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Bradley Cooper’s “Burnt” A Miss, But Not For Lack Of Effort

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Burnt

Burnt, starring Bradley Cooper, is the story of a top-tier chef in London figuring out what life should look like once you put the booze and the cocaine away.

This provides a few options. This could be a story about loneliness, fear, denial or redemption. Much of the time, however, Burnt struggles to find out which direction to take and, in the end, it leans towards bringing chef Adam Jones, played by Cooper, to what most of us would recognize as Step One in a 12 Step recovery process – which is acceptance that you have a problem that you cannot handle by yourself.

That means Burnt, in so many words, is the story of a dry drunk. This is defined as someone who has walked away from their drugs of choice, but has yet to face the issues that turned them into an addict. The demons are still around, whether he is refusing to get high or not. And, true to form, most people in that situation are simmering personality hurricanes. Further, true to life, the chef’s troubles are all self inflicted.

So, while chef Jones is likable on a good day, he is also petulant, angry, petty and arrogant. But this is Hollywood, which has its own pratfalls, which means, largely, that Burnt caters to the possibility that an American audience will lose interest in self-inflicted torture. So, while it is the story of self-abuse, all of Jones’ troubles are glossed over — or, since he is a chef, maybe glazed over is the word to use.

The story lines in Burnt seem like props. True, the cooking scenes are visually splendid and mouth-watering and the romance between chef Jones and his assistant chef Helene, played by Sienna Miller, is generously warm and appealing. In fact, had this been what the advertisers said it was — a romantic comedy — it might have been a good one. Had it been a jolly comedy about cooking and chasing down a great review from the omniscient phantom food critic who always shows up in the last 15 minutes of these films, that might have been worthwhile, too. Instead, while there is some zeal in the story-telling, the true focus of the story gets watered down too much to make an impact.

Meanwhile, chef Jones has muscled his way into the London restaurant scene by relying on old connections with whom he has decidedly love-hate relationships. Particularly convincing — and understated — is Daniel Bruhl as the restaurant owner Tony. Particularly unconvincing, however, is the notion that Tony will only hire chef Jones if he submits to weekly drug testing, which sets up a routine of appointments with Dr. Rosshilde, a therapist played by Emmma Thompson.

Thompson‘s part is clearly the low-point in the production. Thompson is perfect for the role and that might be the trouble here. She plays a bumper-sticker version of Mother Theresa, calmly spewing one tedious cliche after another.

Eventually, Burnt comes across as a story of redemption, but the point is weakly made. That said, anyone selling this as a romantic comedy is groping for a tag-line. It isn’t that, either — not by a long shot.

All that said, there is simply too much talent here to toss Burnt into the dumpster. It gets and A for effort, but just doesn’t quite cut the mustard on substance. But it’s still more of a very good miss than a great film that falls short.

Izzy

Movie Magic: The De-Aging Technique of The Irishman

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Have you read Izzy yet? If so, you know that Izzy makes the apples that give the Gods their youth and immortality. It also seems Robert De Niro discovered one of Izzy’s apples too… In Martin Scorsese’s upcoming biographical film, he stars as Frank “The Irishman” Sheeran, a labor union leader and alleged hitman for the Bufalino crime family. The trailer for the movie, which will premieres NEXT WEEK (!), also features a “de-aged” De Niro. “We’re so used to watching them as the older faces,” Scorsese said in an interview on the A24 podcast. “Does it change the eyes at all? …If that’s the case, what was in the eyes that I liked? Was it intensity? Was it gravitas? Was it threat?…How do we get that? I don’t know.” Some might consider this magic and I for one can’t wait to see the impact of Izzy’s apples on screen for myself. 😉

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“Captain Marvel” Retains Top Slot at the Box Office

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It’s no surprise that in its second weekend, the first Marvel Cinematic Universe of 2019 is still riding high. Captain Marvel, the latest in the MCU with Brie Larson starring as the lead, generated another $69 million over the weekend, placing its domestic total at $266 million. Tallying up the international box office, the film’s global total to date is $760 million. Despite the online controversy, the film is looking to be another strong box office smash for Disney and Marvel.

As for the premieres for the weekend, and there were plenty, they were all over the map. Just below Captain Marvel was the animated adventure Wonder Park, bringing in $16 million, another film with controversy when the director’s name was removed from the picture after sexual harassment charges. Five Feet Apart, the dying teen drama about a romance amid cystic fibrosis, only came in at #3 with a weekend gross of $13 million. And debuting the lowest in the top 10 for debuts was Captive State, a sci-fi dystopian tale, only making $3 million. The film debuted so low the little film No Manches Frida 2 was able to sneak about it at #6 with a gross of $3.8 million.

Drops were fairly low all around for the returning films, mostly because Captain Marvel was dominating the previous weekend. The only milestone worth noting is that The LEGO Movie 2, after six weeks at the box office, finally cracked $100 million. And the sun is now setting on Green Book’s post-Oscar run by coming in at #10 for the final weekend of its top 10 run over the past few weeks.

View the full top ten weekend box office results below:

Captain Marvel ($69,318,000)

Wonder Park ($16,000,000)

Five Feet Apart ($13,150,000)

How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World ($9,345,000)

Tyler Perry’s A Madea Family Funeral ($8,085,000)

No Manches Frida 2 ($3,894,000)

Captive State ($3,163,000)

The LEGO Movie 2: The Second Part ($2,135,000)

Alita: Battle Angel ($1,900,000)

Green Book ($1,277,000)

Next weekend, Captain Marvel may very well have some competition when Jordan Peele’s new horror film Us hits over 3,600 theaters.

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“Dragon” Continues To Soar, “Funeral” Close Behind, “Green Book” Back

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With little competition for the weekend, How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World, the third in the animated fantasy saga, was able to secure the box office once more. In its second weekend, the animated epic made $30 million to push its domestic total to $97 million. So far the film has done about the same as the previous film and is on track to stay in the top 10 for a few more weeks in March.

Debuts this weekend were small with one big exception. Tyler Perry’s latest Madea film, A Madea Family Funeral, naturally made a relatively big splash with its dedicated audience. Starting at #2, the film made $27 million for its first weekend. No word on the budget yet but it’s most likely on a budget as most Tyler Perry productions are, so it’s safe to call this a success, especially for debuting with a box office so close to Dragon.

The rest of the premieres were not as strong at all. Greta, the new thriller starring Chloe Moretz, debuted all the way down at #8 with $4.5 million box office. To be fair, however, the film was in a constant battle for its spot as three other films also reported earnings around $4 million for the weekend. Of note, Green Book, fresh off winning the Academy Award for Best Picture one weekend ago, splashed back into more theaters to arise even higher in the top 10 with its domestic total now sitting at $73 million. Don’t count on it remaining there long as bigger blockbusters will be swooping as we plow through the last remnants of winter movies.

Check out the full listing of the top 10 box office weekend results below:

How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World ($30,046,000)

Tyler Perry’s A Madea Family Funeral ($27,050,000)

Alita: Battle Angel ($7,000,000)

The LEGO Movie 2: The Second Part ($6,615,000)

Green Book ($4,711,000)

Fighting With My Family ($4,691,284)

Isn’t it Romantic ($4,645,000)

Greta ($4,585,000)

What Men Want ($2,700,000)

Happy Death Day 2U ($2,516,000)

Next weekend is once again all about Marvel as their latest superhero solo film, Captain Marvel, will be appearing in 4,100 theaters.

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