Screened Out – Burnt

By : Stephen Miller
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Bradley Cooper, Sienna Miller, Daniel Brühl, Emma Thompson, Uma Thurman

There is a whole collection of movies that can be classified as “food porn.” The best among these flicks is Babette’s Feast and Big Night. However, even Ratatouille, last year’s Chef, and the original Charlie and the Chocolate Factory can be good examples. Foodies watch them not only for the obsession with everything gustatory; there is also a visual style to the dishes, one that – when filmed well, can cause hunger pangs.

Though the food is always gorgeous, as a movie, Burnt falls somewhere in the likeable but flawed category. This story about a bad-boy chef looking for redemption feels like tasty but reheated leftovers. At one point the chefs say the food in the flick is good but unsurprising; they could’ve been talking about this film. They say the menu rests too much on classic style. So does this plot.

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Screened Out – A Walk in the Woods

By : Stephen Miller
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Robert, Redford, Nick Nolte, Emma Thompson, Mary Steenburgen

In the not-so-rarified air of Hollywood terminology, A Walk in the Woods is known as “counter-programming.” That means these types of flicks run counter to big-budget blockbusters; little films like this hope to find their audience by targeting certain groups. Like the Best Exotic Marigold flicks, Woods is shooting squarely for the geriatric set. It should please them.

That’s not to say it’s perfect. Though strongly character driven, Woods still never tells us what’s at stake and how these older people change. It’s not quite as surprising, though pleasant jokes often cause a smile. However, its talky philosophies – like its lead actors – get a little long in the tooth.

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Screened Out – Annie

By : Stephen Miller
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Jamie Foxx, Quvenzhane Wallis, Cameron Diaz, Rose Byrne, Bobby Cannavale

Are you asking yourself why anyone would choose to update the movie musical Annie? Well, keep asking.

Even with a new streetwise patina, this dusty story is about a rapscallion child (Wallis), who keeps hoping her parents are alive. A rich tycoon wants to adopt her. In this version, Foxx plays the moneybags (his name changed from Daddy Warbucks to Mr. Staxx) – a cellphone entrepreneur running for mayor of New York City. After Foxx spits some food on a homeless man, he needs photo ops with this cute kid to get his campaign back on track.

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