo
English: 2.0 Dolby Digital Stereo Audio

Subtitles: English and English SDH

Running Time: 114 minutes

Number of discs: 1

Region: Region B/2


Andrew's Blu-ray Review: 'CHEF' is far from the first film where a notable Hollywood figure, in this case, Writer, Producer and Actor Jon Favreau, has gathered up some of his closest pals and associates to make a passion project, but it's certainly the most successful example of it in recent memory, as this movie is a delight to watch virtually from beginning to end. It's the kind of film you wish Hollywood would make a lot more of a risky idea, and was there a big demand for a film about a chef? Yes of course and why not, as it turned into perhaps one of THE best film on Jon Favreau's résumé, and yes, I'm including the first `Iron Man' in my assessment.

Jon Favreau stars as Carl Casper, a chef who works in a trendy Los Angeles restaurant, but who feels pigeonholed by the restaurant owner of the said establishment Riva [Dustin Hoffman], who insists Carl Casper doesn't branch out with the menu, but instead sticks with the same-old menu, that has been making the restaurant money for years. When an online food critic Ramsey Michel [Oliver Platt] decides to come in and review the place for his blog, Carl Casper wants to try a whole new menu, but the owner Riva [Dustin Hoffman] insists he stick with the current one. The result is a scathing review by the critic, which turns into a Twitter war with Carl Casper and results in him being fired from the restaurant.

Carl Casper's home life isn't a whole lot better than his working one. He's a divorced dad to his son, Percy [Emjay Anthony], but still very close to his ex-wife, Inez [Sofia Vergara]. Inez has been telling Carl Casper for years that he should give up on the restaurant business and start his own food truck, and Carl Casper's firing provides the perfect opportunity to try the idea out. The second half of 'CHEF' has our primary characters traveling from Los Angeles to Miami, where Carl Casper establishes a food truck business, then decides to drive it back across the country and making a name for himself and his menu along the way.

There's nothing particularly complicated or perhaps even fresh, other than the cooking angle, about the screenplay here, but it's obvious that the actors are having a lot of fun playing their parts, and that enjoyment is translated to the audience. Jon Favreau has employed a small tribe of Hollywood notables for his film, including and in addition to those already mentioned, Scarlett Johansson, John Leguizamo, Bobby Cannavale, in a hilarious dry-witted cameo and Jon Favreau's and old pal Robert Downey Jr., who gives a very brilliant [but sadly] short performance. It's also worth noting that while 'CHEF' is certainly a comedy; it's not a comedy in either a “one-liner” or slapstick sort of way. Rather, it finds humour in everyday life and circumstances, which I think is why the film very much appealed to me so much. Despite all the star power, the movie and its characters feel “real.”

Although I usually don't dissect any single scene in a film and especially via my Blu-ray Reviews, because there is one in 'CHEF' that I think everyone will want to check out. It comes about half-way into the film, and it's the point where Carl Casper and his critic nemesis Ramsey Michel come face to face, with Carl Casper basically unloading a diatribe on the critic about how he does all the hard work, while all the critic does is write about how horrible his efforts and results are. I couldn't help but think, and I'm guessing I'm right, that this was Jon Favreau's sly, or perhaps not so sly way of taking a moment in his film, to rail on all such critics per say, who have panned his films over the years. It's a really terrific over the top fun scene, as Jon Favreau also did a totally brilliant job with his awesome Sci-Fi film ‘Cowboys & Aliens.'

'CHEF' is a surprisingly entertaining fun film, and one that is actually more family-oriented than its Adult Rating would initially lead a viewer to think. At its most basic, it's a road movie that shows how Chef Carl Casper [Jon Favreau] starts up a food truck operation, making Cuban sandwiches, to find the creative spark that's been absent from his well-paid work at a Brentwood restaurant. By the time he's done, his whole family has gotten involved, and he's gone from Miami back to Los Angeles with his truck, sampling as much local cuisine as possible along the way. There's more to the story than that, but that's really all you need to know to start watching it. That and the fact that Jon Favreau and his team really enjoy well-prepared food. As someone who has had serious reservations about Jon Favreau being a director, I was pleasantly surprised to have a really terrific good time viewing the Blu-ray. It is my hope that viewers who haven't tried this Blu-ray out will do so now, as you will miss out on something truly special and very magical.


