Posts Tagged ‘Bradley Cooper’



USA 2011  Directed by: Neil Burger  Written by: Leslie Dixon  Based on: The Dark Fields by Alan Glynn  Produced by: Leslie Dixon, Ryan Kavanaugh, Scott Kroopf  Cinematography by: Jo Willems  Editing by: Tracy Adams, Naomi Geraghty  Music by: Paul Leonard-Morgan  Cast: Bradley Cooper, Abbie Cornish, Robert De Niro, Anna Friel, Johnny Witworth, Robert John Burke, Tomas Arana, T.V. Carpio, Patricia Kalember, Andrew Howard

So much to do, so little time; some of us feel like this while others are just the opposite – with little purpose in life and thus feel like too much time on their hands. “Limitless” opened the window and let us peek out to the great wide open of possibilities and also see what could happen if one tries to fly too close to the sun. It’s a classic moral tale told through the lens of a very unique and innovative director, Neil Burger. Some of the imagery done here are downright trippy. But it styled the story so fittingly. After all, it is a science fiction piece about a loser writer, Eddie Morra (Bradley Cooper), with a mental block that got handed a miraculous tip in the form of a little transparent pill, which can optimize a person’s brain function to 100%. But with great power comes greater threats, turbo-charging all the stakes to overload.

This film rides heavily on Bradley Cooper, his first-time lead role. As an alumnus of The Actors Studio in New York (the Mecca for actors to be), he had all the training, intensity, and charm to silence any speculations over his ability to keep the audience in the seats and his supporting actor at bay – Robert De Niro, who plays Eddie’s boss, mentor and rival, Carl Van Loon.

The pill clocks in at 30 seconds to take effect and lasts 24 hours. At which time, Eddie crawls out of his grimy world and into one that is saturated with clarity, edge, detail and speed. A drug addict with a larger-than-life dream, Cooper’s repeating transformation from the slummed-out slacker to the golden boy with the Billionaire Boys Club swagger is easily entertaining as is sympathetic. It’s this constant contrast between the light and shadows that draws you in. Along the way, other characters are seen leveraging from this pill, each giving a notable attempt at this transformation; to which, surprisingly, was Eddie’s loan shark, a Russian immigrant – played palatably satisfying, maybe even trumping Cooper, by Andrew Howard.

With a plot that keeps twisting but never sliding far from its own truth – although a couple of scenes could have propelled it to ace status – “Limitless” carries enough weight to fend off any lip-gnawing thriller and yet has the humor, light or dark, to find everyone able to enjoy it with a few snorts and slaps to the knee. At the end, it even leaves the story open for new chapters and us wanting more…as long as the writers don’t run out of their limit of magic little pills.



USA 2010  Directed by: Joe Carnahan Written by: Joe Carnahan, Brian Bloom, Skip Woods  Produced by: Stephen J. Cannell, Spike Seldin, Tony Scott, Jules Daly, Alex Young, Iain Smith, Ridley Scott  Cinematography: Mauro Fiore  Editing: Roger Barton, Jim May  Music: Alan Silvestri  Cast: Liam Neeson, Bradley Cooper, Quinton Jackson, Sharlto Copley, Jessica Biel, Patrick Wilson, Brian Bloom

I wouldn’t agree that THE A-TEAM is a show that needs to be remade or made into a movie. It was exciting in the beginning, then quickly became so-so and in the long run was repetitive, a show among the also-ran. On a positive note Joe “SMOKIN’ ACES” Carnahan and the Scott brothers were involved, so I figured THE A-TEAM might be worth a try.

The cast of The A-TEAM is ideal and from the beginning it’s clear that THE A-TEAM despite being an action movie is driven by its characters. All of them being clichés of course helps identifying with them: the above-it-all Colonel (Liam Neeson), the smart dude slash womanizer (Bradley Cooper), the bold black dude (Quinton Jackson) and the crazy pilot (Sharlto Copley). THE A-TEAM succeeds in casting the right guys (oops, did I forget Jessica Biel? – yeah, well, that’s because this movie is about guys surprise and the girls are only there for decoration) – that doesn’t make their roles less predictable, but it instantly makes us feel familiar with the characters. Neeson once again is frighteningly convincing, Cooper is Cooper (that’s more than enough for his role), Jackson does exactly what’s required (and that is not much unfortunately – just to fulfill another racist stereotype) and Copley is brilliantly idiotic.

In the beginning the A-TEAM is formed during a secret mission, later they are working together again in Iraq and are assigned to recover printing plates and money before some evil organization can set up a major counterfeiting operation. The mission goes wrong and they are being framed, accused of stealing the plates and the money. Of course they are clean and now have only one goal: proving their innocence to restore their reputation.

THE A-TEAM is one of the loudest movies of the year so far, an incredible mix of buddy movie, military action, impossible missions, double-o-seven feel and a global conspiracy plot. Incredible in two ways: incredibly entertaining and entirely not credible as far as the story is concerned. In fact, THE A-TEAM features one of the most stupid storylines in recent memory. While some of the dialogue is written very well and certain situations are played and filmed spot-on the story itself is an insult even for less demanding moviegoers. It’s incoherent and completely predictable, and if the A-TEAM was as smart as they pretend to be they shouldn’t be surprised about what’s happening for a sec. Instead you see them falling for every lie and walking right into every trap.

Compared to the A-teamish THE LOSERS the movie adds more technical perfection and exhilarating action scenes – the action department is its strength and the A-TEAM is stellar at times in this respect. But it’s also more conventional, with the expected visual style, pace and over-the-top stunts. While THE LOSERS is not going to win a large following (let alone revenue) it still seems to be the fresher approach to DIRTY DOZEN like ground – the unusual cast, odd twists, laconic humor, the down-to-earth attitude and most of all the fact that the characters are simply human and never get even close to being invincible makes THE LOSERS the more charming movie.

All you will remember of THE A-TEAM however are scenes, not a movie. Great scenes, yes, smart scenes, exciting scenes, but only scenes nevertheless. I wish there was more to it, but THE A-TEAM lacks dramaturgy and heart. While there are many highlights that are outright fun to watch THE A-TEAM falls short of being great in its entirety.