Summer foodie flicks


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Summer blockbuster season has arrived, complete with over-the-top CGI explosions, stockpiles of assault rifles and nausea-inducing marriage proposals.

Thankfully, though, this summer also offers gourmet types some serious food film fodder. There’s been quite a bit of hype surrounding the genre this year: The Berlinale Film Festival had a special screening tent for a handful of food-related movies. Lucky for us, a few of these flicks will be screening in L.A. over the next few weeks.

Here are some that made the final cut:

‘Food, Inc.

Director Robert Kenner has teamed up with famed authors Michael Pollan and Eric Schlosser to make an expose that he says “started out as a story of how our food gets to our dinner table, and turned into a horror film.”

Kenner, who won an Emmy for “The American Experience,” interviewed several commercial farmers for the documentary, which provides a critical look at our nation’s failing industrial food system and how we got into this mess in the first place.

Click here to read our chat with Kenner about ‘Food, Inc.’

Opens Friday at the Nuart Theater;

‘Pressure Cooker’

‘Pressure Cooker’ is the culinary equivalent of ‘Dangerous Minds,’ showing that a little tough love can go a long way for a few Frankford High School students in Philadelphia. This documentary follows a class as it participates in a culinary training program run by Wilma Stephenson. Stephenson is one tough cookie, but she’s just the type these at-risk youth need to serve up success. The students are prepping for a competition held by C-CAP, where they compete for scholarships to some of the country’s top culinary schools (Iron Chef Morimoto makes a guest appearance as one of the judges). Though it lacks thrills and serious drama, this film serves as testament to the power of food.

Now playing at the Laemmle Sunset 5 and the Laemmle Pasadena Playhouse 7;


This wine country mockumentary is a spoof on the romanticized ideas of winemakers and producers that ‘Sideways’ and ‘Bottle Shock’ have portrayed on the big screen. The film was co-written and directed by Paul Hawley of Sonoma’s Hawley Winery (who makes a fabulous Viognier) and Ross Clendenen. It packs a few laughs and some stunning vineyard footage, courtesy of the access the boys had from Paul’s papa being in the biz.

Showing through Thursday at the Downtown Independent Theater;


Filmmaker Fredrik Gertten sheds light on the global politics of food and the effects of free trade in his film, which documents the plight of 12 Nicaraguan banana plantation workers fighting a legal battle against Dole Foods over use of a dibromochloropropane-based pesticide called Nemagon (the chemical has been banned in the U.S. because it causes sterility in men and has also been linked to certain cancers). Spearheading the legal battle is a local celebrity, Juan Jose Dominguez, whose ads are on the back of L.A. Metro buses.


Screening at the L.A. Film Festival on June 20 at 7 p.m. at the Regent Theater and June 23 at 9 p.m. at the Landmark Theater 8;

‘Know Your Mushrooms’

Fungi gurus Gary Lincoff and Larry Evans star in a documentary about the strange and mysterious world of mushrooms. Foragers and ‘shroom enthusiasts will likely get a kick out of this film, which features two of the most highly regarded mycologists in the field.

Opens Friday at the Downtown Independent;

-- Krista Simmons