BROTHER JOHN IS GONE / HERC-JOLLY-JOHN (Written by The Wild Magnolias) [Performed by The Wild Magnolias]

TIRED OF BEING ALONE (Written by Al Green) [Performed by Al Green]

GET DOWN (Written by Ron Brown) [Performed by Freedom Express]

RUDY, A MESSAGE TO YOU (Written by Dandy Livingstone) [Performed by Grant Phabao, Carlton Livingston and The Lone Ranger]

I LIKE IT LIKE THAT (Written by Tony Pabon and Manny Rodriguez) [Performed by Pete Rodriguez]

LUCKY MAN (Written by Courtney Morrison, Nicole Sharpe, John Holt, Tyrone Evans and Howard Barrett) [Performed by Courtney John]

C.R.E.A.M. (Written by Dennis Coles, Robert F. Diggs, Gary E. Grice, Lamont Hawkins, Isaac Hayes, Jason Hunter, Russell T. Jones, David Porter, Clifford Smith and Corey Woods) [Performed by El Michels Affair]

CAVERN (Written by Scott Hartley, Richard McGuire, Salvatore Principato and Dennis Young) [Performed by Liquid Liquid]

HUNG OVER (Written by Charles "Packy" Axton, Leroy Hodges, Mabon Hodges, Johnny Keys, and Archie Mitchell) [Performed by The Martinis]

BANG BANG (Written by Joe Cuba and Jimmy Sabater) [Performed by Joe Cuba]

LA QUIMBUMBA (Written by Jose Caridad Hernánde) [Performed by "Perico" Hernández]

THE CHAMP (Written by Harry Palmer) [Performed by The Mohawks]

THE HUSTLER (Written by Willie Colon) [Performed by Willie Colon]

TOBACO y RON (TM Juke & The Jack Baker Trio Rework) (Written by Manuel Roche Dominguez) [Performed by Greenwood Rhythm Coalition with Luz Mob]

QUE SE SEPA (Written by Titti Sotto) [Performed by Roberto Roena y Su Apollo Sound]

ACID (Written by Ray Barretto) [Performed by Ray Barretto]

ALI BABA (Written by Louie Ramirez) [Performed by Louie Ramirez]

HOMENAJE al BENNY (Castellano Que Bueno Balia Usted) (Written by Alexander Delgado, Yosdany Jocab, & Fernando Otero) [Performed by Gente De Zona]

MI SWING ES TROPICAL (Written by Nicolas Desimone, Hector Alomar and Will Holland) [Performed by Quantic & Nickodemus feat. Tempo and The Candela Allstars]

BUSTIN’ LOSE (Written by Charles L. Brown) [Performed by Rebirth Brass Band]

SEXUAL HEALING (Written by Odell Brown, David Ritz and Marvin Gaye) [Performed by Hot 8 Brass Band] [Also Performed by Jon Favreau and John Leguizamo] (uncredited)

TRAVIS COUNTY (Written by Gary Clark Jr.) [Performed by Gary Clark Jr.]

WHEN MY TRAIN PULLS IN (Written by Gary Clark Jr.) [Performed by Gary Clark Jr.]

