Critical Mass: Bradley Cooper’s Burnt gets charred

31 Oct 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Box Office: ‘Our Brand is Crisis’ Bombing Friday.

Burnt is the latest of a recent surge in cooking movies, and most certainly the juiciest — after Chef and The Hundred-Foot Journey — thanks to the presence of Bradley Cooper in the leading-man role. “Burnt” ★★½ (R; 1:47) • Bradley Cooper plays an arrogant chef who wants to create a three-star Michelin restaurant, and Sienna Miller is the talented sous chef who helps him.Bradley Cooper is the type of actor who could make an interesting film about a man who sat around and read the Yellow Pages out loud everyday. (Are there still Yellow Pages?) He never gives a bad performance.This week at the multiplex, we’ve got a cantankerous chef (“Burnt,” starring Bradley Cooper and Sienna Miller), an ace political strategist (“Our Brand is Crisis,” starring Sandra Bullock and Billy Bob Thornton), and defensive campers (“Scouts Guide to the Zombie Apocalypse,” starring Tye Sheridan and David Koechner).

In this week’s new releases, “Suffragette” explores the story of early 20th century British activists fighting for women’s right to vote, and Bradley Cooper stars as a troubled chef looking to rebuild his career in “Burnt.” ★★★ “Suffragette” (PG-13) “With its sepia tones and stirring themes, ‘Suffragette’ arrives in theaters with the full weight of history and topical resonance behind it.Halloween weekend looks to bring more misery at the North American box office, where David Gordon Green’s dramedy Our Brand Is Crisis may not clear $4 million in its debut, according to early Friday returns. In “Burnt,” he plays an internationally renown Chef, Adam Jones, who loses a fast lane career as one of Europe’s best and most talented culinary stars because of his addiction to drugs, and the resultant self-destructive behavior. “Burnt” is a redemption movie. Once upon a time, Cooper’s Adam Jones was the toast of Paris, but a meltdown and multiple addictions forced him to the relative backwater of New Orleans while he licked his wounds. It’s easy to be cynical about politics, so if you’re going to make a film that satirizes the electoral process, it needs to be sharp enough to draw blood.

Forecasts have pegged “Burnt” for a $7 million launch, edging “Crisis” at $6 million. “Scouts Guide” is expected to come in at about $4 million. He mends some burned bridges — with a well positioned maitre d’ (Daniel Bruhl) and a former rival (Omar Sy) — and discovers some new talent, including a beautiful single mother (Sienna Miller).

Directed by David Gordon Green (“All the Real Girls”). (Calvin Wilson) “Room” ★★★★ (R; 1:58) • Brie Larson and Jason Tremblay make a formidable acting team in this deeply moving tale of a mother and son who are trapped in a shed but somehow maintain their dignity — and their hope. Based on a 2005 documentary of the same name, the film stars Bullock as Jane Bodine, a hotshot political strategist who’s hired to resuscitate the sagging campaign of a Bolivian presidential candidate.

Directed by John Wells (August: Osage County) and written by Steven Knight (Eastern Promises), Burnt looks extremely tasty, both in the kitchen and its deep and distinguished pedigree. Yet it doesn’t deliver emotionally, either.” — Stephanie Merry, Washington Post Rotten: “[Director] David Gordon Green’s boisterous but hollow election drama offers an ultra-cynical take on political campaigns as a series of mass manipulations.” — Inkoo Kang, Crave Online Fresh: “Watching Sandra Bullock, as ruthless campaign manager Jane, flog her uncharismatic candidate for Bolivia’s president, I snickered at her knowing quips.” — Amy Nicholson, L.A. Cooper isn’t bombproof — see Aloha — but after American Sniper, he is one of the elite actors in Hollywood, with three straight Oscar nominations to boot. ”He’s one of the few actors who can convincingly play unlikable a-holes in the first act and end up earning your sympathy by the third — even if his hands are as tied as a Christmas roast as they are here,” write EW’s Chris Nashawaty in his C+ review. “It’s a movie that not only feels about 10 years too late, its message is basically that in order to be a great chef you have to be an arrogant jerk who treats everyone in the galley like crap. That leaves just one option: a missed opportunity.” – Stephanie Merry ★★★½ “The Assassin” (Unrated) “The typical Hollywood hit man, though detached and emotionless, almost invariably encounters someone to slay for personal reasons.

