A meticulously coiffed Bradley Cooper cruises around town on a superbike. Haute cuisine relies just as heavily on presentation as actual substance and Cooper still looks the part in John Wells’ Burnt (2015) – even as a recovering addict and bad boy superstar chef. Jon Favreau’s Chef (2014) provided welcome chicken soup therapy with the loveable actor-director at the helm. However, Burnt follows more the Gordon Ramsey route, its tone and narrative distinctly bitter and vindictive, with just a dash of redemption thrown in.
The saying goes that when in a hole you should stop digging. Meandering road movie Mississippi Grind (2015), co-directed by the Half Nelson (2006) and Sugar (2008) duo of Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck, features two hopeless gamblers on whom the sentiment of this old adage appears to have been entirely lost. The pairing behind the camera elicits a free-wheeling chemistry and fine performances from leading men Ben Mendelsohn and Ryan Reynolds, but just as predictably as its central pair are drawn like moths to the flame of a blackjack table, the film is a rote, run-of-the-mill construction, including Reynolds’ Curtis saying on numerous occasions that “the journey is the destination”.