OH, DIDN’T HE RAMBLE (Traditional) [Performed by Rebirth Brass Band]

WEST COAST POPLOCK (Written by Roger Troutman, Larry Troutman, Mikel Hooks and Ronnie Hudson) [Performed by Ronnie Hudson and The Street People]

OYE COMO VA (Written by Tito Puente) [Performed by "Perico" Hernández]

Blu-ray Image Quality – 'CHEF' was shot digitally using a primarily ARRI ALEXA Cameras equipment and provides a pleasant, if short of stunning, transfer to this Blu-ray. There is a lot of warmth and colour to the film, but I'm happy to report that it never becomes oversaturated or overly bright, despite the rather lush Miami location, that takes up part of the second-half of the film. Skin tones are nicely natural-looking here, and consistent throughout, again, even when the film changes locations. Black levels aren't quite inky deep, but they're strong and shadow delineation is good and there aren't many dark scenes in ‘CHEF,’ but when there are, crush is never an issue. While the film doesn't quite “pop” the way the best video transfers do, but there is a decent amount of detail to be seen in most shots, and videophiles should be quite happy with what they get here. Please Note: Playback Region B/2: This will not play on most Blu-ray players sold in North America, Central America, South America, Japan, North Korea, South Korea, Taiwan, Hong Kong and Southeast Asia. Learn more about Blu-ray region specifications.

Blu-ray Audio Quality – LIONSGATE has delivered a stunning 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio track is the only one available here, other than the commentary track, and it's decent enough, although it really only comes to life during the films primarily Spanish/Cuban themed soundtrack. 'CHEF,’ as one can imagine, is heavy on dialogue and light on action, which means this is primarily a “talking” film. Dialogue is pretty much exclusively limited to the front centre speaker, meaning when the various musical numbers occasionally kick in, you may be reaching for your remote to turn things down, but do not, as it enhances the film and gives you a feel good feel about the film. In other words, there could be a better balance here between the spoken word and the musical background...but it's not the worst I've ever heard on a Blu-ray, although it is noticeable, and this is definitely a "Universal" thing, as I have other Blu-rays from them with similar soundtracks that plays this way. Aside from that slight caveat, this is a decent rendered brilliant audio track, with some nice activity and no noticeable technical issues or glitches.

Blu-ray Special Features and Extras:

Audio Commentary with Director/Actor Jon Favreau and Co-Producer/Chef Consultant Roy Choi: This is a really very entertaining scene-specific audio commentary with Writer, Director and Actor Jon Favreau and Co-Producer and real-life chef Roy Choi. Both take time to discuss the cooking seen on camera, and which at times it is Roy Choi’s hands at work and which at times it is Jon Favreau and he is quite honest throughout about what it took to get this film made, and Roy Choi is straightforward about how much of the fil is accurate or not about the work it takes to keep a food truck enterprise going. This is a fun commentary to listen to, just to enjoy the two personalities bounce off of each other. Given the participants, the commentary contains a lot of information about both the making of the road film as well as the food in it, so if you're looking to find out more about either, again this is a very enjoyable must hear listen audio commentary.

Special Feature: Deleted Scenes [2014] [1080p] [1.78:1] [10:30] Here you have a collection of seven deleted scenes, which can be viewed back-to-back or separately. All the scenes are completed, as opposed to rough cuts, but viewers will notice the colour timing is just a bit off when compared to the actual film. The deleted scenes consist of Farmer's Market [1:00]; Gauloises [0:30]; Amy Sedaris Outtakes [3:00]; Versailles Lullaby [2:00]; Cuban Coffee with Music [1:00]; First Fridays Setup [2:00] and Second Line [1:00].

BONUS: If you want to really enjoy this film even more, then you should and must go out and purchase CHEF [Original Motion Picture Soundtrack CD Album] [2014] as it will bring the film soundtrack to even more prominence, with totally awesome pleasure, as Jon Favreau personal had a hand in choosing the track for the film and cooks up a tasty food movie soundtrack in generous proportions and to make your mouth water even more, here is my Compact Disc Review, now read on . . .