How else will they know you’re a genius? … The first half … is so stuffed with bad-boy clichés and arias of egomania it felt like a MAD magazine parody of Top Chef season 6. The acting by Cate Blanchett as producer Mary Mapes, Stacy Keach as key source Bill Burkett and especially Robert Redford as Dan Rather is uniformly excellent. (Associated Press)

Director Hou Hsiao-hsien flips that setup in ‘The Assassin,’ and not just because the film is about a reluctant female killer in 9th-century China. I almost felt bad for Bradley Cooper.” “Every thoughtful story beat and every well-observed character moment happens with such predictability and slick professionalism that the whole project seems smothered in bland sweetness.

The cast includes Billy Bob Thornton, Anthony Mackie, Joaquim de Almeida, Ann Dowd and Scoot McNairy. “Scouts Guide” and the studio’s “Paranormal Activity: The Ghost Dimension” are part of an experiment that allows Paramount to debut films digitally 17 days after they leave most theaters in return for giving exhibitors like AMC a cut of the home entertainment revenue. This mesmerizingly beautiful drama ponders themes of duty, patience, isolation and compassion.” – Mark Jenkins ★½ “Nasty Baby” (R) “‘Nasty Baby,’ the latest film by Chilean writer-director Sebastián Silva, is provocative to the point of unpleasantness. In a bid for redemption, Jones tries to keep his emotions in check and repair his interpersonal relationships. “Burnt” is currently at 24 percent on Rotten Tomatoes’ Tomatometer; check out some of the reviews here: Rotten: “Screenwriters Steven Knight and Michael Kalesniko pack as much stuffing as possible into this rubbery squid of a film — and then jam in yet more, and the movie gets duller and less focused as it wears on.” — Stephanie Zacharek, Village Voice Rotten: “With such a strong cast, the film has the right ingredients but it doesn’t quite make a perfect meal.” — Jody Mitori, St. Though the cast is full of recognizable character actors and the Bohemian urban setting is instantly familiar from a host of similar films, ‘Nasty Baby’ is an awkward and grim affair.” – Alan Zilberman ★★ “I Smile Back” (R) “Viewers who witnessed her (Sarah Silverman’s) supporting performance in the 2012 drama ‘Take This Waltz’ won’t be surprised that she has the chops to sustain a lead performance.

The failure of the three new offerings to rally sizeable business means that holdovers The Martian and Goosebumps will continue to top the box-office chart. Still, this feels like a breakout for an actress poised to join Kristen Wiig as another famous funny lady capable of plumbing astonishing depths of vulnerability and inner sadness.

If ‘I Smile Back’ accomplishes anything, it proves that Silverman is no joke.” – Ann Hornaday ★★★ “The Cut” (Unrated) “In an epic that stretches from eastern Turkey in 1915 to North Dakota eight yars later, ‘The Cut’ presents a haunting portrait of what has come to be known as the Armenian genocide and its aftermath. Written and directed by Turkish-German filmmaker Fatih Akin — best known for his fervid 2004 romantic drama ‘Head-On’ — it’s the first film by a director of Turkish heritage to candidly take on this historical tragedy.” – Vanessa H. I actively loathed this asshat for most of the movie, which made his comeuppance (a truly inspired one) more delicious….” “The movie has a problematic penchant for extremes, first asking us to appreciate its subject’s off-putting artistic perfectionism, then to root for his clichéd redemption. It’s a variation on Chef, but also on the twisted spirit of Whiplash, in a way, only with haute cuisine, mainstream gloss, and a conveniently tidy wrap-up.” “Unfortunately, Burnt never rises to the level of its characters’ ambition, and with the exception of one smart, unpredictable twist, the story increasingly bogs down in perfunctory subplots… The script treats even the more essential characters not as individuals so much as, well, ingredients — perhaps none more insultingly than Bruhl’s Tony, whose longtime unrequited crush on Adam is resolved with a cheap punchline.” “The film doesn’t lack for conflict; Adam has drug dealers on his tail, and an ex-lover (Alicia Vikander) who pops in from Paris. Rob) Schenck, a longtime anti-abortion activist and founder of the Washington religious outreach group Faith and Action, had a epiphany after the 2013 Navy Yard shootings: It was no longer possible — for him, at any rate — to reconcile his beliefs with pro-gun politics.” – Michael O’Sullivan ★★★½ “Difret” (Unrated) “The film’s prominence is due in no small part to Angelina Jolie, who served as executive producer.

Guilty as charged.)” “Miller stands out — though there’s something dispiriting about the way she simply melts into our hero’s arms like butter in a sizzling pan. These two actors do their best to generate legitimate romantic chemistry with underwhelming material, but Burnt gives them little to chew on aside from the usual scraps of undercooked material (and plenty of excuses for bad puns).”

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