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The Kitchen Is the Hottest Place to Be

Updated on January 25, 2021
Robert J Sodaro profile image

Robert J. Sodaro is an American born writer, editor, and digital graphic artist, who loves writing about comics, movies, and literature.

The Kitchen

Based on the DC/Vertigo comicbook.
Based on the DC/Vertigo comicbook. | Source


The Kitchen: RatedR(1 hour, 42 Minutes)

Starring: Melissa McCarthy, Tiffany Haddish, Elisabeth Moss, Domhnall Gleeson, James Badge Dale

Director: Andrea Berloff

THE KITCHEN - Official Trailer

Funnybooks aren't Always Funny

If you are one of those folks who think that comicbooks (and the movies on which they based are all spandex-clad, muscle-bound men and women wrapping I-beams around each other’s heads and blasting blue-and green-skinned aliens with cosmic power, then, well, have we got a surprise for you.

Brought to you by the House of Superman, Batman, & Wonder Woman

Comics aren't always about superheroes.
Comics aren't always about superheroes. | Source

Some Comicbook Movies are Better than Others

This year, on the heels of several very high-profile (as well as a couple less well-received) funnybook flicks featuring (live-action and animated) superheroes (on the silver screen, direct to video and via streaming services) from the folks who have brought us their stories (originally from the dead tree editions where they first appeared) that were once “All in Color for a Dime,” (with a couple of more still waiting in the wings), we are now treated to well, yet one more comicbook movie that — surprise — doesn’t revolve around the world of colorful, larger-than-life superheroes.

Don't Mess with these Women

What do these women have cooking?
What do these women have cooking? | Source

The Story

This story is not about the bright and gleaming spires of midtown populated with brilliant multi-billionaires, powerful mystics, or even massively strong green-hued monsters. This is a story that takes place during the darker days of New York City during the late 1970s. this tale takes place in the nitty-gritty and grime that was Time Square. At that time — you see — Times Square wasn’t so much the sparkling showplace with theaters, eateries, and specialty shops that we know it to be today, as it was a haven for sex and drugs. Meanwhile, the city itself teeters on the verge of bankruptcy; this then is the world of The Kitchen.

The Kitchen (Blu-ray)

Kitchen, The (Blu-ray)
Kitchen, The (Blu-ray)
Based on the Vertigo comic book series from DC Entertainment, the film stars Oscar nominee Melissa McCarthy, Tiffany Haddish and Elisabeth Moss as three 1978 Hell’s Kitchen housewives whose mobster husbands are sent to prison by the FBI. Left with little but a sharp ax to grind, the ladies take the Irish mafia’s matters into their own hands—proving unexpectedly adept at everything from running the rackets to taking out the competition…literally. The Irish gangs of Hell's Kitchen rule the neighborhood, bringing terror to the streets and doing the dirty work for the Italian Mafia. Jimmy Brennan and his crew were the hardest bastards in the Kitchen, but after they're all put in prison, their wives-Kath, Raven and Angie-decide to keep running their rackets. And once they get a taste of the fast life and easy money, it won't be easy to stop. THE KITCHEN takes one of the most popular genres in entertainment and, like The Sopranos, re-imagines it for a new generation to present a classic gangster story told from a fresh point of view.

What You Need to Know

Based on the eponymous DC/Vertigo eight-issue miniseries published in 2015. The story follows the Irish gangs of Hell's Kitchen that run the neighborhood, charging protection and bringing hurt and terror to those that don’t pay up. (Nope, no Daredevil in this incarnation of the Kitchen.) In this version, Jimmy Brennan (Brian d'Arcy James) and his crew were the toughest SOBs in the Kitchen, but even the top dog occasionally gets taken down. After a robbery that goes awry, where he and two associates were arrested and sent to prison, their wives — Kathy (Melissa McCarthy), Ruby (Tiffany Haddish), and Claire (Elisabeth Moss) turn to the new crew chief, Kevin O'Carroll (James Badge Dale) who is, well, not only a touch more sadistic, but also, not nearly as generous to the women as was Jimmy.

Rising to Power

Counting their "blessings"
Counting their "blessings" | Source

The Women are Better

Left up their own devices, Kathy and the others determine that the best way to care for themselves is take on the rackets on their own and cut out Jimmy and the others. So, they begin to pick up with the collections where their husbands left off. As it turns out, they are actually better equipped to handle the work than are the men, and in short order they are able to keep the rackets running. Needless to say, once they get a taste of the fast life and easy money, it wasn’t so easy to stop.

Woman with a Gun

Yeah, you don't want to mess with her.
Yeah, you don't want to mess with her. | Source

With Great Power...

As the women increase their influence, they grow in confidence and power, only to eventually run afoul of the Italian mob operating out of Brooklyn, and are summoned before Don Alfonso Coretti (Bill Camp) who is so impressed by the poise and moxie of the women, instead of “taking them out” he partners up and strikes a deal with them, just before he informs them that their husbands are getting out early and will be back on the street in four short months. As can be expected, their early release fundamentally could potentially change everything for the women, who now need to alter their game plan.

...Come Great Lunches!

Time for a little nosh!
Time for a little nosh! | Source

The Kitchen is a well-written, well-acted drama that puts these extraordinary women front and center of the tale,

Here's What We think!

The Kitchen is a well-written, well-acted drama that puts these extraordinary women front and center of the tale, showing how far more capable they are to getting things done than are the men who are (presumably) there to protect and provide for them. To be sure, there are a couple of men who come to their aide, providing muscle and legitimacy to their power grab, but rest assured, the machinations of their actual rise, the moves that they make, and the plans to rise and advance, is all them.

This Woman Means Business

Time to get stuff done
Time to get stuff done | Source

Mob Films Rule!

We are admittedly a fan of well-made gangster films (probably due to our own Sicilian/Italian heritage) but we can certainly recognize a well-made mob film, even if the mob consists of the Irish (The Departed), California bikers (Sons of Anarchy), or here in the Kitchen. This is, simply put, an amazing piece of cinema that is based upon a very well-written comicbook, proving — once again — that not only are all comics so not about just superheroes, but that (some of them) are actually legitimate literature.

The Kitchen

From its humble beginnings
From its humble beginnings | Source

Watch the Movie: Read the Comic

The comic (published by DC’s — now shuttered mature-themed imprint — Vertigo was written by Ollie Masters and stunningly illustrated by Ming Doyle with amazing covers by Becky Cloonan.

Where it all Began

In New York City, you don't earn respect staying at home, you earn it out on the streets.
In New York City, you don't earn respect staying at home, you earn it out on the streets. | Source

© 2019 Robert J Sodaro


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