Movie review: ‘Our Brand is Crisis’ features funny Sandra Bullock in stale …

31 Oct 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

5 new movie reviews in brief: Truth, Suffragette, Our Brand is Crisis and more.

Sandra Bullock’s “Our Brand Is Crisis” is living up to its name at the nation’s multiplexes with a disappointing $3.5 million opening weekend at 2,202 U.S. locations, early estimates showed Friday.

“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’s “Burnt” has cooked up a modest $250,000 in Thursday night previews while “Scouts Guide to the Zombie Apocalypse” scared up $140,000 at 690 locations, portending a mild Halloween weekend at the U.S. box office.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.

Though reporters bemoan the state of journalism today, in the movies, it’s the golden age again as films like Spotlight and Truth revisit the theme of hard-charging reporters fighting the good fight. 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. From the screenwriter of Zodiac (and The Amazing Spider-Man) comes a dramatization of the Memogate controversy over a 60 Minutes report concerning documents critical of former U.S. president George W. The political dramedy — which had been forecasted in recent days to finish around $6 million — won’t even crack the top five titles during the Halloween weekend, which will be one of the slowest of the year.

While it is often very funny, it’s less successful in the satire department, meaning that despite its cynical subject matter, David Gordon Green’s film is, oddly, not so cynical itself. 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. The fifth weekend of Fox’s “The Martian” looks like the probable winner at about $10 million, followed by the third weekend of Sony’s “Goosebumps” with $9 million and Disney’s third weekend of “Bridge of Spies” at $7 million. 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.

Questions of authenticity swirling around photocopied letters eventually took down news producer Mary Mapes and helped end Dan Rather’s career at CBS. She’s left politics behind, though, following a breakdown of sorts, but money is tight, so when Ben (Anthony Mackie) and Nell (Ann Dowd) track her down and offer her a gig trying to win Pedro Gallo (Joaquim de Almeida) the Bolivian presidency, she takes it, only to find that her candidate is unpopular and desperately low in the polls.

Backed by an orchestra swelling with moral rectitude, Truth is so convinced of its righteousness that it turns a fascinating issue into a story about martyrdom. On top of that, his first impression of her comes when she’s vomiting into a wastebasket due to altitude sickness, and worst of all, her nemesis, Pat Candy (Billy Bob Thornton), is trying to help the other guy win. In his directorial debut, James Vanderbilt is so busy painting Mapes as the victim, he rarely stops to question her certainty or how facts become irrelevant in the 24-hour tweeting and blogging world we live in.

Via Rotten Tomatoes: “‘Burnt’ offers a few spoonfuls of compelling culinary drama, but they’re lost in a watery goulash dominated by an unsavory main character and overdone clichés.” Recent box office performance: Cooper shot to film stardom in 2009 thanks to “The Hangover” franchise, and over the past few years he has had some big hits: “Silver Linings Playbook,” “American Hustle” and “American Sniper,” all three of which earned him Oscar nominations. Cate Blanchett channels a little of her earlier Blue Jasmine role as Mapes, while Robert Redford’s iconic status leads to a wooden portrayal of Rather.

They 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. Screenwriter Peter Straughan has a history of intriguingly offbeat work, and his dialogue and characters, especially in the form of strategists Buckley (Scoot McNairy) and LeBlanc (Zoe Kazan), zing with cleverness. Scouts — starring Tye Sheridan, David Koechner, Cloris Leachman and Halston Sage — is being released by Paramount in the same way Paranormal Activity: The Ghost Dimension was, going out in a limited number of theaters after many cinema owners refused to carry both movies because of Paramount’s deal with AMC and Cineplex to make the pair of genre titles available earlier than usual on VOD. Suffragette tells the story of women seeking the right to vote from the viewpoints of a poor laundress (Carey Mulligan) and a police inspector (Brendan Gleeson) charged with stopping the insurrection. (Steffan Hill/Focus Features/Associated Press) On the surface, appears to be a film about feminism, but it’s also about the slippery slope between agitator and what some would label terrorism. 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.

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. Potential impact of a flop: One one hand, Cooper has had a rough year, he’s also the kind of actor who has too many projects lined up to truly be affected by this one. Carey Mulligan is Maud Watts, a woman who has been working in a laundry since the age of seven and goes from reluctant supporter to frontline soldier as her personal situation worsens. Jane’s own behavior is ethically questionable, in terms of the way she frames the discussion once she’s on the ground, turning Gallo’s talking points from prosperity to crisis, thereby giving the film its title. But “Crisis” isn’t actually all that interested in ethics, and it doesn’t really explore the quandary of whether freelance political consulting, the hiring of outsiders from another country, is noble and just.

Role: Bullock plays a sharp political strategist who suddenly drops off the map, but heads back to politics to run a campaign during the fiercely competitive 2002 Bolivian presidential election. Still, the combination of Gavron’s urgent, hand-held shooting style and Mulligan’s face – a mixture of pain and determination – create a stirring experience. Pre-movie buzz: This part was originally for George Clooney, who’s a producer on the project; but Bullock was interested in the role, so it was rewritten.

A gourmet version of a familiar Hollywood recipe, Burnt finds Bradley Cooper and his immaculately groomed chin stubble cast as Adam, a broken but genius chef in London searching for redemption as well as his third Michelin star. Green’s glossy new take on the subject matter doesn’t dig that deep with the material, not unlike “The Blind Side,” for which Bullock won her Oscar. Directed by August: Osage County’s John Wells, Burnt transports us into the kitchen of the high-end restaurant where Adam bullies and berates his staff into a quivering crew churning out perfection. She landed an Oscar win for “Blind Side” and nomination for “Gravity.” “Sandra Bullock found herself in an odd situation where she was basically a bigger star in 2013 than she was back in 1993/1994 when she first broke out,” Forbes wrote.

Still, that Oscar has allowed Bullock, who’s an executive producer on “Crisis,” to pick and choose her roles, and she has, for the most part, made strong choices since. Leather jacket-clad Cooper tooling like a Top Gun stand-in can be hard to swallow, but Burnt’s excellent supporting cast, including Sienna Miller and Daniel Bruhl, elevate the film to cinematic comfort food of the highest order. She’s appealing as ever as Calamity Jane, who is eventually rewarded with a bit of redemption that might seem endearing, though if you’re a cynic, you might not think she’s deserving. Still, Bullock is considered enough of a draw (and has built up enough goodwill over the years) that her star status can be forgiven for a critical failure. She’s also attached to a movie with “Proposal” director Anne Fletcher, which Variety reports is “said to combine elements of ‘An Unmarried Woman’ and ‘Saturday Night Fever.’”

As their late-night walking tour takes an ominous turn, the unbroken cinematography keeps the tension high, while the largely improvised script leaves room for expressive moments.

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