Movie Review: Our Brand is Crisis

“Our Brand is Crisis” is a strange title for a movie even though there is a line from the movie when the main character who is a political operative played by Sandra Bullock determines that the only way for her candidate to win is to create an environment of crisis in Bolivia so that her aggressive candidate would be more accepted by the voters. Despite this fact, the title of this movie is rather bad but so is this movie.

I have noticed over the years and seeing many movies that one of the signs of a bad movie is what are called “filler scenes”, where the director realizes that there are not enough of a story to fill out an entire 2 hour movie, so there are cuts to scenes of music and unnecessary action. In this movie, this happened about 5 times and some of these filler scenes (including Bullock’s character mooning people in a passing bus) are just plain ridiculous. This entire movie could have been shown in about 1 hour and 10 minutes, rather than the 2 hours of boredom and pointless dialog that this movie has.

At the end of the movie there is a scene where Sandra Bullock’s character puts a strange metal hat on her head which makes absolutely no sense. Also at the end of this movie when the election is over with a predictable result, Bullock’s character decides to stay in Bolivia for reasons that are never explained to the viewer. The one thing I did admire about this bad movie is the 3 stars, Billy Bob Thornton, Sandra Bullock and Anthony Mackie and the fact that they spent probably several months in Bolivia which is a poor and perhaps dangerous country to live in; so many dues were probably made there to earn their salaries. Its too bad that after all this money and effort such a bad movie was created. There is a scene where a Lama is killed by a passing car which was in very bad taste and was actually offensive. Obviously the producers of this movie either forgot about or never heard of PETA. Why was this scene even in this movie? Was this suppose to be funny? It sure was not funny and was very disturbing.

Another very bad thing about this movie is the constant smoking of several of the main characters, continuing this Hollywood tradition of showing so many people in movies with the worst health threat we have to humanity. It seems we are a long way from a ban of all smoking in movies and that is a real shame.

This movie should be avoided.

Hollywood and Smoking: A Brief History

IMDB Our Brand is Crisis


Movie Review: Burnt

This movie will remind anybody who sees it of one thing. What we all have to do for money and more importantly the people we have to deal with, which in some cases includes abuse that you have to put up with because of the money. There is a scene in this movie where the main character, played very well by Bradley Cooper is extremely abusive to all of his employees in the kitchen. None of them quit and eventually he fires one of them for some very minor infraction. The main character in this movie reminds one of someone like Steve Jobs and his legendary abuse of people who worked for him.

The main character in this movie is a chef whose entire existence and value as a human being centers one getting 3 stars from food critics who tour the world and give their opinions on the best restaurants. It probably takes obsession like this to be the best in the world at the finest restaurants but the real point of all this is, is it worth it? Is it worth it to almost commit suicide over something like this or to be so abusive to all the people who work for you? You get the impression towards the end of this movie that the main character realizes that its not worth it and this is even despite that fact, as is suggested at the end, that that elusive 3rd star was realized.

One thing I once again hated about this movie was the smoking of at least 2 characters about 5 times. Why we have outrage like this in movies to this degree is a mystery to me considering the millions of people who have died of smoking related illnesses. Smoking gives a human being a 2000% greater chance of dying of cancer than any other reason and yet we still show characters in movies smoking at an alarming rate. This is wrong and it has to be stopped.

Overall, I do recommend this movie.

IMDB Burnt


Movie Review: Freeheld

Why is there smoking in movies? Why? Why hasn’t smoking in movies been banned since the 60’s? Why is that as soon as the surgeon general determined that smoking WILL KILL YOU that smoking was not allowed in any movie? In the 40’s and 50’s smoking was considered cool and because of this, God knows how many people took up this horrible habit and lost years off of their life and died horribly from lung cancer or any number of 100 other diseases caused by smoking.

Freeheld is a true story and the first movie I have ever seen that got this smoking issue right because it showed the main character smoking heavily and then later she gets stage 4 lung cancer and then it spreads to her brain and then she dies. This is how lung cancer works and your odds of surviving stage 4 lung cancer is something like 10-15%.

The other part of this story is the incredible injustice of a gay lesbian couple who are living together, essentially married, but the law at the time stated that her partner was not able to get her police pension. The politicians at the time in Ocean City New Jersey could have cared less about what was fair or right in treating a police officer with 23 years of service fairly or even with some respect. All they cared about was saving their township some money and not doing what is right.

The acting in this movie from Julianne Moore and Ellen Page was outstanding and there might be an academy award nomination for one or both of them for there performances. I definitely recommend Freeheld.

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Freeheld IMDB