Andrew's Compact Disc Review: Jon Favreau is back in the chair with his awesome road film ‘CHEF’ and with his latest CD Album compilation. It is a return to his indie music roots peppered with appearances from Robert Downey Jr., Dustin Hoffman, Scarlett Johansson and the irresistible Sofia Vergara. The Soundtrack Compact Disc Album, features a song selection by KCRW's own Mathieu Schreyer, perfectly mirrors the road trip. For each town, a sample of food and music: salsa-infused Miami to the sounds of Pete Rodriguez and the reggae beats of Grant Phabao, The Lone Ranger and Carlton Livingston, the unmistakable brass band groove in New Orleans with the Rebirth Brass Band and the Hot 8 Brass Band, the gritty guitar sounds from Austin courtesy of Gary Clark Jr. and, in Los Angeles, a West Coast classic hip-hop tune by Ronnie Hudson & The Street People, which is a great compliment to the fantastic character driven film, that is a 10 out 10 star rating. The physical Compact Disc is held in a high-quality DigiPak designed Cover Album which the artwork was designed by Robert Downey Jr. It also includes liner notes by the director and original recipes from Chef Roy Choi of Kogi Food Truck fame. "The eclectic mix of musical selections chosen by music supervisor Mathieu Schreyer is brilliantly brought together and the compilation Compact Disc combines a soundtrack full of Latin beats and New Orleans grooves and goes with a film that has a heart the size of Texas and the World. As an added bonus, you get printed inside the DigiPak CD cover is 3 Recipes by Roy Choi and they are: Cubano; Tostones with Chile Vengar and Salsa Verde and they sound fantastic and I think they were used in the film. If you want to see the Track Listing, then please search out my actual Compact Disc ‘CHEF’ Review via the Amazon web page. Like the brilliant awesome film, ‘CHEF' has you saying, "Food, glorious food!" This is what you will say about this totally brilliant Original Motion Picture Soundtrack CD Album, because it goes so well as a good compliment with ‘CHEF' the film Jon Favreau's good-natured culinary comedy directed film, which will works as an appetite stimulant. And where there's delicious food – there is plenty of well-prepared awesome 17 subline unabashed tracks that you will totally devour. But the only downer to this excellent CD Soundtrack Album is track 13. Gary Clark Jr.: When My Train Pulls In (Live in Austin), sadly this is the only one I really hated, as it is heavy rock and just doesn't do anything to me, as I cannot remember where it appeared in the film. But to sum up about this fantastic compilation CD Album, it is best to leave the last word to Jon Favreau in his printed [sic] Note From The Director on this inside of the DigiPak, because Jon Favreau says, "We were even able to combine some inspired soulful original recordings captured live on the set. Perico kicked off the filming with this timeless Cuban salsa. We also sought to break down the soundtrack to musical ingredients and mother sauces. Whether it was the original songs sampled by hip-hop "Cavern" and "West Coast Poplock" or genre-bending covers "C.R.E.A.M.," "Bustin' Loose" and "Sexual Healing." I attempted to do with music what chefs do with food. I wanted to create a layered menu that worked as a whole, while each course having its own playful personality. None of this should matter however. When I first sat down with Mathieu Schreyer, we tasked ourselves with assembling a soundtrack that could serve in place of score, but would listen like a playlist. You should be able to hit play and one song should roll into the next like an old vinyl album. If you find yourself grooving to the awesome 17 tracks, then we've done our job, says Jon Favreau. Highly Recommended!

Finally, `Iron Man' director Jon Favreau heads back to his roots and makes a brilliant low-budget film drama about a man rediscovering his passion and the things that matter most to him. 'CHEF' proved to be a delightful surprise from beginning to end. And there is a real joy to each and every performance of all the actors, apart from the son in the film, who at the beginning got on my nerves, but by the end of the film I warmed to him and gave a good performance, which makes for a film that's equally entertaining. You don't have to be a “foodie expert” to get satisfaction from this full course serving of cinema exuberance, especially from Jon Favreau. On top of all that, you have an excellent ensemble cast bringing this ultimate "feel good film," that is an all character driven script, bringing you an excellent performance all round and will give you a warm glow by the time the end credits disappear from the screen. Very Highly Recommended!

Andrew C. Miller – Your Ultimate No.1 Film Aficionado 
Le Cinema Paradiso 
United Kingdom

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