Tuesday, 17 October 2017

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

by
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"

by
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"

by 
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$"

by
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

Tuesday, 12 September 2017

Crisp Criticism - "American Made", "The Hitman's Bodyguard", "Girls Trip"

by
Julien Faddoul













American Made *

The true story of pilot Barry Seal, who transported contraband for the CIA and the Medellin cartel in the 1980s.
A film with a lot of interesting stuff going on that unfortunately is presented in a manner so commonplace as to prove destitute. The Scorsesesque erratic conation of all things “American Dream” that has become ever so fashionable obligates toward lengthy exposition and awkward moralizing, and it remains a mystery why so many modern crime dramas based on true stories don this approach. At least this one’s funny.

d – Doug Liman
w – Gary Spinelli
ph – Cesar Charlone
pd – Dan Weil
m – Christophe Beck
ed – Dylan Tichenor
cos – Jenny Gering

p – Brian Grazer, Ron Howard, Brian Oliver, Tyler Thompson, Doug Davison, Kim Roth

Cast: Tom Cruise, Domhnall Gleeson, Sarah Wright, Jayma Mays, Lola Kirke, Jesse Plemons, Caleb Landry Jones

Monday, 28 August 2017

Crisp Criticism - "Logan Lucky", "Wind River", "Una"

by
Julien Faddoul













Logan Lucky **

Two brothers attempt to pull off a heist during a NASCAR race in North Carolina.
Perfectly enjoyable Soderbergh romp with all his expected touches including long takes, breezy performances, a heist plot and caricatured humour on simple-minded America. Certain story vistas seem frivolous, but the whole is a joy.

d – Steven Soderbergh
w – Rebecca Blunt
ph – Peter Andrews
pd – Howard Cummings
m – David Holmes
ed – Mary Ann Bernard
cos – Ellen Mirojnick

p – Reid Carolin, Dan Fellman, Gregory Jacobs

Cast: Channing Tatum, Adam Driver, Daniel Craig, Seth MacFarlane, Riley Keough, Katie Holmes, Katherine Waterston, Hilary Swank, Dwight Yoakam, Sebastian Stan, Farrah Mackenzie, Brian Gleeson, Jack Quaid

Tuesday, 8 August 2017

Crisp Criticism - "Atomic Blonde", "The Big Sick", "Person to Person", "The Dark Tower"

by
Julien Faddoul













Atomic Blonde **

An undercover MI6 agent is sent to Berlin during the Cold War to investigate the murder of a fellow agent and recover a missing list of double agents.
Exquisite fight sequences – one in particular staged in the stairwell of an apartment building that brilliantly conveys the gravitas involved when such actions take place – help invigorate a fairly risible script with some absurd twists-and-turns. A cascade of style without an ounce of subtlety.

d – David Leitch
w – Kurt Johnstad   (Based on the Graphic Novels by Antony Johnston, Sam Hart)
ph – Jonathan Sela
pd – David Scheunemann
m – Tyler Bates
ed – Elísabet Ronaldsdóttir
cos – Cindy Evans

p – A.J. Dix, Eric Gitter, Beth Kono, Kelly McCormick, Peter Schwerin, Charlize Theron

Cast: Charlize Theron, James McAvoy, Sofia Boutella, John Goodman, Toby Jones, Eddie Marsan, Bill Skarsgård, James Faulkner, Roland Møller, Sam Hargrave, Jóhannes Haukur Jóhannesson, Til Schweiger, Lili Gesler

Thursday, 3 August 2017

Crisp Criticism - "War for the Planet of the Apes", "Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets", "A Ghost Story"

by
Julien Faddoul













War for the Planet of the Apes **

After the apes suffer horrible losses, Caesar wrestles with his darker instincts and begins his own mythic quest to avenge his kind.
Certainly, the best of the three prequels in this franchise: Solemn, soulful war film – more specifically prison-camp war film – that consistently interests with its low-key philosophical excursions and provides another example of exquisite performance capture/animation. Its greatest sin is overlength.

