10 Cloverfield Lane (2016)

10 Cloverfield Lane
Director: Dan Trachtenberg
Writer: Josh Campbell, Matthew Stuecken, Damien Chazelle
Prequel to: [very kinda] Cloverfield
Cast: Mary Elizabeth Winstead, John Goodman, John Gallagher Jr., Bradley Cooper [as a voice cameo]
Seen on: 9.4.2016

Plot:
Michelle (Mary Elizabeth Winstead) gets into a car accident. When she wakes up, she finds herself chained and locked in a room in a bunker. As he frees her Howard (John Goodman) explains to her that he found her and brought her to his bunker because something has happened outside that makes the very air poisonous. With them in the bunker is Emmett (John Gallagher Jr.) who confirms Howard’s story and says that he fought his way into the bunker to get away from the outside. Michelle is suspicious though and plots her escape.

10 Cloverfield Lane was a thoroughly entertaining, tense film with a great cast. While it did stumble here and there, altogether it raced through its story and dragged the audience right along with it.

10cloverfieldlane

[SPOILERS]

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Joy (2015)

Joy
Director: David O. Russell
Writer: David O. Russell
Based on: Joy Mangano‘s life (roughly)
Cast: Jennifer LawrenceEdgar RamirezRobert De NiroDascha PolancoVirginia Madsen, Elisabeth RöhmIsabella RosselliniBradley CooperDiane Ladd
Seen on: 10.1.2016

Plot:
Joy (Jennifer Lawrence) lives with her agoraphobic mother Terry (Virginia Madsen), her grandmother Mimi (Diane Ladd), her ex-husband Tony (Edgar Ramirez), and her two children in a small house that just become smaller as her father Rudy (Robert De Niro) also moves in after separating from his most recent girlfriend. Joy does her best to keep everything together. All of that could have been enoudh for anyone, but when Joy has an idea for a new product, she is willing to chase the dream of actually producing it, hoping to make a better life for herself and her family.

Joy was nice enough, but it didn’t blow me away. While there were many things to like about it, there was also some weird stuff, not the least of which was the decision to cast Jennifer Lawrence.

joy

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Burnt (2015)

Burnt
Director: John Wells
Writer: Steven Knight
Cast: Bradley Cooper, Sienna Miller, Daniel Brühl, Riccardo Scamarcio, Omar Sy, Sam Keeley, Henry Goodman, Matthew Rhys, Stephen Campbell Moore, Emma Thompson, Uma Thurman, Alicia Vikander, Lily James
Seen on: 16.12.2015

Plot:
Adam (Bradley Cooper) was the rising star in the cooking world before alcohol and drugs got the better of him. When his career was completely destroyed (plus the career of some of his friends for good measure), he set himself  the penance of shucking a million oysters. Three years later he is sober and as he reaches the final oyster, he is ready to give his career a new start. Activating all his old connections and bullying himself into a restaurant kitchen, he is ready to get that third Michelin star.

Burnt is a film about an asshole that for some reason is be believed the coolest person on the planet. The best that I can say about it is that it’s watchable and the cast is good. Other than that, though, I was mostly annoyed by it.

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Wet Hot American Summer (2001)

Wet Hot American Summer
Director: David Wain
Writer: Michael Showalter, David Wain
Cast: Janeane Garofalo, David Hyde Pierce, Michael Showalter, Michael Ian BlackMolly Shannon, Paul Rudd, Christopher Meloni, Ken Marino, Joe Lo Truglio, Amy Poehler, Bradley Cooper, Elizabeth Banks, Kevin Sussman, Judah Friedlander
Seen on: 7.9.2015

Plot:
The last day of Camp Firewood puts the various councelors under stress to complete their open business that they’ve been pushing off for the rest of the summer. And camp director Beth (Janeane Garofalo) has to try and keep everything together. Which is easier said than done when you’re dealing not only with various romantic entanglements, a cook suffering from PTSD (Christopher Meloni) and a deadly piece of NASA equipment hurtling towards them. Oh, and of course, the talent show that is planned for the end of the day.

Wet Hot American Summer is a loud, silly and enjoyable movie with a cast that parodies everything that doesn’t get out of the way fast enough. I had fun.

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Serena (2014)

Serena
Director: Susanne Bier
Writer: Christopher Kyle
Based on: Ron Rash‘s novel
Cast: Jennifer Lawrence, Bradley Cooper, Rhys IfansDavid Dencik, Charity Wakefield, Sam Reid, Toby Jones, Sean Harris, Blake Ritson, Christian McKay
Seen on: 04.01.2015 [cornholio suggested I add that info to my posts, let me know what you think.]

Plot:
George Pemberton (Bradley Cooper) has a successful timber business and things seem to work out perfectly when he meets Serena (Jennifer Lawrence) on a trip. They fall in love and get married quickly and when George brings Serena back home, she immediately gets involved in the business, into which she has some insight. But not everybody is so happy about the new alliance and the intensity of George’s and Serena’s relationship also proves difficult.

Serena starts off well enough but then it pretty much implodes, leaving me feeling like it didn’t actually know what story it wanted to tell in the first place.

