Bradley Cooper Weekend – Serena (2014)

Director: Susanne Bier

Writer: Christopher Kyle (Screenplay) Ron Rash (Book)

Starring: Bradley Cooper, Jennifer Lawrence, Rhys Ifans, Toby Jones, David Dencik, Sean Harris, Ana Ularu

 

Plot: In Depression-era North Carolina, the future of George Pemberton’s timber empire becomes complicated when he marries Serena.


Tagline – Some loves can never let you go.

Runtime: 1 Hour 49 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Painfully Slow

 

Story: Serena starts as we see how George Pemberton (Cooper) and his timber empire is struggling with money, meeting Serena (Lawrence) the two are married and her past in the timber industry helps George make decisions which will increase the profit he is making.

When George’s long term friend and first to turn to Buchanan (Dencik) starts to turn away from his ideas to work with the local Sheriff McDowell (Jones) who wants to stop the timber trade and make a national park, the life of George is turned upside down with only Serena to keep his head on straight.

 

Thoughts on Serena

 

Characters – George Pemberton is a timber tycoon, he has built up his empire and the work seems to be going well, though he is in financial hardship, friends turning on him and turning to methods which could bring down his whole empire. Serena is the woman from another world, daughter of a timber tycoon herself who tragically lost her family in a fire, she knows how to get the most out of a profit and stars to help run the business with George. Galloway is a tracker that works to help locate dangers for the crew, on the side job he makes sure that George can hunt the animals he desires. Sheriff McDowell is the man against George, he wants to turn the woodland area into a park which could one day bring tourists to the area.

PerformancesBradley Cooper is known more for his work in comedy, sure he has tackled dramas before and usually done a good job, in this he struggles to make any impact on the film, though he isn’t the only one. Jennifer Lawrence is no where near her best in this film as she struggles to make the impact her character seems to need to be having on the film. Rhys Ifans is the only one that seems to be interesting to watch in this film. I would say most of these comes from the poorly written characters.

StoryThe story here follows a timber tycoon who is about to lose his fortune until he meets Serena who only makes thing even crazier for him. Well that is what I got from the story, I am not going to lie, there isn’t much going on in this film, I don’t know if this is based on a real person who just the depression-era in general or even the time scale of the movie. We do seem to have a storyline about deforestation versus a nature park which for the most part is a back burner while also having a story about love I think. This is one of the weakest stories I have ever seen, it doesn’t capture anything we need to make us enjoy what we are seeing.

RomanceThe romance side of the film is a quickie marriage and learning that love happened before the wife arrived.

SettingsThe film is set in Colorado which was a big part of the timber industry, it works for the film without giving us too much to work with visually.


Scene of the Movie –
George saving the crew member.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Most of it being boring.

Final ThoughtsThis is a movie that drags along way to slowly without any meaningful storyline arcs going on, we have unlikable characters and nothing that captures our attention.

 

Overall: Dull is being nice.

Rating

 

 

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Bradley Cooper Weekend – Burnt (2015)

Director: John Wells

Writer: Steven Knight (Screenplay) Michael Kalesniko (Story)

Starring: Bradley Cooper, Sienna Miller, Daniel Bruhl, Riccardo Scamarcio, Omar Sy, Sam Keeley, Emma Thompson, Uma Thurman, Alicia Vikander

 

Plot: Adam Jones (Bradley Cooper) is a chef who destroyed his career with drugs and diva behavior. He cleans up and returns to London, determined to redeem himself by spearheading a top restaurant that can gain three Michelin stars.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Good Cooking Drama

 

Story: Burnt starts as we see Adam Jones (Cooper) a chef who has worked under the best before he blew it all with drinks and drugs, he cleans himself up, earns enough money and returns to London to take down Tony (Bruhl) restaurant and hotel.

Turning to his old friend Conti (Goodman) and working Michel (Sy), Helene (Miller), David (Keeley) and Max (Scamarcio) Adam goes in search for the next top chefs around London to work in his kitchen after saving Tony’s ass when the top food critic Simone Forth (Thurman) visits his restaurant. Adam is in search for his third Michelin Star.

 

Thoughts on Burnt

 

Characters/PerformanceAdam Jones is the typical aggressive competitive chef, he wants to be known as the very best but is also on a redemption story. he walks the very thin line between being the best and being a complete ass toward the people who work for him. Helene is the next top chef without a reputation in London, a single mother that keeps her reach all her potential that Adam sees in her. Tony is a friend of Adam’s who reluctantly gives him a chance to turn his kitchen around once more. I do think the rest of the characters all play into the story perfectly too.

Bradley Cooper is great in this role, he gets to show he confidence, aggression and emotions through the film. Sienna Miller is good throughout but like the rest of the cast who all give good performance, they all do get over shadowed by Cooper’s performance.

