Strong characters help hold the attention as this overcooked drama develops, but in the end it feels so concocted that it's difficult to believe. While there's plenty of potential in the premise, the film becomes distracted by irrelevant subplots that try to stir up some tension but never quite manage it. And for a movie about food, the cuisine is simply too abstract to be mouthwatering.
At the centre is Adam (Bradley Cooper), a bad boy chef whose partying ways ended his high-flying career in Paris. After a period of penance in New Orleans, he moves to London to start again, with the goal of finally getting his elusive third Michelin star. Since he has alienated his friends, he turns to Tony (Daniel Bruhl), a guy who always had a soft spot for him and happens to be running a posh restaurant, which Adam quickly takes over. He rustles up some old colleagues (Omar Sy and Riccardo Scamarcio) and hires hot-shot Helene (Sienna Miller) as his sous chef. But his demanding perfectionism is keeping things from running very smoothly.
This set-up is ripe for both black comedy and soul-searching drama, and yet writer Steven Knight throws in irrelevant sideroads including a mandated therapist (the wonderful Emma Thompson), a bitter rival (a jagged Matthew Rhys), a couple of randomly violent loan sharks and a precocious little girl. Even though the actors do what they can to make every scene intriguing, none of these story elements add anything to the overall film. Still, Cooper holds the movie together with sheer charisma, even if his sudden transition from absolute tyrant to cuddly sweetheart isn't terribly convincing. At least he adds some surprising textures to his scenes, and indulges in sparky banter with those around him. And while Miller is solid in her thankless role, even she can't breathe life into such a thinly developed romance.
Continue reading: Burnt Review
Restauranteering is not a profession that should be taken lightly. Indeed, it's less of a job and more of a way of life for Adam Jones, who has wanted to become the greatest chef the world has ever seen since as long as he can remember. He was just 16-years-old when he left school to go to Paris and achieve his dream; becoming a Michelin star chef infamous across the Parisian culinary scene. But his rise to success came much too soon, and it wasn't long before his dream began to crumble around him, beaten by a life of drugs, violence, and volatile behaviour. With many of his opponents thinking him dead, he returns to London a new man to reignite his passion, earn a third Michelin star, and open the best restaurant in the world. All he needs is a talented team behind him, who is willing to give him the benefit of the doubt.
Continue: Burnt - Teaser Trailer
With studios afraid of anything new or original, it's not surprising that the dinosaurs are back on-screen nearly 15 years after the rather disappointing Jurassic Park III. The good news is that this film has a clever script and solid characters to go along with the first-rate digital work. So even if the effects kind of take over the movie in the final act, it's still a great ride.
The massive island resort Jurassic World has been running safely for a decade off the Costa Rica coast, so it needs ever-scarier attractions to bring in visitors. The owner Masrani (Irrfan Khan) has been instructing his top scientist (BD Wong) to genetically engineer a bigger, scarier species, and he's come up with a beast called Indominus rex. Park manager Claire (Bryce Dallas Howard) has her doubts, but her velociraptor trainer Owen (Chris Pratt) is downright furious when he finds out. Sure enough, just as Claire's nephews (Ty Simpkins and Nick Robinson) arrive for a visit, the I-rex escapes and threatens the 20,000 visitors on the island.
The screenplay sets everything up in fine disaster movie style, with quickly explained back-stories to add some emotional undercurrents to the big-scale chaos. There's also, of course, a requisite villain in the form of the meathead Hoskins (Vincent D'Onofrio), who thinks dinosaurs could be used by the military and welcomes this catastrophe as a chance to prove his point. Thankfully, the cast dives in with gusto, adding hilarious personality touches to every scene. Pratt is terrific as the swashbuckling action-man, nicely set against the feisty Howard, who trumps him by doing all her action scenes in heels. Simpkins and Robinson have a lively adventure all their own that adds to the film's overall appeal. And there are superb side roles for the talented likes of Omar Sy, Judy Greer and Jake Johnson that add both humour and emotion.
