by G.H. Harding
BRADLEY IN BURNT — You’d think even I would know better. Bradley Cooper’s new film Burnt (his most recent after Aloha) got fairly toasted in the press. After catching a showing of it this past weekend, though, I have to say it was a pretty great flick and his performance was excellent. In the film, Cooper plays the character of Adam Jones—a two-star Michelin chef who burns out in Paris only to resurface in England with a bold plan to get his third star at a new restaurant. With a tight, well-developed script by Steven Knight and Michael Kalesniko, the performances are stellar, with a compelling performance from Sienna Miller as a competing chef.
Cooper, who appeared previously with Miller in Clint Eastwood‘s wildly popular but controversial film American Sniper, is his usual workman-like self yet a totally winning personality. Daniel Bruhl is sensational as his friend Tony, who not only opens his home to Adam but his new restaurant as well. The direction by John (ER) Wells is totally spot-on, too. If you’re a foodie, you’ll love what Wells delivers in this movie. In fact, the food on display is almost like a character . . . sumptuous indeed. Star-chef Mario Batali receives a credit for his consultation work on this film.
Ironically, this movie was released the same day as Sandra Bullock’s new film Our Brand Is Crisis, which also fared poorly. Industry pundits suggested immediately that both titles were more niche-driven movies, rather than the mass-appeal movie audience that the films were targeted for in trailers and ads.
Also worth noting is the relative commercial failure of the new Steve Jobs movie (called, aptly, Steve Jobs, and not to be confused with the other film released in 2013 starring Ashton Kutcher and called simply Jobs). (Again, many felt the movie was again a specialty picture.) As for me, I’ve seen all three and think they are all wonderful films. In fact, Steve Jobs is now on my Top Ten List for the year (actor Michael Fassbender is remarkable as the title character and real-life man). I also loved Our Brand Is Crisis and Burnt. Go figure! (Maybe it’s truly time for me to pick up and move to Europe.)
WHO ARE YOU — The final U. K. stop on the Who‘s 50th anniversary has been commemorated with Live at Hyde Park, a concert film from Eagle Rock that has just come out. The disc showcases the June 26, 2015, show with additional “Behind-the-Scenes” footage.
Billed as the group’s “fourth and possibly final” appearance at the venue, the Live at Hyde Park gig capped the U. K. gigs that were booked on a tour that singer Roger Daltrey described by saying, “This is the beginning of the long goodbye.” As previously reported, there are no further plans for the Who to tour on this scale, and Townshend has recently suggested that he might be ready to completely close the book on further performances under the band’s name.
The visuals of the stage show this time around have been stunning; and Townshend and Daltrey, though looking a bit older, are as sensational as ever. The band, which continues to have Zak Starkey on drums (Zak’s father, of course, is none other than legendary Beatles drummer Ringo Starr), also now comprises Pete’s brother Simon Townshend on guitar, as well as Pino Palladino on bass and John Corey and Loren Gold on keyboards, is a very well-oiled machine at this point. My favorites in the performance include “Eminence Front,” (from 1982’s album It’s Hard), “Love Reign O’er Me,” (from their ambitious 1973 album, Quadrophenia), and both “Behind Blues Eyes” and “Bargain” from 1971’s classic-rock masterpiece, Who’s Next). The Who was my very first rock concert back in 1967—don’t ask—and it has always been a pleasure to see them. For true believers (with terrific liner notes by Phil Alexander), Live at Hyde Park is a must-have set.
SHORT TAKES — Excellent interview with Elton John’s one-time and long-time lyricist, Bernie Taupin, in Rollingstone.com yesterday by our friend Andy Greene. Check it out: http://www.rollingstone.com/music/news/bernie-taupin-on-48-years-writing-with-elton-john-and-their-new-lp-20151117 . . . Interesting how many TV shows are previewing their next episode with the phrase, “the episode before the fall finale” . . . It hasn’t been a great season so far, although NBC’s Blindspot has been wicked good—in performance, writing, and production value—since the first episode. The show’s episode this past Monday night moved with a fluidity that I thought was brilliant. If you haven’t seen this show yet (it was the first new show this season to be rented), then you should . . . That new Dion song, “New York Is My Home,” with Paul Simon is here. Check it out: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bpsVSLUOCGA . Dion is his usual great self, but when Simon joins in, it’s almost magical . . .
Congratulations are in order for Nickelodeon actress Isabela Moner, who just scored a brand-new movie role. The actress will be featured in the upcoming film Middle School: The Worst Years of My Life, which is a screen adaptation of James Patterson’s bestselling YA book series. In addition to Isabela, the film’s cast will include fellow actors Lauren Graham, Rob Riggle, and Adam Pally. Filming for Middle School is going to happen in Atlanta, Georgia, and the entire movie is scheduled to hit our screens in October 2016. Meanwhile, Moner’s new single, a new take on Beyoncé’s own hit “Halo,” is now out and it’s terrific. Here she is at last week’s Rockers on Broadway event with Van Dean, head of Broadway Records. Watch the video.
And finally, this just in via VVN News: One Direction were apparently scared they’d look comparably milquetoast if they appeared on a chat show with the one and only Grace Jones. The British boy band is now in the last stages of a whirlwind promotional push, before they go on hiatus in the new year. They’ve played the last few dates of their On the Road Again Tour; appeared on the U. K.’s TV show X Factor; and have conducted countless interviews before they say good-bye to their fans, including a forthcoming appearance on The Jonathan Ross Show this Saturday (November 21). Grace was slated to appear with them, but the group appears to have had other ideas.
“Grace is so entertaining and unpredictable that 1D feared they would look tame in comparison,” a TV insider told Britain’s The Sun newspaper. “Instigating the termination of a booking shows just how arrogant the band has become.
“She was not happy with her treatment and felt it showed a complete lack of respect from young guys.”
Instead of Grace, British comic Michael McIntyre will join One Direction for the show. An insider close to the band says the decision came about purely for practical reasons, and was a choice made by management—not the band members Harry Styles, Louis Tomlinson, Liam Payne, and Niall Horan.
“Jonathan’s show was going to be a 1D special, with room for one guest, and management felt it was appropriate someone they were friends with should appear alongside them,” the second source said.
Grace fans need not despair, though, as rival talk show host Alan Carr will feature the still-feisty 67-year-old performer on his Friday (November 20) show (the day before the Ross show).
One Direction pre-recorded their Jonathan Ross segment and have now flown out to the U.S. to carry on with the promo trail. The Sun reports that two planes carried the boys across the Atlantic, with Harry and Niall taking an early flight and Liam and Louis arriving later, indicating tensions could be high within the band.
Meanwhile, check out Grace Jones still making the news. Brava!
Till next time… Don’t forget to tell us what you think! Leave your comments below!