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Burnt: Blu-ray + Digital HD Review

Burnt (2015) movie poster Burnt

Theatrical Release: October 30, 2015 / Running Time: 101 Minutes / Rating: R

Director: John Wells / Writers: Steven Knight (screenplay); Michael Kalesniko (story)

Cast: Bradley Cooper (Adam Jones), Sienna Miller (Helene Sweeney), Daniel Brühl (Tony Balerdi), Riccardo Scamarcio (Max), Omar Sy (Michel Diome), Sam Keeley (David), Henry Goodman (Conti), Matthew Rhys (Montgomery Reece), Stephen Campbell Moore (Jack), Emma Thompson (Dr. Hilda Rosshilde), Uma Thurman (Simone Forth), Lexie Benbow Hart (Lily), Alicia Vikander (Anne Marie Balerdi), Lily James (Sara), Sarah Greene (Kaitlin)

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The occupational drama Burnt stars Bradley Cooper as Adam Jones, a widely respected and disliked gourmet chef. Jones made his reputation as a hard and fast living American in Paris.
Since then, he's moved to New Orleans to shuck oysters. Now, he's in London, having sworn off his three vices: drinking, drugs, and women. As outstanding drug debts hang over him, Adam forces himself into a job as head chef at a new restaurant owned by his mentor's son (Daniel Brühl).

Adam puts together a kitchen staff from acquaintances like the wronged Michel (Omar Sy) and new discoveries like divorced single mother/sous-chef Helene (Sienna Miller). While staying clean and checking in with a therapist (an interestingly-fashioned Emma Thompson), Adam tries to get the restaurant that bears his name to meet his high standards. He dreams of getting that elusive third Michelin star. If anything is imperfect, he'll let his colleagues know by throwing plates and spewing profanity.

"Burnt" stars Bradley Cooper as Adam Jones, a perfectionist head chef seeking an elusive third Michelin star in London.

Burnt, whose original screenplay by Steven Knight (Locke, The Hundred-Foot Journey, Pawn Sacrifice) is based on a story by Michael Kalesniko (Private Parts), credits various culinary consultants and counts celebrity chef Gordon Ramsay among its executive producers. Directed by the seasoned John Wells, who is still better known as a showrunner of "ER" and "The West Wing" then for helming The Company Men and August: Osage County, the film revels in the behind-the-scenes details and precisions of an upscale restaurant, from the sheen of chrome to the scrubbing of counters to the pristine dining areas and calculated dish presentations. All this might be recognized for its authenticity for those employed in the haute cuisine world and appreciated by those who frequent such pricey eateries.

As a piece of storytelling, though, Burnt never really takes hold. It has this unlikely hero: a bilingual, short-tempered, motorcycle-riding, leather jacket and jeans-wearing handsome bad boy that ladies, men, and foodies can't resist. Perhaps you can see some of Ramsay or other famous TV chefs in the character. But the portrayal doesn't seem terribly based in actual reality. Cooper sells it the best he can, but he never convinces us that we're watching a real human being with a checkered past and uncertain future as opposed to some screenwriter's idea of what a cool chef living the life might be like. The kind who can vow to triple an employee's salary without batting an eye or consulting a spreadsheet and have a fun breakdown which evolves into nearly suffocating himself.

The restaurant's owner Tony Balerdi (Daniel Brühl) harbors a not-so-secret love for Adam Jones. Sienna Miller, Bradley Cooper's "American Sniper" wife, looks and sounds completely different as blonde British sous-chef Helene.

Burnt, whose working title Adam Jones was even used in the first batch of one-sheets, was one of a few star-driven projects to strike out with both critics and audiences last fall. Though Cooper and Miller's last collaboration, American Sniper, exceeded all expectations, topping 2014's domestic box office with $350 million, that success had no bearing here. Despite a 3,000-theater count, Burnt could only open in sixth place on Halloween weekend and failed to find its footing.
Essentially finished at $13.6 million domestic, Burnt lost money for The Weinstein Company, which spent $20 million on the project, the rare one it produced from the start and treated to wide release.

Weinstein's other hopes for the project -- that it could contend for awards, particularly as curiously classified in the Golden Globes' less competitive Comedy or Musical categories. But despite an impassioned editorial by Harvey Weinstein in The Hollywood Reporter, the film's leading man didn't pick up a single award nomination, ending his streak of consecutive Oscar noms at three. Burnt's only awards recognition came as part of Alicia Vikander's impossibly productive 2015 (she has a small role as Adam's ex). Oh, and Sienna Miller inexplicably won Harper's Bazaar Woman of the Year award for British Actress of the Year for her work in this, Mississippi Grind, and 2014's American Sniper.

Three months after beginning its short, disappointing theatrical run, Burnt hits home video this week from Weinstein partner Anchor Bay Entertainment in a DVD and the Blu-ray + Digital HD edition reviewed here.

