Wednesday, 28 December 2016

Crisp Criticism - "Lion", "Passengers", "Why Him?", "The Birth of a Nation"

by
Julien Faddoul











Lion **

A five-year-old Indian boy gets lost on the streets of Calcutta. He survives many challenges before being adopted by a couple in Australia; 25 years later, he sets out to find his lost family.
Overlong cross-continental tale of the “inspirational” kind. Based on fact, it works for the most part and is saved from mawkishness by a light touch and honest performances.

d – Garth Davis
w – Luke Davies   (Based on the Book by Saroo Brierley)
ph – Greig Fraser
pd – Chris Kennedy
m – Volker Bertelmann, Dustin O'Halloran
ed – Alexandre de Franceschi
cos – Cappi Ireland

p – Iain Canning, Angie Fielder, Emile Sherman

Cast: Dev Patel, Rooney Mara, Nicole Kidman, David Wenham, Nawazuddin Siddiqui, Tannishtha Chatterjee, Deepti Naval, Divian Ladwa, Abhishek Bharate, Sunny Pawar












Passengers

A spacecraft traveling to a distant colony planet and transporting thousands of people has a malfunction in its sleep chambers. As a result, two passengers are awakened 90 years early.
Creepy, fairly regressive sci-fi/romance which inflicts an enormous amount of vitriol upon its two leads; Pratt, in treating him as a rather unlikely psychotic weirdo, and Lawrence for representing the implication that women are naive morons who will excuse any kind of reprehensible behavior from a man as long as he has a cute face.

d – Morten Tyldum
w – Jon Spaihts
ph – Rodrigo Prieto
pd – Guy Hendrix Dyas
m – Thomas Newman
ed – Maryann Brandon
cos – Jany Temime

p – Stephen Hamel, Michael Maher, Ori Marmur, Neal H. Moritz

Cast: Chris Pratt, Jennifer Lawrence, Michael Sheen, Laurence Fishburne, Andy GarcĂ­a











Why Him?

A dad forms a bitter rivalry with his daughter’s young rich boyfriend.
Another crass comedy involving characters who seem to fall down much more regularly than the average person. Its strength will depend on your tolerance for Franco’s smug self-satisfaction.

d – John Hamburg
w – Jonah Hill, John Hamburg, Ian Helfer
ph – Kris Kachikis
pd – Matthew Holt
m – Theodore Shapiro
ed – William Kerr
cos – Leesa Evans

p – Ben Stiller, Shawn Levy, Dan Levine

Cast: James Franco, Bryan Cranston, Zoey Deutch, Megan Mullally, Griffin Gluck, Keegan-Michael Key, Kaley Cuoco, Cedric the Entertainer, Zack Pearlman, Jee Young Han











The Birth of a Nation *

Nat Turner, a former slave in America, leads a liberation movement in 1831 to free African-Americans in Virgina that results in a violent retaliation from whites.
Well-intentioned, but dull, poorly shot retelling of a famous story. Certain episodes interest, but the whole seems rather perfunctory. The boorish position it has taken in cinema history has emanated from events surrounding that of the filmmakers, rather than the film itself.

d – Nate Parker
w – Nate Parker, Jean McGianni Celestin
ph – Elliot Davis
pd – Geoffrey Kirkland
m – Henry Jackman
ed – Steven Rosenblum
cos – Francine Jamison-Tanchuck

p – Nate Parker, Jason Michael Berman, Aaron L. Gilbert, Preston L. Holmes

Cast: Nate Parker, Armie Hammer, Aja Naomi King, Jackie Earle Haley, Penelope Ann Miller, Gabrielle Union, Mark Boone Junior, Aunjanue Ellis, Dwight Henry



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