‘Our Brand is Crisis’ review: Sandra Bullock’s charm lost in muddled political …

31 Oct 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

‘Our Brand Is Crisis’ star Sandra Bullock: ‘Politics have always been a comedy/tragedy’.

Jane Bodine is emotionally isolated, an unpredictable bundle of neuroses with no family or friends. Academy Award winner Sandra Bullock plays a political spin doctor in satirical comedy “Our Brand is Crisis,” taking a look at the tactics of election campaigns.

This weekend, there’s an unusual face-off at the box office: A-listers Bradley Cooper and Sandra Bullock are headlining new movies, “Burnt” and “Our Brand Is Crisis,” respectively, both about geniuses who strive to make a career comeback after a meltdown.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. The Hollywood actress portrays political strategist Jane Bodine, who is coaxed out of a self-imposed retirement to help boost the campaign of a Bolivian presidential candidate struggling in the election polls. “Politics have always been a comedy/tragedy,” Bullock said at the film’s premiere in Los Angeles. “I think now the curtain has just been pulled back and everyone gets to see it. You do realise that I’m pitching this for me?'” recalled Bullock in a recent interview. “He goes, ‘Yeah, but I want to know, like, what is she going to wear?'” Things have gotten a little better since then. Sandra Bullock stars as Bodine, a one-time master campaign strategist, now six years retired from a life of skullduggery, rehab stints and an unflattering nickname – Calamity Jane – and content to sculpt mediocre pottery in solitude. “I’m calm,” she says in the kitchen of her cabin, located deep in a snowy mountainside nowhere, the type of statement that can come back and bite a person in the ass.

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. Of course, she’s lured back into the fray, because otherwise there would be no movie, no external conflict to prompt her next step in self-evaluation. This is based on absolute reality.” Spurring Bodine’s decision is the opportunity to beat her rival, Pat Candy – played by fellow Oscar winner Billy Bob Thornton – who is with the opposition. “The (film’s) message – yes, politics as a backdrop, but it is more about consequences, big business, how far is too far?

Bullock’s conversation with the studio executive remains an all too familiar scene for actresses in Hollywood, where sexist presumptions are engrained in the culture. 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. Yet the film is a mildly frustrating endeavor, because we never get a substantive grip on what makes Jane tick, who she really is or why she does what she does.

When you start harming others for power and extreme wealth, eventually you have to get off the carousel,” Bullock said. “Who is going to grow a conscience and who is going to say enough money is enough money? 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. Fox’s space adventure should bring in $10 million in its fifth weekend, while Sony’s family film is looking at $8 million to $9 million in its third frame. She’s a fistful of eccentric traits in need of some focus: she compulsively munches on potato chips, she prefers flood pants and sensible shoes, she has no qualms about dropping trou and mooning the opposition.

Bullock can’t remember how many times she’s had to listen to a writer try to explain how the “the wife” is really the heart of the movie. “I know what that means. 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. But politics made a fun backdrop because it is so real and in your face.” Bullock won an Oscar for her role in the 2009 movie “The Blind Side,” which tells the story of a family who takes in a teenage football player. 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.

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. The movie, based on the 2005 documentary of the same name, failed to generate much affection among critics with a 32% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. “The Martian” could notch its fourth box office No. 1 this weekend. 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 promise of withering exchanges between Bullock and Thornton – both capable of stripping paint with a well-timed bon mot – goes unfulfilled, thanks to a pedestrian script more interested in the come-from-behind mundanities of the competitive race than exploiting the strengths of its cast.

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. The film flirts with fleshing out Jane – she impulsively indulges in her wild side when she spends an evening bonding with Eddie (Reynaldo Pacheco), a young, idealistic Castillo staffer, and his brothers, imbibing heavily and sleeping it off overnight in jail. 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.

Boynton’s film profiles the work Greenberg Carville Shrum did to win the Bolivian presidential election for Gonzalo Sánchez de Lozada, as well as the end results of their efforts, which included massive protests, over 100 deaths and the eventual disgraceful resignation of their candidate. 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. 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. It’s about how lost in the win we may have gotten, even to the detriment of our own soul and to the detriment of, in this case, an entire body of people.

Even though it still stings given that it’s a film that, as Post movie critic Stephanie Merry points out, had all the ingredients for an awards-season favorite, from big names to an all-star producing team. And who would be willing to step off that carousel and sacrifice your own creature comforts for the greater good?” said Bullock. “That had been on my mind for a couple of years and then this story came along. 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. Up next: While nothing is official, Bullock is reportedly set to star in a film about Brownie Wise, the Tupperware executive who became famous when she invented the idea for Tupperware parties, but then had a falling out with the company. 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.’”

While the producers knew they wanted to release it during the 2016 U.S. presidential campaign, they couldn’t have imagined how prescient the gender swapping choice would have been to the ongoing conversation about equal opportunities for women — from roles to wages. “Hopefully, while I’m still alive, we get to see women just treated better.

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