Tag Archives: Bradley Cooper

Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol. 2 – Movie Review

The Guardians of the Galaxy return to the big screen to prove they are more than just misfits prepared to save the galaxy. In Volume 2, the Guardians prove that they need to be a family to save the galaxy.

Release Date: May 5, 2017
Writer: James Gunn
Director: James Gunn
Cast: Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana, Dave Bautista, Bradley Cooper, Vin Diesel, Michael Rooker, Kurt Russell, Karen Gillan, Elizabeth Debicki

Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol. 2 starts a few months after the events of the first film. Our brood of heroes, Star Lord (Chris Pratt), Gamora (Zoe Saldana), Drax (Dave Bautista), Rocket (Bradley Cooper) and Baby Groot (Vin Diesel) are hired as the Guardians to protect a power set of batteries from an inter-dimensional monster. The batteries power the race of conceited aliens known as the Sovereign.

As payment, the Guardians take custody of Gamora’s sister Nebula (Karen Gillan), but as their leaving Rocket steals the very batteries that they were hired to protect. Here starts a series of plots and sub-plots, the main one being the meeting of Peter Quill’s father played by Kurt Russell, who brings Peter, Gamora and Drax to his home planet. For comic book fans, this planet is Ego, the living planet. They also meet Mantis (Elizabeth Debicki), who serves Ego. She has empathic powers.

The other subplots include Yondu (Michael Rooker) and his gang of Ravagers. Yondu has been kicked out of the Ravagers because he betrayed the other clans in the first film. Yondu is then hired by the Sovereign to hunt down the Guardians and return the batteries, but Yondu also had a mutiny on his hands when one of his officers Tazer Face (Pom Klementieff) no longer believes Yondu can effectively act as leader.

While in custody, Nebula plots to get the upper hand on Gamora and ultimately kill her and then her father, Thanos. Rocket continues his own brand of self-destructive and self-loathing behavior and then there’s Baby Groot, who wants to grow up and become a warrior, but he’s only a baby.

There is a lot going on in Guardians of the Galaxy, Volume 2. You can already see there is literally a shipload of old and new characters. There are about four storylines going on at the same time. Writer/Director James Gunn masterfully manages to keep the storylines interesting and followable which could have easily unraveled at any point.

The main story between Quill and Ego is not the strongest of stories and unfortunately, it is the main spine of the movie. Their relationship feels more like a morality episode of Star Trek. It feels very over-and-done by the end of the movie.

As much as this is a large galactic action movie, the best moments in Guardians are the moments the main characters spend together. Clearly, there is a Sam-and-Diane relationship brewing between Quill and Gamora. So-much-so that Quill calls it out as a Cheers-inspired romance. Drax and Mantis have an opposite relationship, which will make your head spin. Maybe, the sisterly conflict between Gamora and Nebula feels a little forced.

The tone of Guardians of the Galaxy is light, a little gruesome and stands outside the seriousness of the Marvel Cinematic Universe on Earth. But this movie is funny and the rollercoaster of action you expect it to be. For a long movie, the pacing is fast and because it is packed with so much plot, characters and action, you leave wanting more. Finally, please stay to the end of the credits.

 

 

Burnt – Movie Review

Burnt is one of those food movies that manages to balance the story of food and the human story of redemption into an enjoyable tale.

Release Date: October 30, 2015
Writer: Steven Knight
Director: John Wells
Cast: Bradley Cooper, Sienna Miller, Emma Thompson, Daniel Bruhl, Riccardo Scamarcio, Omar Sy

Adam Jones (Bradley Cooper) is a disgraced “Two Michelin” star chef. Jones has left the world he loves, the restaurant kitchen, thanks to a self-destructive downward spiral associated with the drug, women and rock n’ roll lifestyle of the cooking world. As penance, Jones exiles himself to a small Louisiana restaurant until he has shucked one million oysters.

Burnt follows the struggle back to the top of London’s culinary ladder as Jones pursues his third Michelin Star. To make his dream a reality, Jones has to visit some old demons to finance a restaurant, build a talented cooking staff and find inspiration to “cook food so good, people forget to eat.”

