Sunday, 10 December 2017

Crisp Criticism - "The Disaster Artist", "Coco", "Wonder", "Only the Brave"

Julien Faddoul

The Disaster Artist **

In a San Francisco acting class in the late 1990’s, actor Greg Sestero met the enigmatic and suspiciously wealthy Tommy Wiseau. They moved to Los Angeles and made a film that would become a cult hit for being one of the worst of all time.
A difficult film to survey through, for its purpose is unclear, despite its flighty presentation. The notion of accidental artistic success being achieved through incompetence and personal secrecy is anything but flighty, and in the case of Wiseau and The Room (2003), it is at best, pathetic, and at worst, dangerous. Franco’s uncanny interpretation of Wiseau is brilliant, as are the meticulous recreations of his nonsensical film.

d – James Franco
w – Scott Neustadter, Michael H. Weber   (Based on the Book by Greg Sestero, Tom Bissell)
ph – Brandon Trost
pd – Chris L. Spellman
m – Dave Porter
ed – Stacey Schroeder
cos – Brenda Abbandandolo

p – James Franco, Seth Rogen, Evan Goldberg, Vince Jolivette, James Weaver

Cast: James Franco, Dave Franco, Seth Rogen, Alison Brie, Ari Graynor, Josh Hutcherson, Jacki Weaver, Zac Efron, June Diane Raphael, Andrew Santino, Nathan Fielder, Hannibal Buress, Megen Mullally, Bryan Crantston, Sharon Stone, Melanie Griffith, Paul Scheer, Jason Mantzoukas, Sugar Lyn Beard, Eliza Coupe, Zoey Deutch

Tuesday, 5 December 2017

Crisp Criticism - "Stronger", "Goodbye Christopher Robbin", "The Man Who Invented Christmas", "Daddy's Home 2"

Julien Faddoul

Stronger **

A victim of the Boston Marathon bombing in 2013 helps the police track down the killers while struggling to recover from PTSD.
Crisp, well-acted true story that focuses on the emotional trivialities of its central romance. It works best when dissecting the emptiness in hero worship and less so when striving for grandiose significance.

d – David Gordon Green
w – John Pollono   (Based on the Book by Jeff Bauman and Bret Witter)
ph – Sean Bobbitt
pd – Stephen H. Carter
m – Michael Brook
ed – Dylan Tichenor
cos – Leah Katznelson, Kim Wilcox

p – Jake Gyllenhaal, Michel Litvak, Scott Silver, Todd Lieberman, David Hoberman

Cast: Jake Gyllenhaal, Tatiana Maslany, Miranda Richardson, Clancy Brown, Frankie Shaw, Danny McCarthy, Carlos Sanz, Karen Scalia, Jimmy LeBlanc

Monday, 20 November 2017

Crisp Criticism - "Mudbound", "The Killing of a Sacred Deer", "Detroit"

Julien Faddoul

Mudbound **

Two men return home from World War II to work on a farm in rural Mississippi, where they struggle to deal with racism and adjusting to life.
Sprawling, confident racial drama, graciously acted and directed. It suffers from some oversimplification and thus the intense emotions on display aren’t always cohesive.

d – Dee Rees
w – Dee Rees, Virgil Williams   (Based on the Novel by Hillary Jordan)
ph – Rachel Morrison
pd – David J. Bomba
m – Tamar-Kali
ed – Mako Kamitsuna
cos – Michael T. Boyd

p – Sally Jo Effenson, Cassian Elwes, Kim Roth, Carl Effenson, Tim Zajaros, Christopher Lemole, Charles D. King

Cast: Carey Mulligan, Jason Clarke, Jason Mitchell, Garrett Hedlund, Mary J. Blige, Rob Morgan, Jonathan Banks, Kerry Cahill, Dylan Arnold, Lucy Faust, Kelvin Harrison

Thursday, 16 November 2017

Crisp Criticism - "Justice League", "Murder on the Orient Express", "Brigsby Bear", "Brad's Status", "Good Time"

