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Tag Archives: John Wells

Burnt

If there’s one thing Chef Adam Jones (played by Bradley Cooper) wants more than anything else in the entire world … it’s another Michelin star. Once he had the world at his feet – two Michelin stars to his name already, head chef in a top French restaurant and an astronomically successful career ahead of him. But his hard-working lifestyle involved hard living too – he cared little for anything except his next exquisite culinary creation, so his friends, his career and his morals all left him … with his reputation following soon after. Now … after two years of drug detox and rehabilitation, he’s back – this time to take London by storm with his own restaurant. But will he be able to break free of his sins of the past – and the people who still have unpaid debts and grudges to settle? … will he finally get that elusive third star?

This movie is not one of Bradley Cooper’s best … the story is basically “a self-absorbed, badly behaved, bratty and selfish Chef tries to build his reputation in a business where he rubs everyone up the wrong way and gets nowhere – but then he eventually grows up” … It’s not the most memorable of movies.  Sienna Miller plays a very talented chef, Helene, which she does well. Emma  Thompson’s character,  therapist Dr Rosshilde, is horrendously awful and the only reason she is there is that the scriptwriter couldn’t find another way to introduce key concepts to the story. Daniel Bruhl’s character, restaurant owner Tony,  at least has a point. For several of the cast though – Bradley Cooper, Sienna Miller, Emma Thompson, Daniel Bruhl and Uma Thurman – you will see them far better in other roles.

Made in 2015. Directed by John Wells.

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Posted by on January 22, 2016 in Movies

 

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August: Osage County

It’s August in Osage County, Oklahoma – and it’s hot … really hot. Violet Weston (played by Meryl Streep) is doing her best to endure the heat. She’s dying of cancer and the heat makes the wig she wears unbearable. Her husband, Beverly (by Sam Shepard) has just hired a new nurse and live-in housekeeper to see to Violet’s needs and he is introducing her to the ways of the household. Violet introduces herself as only she can … she staggers into the room, drug addled, slurring her words and belligerent. The new home-help, Johnna (by Misty Upham) does her best to accept the situation and the person now in her care. Knowing she is in capable hands, Beverly takes himself out fishing – but disappears. Violet alerts her family that Beverly is missing and they gradually all arrive to search for him and make sure their mother is okay. Violet’s daughter, Ivy (by Julianne Nicholson) lives nearby so she arrives quickly, she calls her sister Barbara (by Julia Roberts) who comes with her husband Bill (by Ewan McGregor) and their teenage daughter Jean (by Abigail Breslin). Then comes Violet’s sister, Mattie Fae (by Margo Martindale) and her husband Charlie (by Chris Cooper), followed by their son Little Charles (by Benedict Cumberbatch) and the third sister, Karen (by Juliette Lewis) and her fiancé Steve (by Dermot Mulroney). Everyone is here … now to unravel the mystery of Beverly’s disappearance … and of course uncover family tensions and secrets that should have been long buried ….

This movie is dark – both in its presentation and its mood. Violet lives in a house where the shades are down all the time – she does this with parts of her life too. Her daughters don’t see eye to eye with each other, nor with their mother. Violet is unpredictable, prone to outbursts of violence and can be sharp-tongued – her daughters, particularly Barbara, have learned this too. They bring all their family troubles back to the house and churn them all up again in this drama. As you would expect from such a strong cast, the performances are all good. I’ve never seen Meryl Streep in such a confronting role – she is fabulous. Margo Martindale and Chris Cooper support her well. The tension between Barbara and Bill portrayed by Julia Roberts and Ewan McGregor is clear, but a bit pedestrian. Add to this the flighty Karen, again performed well, but just going through the motions really, by Juliette Lewis but her sleaze-ball fiancé Steve, Dermot Mulroney seems to do with ease. The roles of Little Charles, Ivy and Jean all have potential, but are never really explored. It’s a good combination – but the movie is probably a bit too long for its superficiality. Okay … we get the point – these people don’t get on, don’t trust each other and don’t really like each other, the family secrets will come out – truths will hurt and nobody will be happy. It’s the dramatization of the play by Tracy Letts, the Pulitzer Prize winner in 2008. Both Meryl Street and Julia Roberts were nominated for an Academy Award (Oscar) for their performances here.

Made in 2013. Directed by John Wells

 
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Posted by on April 27, 2014 in Movies

 

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