Joy.

joy UK movie poster

I was conned into seeing this movie because of Robert De Niro and Jennifer Lawrence. The story, as inspiring as it is and heavily female oriented, could have been told in about 90 minutes and since that did not happen due to adding unnecessary characters to the tale, the picture takes over two hours to sit through and I found it tedious.

While Lawrence and Bradley Cooper deliver, all the rest of the cast are zombie like and most unappealing. Robert De Niro, despite being almost a cameo role, disappoings which is rare for him and I blame the story line and the fact that his part could have been done away with completely. I call this a con game that Bollywood usually indulges in when the producer knows that the finished product is likely to bomb and so throws in famous stars to add to the story line.

A very avoidable film.

Burnt.

BURNT-poster-art

[rating=2]

Let me get it off my chest straight away!  I was burnt. Since I am quite fond of cooking I had hoped to learn something from the film and came away disappointed.

I also went because of two names that appealed to me. Bradley Cooper and Uma Thurman. Uma Thurman appears in two sequences and I was not impressed. I was also told by a good friend that it was a comedy-drama, which swayed my decision to go and see. I can assure you that unless my sense of humour has completely deserted me, there is no comedy in the film. Not even black comedy.  Drama certainly is there, but not to the extent that could have saved the film.

Since it was a story about a chef I invited a restaurateur friend to come along and that was the only saving grace for the whole afternoon. That friend will now ensure that his wife who is actually a chef sees it to learn how not to be a chef.

The story revolves around the chef and everybody else is incidental to the film. Some great photographs of dishes like you would see on facebook posted by people visiting restaurants, showing the decorating process is all that appeals in the kitchen.

Very avoidable.

Limitless.

limitless

[rating=6]

Another film recommended by my friend Abhaya. To make it worthwhile, his message to me said “‘Limitless’. Bradley Cooper and Robert De Niro. Fabulous.” I bought it lock, stock and barrel and thoroughly enjoyed seeing the film.

Thank you Abhaya.  It was fabulous in both the classic and the ordinary senses of the word.

Eddie Morra: Well, in order for a career to evolve, I’m gonna have to move on.

Carl Van Loon: And you would even think that, would only show me how unprepared you are to be on your own. I mean you do know you’re a freak? Your deductive powers are a gift from God or chance or a straight shot of sperm or whatever or whoever wrote your life-script. A gift, not earned. You do not know what I know because you have not earned those powers. You’re careless with those powers, you flaunt them and you throw them around like a brat with his trust-fund. You haven’t had to climb up all the greasy little rungs. You haven’t been bored blind at the fundraisers. You haven’t done the time and that first marriage to the girl with the right father. You think you can leap over all in a single bound. You haven’t had to bribe or charm or threat your way to a seat at that table. You don’t know how to assess your competition because you haven’t competed. Don’t make me your competition.

Eddie played by Bradley Cooper and Carl Van Loon played by the inimitable Robert De Niro.

Why particularly this dialogue? Unless I have missed something elsewhere, this must be the longest speech made by Niro in any film. Apart from the length of the delivery, just look at the message that it sends to people who think that they can compete with someone who has gone through the mill to reach the top!

And another one, short, sharp and thoroughly enjoyable for an alley cat who had oncc climbed the corporate ladder:

Loon: Have you been talking to anyone?

Morra: No, I haven’t been talking to anybody, Carl. I’m not stupid.

Loon: I know you’re not stupid, Eddie, but don’t make the classic smart person’s mistake thinking no one’s smarter than you.

Some script writing what?

There are other actors who almost all play small but powerful roles but these two carry the story on their shoulders and very broad shoulders they are indeed.

A very unusual story, told with brutal honesty and aplomb.  Acting and direction of the highest order with some very deft camera work, makes it a must-see if you have not already seen it.