Currently browsing the "Bradley Cooper" tag.

Review: A Star Is Born

About a week after I first saw the latest version of A Star Is Born, I took advantage of a rainy weekend to catch up on the 1937 original, the 1954 remake, and the 1976 remake of the remake. Then I watched the latest version again. And I can honestly say, the newest one is my favorite, in part because it draws on the best parts of all its predecessors while bringing the classic tragic love story into present-day context, complete with an awesome original soundtrack. We’ll surely be hearing at least one of those songs at this year’s Oscars.

Spoiler-Free Review: Avengers: Infinity War

I don’t know what to say. Really. There’s little to say, without giving too much away. So here’s the spoiler-free gist: The Avengers – and their superhero allies from across the Marvel Cinematic Universe – engage in what may be their deadliest showdown of all time. Iron Man, Thor, Hulk, Scarlet Witch, Black Widow, Spider-man, Captain America, Black Panther, Dr. Strange, and others too, join forces with the Guardians of the Galaxy (Star-Lord, Gemora, Groot, Drax, Rocket Raccoon, etc.) to defeat a mighty alien named Thanos who aims to eliminate half the universe. Thanos’s misguided plan for population control rests on his ability to collect all six brightly-colored “Infinity Stones” that can manipulate elements of time, space, reality, power, the mind, and the soul. If Thanos (Josh Brolin) succeeds – all hell breaks loose, and a lot of people die. In other words, the stakes are higher than high for this epic action adventure sci-fi fantasy flick.

Avengers, assemble! And bring reinforcements! Victory is not guaranteed.

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 does what a good sequel is supposed to do. It preserves the elements that made the first one a big success (intergalactic action and adventure, quirky characters, heaps of sarcasm, and an awesome soundtrack), while building on the backstory and expanding the ever-expanding Marvel universe. If you liked the first GOTG (2014), you’re sure to like the second at least as much, if not more – from the opening sequence featuring a baby Groot rocking out to classic tunes, all the way through the FIVE bonus scenes peppered throughout the closing credits.

War Dogs

War Dogs joins the ranks of ‘good but ultimately forgettable’ movies of the summer. Based on a true story, the film stars Jonah Hill and Miles Teller as Ephraim Divoroli and David Packouz, a pair of twenty-something Miami dudes who exploited a little-known government initiative that allows small businesses to bid on federal contracts. The initiative was meant to restore some balance to the fundamentally flawed defense-contractor universe after the Cheney-Halliburton debacle, but instead it opened the door for chumps like Packouz and Divoroli to exploit the system and rake in millions of your tax dollars during the Iraq War.

Two-fer review: Burnt and Our Brand Is Crisis

Burnt is a foodie flick.Brand is a political flick.Burnt stars the eminently watchable Bradley Cooper as a brilliant but temperamental chef struggling to make a comeback after battling addictions to women, drugs, and booze.Brand stars the eminently watchable Sandra Bullock as a brilliant political strategist struggling to make a comeback after some sort of mental breakdown and crisis of conscience. Neither movie is Oscar-worthy, despite having star-studded casts and interesting premises. But both are decent. If I had to pick one over the other, I’d go with Burnt. It’s definitely the more engaging and entertaining of the two… and watching Cooper speak French over a hot stove in London is just way cooler than watching Bullock attempting to speak Spanish to volunteers and voters in Bolivia.

American Sniper

War is hell. So is this intensely polarizing movie. You either love American Sniper or hate it. I was one of the latter. Adapted from a biography of the same name, it is the story of U.S. Navy SEAL Chris Kyle (Bradley Cooper) who became a hero to many for being our most lethal sniper and killing the most Iraqis. My problem with the film is how the whole situation is portrayed as entirely black and white. Kyle and the Americans are the good guys, and every single Iraqi is evil. I am sure to the men and women who fought there, that was the perfect rationalization for what they did, but as storytelling goes, it leaves a lot to be desired.

Guardians of the Galaxy

Guardians of the Galaxy is a good, entertaining summer flick filled with humor, sarcasm, sci-fi superhero angst, and action. But don’t make the same mistake I did… which was to expect something close(r) to the brilliance of the classic Star Trek spoof Galaxy Quest. Guardians is good, but it’s not THAT good. Chris Pratt (aka Andy on Parks and Rec) proves he is definitely leading-man material, playing Peter Quill, a half-human, half-alien who likes to refer to himself as ‘Star-Lord’ and wants others to do the same.

American Hustle

“Some of this actually happened.” With that, American Hustle proceeds to take a fair amount of creative license to create a really good movie. The story is loosely based on the FBI corruption sting of the 1970s code-named ABSCAM. It features a schlumpy but successful con man named Irving Rosenfeld (Christian Bale with a paunch and a comb-over) who, along with his smart and seductive partner Sydney (Amy Adams) is forced to work for a wacky FBI agent (Bradley Cooper) who will let them off the hook, if they help him catch some bigger fish.

The Place Beyond the Pines

I really like Ryan Gosling. And I really like Bradley Cooper. But I just did not like this movie, which actually felt more like three movies. I kept waiting to see how all the pieces would fit into place. But by the time they did (140 minutes later), I really didn’t care anymore – about the plot or the characters. The ‘first’ movie features Ryan Gosling as Luke, a heavily-tattooed, chain smokin’ motorcycle stunt rider who has a brief fling with a waitress (a bra-less Eva Mendes) while passing through Schenectady, in upstate New York. A year later, Luke discovers that she’s had his son. He decides to give up the road to try his hand at fatherhood, and ends up becoming a professional bank robber in order to support his kid. It doesn’t end well.

Silver Linings Playbook

Lots of hype surrounds Silver Linings Playbook and I’m not sure I buy into the Best Picture scenario, but as rom-dramedies go, there are not a lot of comparable films. At the center is bipolar Pat (Bradley Cooper), just released after 8 months from the loony bin, where he made a plea bargain to go instead of jail for assaulting the man he found bonking his wife Nikki in the shower. Pat comes to stay with his parents because his (ex)wife sold their house and has a restraining order out against him, that and he has no job and he’s crazy! And yet, in his delusional state, he is certain that he is going to get back together with his wife now. And to that end he agrees to have dinner at old friend Ronnie’s, whose wife Veronica (Julia Stiles) is BFFs with Nikki, expecting that she will tell her how much better he is, and he will welcomed back with open arms. At that dinner, he meets Veronica’s sister, Tiffany (Jennifer Lawrence) who has recently lost her husband and is clearly on an equal plane of crazy.