d – Matt Reeves
w – Mark Bomback, Matt Reeves   (Based on the Characters Created by Rick Jaffa, Amanda Silver)
ph – Michael Seresin
pd – James Chinlund
m – Michael Giacchino
ed – William Hoy, Stan Salfas
cos – Melissa Bruning

p – Peter Chernin, Dylan Clark

Cast: Andy Serkis, Woody Harrelson, Steve Zahn, Karin Konoval, Terry Notary, Ty Olsson, Judy Greer, Max Lloyd-Jones, Devyn Dalton, Sara Canning, Michael Adamthwaite

Thursday, 20 July 2017

Crisp Criticism - "Dunkirk", "A Quiet Passion", "The Bad Batch"

by
Julien Faddoul













Dunkirk **

Miraculous evacuation of Allied soldiers from Belgium, Britain, Canada, and France, who were cut off and surrounded by the German army from the beaches and harbour of Dunkirk, France, between May 26- June 04, 1940, during Battle of France in World War II.
Bombastic, but deft and earnest terror-suffused WWII film assembled in its director’s typical entangling structure – encompassing three separate timelines – and shot in fierce 65mm. But also typical with Nolan, the emotion is frustratingly self-conscious. There is a valuable relinquishing of dialogue but an over-emphasis on sound and music. Altogether, it contains both his mastery of cinematic momentum and his disappointing self-aggrandization.

wd – Christopher Nolan
ph – Hoyte van Hoytema
pd – Nathan Crowley
m – Hans Zimmer
ed – Lee Smith
cos – Jeffrey Kurland

p – Emma Thomas

Cast: Fionn Whitehead, Kenneth Branagh, Mark Rylance, Tom Hardy, Cillian Murphy, Harry Styles, James D'Arcy, Aneurin Barnard, Barry Keoghan, Tom Glynn-Carney, Bobby Lockwood

Monday, 17 July 2017

Crisp Criticism - "Spider-Man: Homecoming", "The Lost City of Z", "Baby Driver", "The Beguiled"

by
Julien Faddoul













Spider-Man: Homecoming *

Several months after the events of Captain America: Civil War, Peter Parker, with the help of his mentor Tony Stark, tries to balance his life as an ordinary high school student in Queens, New York City while fighting crime as his superhero alter ego Spider-Man as a new threat, the Vulture, emerges.
The third incarnation of this story in 15 years. For this reason, and the usual Marvel movie flaws of tired beats, terrible action and the moronically dogged adherence to fan-service, no amount of nimbleness and charm – not that there is a great deal – can starve off the inborn monotony. Early sequences involving high school antics work the best.

d – Jon Watts
w – Jonathan Goldstein, John Francis Daley, Jon Watts, Christopher Ford, Chris McKenna, Erik Sommers   (Based on the Characters by Stan Lee, Steve Ditko)
ph – Salvatore Totino
pd – Oliver Scholl
m – Michael Giacchino
ed – Debbie Berman, Dan Lebental
cos – Lousie Frogley

p – Kevin Feige, Amy Pascal

Cast: Tom Holland, Michael Keaton, Robert Downey Jr, Marisa Tomei, Jon Favreau, Gwyneth Paltrow, Zendaya, Donald Glover, Jacob Batalon, Laura Harrier, Tony Revolori, Bokeem Woodbine, Tyne Daly, Abraham Attah, Hannibal Buress, Kenneth Choi, Selenis Leyva, Angourie Rice, Martin Starr, Garcelle Beauvais, Michael Chernus

Thursday, 6 July 2017

Crisp Criticism - "Transformers: The Last Knight", "Despicable Me 3", "Okja", "The House"

by
Julien Faddoul













Transformers: The Last Knight

In the absence of Optimus Prime, a battle for survival has commenced between the human race and the Transformers.
A bad movie for all the reasons exhibited in the previous installments. Totally incomprehensible.

