6 posts categorized "Food and Drink"

January 27, 2018


ColeSmithey.comGroupthink doesn't live here, critical thought does.


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Thanks a lot acorns!

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Trip_to_spainMichael Winterbottom’s reliable comic road movie franchise, featuring Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon doing endless Michael Caine impersonations, is the best Cinema franchise going. The films are based on a British television sitcom from  2010. This third installment follows films where the duo toured northern England and Italy.

Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon play close versions of themselves while going on another food-and-culture tour. This time, Spain has the pleasure of accommodating, or absorbing, the funny men whose verbal wrangling is the wry stuff of brilliant British humor.


The competitive man/boys attempt to outdo one another. While waiting for their dinner to arrive Coogan creates a constant high-pitched hum while appearing to speak normally. Rob Brydon picks up the bit and pretends to not be able to hear Coogan because his hearing-aid battery has died. The goof leads into Brydon doing his signature “Small-Man-In-a-Box” voice, which lives in a universe of bizarre hilarity.


Coogan reports, “life affirming butter” over the gourmet meal the men share while trying to crack each other up. Steve’s not imbibing this trip, so Rob is left to savor great wines alone.

Brydon makes fun of Coogan wincing due to shoulder pain. “You look like a tentative Nazi,” Brydon says in a camp German accent. The carrot juice is served.

The Trip To Spain

Brydon draws blood when he holds out his fork with a piece of food that he informs Coogan, as his physician, of the good news that they’ve found the cyst and it’s benign, the bad news is that they’ve “found seven more of them.”

Steve Coogan just loses it, and so too does the audience. It's one of the funniest scenes I've ever witnessed.


The “Trip” films have the appeal of watching two comic masters riffing as you might experience while watching a Jazz duo (Ella Fitzgerald and Joe Pass, for example). Winterbottom puts a grace note of drama at the end that doesn’t fit the funny tone of the movie. It’s a mistake the director can fix during the next installment of this exquisite series of films.

Here's a freebie, courtesy of Steve Coogan. "Time flies like an arrow; fruit flies like a banana." Ba-dum-bump. Thanks Mr. Coogan, thank you very much indeed. 


Not Rated. 108 mins. 

5 StarsModern Cole

Cozy Cole

Cole Smithey on Patreon

March 03, 2012


Jiro-dreams-of-sushi-3As you might imagine from the documentary’s title, “Jiro Dreams of Sushi” is a character study/biography of a master sushi chef named Jiro.

The 85-year-old Jiro Ono’s 10-seat restaurant — located in the Tokyo subway system—has received dining’s highest ranking of three Michelin stars. Reservations are booked a month in advance. A true master of his craft, Jiro has taught his two sons to follow in his footsteps. Jiro’s oldest son Yoshikazu, 50, works directly under his father, preparing the most amazing sushi in the world.

Jiro Dreams of Sushi | Reading is Delicious

Director David Gelb provides a crash-course in the stratified world of Tokyo fish markets from which Yoshikazu chooses the very best cuts of fish. The master chef lives by a simple set of rules that include things such as maintaining cleanliness and taking his job seriously. Here is a man attempting to live as modestly as possible in the service of the work he loves doing.

The Masters Review | How “Jiro Dreams of Sushi” Teaches us to be Great  Writers

There’s nothing flashy about David Gelb’s serviceable rendering of a man who has achieved an unrivaled mastery of a cuisine he helped invent. You too might come away from the movie craving Jiro Ono’s sushi, whether or not you like raw fish.

Jiro Dreams of Sushi is a Delectable Treat | WIRED

Rated PG. 81 mins.

4 Stars

Groupthink doesn't live here, critical thought does.

This website is dedicated to Agnès Varda and to Luis Buñuel.

Get cool rewards when you click on the button to pledge your support through Patreon.

Cole Smithey on Patreon

August 17, 2011



Groupthink doesn't live here, critical thought does.

This ad-free website is dedicated to Agnès Varda and to Luis Buñuel.

Get cool rewards when you click on the button to pledge your support through Patreon. Thanks a lot pal! Your kind generosity keeps the reviews coming!

Cole Smithey on Patreon


Colesmithey.comLacking in purpose and logic "Toast" is an upside-down biopic from start to finish. British food writer Nigel Slater's memoir "Toast: The Story of a Boy's Hunger" provides the unbalanced recipe for television director SJ Clarkson to turn into a mumbling coming-of-age narrative.

Nine-year-old Nigel (Oscar Kennedy) grows up in England's West Midlands during the '60s with a pair of misfit parents who would make most kids run away from home. Nigel's asthmatic Mum (Victoria Hamilton) can't boil water; she hates vegetables. Dad (Ken Stott) treats Nigel with a disdain typically reserved for tax collectors. He occasionally gets violent. Nigel loves food, or at least the idea of food. In bed at night he pours over gourmet magazines as if they were girlie mags.


Just when Mum is coming around to encouraging Nigel's budding kitchen efforts she shuffles off her mortal coil, allowing Dad to hire Mrs. Potter (Helena Bonham Carter), a low class maid with a knack for whipping up culinary masterpieces. Given Nigel's passion for learning to cook, you might imagine he would befriend the housekeeper his father is destined to marry. Mrs. Potter could certainly teach the kitchen neophyte a thing or three. Instead, Nigel tries endlessly to one-up Mrs. Potter by making dishes to please his father's nonexistent palate for anything that doesn't come out of a can.

Toast,' About the Food Writer Nigel Slater - Review - The New York Times

Freddie Highmore takes over as the teenaged Nigel whose gay tendencies are kept at a back-burner simmer. When the moment comes that he makes his move on another boy, it practically comes out of left field. As a movie about sexual discovery, the toaster never gets plugged in. Highmore's performance leaves much to be desired. He acts as if he's doing punishment service for his agent.

MOVIE REVIEW: 'Toast' a warm coming-of-age tale - The San Diego  Union-Tribune

The film's simultaneously best and worst element is Helena Bonham Carter. Carter's Mrs. Potter is the most interesting and likable character in the whole film. But the audience is pitted against her by Nigel's illogical hatred of the one person who could and would help him in his quest to become a skilled chef. Most ironic is that Nigel Slater didn't even grow up to become a chef. Instead he became an author and broadcaster. No inkling of that trajectory is explained in a biopic that rings false on every note.

Toast (film) - Alchetron, The Free Social Encyclopedia

Not Rated. 91 mins.

1 Star

Cozy Cole

Cole Smithey on Patreon

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