Continue reading: Jurassic World Review
Some very big themes are given space to breathe in this remarkably naturalistic drama, which is livened up by terrific central performances from Omar Sy and Charlotte Gainsbourg. Instead of heavy-handed commentary on workplace burnout and immigration, the film is packed with sharp humour, engaging characters and situations that are never quite what they seem to be. At two hours, it feels a bit overlong, but the relationships are so involving that we don't mind too much.
Sy plays the title character Samba, an immigrant from Senegal to France who has just been promoted to a job as a restaurant chef. But his resident visa is suddenly in jeopardy, so he consults charity lawyer Manu (Izia Higelin), who can't find much reason to be hopeful. Manu's assistant is Alice (Gainsbourg), a volunteer taking time off after a breakdown, and she has a strong spark of attraction with the charismatic Samba, even though she knows she shouldn't get personally involved. When Samba is ordered to leave France, he goes into hiding with his Uncle Lamouna (Youngar Fall), using his uncle's legal identity to get construction work alongside the fast-talking Brazilian Wilson (Tahar Rahim). And Samba also secretly keeps in touch with Alice.
Essentially a romance, the love story blossoms slowly and realistically. Samba and Alice may have been immediately attracted to each other, but everything is working against them, and navigating the social structures is tricky. In one clever scene, both the legal workers and the migrants attend a party together, trying to overcome the official barriers between them. But Samba is such a charmer that Alice can't resist him. Indeed, Sy lights up the screen with his expressive face, even upstaging the charismatic, cheeky Rahim, who gives one of his most physically kinetic performances. As always, Gainsbourg is quietly superb as the thoughtful Alice, a woman who knows she needs to get her own life back but is afraid to take the plunge.
Continue reading: Samba Review
When John Hammond first created InGen and prepared Jurassic Park, it was a colossal failure. When Jurassic World was later opened for the public, a lot had been learnt from Hammond's mistakes, and the new amusement park opened without any problems. But when visitors began to dwindle, something drastic had to be done. Claire Dearing (Bryce Dallas Howard), the park operations manager has organised to have a hybrid dinosaur created, and needs the dependable and knowledgeable Velociraptor trainer Owen Grady (Chris Pratt) to ensure the enclosure is safe for the new dinosaur. But when it eats its twin, and Grady arrives to inspect it, the Indominus rex breaks free, bringing havoc and destruction in its wake.
Continue: Jurassic World - Clips
The park is officially open! Twenty two years after the disastrous attempt to bread dinosaurs for an amusement park, another attempt was made and saw great success. The problem is, due to dwindling visitors, the management have had to try something new with the exhibits. Claire Dearing (Bryce Dallas Howard), the park operations manager, heads out to speak to Owen Grady (Chris Pratt), the velociraptor trainer. Due to his successful handling of the animals, she believes that he is the perfect person to check the new enclosure, and ensure that it is up to standard. But when someone has dedicated their life to earning the respect of the raptors, they have no idea what needs to be done with the Indominus rex. No one does.
Continue: Jurassic World - Clip And Trailer
The park is officially open! After several years and multiple (disastrous) attempts, Jurassic Park as finally opened for the public. Now named Jurassic World, thousands of people flock to the park every day to see prehistoric creatures in a safe and sanctioned environment. But, as with all things, people have steadily lost interest. Pioneering science at the park has led to the creation of the first hybrid dinosaur being created, designed to entice and scare the visitors, yet unfortunately, it gets lose. Now, a brand new dinosaur is hunting the previously known creatures on the island for sport, and 20,000 people are trapped in its new hunting ground.
Continue: Jurassic World - Super Bowl TV Spot
Taking into account the lessons learnt on the islands Isla Nublar and Isla Sorna, the creators of Jurassic Park have created a new dinosaur amusement park named Jurassic Park. Millions flock to the island resort to see the prehistoric animals in their enclosures, but to keep up with demand for new and interesting attractions, the scientists behind the park have created their first hybrid - a unique dinosaur which never originally existed. But after creating a fantastic creature from the best parts of other dinosaurs, the highly intelligent creature escapes - jeopardising the lives of every person on the island.