The search of a restaurant comes from his former business partner, Tony (Daniel Bruhl). Reminded of Jones true talent as a chef, Tony agrees to open and finance the new restaurant under the condition that Jones submit to weekly drug tests administered by psychiatrist Dr. Rosshide (Emma Thompson).

For his staff, Jones calls on Michel (Omar Sy), whom Jones has ruined his restaurant open with several rats and a call to the health department. There is also ex-convict Max (Ricardo Scamarcio) and finally, a single mother, Helene (Sienna Miller), who is an up-and-coming chef on her way to culinary heights. Did I mention she plays a woman? Do you think this will be an important fact later in the film?

First, Burnt is not only a movie about food but about the driven nature of the best chefs in the world. These chefs cannot never afford to be complacent, but must always be creating, innovating and competing against one another. This world is exciting and engaging and captured brilliantly on film. Cooper does not fake anything in this movie and was clearly advised by the best chefs to make this movie as accurate as possible.

Second, Burnt is a story of redemption. When a person reaches the lowest point in his life, what does he or she become when you take away the drugs and alcohol. In Jones, you see this struggle of a man dealing with the pressure of attaining perfection with just his sheer will. In the end, what happens to a man when his pursuit of perfection is popped like a balloon and there’s no way to put the pieces back together.

It is the story of redemption that makes Burnt the movie to watch. It is also this story that somehow manages to make the fascinating world of food take a back seat. It is hard to a human story feel real without going into the old bag of tricks of clichés. While Burnt uses several of these tricks, like the old everyone here believes in you and your old mentor wanted to you have his knife set, these tricks are perfectly spread out through the movie. Also, characters are developed well enough, that when the cliché appear, it feels right. Such as the final battle with Jones’ nemesis and former classmate Chef Reece (Matthew Rhys).

Burnt is a good movie because it takes its audience into the driven world of the world class restaurants and the crazy people who choose to be the stars in this world.

American Sniper – Movie Review

Bradley Cooper stars and produces the story of Navy Seal Chris Kyle in the controversial film, American Sniper. It is unfair to label American Sniper as a pro-war movie. It is a character study of a man who loves his country, loves his family, will do anything to keep the U.S. safe and is obligated to protect and save his fellow soldiers.

Release Date: January 16, 2015
Rated R
Running Time: 2 hours 14 minutes
Director: Clint Eastwood
Writer: Jason Hall
Cast: Bradley Cooper, Sienna Miller

American Sniper follows the life of Chris Kyle starting with his early days as a competitive cowboy. After the event of the Oklahoma bombing, Kyle joins and becomes a navy seal. Kyle is described as an average sniper but with an innate sense to see things that others don’t see. Upon completing his training with the Seals, Kyle meets and falls in love with his wife, Taya (Sienna Miller). After 9/11, Kyle knows he’s going to be sent to the Middle East. His skills as not only a sniper, but as a human is immediately challenged when faced with making a potentially deadly decision about a child running with a grenade.

American Sniper - Sienna MillerThis is not a pro-war movie. In no way are battle scenes glorified. Instead, they are played real with its graphic horrors. As Kyle gains notoriety as “The Legend”, with every kill, a small piece of Kyle’s humanity slowly dies. With each return of Kyle’s four tours, Cooper effectively conveys the PTSD with haunting dramatic silence. That is what this movie is about, even the greatest heroes can not come home from war and expect to be the same person who left.

The shining moment of the film is how Kyle faces his trauma and disorder and becomes a different sort of hero at home.

The one major flaw of the movie is the plastic baby. In one scene of the film, Chris and Taya are having an important discussion about the effects of war on Chris. During this discussion, Bradley is a holding and manipulating a plastic baby. I get it, they needed to get through a heavy discussion and a real baby was most likely problematic. It just sticks out.

Fans of military films will love American Sniper. You will certainly feel a new sense of pride for the men and women, who put their lives on the live for our freedom.