Thursday, 1 August 2013

Crisp Criticism - "The Wolverine", "The World's End", "Mud", "The To-Do List", "Post Tenebras Lux", "What Masie Knew", "The Act of Killing"


by
Julien Faddoul




The Wolverine *

 

Summoned to Japan by an old acquaintance, the X-Men mutant Wolverine becomes embroiled in a conflict that forces him to confront his own demons.
Askew, confined chapter of the franchise that attempts to evoke, through mood and setting, more thoughtful ideas than what’s usually present in its genre. Despite excellent sequences, an ineffectual plot and general silliness ruins it.


d – James Mangold
w – Mark Bomback, Scott Frank
ph – Ross Emery,
pd – François Audouy,
m – Marco Beltrami,
ed – Michael McCusker,
cos – Isis Mussenden

p – Hugh Jackman, Lauren Shuler Donner, Hutch Parker

Cast: Hugh Jackman, Tao Okamoto, Rila Fukushima, Hiroyuki Sanada, Svetlana Khodchenkova, Brian Tee, Haruhiko Yamanouchi, Will Yun Lee, Ken Yamamura, Famke Janssen



The World’s End *


Five friends who reunite in an attempt to top their epic pub crawl from 20 years earlier unwittingly become humankind's only hope for survival.
Typical comedy from the director, who indulges in his favourite tropes and tribulations, which become tiresome before the end.


d – Edgar Wright
w – Edgar Wright, Simon Pegg
ph – Bill Pope
pd – Marcus Rowland
m – Steven Price
ed – Paul Machliss
cos – Guy Speranza

p - Nira Park, Tim Beaven, Eric Fellner

Cast: Simon Pegg, Nick Frost, Paddy Considine, Martin Freeman, Eddie Marsan, Rosamund Pike, Pierce Brosnan, Steve Oram, Michael Smiley 



Mud **


Two young boys encounter a fugitive and form a deal to help him evade the bounty hunters on his trail and to reunite him with his ex-girlfriend.
Maturity tale with an acute depiction of setting, very good acting and a resourceful use of the allegorical. These are all positive elements, but there is no centre to hold it all together.


wd – Jeff Nichols
ph – Adam Stone
pd – Richard A. Wright
m – David Wingo
ed – Julie Monroe
cos – Kari Perkins

p – Lisa Maria Falcone, Sarah Green, Aaron Ryder

Cast: Matthew McConaughey, Tye Sheridan, Reese Witherspoon, Jacob Lofland, Sam Shepard, Ray McKinnon, Sarah Paulson, Michael Shannon, Joe Don Baker, Paul Sparks



The To-Do List


Feeling pressured to become more sexually experienced before she goes to college, a high school graduate tries to lose her virginity.
Humiliating, lazy, vile and incompetent, centred around an unfunny lead performance. A horrid mess.


wd – Maggie Carey
ph – Doug Emmett
pd – Ryan Berg
m – Raney Shockne
ed – Paul Frank
cos – Trayce Gigi Field

p – Mark Gordon, Tom Lassally, Brian Robbins, Sharla Sumpter, Jennifer Todd, Greg Walter

Cast: Aubrey Plaza, Johnny Simmons, Bill Hader, Alia Shawkat, Sarah Steele, Scott Porter, Rachel Bilson, Christopher Mintz-Plasse, Andy Samberg, Donald Glover



Post Tenebras Lux **


An abstruse and fragmented depiction of a family living in rural Mexico.
This is filmmaking refined to such a point that only metaphor remains, and though it is exquisitely made, it is impossible to take as seriously as its director intended. A stunning, stimulating and dicey experience.


wd – Carlos Reygadas
ph – Alexis Zabe
pd – Gerardo Tagle
ed – Natalia López

p – Carlos Reygadas, Jaime Romandia

Cast: Adolfo Jiménez Castro, Nathalia Acevedo, Willebaldo Torres, Eleazar Reygadas, Rut Reygadas



What Maisie Knew *


In New York City, a young girl is caught in the middle of her parents' bitter custody battle.
Interesting attempt to do an updating of an esteemed novel, but preciousness and a lack of style stops it from going any further.


d – Scott McGehee, David Siegel
w – Nancy Doyne, Carroll Cartwright   (Based on the Novel by Henry James)
ph – Giles Nuttgens
pd – Kelly McGehee
m – Nick Urata
ed – Madeleine Gavin
cos – Stacey Battat

p – Daniel Crown, Daniela Taplin Lundberg, William Teitler, Charles Weinstock



The Act of Killing ***


Former Indonesian death squad leaders are asked to re-enact their real-life mass-killings in whichever cinematic genres they wish, including classic Hollywood crime scenarios and lavish musical numbers.
One of the strangest and scariest of documentaries: It alternates between intense horrific philosophy and an obligated morality toward the cinema. There are flaws, but the filmmaker’s purpose alone is exemplary.


d – Joshua Oppenheimer
co-d – Anonymous, Christine Cynn
ph – Anonymous, Carlos Arango De Montis, Lars Skree
m – Karsten Fundal
ed – Nils Pagh Andersen, Erik Andersson, Charlotte Munch Bengtsen, Janus Billeskov Jansen, Ariadna Fatjó-Vilas, Mariko Montpetit

p – Signe Byrge Sorensen

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