d – Michael Bay
w – Akiva Goldsman, Art Marcum, Matt Holloway, Ken Nolan
ph – Jonathan Sela
pd – Jeffrey Beecroft
m – Steve Jablonsky
ed – Roger Barton, Adam Gerstel, Debra Neil-Fisher, John Refoua, Mark Sanger, Calvin Wimmer
cos – Lisa Lovaas

p – Ian Bryce, Lorenzo di Bonaventura, Don Murphy, Tom De Santo

Cast: Mark Wahlberg, Peter Cullen, Frank Welker, Gemma Chan, John Goodman, Ken Watanabe, John DiMaggio, Jess Harnell, Laura Haddock, Jerrod Carmichael, Josh Duhamel, Anthony Hopkins, Stanley Tucci, Santiago Cabrera

Tuesday, 20 June 2017

Crisp Criticism - "Rough Night", "The Promise", "All Eyez on Me", "The Book of Henry"

by
Julien Faddoul













Rough Night

Five best friends from college reunite 10 years later for a wild bachelorette weekend in Miami. Then they accidentally kill a male stripper.
Lazy and unfunny with a lot of screaming and no composed humor. A typical Hollywood comedy for today. It being centered around the female gender makes zero difference.

d – Lucia Aniello
w – Lucia Aniello, Paul W. Downs
ph – Sean Porter
pd – Ryan Heck
m – Dominic Lewis
ed – Craig Alpert
cos – Leah Katznelson

p – Lucia Aniello, Paul W. Downs, Dave Becky, Matthew Tolmach

Cast: Scarlett Johansson, Zoë Kravitz, Kate McKinnon, Ilana Glazer, Jillian Bell, Paul W. Downs, Demi Moore, Ty Burrell, Dean Winters

Monday, 19 June 2017

Crisp Criticism - "The Mummy", "Cars 3", "The Hero", "My Cousin Rachel"

by
Julien Faddoul













The Mummy

Though safely entombed in a crypt deep beneath the unforgiving desert, an ancient queen whose destiny was unjustly taken from her is awakened in our current day.
Such an abashedly corporate attempt to start (or reboot) a film franchise that there’s hardly room for a movie to exist. The result is sad and pathetic, as one watches everyone involved beg with all their might to be part of the cool kid’s table, most of all its miscast star.

d – Alex Kurtzman
w – David Koepp, Christopher McQuarrie, Dylan Kussman, Jon Spaihts, Alex Kurtzman, Jenny Lumet
ph – Ben Seresin
pd – Jon Hutman, Dominic Watkins
m – Brian Tyler
ed – Gina Hirsch, Paul Hirsch, Andrew Mondshein

p – Sarah Bradshaw, Sean Daniel, Alex Kurtzman, Chris Morgan

Cast: Tom Cruise, Annabelle Wallis, Sofia Boutella, Jake Johnson, Courtney B. Vance, Marwan Kenzari, Russell Crowe

Friday, 2 June 2017

Crisp Criticism - "Wonder Woman", "Graduation", "The Last Face", "War Machine"

by
Julien Faddoul













Wonder Woman *

An Amazon princess comes to the world of Man to become the greatest of the female superheroes.
Unremarkable and overlong DC Comic Book movie which, once again, is merely another origin story following the same plot and tonal beats as the surrounding Hollywood cinema, both the comic ones and the melodramatic. The first half contains energy, at least.

d – Patty Jenkins
w – Zack Snyder, Allan Heinberg, Jason Fuchs   (Based on the Characters Created by William Moulton Marston)
ph – Matthew Jensen
pd – Aline Bonetto
m – Rupert Gregson-Williams
ed – Martin Walsh
cos – Lindy Hemming

p – Charles Roven, Deborah Snyder, Zack Snyder, Richard Suckle

Cast: Gal Gadot, Chris Pine, Robin Wright, Danny Huston, David Thewlis, Connie Nielsen, Elena Anaya, Lucy Davis, Ewen Bremner, Saïd Taghmaoui, Florence Kasumba

