With a mix of movies hitting the theater this week I decided to change things up and do a sort of recap of new films. Up first we have Burnt starring Bradley Cooper, Sienna Miller, Daniel Bruhl, Emma Thompson, Alicia Vikander and Uma Thurman. I liked the film way more than expected. I like Cooper and I am one of the few people that remember his short lived TV show Kitchen Confidential that came out years before The Hangover. This felt like a sequel to that show. He plays a down on his luck chef who got sober and wants to go for his third star and be one of the world’s best again. Overall I seem to enjoy food movies like this and I enjoy narcissistic characters like Cooper’s Adam Jones. Chefs are equal parts rock star and scientist. Most great chefs have some sort of history with drugs and booze and Jones is no different. His past comes back to haunt him a little, but he continues to press forward. Cooper is good in the film, nothing award worthy, but still shows off his leading man qualities. Bruhl continues to impress me. I’ve enjoyed his work since Rush and he’s very good opposite Cooper here. The film won’t wow anyone and it’s extremely predictable, but I liked it. It’s Bradley Cooper with his big blue eyes, talking French, making food. That’s either your thing or it’s not. 3.5/5 Stars.
Next we have Our Brand is Crisis. I was pretty disappointed in this. It’s not funny enough to be a comedy, not dramatic enough to be a drama. Sandra Bullock stars as a political consultant who goes to South America to help a former president with his election. Billy Bob Thornton is her competitor who has a history with her. Zoe Kazan, Scoot McNairy and Anthony Mackie co-star. Part of the film works and it shows you how far political candidates will go to climb in the polls. It shows how management teams manipulate the press and public into believing whatever they want them to believe. Unfortunately the film wants to have laughs and be dramatic and it should have chosen one. You want to get caught up with the election, but then other things are going on and it loses steam. The film was ok and at least watchable, but the end just ruined it for me. The movie lays out this groundwork and jadedness about politics and morals and then decides to try to have morals and it didn’t work for me. 2.5/5 stars.
Third is Experimenter. The film has been out on VOD for a week or so now and man is it an odd film. Peter Sarsgaard stars as Stanley Milgram who did experiments on people in the 1960s and 70s. I liked the actual experiments because I like psychology. His big experiment shows how far people will go in hurting another person when someone else is telling them to keep going. I found that really interesting. Unfortunately the film is weirdly made. There’s times there’s no sets and looks like a movie from the 1940s. They use backdrops and it just looks out of place especially a car scene with Winona Ryder. Plus there’s an elephant in a few scenes and it just doesn’t make sense. The story is fascinating and Sarsgaard is quite good, but the resulting movie is just too odd. 2.5/5 stars.
Last we have Truth. Cate Blanchett stars as news producer Mary Capes who runs a story on 60 Minutes about George Bush getting special treatment during the Vietnam War. It’s based on the actual events that made Dan Rather leave 60 Minutes. Robert Redford plays Rather and he is hands down my pick for Best Supporting Actor. He is fantastic as usual. I liked the film, but it definitely wants you to feel one and I felt quite the opposite. The movie wants you to love Mary Capes for having balls to go after Bush and makes her seem like a great journalist. She didn’t do her homework and ran a bad story. That’s the truth. This didn’t blow up in her face because of any conspiracy, it blew up because she ran a bad story without full support of experts. Still, I liked the movie and it’s worth seeing for Redford alone. Dennis Quaid, Topher Grace and Elisabeth Moss also star. 3.5/5 stars