Bradley Cooper

‘Burnt’ is palatable but bland

Director John Wells’ redemptive tale about a burned-out chef isn’t particularly noteworthy, but the pacing and performances keep things humming along nicely

‘Serena’ is an incoherent mess

Based on a bestselling novel by Ron Rash, Serena, as brought to the screen by director Susanne Bier and screenwriter Christopher Kyle, feels like a husk of an adaptation even to one completely unfamiliar with the source material. It’s the sort of film that, at least in the form prepped for theatrical release, makes one inclined to believe its makers have completely lost the ability to tell a story. And it’s not like that ever seems like a deliberate stylistic choice, with Bier actually focusing on some thematic flourish off on the sidelines. Serena is always focused on its plot. Its perpetually rushed, choppily told, borderline confusing plot.

American Sniper

Movie Lovers Podcast Episode #9 – American Sniper and Coen Brothers Films

On today’s episode of the Movie Lovers Podcast, Katherine and Chris discuss Clint Eastwood’s ‘American Sniper’ and their likes and dislikes of the Coen Brothers films with guest Randall Unger from TheMovieNetwork.com. Topics include the transformation of Bradley Cooper, comparisons between other war films like ‘Apocalypse Now,’ ‘Fury,’ and ‘Saving Private Ryan.’ The Movie Lovers Podcast hosts also discuss the agism of Client Eastwood, what Coen Brothers films are the best for a mass audience, and how Bill Murray almost made an animated Coen Brothers film. Put us in your ear, and enjoy! And don’t forget to Watch More Film! Check us out on Facebook and Twitter, and subscribe to us on iTunes under the Movie Lovers Podcast. Reviews and comments are much appreciated.

‘American Sniper’ stumbles, but Bradley Cooper shines

After unsuccessful forays into musicals and political biopics with Jersey Boys and J. Edgar, Clint Eastwood returns to more traditionally masculine material usually associated with his filmmaker persona. With American Sniper, he tackles the drama and real-life accounts of Navy SEAL sniper Chris Kyle, but as compelling as the on-the-ground combat is, the real story worth telling is largely ignored for the pyrotechnics.

‘Guardians of the Galaxy’ is good, freaky fun

Of course, Guardians isn’t perfect, as it struggles to find a consistent tone. Sometimes it wants to be more adult, with bawdier language and sexual innuendo. For instance, Quill’s rumination that “If I had a black light, this place would look like a Jackson Pollock painting!” is pretty sophisticated for mainstream PG-13 fare. Other times, it feels as though the filmmakers are pandering to a much younger audience. You can almost visualize a ‘Dancing Groot’ doll gyrating in your kid’s Happy Meal.

‘Guardians of the Galaxy’ is solid entertainment, despite some wonky action and character work

For every good sequence, there’s one that’s muddled with bad camerawork and editing. Like a lot of blockbuster action, it’s barely legible; you have to work to keep up with it, and that work interferes with the enjoyment. The story also sags in the middle, as it seems to exist mainly to fill out the run-time. The protagonists take the MacGuffin to a dude they wish to sell it to, but the only real function of the section is to exposit what it is. It turns a big chunk of the plot into a shrug.

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