Tuesday, 30 May 2017

Crisp Criticism - "Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales", "John Wick: Chapter 2", "Baywatch", "It’s Only the End of the World"

by
Julien Faddoul













Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales

Captain Jack Sparrow searches for the trident of Poseidon.
An already utterly boring series of films has reached here an even lower level of dullness. Not only does it contain zero originality, but nadir fun and excitement. The most concerning aspect here is Depp, who now delivers his lines and expressions with so little energy and dignity that it’s laughable.

d – Joachim Rønning, Espen Sandberg
w – Jeff Nathanson, Terry Rossio   (Based on the Characters Created by Ted Elliott, Terry Rossio, Stuart Beattie, Jay Wolpert)
ph – Paul Cameron
pd – Nigel Phelps
m – Geoff Zanelli
ed – Roger Barton, Leigh Folsom Boyd
cos – Penny Rose

p – Jerry Bruckheimer

Cast: Johnny Depp, Javier Bardem, Brenton Thwaites, Kaya Scodelario, Geoffrey Rush, Kevin McNally, Stephen Graham, Golshifteh Farahani, David Wenham, Orlando Bloom, Martin Klebba

Thursday, 18 May 2017

Crisp Criticism - "Alien: Covenant", "Snatched", "King Arthur: Legend of the Sword"

by
Julien Faddoul













Alien: Covenant *

The crew of a colony ship, bound for a remote planet, discover an uncharted paradise with a threat beyond their imagination, and must attempt a harrowing escape.
In many ways, a tighter film than Prometheus (2012) with more focus on scares. But, like all of Scott’s films, it ultimately buckles under the weight of the solemn anthology he thrusts upon it and becomes another unsatisfactory franchise film on autopilot.

d – Ridley Scott
w – Dante Harper, Michael Green, John Logan, Jack Paglen   (Dan O'Bannon, Ronald Shusett)
ph – Dariusz Wolski
pd – Chris Seagers
m – Jed Kurzel
ed – Pietro Scalia
cos – Janty Yates

p – David Giler, Walter Hill, Mark Huffam, Michael Schaefer, Ridley Scott

Cast: Michael Fassbender, Katherine Waterston, Billy Crudup, Danny McBride, Demián Bichir, Carmen Ejogo, Amy Seimetz, Jussie Smollett, Callie Hernandez, Alexander England, James Franco, Noomi Rapace, Guy Pearce, Uli Latukefu, Goran D. Kleut, Tess Haubrich, Javier Botet, Lorelei King

Monday, 1 May 2017

Crisp Criticism - "Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2", "Free Fire", "Get Out", "The Zookeeper's Wife"

by
Julien Faddoul













Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 *

The Guardians must fight to keep their newfound family together as they unravel the mysteries of Peter Quill’s true parentage.
Energetically staged Marvel entry with some stunning visual effects. But we are still stuck in a pit of stagnation here with these movies, which cannot disguise any of the flaws that are intrinsic to their mere existence. The jokes are bad, the plot is flimsy and the performers seem bored.

wd – James Gunn   (Based on the Characters Created by Dan Abnett, Andy Lanning, Steve Englehart, Steve Gan, Jim Starlin, Stan Lee, Larry Lieber, Jack Kirby, Bill Mantlo, Keith Giffen)
ph – Henry Braham
pd – Scott Chambliss
m – Tyler Bates
ed – Fred Raskin, Craig Wood
cos – Judianna Makovsky

p – Kevin Feige

Cast: Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana, Dave Bautista, Bradley Cooper, Vin Diesel, Karen Gillan, Michael Rooker, Pom Klementieff, Kurt Russell, Sylvester Stallone, Sean Gunn, Elizabeth Debicki, Tommy Flanagan, Michael Rosenbaum