Continue: Jurassic World - Teaser Trailer
After a string of projects in America (including the masterpiece Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind), French filmmaker Michel Gondry returns home to let his manic imagination run wild. This film is a riot of movement, as the sets themselves seem to be alive, packing every moment of the film with visual absurdity, witty gags, colourful characters and soulful music. And while the mayhem is sometimes a bit overwhelming, the story's romantic moods resonate deeply, turning a silly movie into something surprisingly moving.
It's based on Boris Vian's 1947 novel L'Ecume des Jours, which has been adapted into two previous films and a Russian opera. In Paris, Colin (Romain Duris) is an independently wealthy bachelor whose friend Nicolas (Omar Sy) cooks and cleans and keeps music echoing around his chaotic flat. But when Nicolas admits that he's falling for their friend Isis (Charlotte Le Bon), and Colin's best friend Chick (Gad Elmaleh) announces that he has a new girlfriend Alise (Aissa Maiga), Colin decides maybe he should find a woman himself. Then he meets Chloe (Audrey Tautou), and the spark between them is instant. But just as they get married, Chloe becomes ill when a tiny waterlily takes root in her lung, and the only treatment is to encircle her with flowers.
As Chloe's condition deteriorates, so does the state of Colin's entire apartment, and eventually the colour begins to drain from all of Paris as well, while friendships are strained by the possibility of death. It's a startling on-screen transformation, as Gondry keeps everything in motion, using any kind of visual trickery imaginable, mainly effects that take place right on the film set, like puppetry and stop-motion. The zaniness continues in the background even after the characters' stories steal focus from them. Yes, the cast members are so strong that they manage to rise above the chaos. As always, Duris brings real charm to the whole film, generating sparky chemistry with everyone around him, and his chemistry with Tautou is seriously sweet.
Continue reading: Mood Indigo Review
Continuing to be the most original and resonant of the Marvel superhero franchises, the X-men return in the capable hands of director Bryan Singer, who again stirs plenty of meaty subtext beneath the thrilling action. He also has one of the best casts imaginable, including Oscar winners, cinema royalty, rising stars and matinee idols.
Best of all, Wolverine (Hugh Jackman) returns to the fold after two less-than-thrilling solo adventures. He's at the centre of everything here, as Professor X and Magneto (Patrick Stewart and Ian McKellen) ask Kitty Pryde (Ellen Page) to send Wolverine's consciousness back 50 years to 1973. His mission is to prevent Dr Trask (Peter Dinklage) from inventing mutant-hunting robots, because they will go out of control and cause a present-day dystopia in which mutants and anyone who sympathises with them are killed. But Wolverine's biggest task will be to get the then-feuding Professor X and Magneto (James McAvoy and Michael Fassbender) to work together to keep renegade mutant Raven (Jennifer Lawrence) from making everything worse.
Thankfully, Simon Kinberg's script doesn't worry too much about the whole time-travel thing, shrugging off dubious logic by keeping the focus on the characters. And there are a lot of people to keep an eye on, which makes the film sometimes feel a bit crowded and leaves some characters barely on-screen at all (blink and you'll miss Anna Paquin's Rogue). The best newbie is Evan Peters' Quicksilver, who gets the film's most entertaining sequence as he races around tweaking an action sequence frame by frame. Other set-pieces are grippingly darker, and some don't quite make sense (why does Magneto feel the need to levitate an entire stadium?).
Continue reading: X-men: Days Of Future Past Review
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Strong characters help hold the attention as this overcooked drama develops, but in the end...
Restauranteering is not a profession that should be taken lightly. Indeed, it's less of a...
With studios afraid of anything new or original, it's not surprising that the dinosaurs are...
Some very big themes are given space to breathe in this remarkably naturalistic drama, which...
When John Hammond first created InGen and prepared Jurassic Park, it was a colossal failure....
The park is officially open! Twenty two years after the disastrous attempt to bread dinosaurs...
The park is officially open! After several years and multiple (disastrous) attempts, Jurassic Park as...
Taking into account the lessons learnt on the islands Isla Nublar and Isla Sorna, the...