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
Based on a notorious true story, this film takes a muted approach that matches the Victorian period and attitudes, which somewhat undermines the vivid emotions of the characters. It's a fascinating story about a woman caught in her society's harshly restrictive rules about women, and the script by Emma Thompson captures some strong observations, interaction and personal feelings, but the film is so dark and repressed that it ultimately feels a bit dull.
In the mid 19th century, Effie Gray (Dakota Fanning) has been courted by noted art critic John Ruskin (Greg Wise) since she was only 12 years old, and he has waited for her to come of age to marry her. But as she moves in with his suffocating parents (Julie Walters and David Suchet) in London, Effie soon realises that she's trapped in a hopeless situation. While he's loving, John simply refuses to touch her, which makes her doubt her own intellect and femininity. She's befriended by Lady Eastlake (Thompson), who knows a thing or two about cold marriages and helps her make a plan. Then Effie and John travel to Scotland with John's protege, the painter Everett Millais (Tom Sturridge), and Effie begins to understand that there might be other possibilities out there.
Since the film is made in Victorian style, it leaves all of the heaving passion far beneath the surface. It's obvious that Effie (and the audience) are craving a bit of lusty bodice-ripping, but any action remains behind closed doors, only hinted at in the clever dialogue. This makes the film realistic and intriguing, but difficult to get a grip on. And instead of the scandalous love triangle of historical record, the film plays out more as a drama about a young woman working out a complex escape from male-dominated society. Even so, it's a compelling journey, with some remarkable twists and turns along the way, and the complex characters add plenty of detail.
Continue reading: Effie Gray Review
When young Effie Grey (Dakota Fanning) is married to John Ruskin (Greg Wise), a man ten years older than her, she feels no pleasure whatsoever. She is soon whisked away from her native Scotland and follows her husband as he travels to Venice in order to work on his book, 'The Stones of Venice'. People often notice that there is no love between the pair, and they drift apart during their time in Italy, with Effie spending her time walking the streets of Venice and spending more and more time with her husband's protégée John Everett Millais (Tom Sturridge). With the two steadily falling in love, the struggle between right and wrong rages within Effie, as she is forced to make the choice between what she is told, and what she wants.
Continue: Effie Gray Trailer
Love is never uncomplicated and when a third person gets involved, it can make things even more difficult. Michael is an award-winning novelist who has left his wife for a much younger lover. He is in Paris finishing his latest book which eerily seems to reflect his own personal problems which get more intense by the day. Meanwhile, a dodgy businessman named Scott travels to Rome to get involved in a fashion design scam only to meet an attractive young woman named Monika. She reveals that she has finally been given the chance to see her daughter again but when the money she needs to see her is apparently stolen, Scott finds himself embroiled in a much deeper con. Then there's Julia, a former actress who has been refused contact with her child and is going through a serious legal battle to be able to hold her son again.
Continue: Third Person Trailer
Marc Duval is struggling to support his family in France as he is faced with an increased financial pressure. However, he is offered a chance to better his life by moving to the Gibraltar off the Spanish coast and becoming a spy for French customs for a more than reasonable income. Unfortunately, the job is not without its risks as he must go undercover as a trustworthy confidante to formidable cocaine smuggler named Claudio Lanfredi. With this operation comes plenty of temptation into a lifestyle of unmatchable luxury, but when border patrol makes a move to arrest Lanfredi, Marc is forced to hide himself and his family from the wrath of Lanfredi's Columbian drug trafficking associates. It soon becomes clear that Marc has to decide what's worth dying for; his family or his job?
Continue: The Informant Trailer
Riccardo Scamarcio and Cristiana Capotondi - Celebrities attend the 9th Jaeger-LeCoultre Event at the Theatre La Fenice, sponsors of the Venice International Film Festival. - Venice, Italy - Monday 2nd September 2013
The officers working to protect children in Paris form a close-knit team that deals with huge pressures every day. To survive requires a cynical sense of humour, a fiery dose of righteous rage and an ability to hold your drink on stress-releasing nights out. This kind of police work demands full attention and a lot of passion, but it also takes a personal toll: Nadine (Viard) has left her husband for her colleague Iris (Fois), and Fred (Starr) is both infuriated by and attracted to team photographer Melissa (Maiwenn).
Continue reading: Polisse Review
Returning home to Lecce from his studies in Rome, Tommaso (Scamarcio) confides to his older brother Antonio (Preziosi) that he intends to tell his whole family that he's gay, partly to get out of his responsibilities in the family's pasta business. But at dinner that night, Antonio drops his own bombshell, leaving their parents (Savino and Fantastichini) and sister (Nappi) stunned.
Their grandmother (Occhini), however, isn't so surprised. Or shaken. Over the next weeks, the fallout continues as Tommaso befriends the sexy, mysterious Alba (Grimaudo) and neglects his boyfriend (Recano) back in Rome.
Continue reading: Loose Cannons [Mine Vaganti] Review
Young Accio (Vittorio Emanuele Propizio) yearns for the priesthood, but not as much as his young body yearns for the bodies of Italian movie actresses, whom he discovers through small photos. When he can't get a straight cure from the clerics, Accio goes secular and takes up a kindred cause: fascism. His older brother Manrico (Riccardo Scamarcio) is celebrated by their parents for causing a riot at work under the banner of communism and unionization, but a teenaged Accio, played by the talented Elio Germano, takes chastisement at every turn for his loyalty to the ways of Mussolini.
Continue reading: My Brother Is An Only Child Review
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...
Based on a notorious true story, this film takes a muted approach that matches the...
When young Effie Grey (Dakota Fanning) is married to John Ruskin (Greg Wise), a man...
Love is never uncomplicated and when a third person gets involved, it can make things...
Marc Duval is struggling to support his family in France as he is faced with...
With a strong blast of real-life, this sprawling film explores the Paris child protection unit...
Turkish-born Italian filmmaker Ozpetek branches into comedy with this borderline farce about an estabished family...