Friday, October 30, 2015


My ViewBurnt  (2015) R  Adam (Bradley Cooper) was an up-and-coming chef who flamed out due to his drug use and his arrogant behavior that caused him to lose his prized possession, his restaurant.  He now is trying to put his life back together, and, maybe, if everything goes well, he can open another restaurant. Chefs are supposed to be passionate about the food they prepare and serve. That’s the problem with this film. I never got a sense that Cooper’s character truly is passionate about anything, much less food. I felt more passion from Sienna Miller’s character, a fellow chef, and possible love interest than I did from Cooper’s Adam. Cooper does a lot of brooding, yelling and throwing of kitchen tools, but it’s more about being unhappy and not about the food. There is very little chemistry between Miller and Cooper though there are some sparks between Cooper and Daniel Bruhl, who plays the gay manager of the restaurant and who has a crush on Cooper’s character.  I never believed that Cooper was the charismatic groundbreaking chef as I just never felt or saw the passion he would need to be one.    My Rating: Bargain Matinee   Burnt Website
My ViewOur Brand is Crisis  (2015)  R  Jane (Sandra Bullock) is one of America’s premiere campaign managers. She is sent to South America to help get a new leader  (Joaquim de Almeida) elected. Her problem is the candidate is behind in the polls, and her rival (Billy Bob Thornton) is the manager of the opposition. What a mess of a movie! It doesn’t know if it wants to be a comedy, a hard-hitting political commentary film, or a drama about finding your passion in life. Instead, it tries to be all three and fails miserably, adding a bit of very bad satire (I think) to the mix. Bullock’s character is unlikeable from the start. You are supposed to love her because it’s Sandra Bullock, but we don’t like her “Crazy Jane” character. There are a number of scenes that Bullock has with Thornton’s character that just come off as bizarre, with Billy Bob spouting off line after line and Bullock’s character just sitting there like she is deaf and blind. Bullock’s character has had alcohol and substance abuse problems in the past, but no one bats an eye when she starts drinking again, and it’s even used as an attempt at humor in the film. This film fails at almost everything it attempts, including touching the hearts strings. If it were up to me, I would vote it out of the theatre.  My Rating: Cable   Our Brand is Crisis Website
IndiefestRoom  (2015)  R  At age 15 Joy (Brie Larson) was kidnapped by Old Nick (Sean Bridges) and placed in a shed in his backyard.   Seven years later, Joy and her five-year-old son, Jack (Jacob Tremblay) haven’t seen the outside other than the small skylight in the ceiling. Joy has a plan to get her son out, but it may kill her.  From the opening frame, you are pulled into the strange and small world of Joy and Jack. Director Lenny Abrahamson and screenwriter Emma Donoghue have crafted a film that fully immerses you the characters’ tiny world. We very quickly learn what Joy deals with on a daily basis, living in a space that is only 10 x 10 and having a child who doesn’t understand just how big, bright and loud the world is outside the walls of the room. I think Brie Larson is one of the best young actresses in Hollywood, and she gives another brilliant performance in this film, but the film is made by the performance of Tremblay. He more than holds his own with Larson and is the core of the movie. Jack is the center of the film, and it takes an impressive actor to pull it off, which he does with flying colors. Everything we see and hear is from the viewpoint of Tremblay’s character, which makes his performance even more remarkable. Tremblay plays Jack as a loving son who isn’t afraid to pushes back when he feels he is being wronged. It takes a strong personality to grasp a role like this, and Tremblay gives an intelligent performance that, while filled with childlike wonder, is also brimming with emotion that is beyond his young age. Without giving anything away, “Room” is let down a little by its 2nd half, but it’s not too hard a fall, and the film doesn’t disappoint with its ending. However, it’s the performances Larson and especially Tremblay that make this movie so emotional and powerful. Both actors, with Oscar-worthy performances give us everything they have and that, in this case, is quite a lot.    My Rating: Full Price   Room Website

My View:   Scouts Guide to the Zombie Apocalypse (2015)  R   On the eve of their last campout, three scouts (Tye Sheridan, Logan Miller, Joey Morgan) band together to fight a zombie invasion of their town. Full of cliches, this film, has the stripper who is smarter than she looks, the nerds who save the day, and the beautiful high school girl who secretly likes one of the scouts. This film would have been a lot of fun if they had done it right. Well, they didn’t. They went for the easy, cheap, sophomoric comedy, which most of the time didn’t work. If you think singing a Britney Spears song with a zombie or feeling up a zombie’s breasts is funny, and then this movie is for you. If you can stay awake through the whole film, there is a bonus scene after the first portion of credits.    My Rating: (inspired by Halloween) I’d Rather Get Bit by a Zombie Than See This Film Again    Scouts Guide to the Zombie Apocalypse
My ViewTruth  (2015) R  In 2004 then-President George W. Bush was in the middle of a  tight re-election campaign.  Producer of the “Sixty Minutes 2,” Mary Mapes (Cate Blanchett) gets information, including some damning documents that Bush might have gone AWOL during his time in the National Guard. After the program detailing the AWOL airs, Mary, and CBS network star Dan Rather (Robert Redford) come under fire for possibly forged documents that they used in their program.  Disclaimer: I work for a CBS-owned TV station.  While not a bad movie, it is rather bland in its depiction of how a news department and its famous anchor were taken down. Redford basically plays himself, not trying to look or sound like Rather. Dennis Quaid plays a former army man who now helps with the news team stories. I would have liked this film more if Quaid had played Rather. Redford is too iconic an actor to play this part, and it’s hard not to see Redford the actor in this role. Blanchett tries hard to bring life to the story, but the film never quite gets the intrigue or the tension up to a full head of steam. You want this film to be another “All the President’s Men” but instead you get an average TV movie. My Rating: Bargain Matinee   Truth Info   
Forgotten FilmMoonlight Mile  (2002)  PG-13  Joe (Jake Gyllenhaal) is dealing with the death of his fiancĂ© at the hands of a murderer.  In the process of his grieving, he becomes friends with her parents (Dustin Hoffman, Susan Sarandon) and tries to put the pieces of his life back together.  This is a film about dealing with death and how grieving isn’t always an easy road. It’s a film that deals with the subject of death with a bit of a wry sense of humor. I love Ellen Pompeo in this film as she plays a postal worker who Joe starts falling for, much to his dismay. Gyllenhaal is perfect in the part, playing Joe with just the right touch of intelligence and humor.  It’s a film that will touch your heart and make you think about your loved ones. My Rating: Full Price   Moonlight Mile Info

Weird Credits:  From the credits of Our Brand is Crisis: Truck Costumer

Coming Soon to a Theatre Near You: Spotlight (2015)  The true story of how a group of reporters from the Boston Globe uncovered the huge scandal of child molestation and cover-up by the local Catholic Archdiocese. The film is directed by Tom McCarthy (Win Win, The Station Agent), and the cast includes Rachel McAdams, Mark Ruffalo, Michael Keaton, Liev Schreiber, Stanley Tucci and Jamey Sheridan. The film has won numerous awards at film festivals such as the Toronto International Film Festival and the Mill Valley Film Festival.   Spotlight Website
Until Next Time!

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