Burnt Blu-ray + Digital HD cover art - click to buy from Amazon.com Blu-ray Disc Details

2.40:1 Widescreen
5.1 DTS-HD MA (English), Dolby Digital 5.1 (Spanish)
Subtitles: English for Hearing Impaired, Spanish
Not Closed Captioned; Video Extras Subtitled in English
Release Date: January 26, 2016
Suggested Retail Price: $34.99
Single-sided, dual-layered disc (BD-50)
Blue Eco-Friendly Keepcase
Also available on DVD ($29.98 SRP) and Amazon Instant Video

VIDEO and AUDIO

Burnt is nicely photographed and art-directed. The 2.40:1 visuals showcase no flaws on Blu-ray. Likewise, the 5.1 DTS-HD master audio soundtrack gets the job done without raising any concerns. Adam and friends' fluent French dialogue is translated by a default secondary English subtitle track.

Not in the film proper, "Fifty Shades of Grey" star Jamie Dornan shows up in a deleted scene as Helene's ex-husband. John Wells is happy to direct Bradley Cooper across the street from Ben & Jerry's and 22 Jump Street ads.

BONUS FEATURES, MENUS, PACKAGING and DESIGN

The Blu-ray's extras begin with an audio commentary by director John Wells and executive chef consultant Marcus Wareing. They offer complementary perspectives, with Wareing testifying to the authenticity and Wells stressing striving for it.
The unconventional pairing ensures a track that enlightens with regards to both the culinary business and this film's depictions of it.

On the video side, where all is encoded in HD, we start with a section of five deleted scenes (9:59). They show us more of Helene and her daughter's home life, the kitchen preparing a meal for a non-Michelin critic, Adam standing up to a rude diner, Helene being startled by her ex (Fifty Shades of Grey's otherwise absent Jamie Dornan), and Adam spending friendly time with Helene's daughter. The deleted bits can also be viewed with commentary by Wells, who explains why they were cut.

"Burnt: In the Kitchen with Bradley Cooper (23:51) gives us one of Weinstein's standard, sturdy making-of featurettes. The usual blend of film clips, talking heads, and behind the scenes takes us inside the fall 2014 production. Cast and crew discuss the actors' hands-on training, the authentic kitchen environment, and their real life cooking abilities.

Bradley Cooper recalls asking Robert De Niro a question on "Inside the Actor's Studio" in his Screen Actors Guild Q & A for "Burnt." Kitchen food imagery features prominently in both "Burnt" and its Blu-ray menu montage.

Finally, "Q&A Highlights with Director and Cast" (23:45) is comprised of the following clips: Bradley Cooper at the Screen Actors Guild; Wells, Cooper, Sienna Miller, and Daniel Brühl at the NYC Wine and Food Festival; and Cooper, Miller, Brühl, and Sam Keeley at the SAG Foundation.
It's standard ground, but welcome and Cooper's solo chat thinks outside the box slightly, referencing his appearance on Robert De Niro's "Inside the Actors Studio" episode.

The disc opens with trailers for Carol and Southpaw. Neither is accessible by menu, and Burnt's own trailer isn't accessible at all.

The menu places small listings over a screen-filling montage. Weinstein and Anchor Bay have gladly mastered the art of resuming unfinished playback, which makes the Blu-ray's lack of bookmarking support not even slightly troublesome.

An insert supplying your complimentary Digital HD code and directions joins a booklet providing a recipe inspired by the film and cooking/food-related coupons and sweepstakes information. The two printed companions accompany the full-color-labeled disc inside the unslipcovered eco-friendly blue keepcase, whose cover warms up Cooper's poster expression and surrounds him with half a dozen supporting players.

Adam Jones (Bradley Cooper) thinks about his life by the River Thames.

CLOSING THOUGHTS

Burnt offers an intriguing inside view of a gourmet restaurant kitchen, but its artificial protagonist does undermine the storytelling quite a bit. Weinstein's Blu-ray delivers a great feature presentation plus a solid hour of video extras plus filmmaker audio commentary. Anyone fond of the film will appreciate this release, but the movie definitely plays more like a one-time viewing than something you need to own.

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Related Reviews:
Directed by John Wells: August: Osage CountyThe Company Men | Written by Steven Knight: The Hundred-Foot Journey
Bradley Cooper: American SniperSilver Linings PlaybookAmerican HustleThe WordsHe's Just Not That Into YouThe HangoverYes Man
Sienna Miller: FoxcatcherStardustCasanova | Alicia Vikander: Ex MachinaThe Man from U.N.C.L.E.
Daniel Brühl: The Fifth EstateWoman in Gold | Omar Sy: The Intouchables | Matthew Rhys: Brothers and Sisters: Season 1
Food: Julie & JuliaRatatouilleEat Pray LoveBabette's FeastMy Dinner with Andre
New to Disc: The InternThe Diary of a Teenage GirlLearning to DriveStraight Outta Compton

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Reviewed January 25, 2016.



Text copyright 2016 DVDizzy.com. Images copyright 2015 The Weinstein Company, Shiny Penny Productions, 3 Arts Entertainment, Battle Mountain Films,
and 2016 The Weinstein Company Home Entertainment and Anchor Bay Entertainment. Unauthorized reproduction prohibited.