StoryWhen you are a skilled person with talent can easily come off the rails and search for another chance in life. This is a story of redemption at the core showing you will not be able to run from your past but you can always change your future and the people you work with.

Comedy/DramaThis is a comedy drama that does take a serious matter and add little moments of comedy without being a laugh out loud attempted film.

SettingsMost of the film is in and around the kitchens the chefs work in, this is good because we get to see how chaotic the kitchen can be.

Final ThoughtsThis film was a lot more enjoyable than I thought it would be, I do think people can enjoy but I can also see why people will find it hard to get through.

 

Overall: Cooks up a delight that can be devoured by the fans.

Rating

 

 

ABC Film Challenge – Best of 2018 – A – A Star is Born (2018)

Director: Bradley Cooper

Writer: Eric Roth, Bradley Cooper, Will Fetters (Screenplay) Moss Hart, John Gregory Dunne, Joan Didion, Frank Pierson, Williams A Wellman, Robert Carson (Original Screenplay)

Starring: Lady Gaga, Bradley Cooper, Sam Elliott, Andrew Dice Clay, Rafi Gavron, Anthony Ramos, Dave Chappelle, Alec Baldwin

 

Plot: A musician helps a young singer and actress find fame, even as age and alcoholism send his own career into a downward spiral.

 

Runtime: 2 Hours 15 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Musical Enjoyment

 

Story: A Star is Born starts when rock star Jackson (Cooper) looking for another drink stumbles into a drag bar, he sees working class woman Ally (Gaga) perform on stage, instantly he knows she has talent and learns more about her, bring her on stage for his latest show.

When Ally becomes an overnight success story the two-start performing together which only attractions more record labels who come calling to make Ally the next biggest star in the music world which soon sees her become more famous than Jack whose own problems could bring an end to his fame.

 

Thoughts on A Star is Born

 

Characters – Ally is a hotel worker that performers in a local drag bar after being rejected by record labels before. She meets rock star Jack who encourages to perform, first with him and soon the world wants to see her become the biggest star in the music industry. Ally must learn about the world around her, one she has never stepped foot in before or become consumed by it. Jack is the rock star who sees Ally believing she could become a star, he offers her a chance to perform which sets her on her way, Jack however has his own problems with drinks and drugs would could finish his own career just as Ally’s is about to take off. These two characters do take centre stage for the most part, we do see family that support as well as friends who see their friend get to levels of fame they never thought they could.

PerformancesBradley Cooper gives one of his best performances of his career here, not just on front of the camera, but behind it too. He manages to make us feel like his problems are real, which are problem many musicians could be facing. Lady Gaga was always going to be a wonderful choice for the singing side of the film, it was the acting side people wanted to see if she could handle, she does a good job through the film managing to show the bond the two have throughout the film. the supporting cast are good without needing to be challenged to reach the levels of the lead two actors.

StoryThe story follows the rise of a musician after being discovered by an alcoholic rock star. We know this is a remake, so we know this had been modernised to tell an old story which deals with the modern problems of fame for musicians. We see how one side is taking every opportunity thrown her way and the other than has been watching his career fade away because of alcoholism and drug abuse. This is a great story of how important taking chances are and how success can ruin lives. The story does however become slightly slow paced because we just jump into a song to cover up anything that needs to be talked about more.

Music/RomanceThe music in the film is good with songs that Gaga performs with ease. The romance between the two shows how they can support each other through the lives they didn’t know they would be going through.

SettingsThe film uses the settings to show the journey that Ally takes from the small venue to awards ceremony showing here rise to fame.


Scene of the Movie –
First song.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The rise feels too fast.

Final ThoughtsThis is a great look at how the fame can affect lives in the music industry, we get strong performances from Cooper and Gaga who both shine through the film.

 

Overall: Great Music based movie.

Rating

 

 

ABC Film Challenge – Comedy – Y – Yes Man (2008)

Director: Peyton Reed

Writer: Nicholas Stoller, Jarred Paul, Andrew Mogel (Screenplay) Danny Wallace (Book)

Starring: Jim Carrey, Zooey Deschanel, Bradley Cooper, John Michael Higgins, Rhys Darby, Danny Masterson

 

Plot: A man challenges himself to say “yes” to everything for an entire year.


Tagline – One word can change everything.

Runtime: 1 Hour 44 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Comedy With Laughs

 

Story: Yes Man starts as we meet Carl (Carrey) a banker that doesn’t like to socialise with his friends, co-workers or seems to always say no to everything. when Carl bumps into an old friend Nick (Higgins) who has turned his life around by always saying ‘Yes’ to everything in life.

Carl ends up joining the same group deciding to take the whole year just saying yes, in this time he meets Allison (Deschanel) a musician who is completely different to himself and gets closer to his best friend Peter (Cooper), one of the few people that still encourages him to go out, the question remains just how extreme everything will go.