Julien Faddoul

Justice League

Fueled by his restored faith in humanity and inspired by Superman's selfless act, Bruce Wayne enlists the help of his newfound ally, Diana Prince, to face an even greater enemy.
A terrible film; suffers from the usual suspects tenfold; so damn hard to muster anything more to say about any of these garbage superhero movies.

d – Zack Snyder
w – Chris Terrio, Joss Whedon, Zack Snyder   (Based on the Characters Created by Bob Kane, Bill Finger, William Moulton Marston, Joe Shuster, Jerry Siegel)
ph – Fabian Wagner
pd – Patrick Tatopoulos
m – Danny Elfman
ed – David Brenner, Richard Pearson, Martin Walsh
cos – Michael Wilkinson

p – Charles Roven, Deborah Snyder, Jon Berg, Geoff Johns

Cast: Ben Affleck, Henry Cavill, Gal Gadot, Jason Momoa, Ezra Miller, Ray Fisher, CiarĂ¡n Hinds, Jesse Eisenberg, Amy Adams, Amber Heard, JK Simmons, Jeremy Irons, Willem Dafoe, Diane Lane, Connie Nielsen, Kiersey Clemons

Monday, 6 November 2017

Crisp Criticism - "Thor: Ragnarok", "The Snowman", "Columbus", "A Bad Moms Christmas"

Julien Faddoul

Thor: Ragnarok *

Thor is imprisoned on the other side of the universe and finds himself having to stop the destruction of his homeworld by his sister.
Colourful, pleasant enough stand-alone Marvel film but to what end? What are we accomplishing here? The onrush of fatigue as soon as these movies begin – with every beat falling into line at almost the exact same breaths-in-time as to whatever film preceded it – is now beyond exasperating. Waititi’s humour has been deep-fried in Whedonisms, most of the cast is flat and the constant beckoning to 1980’s culture is baffling.

d – Taika Waititi
w – Eric Pearson, Craig Kyle, Christopher L. Yost   (Based on the Comic Books by Stan Lee, Larry Lieber, Jack Kirby)
ph – Javier Aguirresarobe
pd – Dan Hennah, Ra Vincent
m – Mark Mothersbaugh
ed – Zene Baker, Joel Negron
cos – Mayes C. Rubeo

p – Kevin Feige

Cast: Chris Hemsworth, Tom Hiddleston, Cate Blanchett, Idris Elba, Jeff Goldblum, Tessa Thompson, Karl Urban, Mark Ruffalo, Anthony Hopkins, Tadanobu Asano, Ray Stevenson, Zachary Levi, Benedict Cumberbatch, Rachel House, Taika Waititi

Thursday, 26 October 2017

Crisp Criticism - "The Meyerowitz Stories (New and Selected)", "Happy Death Day", "Geostorm", "Suburbicon"

Julien Faddoul

The Meyerowitz Stories (New and Selected) **

An estranged family gathers together in New York for an event celebrating the artistic work of their father.
An exercise in oscillating inconsequential tenderness with enmity. Some of Baumbach’s interludes are delicious in their depiction of the protracted bitterness often found in scholarly families, others are tired examples of similar or congruent themes. Regardless, the cast is consistently fantastic.

wd – Noah Baumbach
ph – Robbie Ryan
pd – Gerald Sullivan
m – Randy Newman
ed – Jennifer Lame
cos – Joseph G. Aulisi

p – Noah Baumbach, Scott Rudin, Lila Yacoub, Eli Bush

Cast: Ben Stiller, Adam Sandler, Elizabeth Marvel, Dustin Hoffman, Emma Thompson, Grace Van Patten, Judd Hirsch, Adam Driver, Rebecca Miller

Tuesday, 17 October 2017

Crisp Criticism - "The Mountain Between Us", "Marjorie Prime", "Nocturama", "The Only Living Boy in New York"