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Guardians of the Galaxy (2014)

Guardians of the Galaxy
Director: James Gunn
Writer: James Gunn, Nicole Perlman
Based on: Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning‘s comic
Cast: Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana, Dave Bautista, Vin Diesel, Bradley Cooper, Lee Pace, Michael Rooker, Karen Gillan, Djimon Hounsou, John C. Reilly, Glenn Close, Benicio Del Toro, Peter Serafinowicz, Sean Gunn, Stan Lee, [and – see if you can find them: Emmett Scanlan, Nathan Fillion, Alexis Denisof, Josh Brolin, Seth Green, Lloyd Kaufman]

Plot:
When Peter (Chris Pratt) was a little child, he was abducted by aliens. Now he is a smuggler, always looking for the next thing he can steal and sell. But his latest acquisition is also sought after by Ronan (Lee Pace) aka The Destroyer – which does not bode well for Peter. Ronan sends assassin Gamora (Zoe Saldana) after Peter and at the same time bounty hunters Rocket (Bradley Cooper) and Groot (Vin Diesel) try to collect the price on Peter’s head. In the ensuing confusion they are all arrested, which in turn forces them to work together – first for the money, then to keep Ronan from realizing his destructive plans.

I was really looking forward to Guardians of the Galaxy. The trailer looked good. The first reviews were very promising. The cast was great. I was counting down the days to its ridiculously late Austrian release. And then finally it was time to see the film and… it was a mess. A sexist, boring mess.

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American Hustle (2013)

American Hustle
Director: David O. Russell
Writer: David O. Russell, Eric Warren Singer
Cast: Christian Bale, Amy Adams, Bradley Cooper, Jeremy Renner, Jennifer Lawrence, Louis C.K., Jack Huston, Michael Peña, Shea WhighamAlessandro Nivola, Saïd Taghmaoui

Plot:
Irving (Christian Bale) is a con man who finds a new partner in all things in Sydney (Amy Adams), despite being married to Rosalyn (Jennifer Lawrence). But then police man Richie (Bradley Cooper) catches them in the act and decides to use them to convict the mayor Carmine Polito (Jeremy Renner) of corruption. But things keep on spiraling out of control.

I can imagine that American Hustle would have been a good film if somebody other than David O. Russell had made it. Or if Russell had found a consistent tone in which to tell his story. But as is the movie was just a mess.

american-hustle

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The Place Beyond the Pines (2012)

The Place Beyond the Pines
Director: Derek Cianfrance
Writer: Derek Cianfrance, Ben Coccio, Darius Marder
Cast: Ryan GoslingBradley Cooper, Eva Mendes, Rose ByrneDane DeHaanEmory Cohen, Ben MendelsohnBruce Greenwood, Mahershala Ali, Gabe Fazio, Ray Liotta

Plot:
Luke (Ryan Gosling) is a motorcycle stunt driver. But when he finds out that Romina (Eva Mendes) – with whom he had a fling a year earlier – had his son, he decides to give up his job and stay near them and take care of them. But since he lacks the resources to do so properly, he starts to rob banks which puts him right in the path of Avery (Bradley Cooper), a young and ambitious police man.

I loved Blue Valentine and the cast of this movie is pretty damn good, so I expected big things. Unfortunately, I was sorely disappointed. The Place Beyond the Pines is boring, clichéd and way too long.

theplacebeyondthepines

[Major SPOILERS]

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Silver Linings Playbook (2012)

Silver Linings Playbook
Director: David O. Russell
Writer: David O. Russell
Based on: Matthew Quick‘s novel
Cast: Bradley Cooper, Jennifer Lawrence, Robert De Niro, Jacki Weaver, Chris Tucker, Anupam Kher, John Ortiz, Julia Stiles, Shea Whigham

Plot:
Pat (Bradley Cooper) was just released from a psychiatric hospital where he got committed after a violent episode and diagnosed with bipolar disorder. His mother Dolores (Jacki Weaver) takes him home, where his fahter Pat Sr. (Robert De Niro) carefully tries to reconnect with him. Pat is obsessed with winning his ex-wife Nikki back. So when he meets Tiffany (Jennifer Lawrence), the sister of his best friend’s (John Ortiz) wife (Julia Stiles) who is still in touch with Nikki, all Pat sees in Tiffany is another chance to contact Nikki. But Tiffany who is just getting over her husband’s death brings her own set of problems. Among them a dance competition she doesn’t have a partner for. So she and Pat come up with a deal: Pat dances with her and Tiffany will deliver a message to Nikki.

On the surface, Silver Linings Playbook is pretty much your standard RomCom. But underneath that, it’s one of the most realistic and smartest films about mental illness Hollywood ever produced. I loved it.

silver-linings-playbook

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Limitless (2011)

Limitless is the newest film by Neil Burger, based on Alan Glynn’s novel and starring Bradley Cooper, Abbie Cornish, Anna Friel and Robert De Niro.

Plot:
Eddie (Bradley Cooper) is a struggling writer, a slob and pretty much hits rock bottom when his girlfriend Lindy (Abbie Cornish) breaks up with him. In that state, he runs into an old acquaintance who offers him a new drug that can boost his intelligence. Eddie accepts and in the brief time the pill works, he starts writing his book (finally), cleans his apartment and gets his life on track. In short, he gets completely hooked. It’s only when his supply is threatened that he notices the downsides: among other things, withdrawal can be deadly.

From start to finish, one thing dominates Limitless: its stupidity. That a movie about an intelligence increasing pill can be so dumb is, in itself, fascinating. It just isn’t terribly entertaining. There are a few good things about it, but mostly I just wanted to shake people (in front and behind the camera) for being such morons.

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