 

Thoughts on Yes Man

 

Characters – Carl lives a very restricted life, mostly because of his divorce and life not going any direction he is enjoying. This has made his friendship group dwindle down, after being encouraged to take the risk of the ‘Yes’ motivation group, he starts saying Yes to everything, from helping a homeless person to approving a bank loan to a stranger. Allison is the woman that Carl meets in the year after saying yes to something he never would, she is different to anything he would usually go for, being spontaneous on every opportunity. Peter is the best friend of Carl’s the one that will always try to push his friend to get out there and enjoy his life, he has been let down by Carl before and the friendship is what keeps them close together. Nick is the man that inspires Carl to follow through with the idea to say yes, he used to be like Carl and now he is enjoying his life.

PerformancesJim Carrey in the leading role is good for the most part, the problem with this is that he lets too much of his slapstick comedy going on and this role would have bern fantastic for a straight-faced actor to pull off. Zooey Deschanel is good as the love interest, she always is great to see as the girlfriend and she gets to show her singing skills at times too. Bradley Cooper was continuing to make a name of himself in supporting roles where he once again gets his timing right. The supporting cast all get good laughs through the film.

StoryThe story follows a man who believes his life isn’t going well stuck in a rut which he is happy enough with, when he gets given a chance to take chances he starts saying yes to everything which opens up his life to new opportunities. This does show us the meaning of life even if we see the extremes of it here, we get to see how taking chances with make for an enjoyable life however mad certain parts might be. We do see moments of people who will take advantage of that person, which isn’t ever addressed enough especially when one is a close friend, overall this story shows us just how important living life is, taking chance because you never know what you might find in life.

Comedy/RomanceThe comedy in the film comes from the reactions and participation in the events that Carl get put through, we do get laughs from the supporting cast with Rhys Darby as Norman getting the most. The romance side of the film comes from taking a chance, Carl had been divorced and not wanting to take a chance on meeting new people which saying yes offers him.

SettingsThe film is set in LA which is fine, it could have been set in any city because none of what is achieved makes a different to the actual settings.


Scene of the Movie –
Close stage.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Carrey sometimes goes to slapstick too quickly.

Final ThoughtsThis is a fun motivational movie, sure it becomes a basic comedy and could have been better with somebody not known for comedy in the leading role, but it does everything it needs to.

 

Overall: Fun comedy.

Rating

 

 

Movie Reviews 101 Midnight Horror – Case 39 (2009)

Director: Christian Alvart

Writer: Ray Wright (Screenplay)

Starring: Renee Zellweger, Jodelle Ferland, Ian McShane, Bradley Cooper, Callum Keith Rennie

 

Plot: A social worker fights to save a girl from her abusive parents, only to discover that the situation is more dangerous than she ever expected.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Solid Horror

 

Story: Case 39 starts as we see the workload of social worker Emily Jenkins (Zellweger), the latest case to fall on her desk is Case 39 about young girl Lilith Sullivan (Ferland) who is being abused by her parents but nothing can be proven. Emily get Detective Barron (McShane) to help investigate but when Lilith’s parents try to kill her, she is removed from the home.

When Lilith moves in with Emily during the case hearing, we start to learn what could have been the problem with Lilith as strange things start to happen around the people Emily cares about, is this Lilith causing the problems or something more sinister.

 

Thoughts on Case 39

 

Characters/PerformanceEmily Jenkins is the social worker that always does the best for the children through any of the cases she gets, she sees the latest case with Lilith and takes her in as the only one she can trust but soon her life start unravelling and Emily must question her good nature to stop people dying. Lilith is the young girl that Emily believes is being abused by her family, she starts of looking innocent but soon becomes strange through the film and she could in fact be evil. Detective Barron is the person Emily always turns to, to solve any problems in the cases she has, he is loyal to her and willing to help solve any wrong doings.

Performance wise, Renee Zellweger is good in this lead role showing us horror can work with the right leading lady. Jodelle Ferland made a reputation playing the creepy little girl around this time and she is the star of the show here. Ian McShane is good in the supporting role too.

StoryThe story is a smart decision process because a social worker having the mentality to want to protect children having to question that because one could be evil poses a great set of moral questions throughout the film. That is the core of the story here we do have characters getting picked off by what could an evil child but it does keep us wondering how somebody would deal with the actual anti-Christ.

Horror/MysteryThe horror comes in our characters being haunted by their nightmares that are being created by Lilith but the mystery behind why this is happening in the first place.

SettingsWe have everyday settings in this film that makes us feel like this could happen to anybody, this does help everything unfold.

Special EffectsThe effects do work when it comes to the kills going on through the film without it being all over the top CGI.

Final ThoughtsThis is a solid horror that spends slightly too much time trying to add extra scares instead of focusing on what could be moral questions Emily should need to face.

 

Overall: Solid Horror that can be enjoyable for the horror fans.

Rating