Julien Faddoul

The Mountain Between Us

Stranded after a tragic plane crash, two strangers must forge a connection to survive the extreme elements of a remote snow-covered mountain.
Pathetic, sappy melodrama that proves risible at every turn. The two leads crumble under their need to cash some cheques.

d – Hany Abu-Assad
w – Chris Weitz, J. Mills Goodloe   (Based on the Novel by Charles Martin)
ph – Mandy Walker
pd – Patrice Vermette
m – Ramin Djawadi
ed – Lee Percy
cos – Renee Ehrlich Kalfus

p – Peter Chernin, Dylan Clark, David Ready, Jenno Topping

Cast: Idris Elba Kate Winslet Dermot Mulroney Beau Bridges

Thursday, 5 October 2017

Crisp Criticism - "Blade Runner 2049", "Battle of the Sexes", "Flatliners", "Our Souls at Night"

Julien Faddoul

Blade Runner 2049 **

A young blade runner's discovery of a long-buried secret leads him to track down the first film’s former blade runner, who's been missing for thirty years.
Completely improves on its predecessor conceptually, delving far deeper in philosophy than one would expect of such a film, with questions of existence, religion and the myth of true human intuition. In addition to overlength, the compulsory self-seriousness of modern blockbusters and the typical unmodulated dour tone of its director, this is eventually a rather fat and logy sci-fi outing. The beauty is in the details, from scenic design to performance ticks to the incredible images of Mr Deakins.

d – Denis Villeneuve
w – Hampton Fancher, Michael Green   (Based on the Characters by Philip K. Dick)
ph – Roger Deakins
pd – Dennis Gassner
m – Hans Zimmer, Benjamin Wallfisch
ed – Joe Walker
cos – Renee April

p – Broderick Johnson, Andrew A. Kosove, Bud Yorkin, Cynthia Sikes Yorkin

Cast: Ryan Gosling, Harrison Ford, Jared Leto, Ana de Armas, Sylvia Hoeks, Robin Wright, Mackenzie Davis, Dave Bautista, Carla Juri, Barkhad Abdi, Lennie James, Hiam Abbass

Wednesday, 27 September 2017

Crisp Criticism - "Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie", "The Emoji Movie", "Victoria and Abdul", "Kingsman: The Golden Circle", "The LEGO Ninjago Movie"

Julien Faddoul

Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie **

Two mischievous kids hypnotize their mean elementary school principal and turn him into their comic book creation, the kind-hearted and elastic-banded Captain Underpants.
A fascinating, and mostly successful attempt by DreamWorks to reverse-engineer their initiative due to the corporate restructure by remitting a bauble, with stylised animation done on a fraction of the usual budget. The story is sweet, the jokes are droll, the pace is quick and the animation is typical high-calibre DreamWorks.

d – David Soren
w – Nicholas Stoller   (Based on the Comic Book by Dav Pilkey)
pd – Nate Wragg
m – Theodore Shapiro
ed – Matthew Landon

p – Mireille Soria, Mark Swift

Cast: Kevin Hart, Ed Helms, Nick Kroll, Thomas Middleditch, Kristen Schaal, Jordan Peele

Thursday, 14 September 2017

Crisp Criticism - "Mother!", "It", "Patti Cake$"

Julien Faddoul

Mother! *

A couple’s relationship is tested when uninvited guests arrive at their home, disrupting their tranquil existence.
Roman Polanski + Luis Bunuel ÷ The Bible. Aronofsky’s allegories and metaphors (which I won’t spoil) are of constant interest, but the metaphor and the surface clamour never really gel, with too much nonsensical behaviour and too many references to other artists’ work. Therefore, all one is left with is his audaciousness at going for broke (typical) with coercive symbolism, which, for me, is not enough.

wd – Darren Aronofsky
ph – Matthew Libatique
pd – Philip Messina
ed – Andrew Weisblum
cos – Danny Glicker

p – Scott Franklin, Ari Handel

Cast: Jennifer Lawrence, Javier Bardem, Michelle Pfeiffer, Ed Harris, Domhnall Gleeson