The Menu | Mikeylito’s Matinée | Mikeylito’s Multiplex

THE MENU stars Ralph Fiennes as Chef Julian Slowik, who has an exclusive restaurant named Hawthorne on an island off an unnamed coast.

We meet a young couple played by Nicholas Hoult and Anya Taylor-Joy, who are among 12 guests who’ve come to Hawthorne for what proves to be an unforgettable meal by chef Slowik and his crew.

Suppose you want to know absolutely nothing about this film going in. In that case, I’ll tell you that I recommend this film for the delightful performances of Fiennes as the celebrity chef who runs a tight ship. Also, Elsa, his majordomo and maitre’d, played with military precision by Hong Chau, a Vietnamese American actress you may have seen in Treme, Downsizing, HBO’s Watchmen, American Woman, and an Independent Spirit Award-nominated performance in Driveways. Finally, Taylor-Joy is Margo, a young woman who may not be who she is supposed to be.

For the rest of you, I won’t reveal too much more; however, several details have been shown in the trailer, which is one reason I’m calling out the marketing of the film.

Nicholas Hoult is a hoot as Tyler, who has invited Margo along for this culinary carnival.

Chef Slowik introduces each course with a story that amplifies the course his guests and we, as the audience, are about to consume. However, as the meal progresses, it gets stranger and continues until it becomes deadly.

Mark Mylod has fun directing this macabre tale. It turns out to be a game of cat and mouse between Chef Slowik and Margo while keeping the rest of the guests off-balance except for Tyler, who seems to be taking all of the evening’s events in stride, no matter how disquieting they may be.

Mylod has solid bona fides as a director, having directed three other films, six episodes of Game of Thrones, 12 episodes of Shameless, and 13 episodes of Succession. The script by Seth Reiss and Will Tracy is delightful and funny despite the horrid goings-on, and Adam McKay and Will Ferrill are attached as producers along with Betsy Koch and others.

Just talking about the movie has caused me to upgrade my rating, and I absolutely recommend the film. Rated R for strong/disturbing violent content, language throughout, and some sexual references, The Menu is a horror-comedy thriller for adults, and I’m rating it four stars, 8/10.


Author’s Note:
If you haven’t seen this trailer, don’t watch it.

Go into the movie knowing nothing.
You’ll thank me later.

Black Panther: WAKANDA FOREVER | M’kylito’s Matinée | M’kylito’s Multiplex

Aside from the animated What If series, the last time we saw T’Challa was at the close of 2019’s Avengers: Endgame at Tony Stark’s funeral. Black Panther: Wakanda Forever (hereafter Wakanda Forever) begins with T’Challa’s funeral.

Several reviewers have complained about the run time of Wakanda Forever, even though almost everyone agreed that this film had a significant burden on its shoulders. It had to explain what has happened in Wakanda and incorporate the real-life, real-universe death of Chadwick Boseman, who played T’Challa in four previous MCU films and several episodes of the aforementioned What If series. Many also felt it needed to bring some sanity to the disjointed Phase Four of the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

Since Endgame, several years have passed. In the intervening time, T’Challa has contracted a fast-acting disease, and Shuri (Letitia Wright), who, to this point, has been unable to re-create a synthetic Heart-Shaped Herb, is desperately trying to cure her brother. She fails, and her brother dies because she doesn’t have the Heart-Shaped Herb, artificial or natural.

This is an example of how Ryan Coogler, as director, story author, and co-screenwriter with Joe Robert Cole, avoids taking shortcuts in weaving the tapestry that is Wakanda Forever. Coogler and Cole could have easily written around the total destruction of the Heart-Shaped Herb by Killmonger. Instead, they constructed a story element that incorporated an explanation.

Queen Ramonda, who has become the reigning monarch in the wake of T’Challa’s death, implores Shuri to recreate the Heart-Shaped Herb, but Shuri is still grieving her brother’s death, and we learn she doesn’t really believe in the Ancestral Plane. Ramonda is concerned that Wakanda will be attacked by outside forces trying to obtain vibranium.

Instead, Wakanda is threatened by a civilization unbeknownst to them. Namor, the leader of an underwater society known as Talokan, appears to Ramonda and Shuri. He tells them that vibranium was not only in The Great Mound of Wakanda but also under the sea in his nation. It seems the countries of the surface are not only trying to exploit Wakanda but Talokan as well. Namor wants Wakanda to ally with Talokan against the surface worlds, but Ramonda is reluctant.

Coogler and Cole’s storytelling is enhanced by the return of several Academy Award winners. Ruth E. Carter returns as Costume Designer, and Hannah Beachler as Production Designer. Ludwig Göransson’s score is weaved with songs from Rihanna and Baaba Maal.

I think of the film as a series of chapters, each dealing with a separate part of the overall story. One section of the story introduces Dominque Thorne as Riri Williams. A second section introduces Tenoch Huerta Mejía as Namor, Mabel Cadena as Namora, Alex Livinalli as Attuma, and the people of Talokan. A third section features Martin Freeman returning as CIA agent Everett Ross and a character we know but didn’t expect, which expands upon what we know about that character. Coogler and Cole weave all of this together with stories from Wakanda onto a grand tapestry.

The opening of Wakanda Forever is a moving tribute to T’Challa and the actor who played him. However, the film’s closing moments and the mid-credits scene will absolutely rip your heart out.

Black Panther: Wakanda Forever is rated PG-13 for sequences of strong violence, action, and some language. It’s playing in theatres now.

I’m not unbiased, but I rate the movie a solid 10 out of 10, the equivalent of five stars. I recommend you see it. Now, it’s up to you to decide.

Matinée Review