Tag Archives: Sienna Miller

High Rise – Movie Review – Newport Beach Film Festival

Based on J. G. Ballard novel of the same name, High-Rise, observes life for the residents of a high tower run out of control.

Newport Beach Film Festival – 2016
Amy Jump
Director: Ben Wheatley
Cast: Tom Hiddleston, Jeremy Irons, Sienna Miller, Elisabeth Moss

High Rise, I think, is an allegory about class warfare. It’s a very strange movie, and I’ll describe it as best as I can. Dr. Robert Liang (Tom Hiddleston) is a upper-middle class doctor that moves into a futuristic high rise building. The building is an essentially a self-contained country. The rich and affluent live on the higher floors while the poor live on the lower floors. Living on the penthouse level is the architect of the building, Royal (Jeremy Irons), who designed the entire project.

The beginning of the movie, everyone starts moving into their individual apartments. The high rise has its own market, workout room and every amenity imaginable. But quickly things start to fall apart. Liang first attends a party by the lower middle-class residents. Not to be outdone, the rich decide to throw an even better party.

As the movie progresses, documenting a three-month period of time, the society within the high-rise begins to deteriorate. Food becomes scarce, the electricity and water fail and garbage begins to pile up. The upper-class bunker into their floor and the lower class wonder why nothing is improving. Or at least, that’s what I think is happening.

I am absolutely baffled by this movie. Clearly the film is some kind of statement about class warfare, but I can’t really tell you what that statement is. It is based on a popular novel that I have not read, but I’m sure many people have. I should have to read a book to understand a movie.

The main problem a film has when it’s hard to follow. It gets boring fast. I start looking at the clock. I keep hoping this act is the last act. But the end doesn’t come, and I am forced to endure more torture.

The movie is littered with strange and odd images. Visually, the high-rise appears as a sleek modern building of today, but over time, the building deteriorates. Halls are littered with trash and the ungodly. Even food becomes moldy, and water becomes cloudy.

The strange thing is I hear laughter, and I see people who are enjoying this movie. I begin to wonder, am I just too stupid to enjoy this film? Then paranoia sets in, and I wonder if the movie is making fun of me.

I love Tom Hiddleston, and I am a fan of Jeremy Irons. They are good actors and light up the screen. It was probably the only thing that helped me get to the finish line that is the ending of this movie.

I’ll just come out and say it. I didn’t get this movie, and if there was a point or commentary about life and class warfare, it was lost.

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.