Tuesday, 25 April 2017

Crisp Criticism - "Going in Style", "Colossal", "Table 19"

by
Julien Faddoul













Going in Style

Desperate to pay the bills and come through for their loved ones, three lifelong pals risk it all by embarking on a daring bid to knock off the very bank that absconded with their money.
A lazy pile of garbage: A remake of the 70s comedy with lethargic performances, preposterous situations and unfunny jokes, all directed by one of the least talented people in showbusiness.

d – Zach Braff
w – Theodore Melfi   (Based on the Story by Edward Cannon)
ph – Rodney Charters
pd – Anne Ross
m – Rob Simonsen
ed – Myron I. Kerstein
cos – Gary Jones

p – Donald De Line

Cast: Morgan Freeman Michael Caine Alan Arkin Joey King Matt Dillon Ann-Margret Maria Dizzia Christopher Lloyd Siobhan Fallon John Ortiz Peter Serafinowicz Kenan Thompson Josh Pais

Monday, 24 April 2017

Crisp Criticism - "The Fate of the Furious", "CHIPS", "Their Finest", "Personal Shopper"

by
Julien Faddoul













The Fate of the Furious

When a mysterious woman seduces Dom into the world of crime and a betrayal of those closest to him, the crew face trials that will test them as never before.
The worst of the series so far, falling deeper into the hole of systematic influence by the Hollywood cinema surrounding it. The characters and their relationships to one another now make no sense, and the car stunts never rise above the ordinary.

d – F. Gary Gray
w – Chris Morgan   (Based on the Characters by Gary Scott Thompson)
ph – Stephen F. Windon
pd – Bill Brzeski
m – Brian Tyler
ed – Paul Rubell, Christian Wagner
cos – Sanja Milkovic Hays

p – Vin Diesel, Neal H. Moritz, Michael Fottrell, Chris Morgan

Cast: Vin Diesel, Michelle Rodriguez, Dwayne Johnson, Jason Statham, Charlize Theron, Kurt Russell, Scott Eastwood, Helen Mirren, Tyrese Gibson, Ludacris, Nathalie Emmanuel, Kristofer Hivju, Elsa Pataky

Thursday, 30 March 2017

Crisp Criticism - "The Lego Batman Movie", "Ghost in the Shell", "Life", "The Space Between Us"

by
Julien Faddoul













The Lego Batman Movie **

A cooler-than-ever Bruce Wayne must deal with the usual suspects as they plan to rule Gotham City, while discovering that he has accidentally adopted a teenage orphan who wishes to become his sidekick.
In many ways superior to the original because it bypasses that film’s saccharine message for a treatment that is less labored, with a ferocious outpouring of gags, some of which are quite funny. But this is Ironic with a capital “I” and, like the original, the humour can get exhausting.

d – Chris McKay
w – Seth Grahame-Smith, Chris McKenna, Erik Sommers, Jared Stern, John Whittington   (Based on the Character Created by Bob Kane, Bill Finger)
pd – Grant Freckelton
m – Lorne Balfe
ed – David Burrows, John Venzon, Matt Villa

p – Dan Lin, Phil Lord, Christopher Miller, Roy Lee

Cast: Will Arnett, Zach Galifianakis, Michael Cera, Rosario Dawson, Ralph Fiennes, Jenny Slate

Thursday, 23 March 2017

Crisp Criticism - "Beauty and the Beast", "The Boss Baby", "Power Rangers"

by
Julien Faddoul













Beauty and the Beast

A remake of an animated film made and released by The Walt Disney Company in 1991.
A critic-proof film through and through. To those who follow my writing, what is there left for me to say about a concoction such as this? Would it affect you for me to say that transposing an animated masterpiece to another medium and recreating it, at times shot-for-shot, is utterly pointless? Maybe. Would it do the world any good for me to point out how unethical that is for the hundreds of artists who spent years generating said masterpiece frame-by-frame whose work has been plagiarized? Perhaps. Would it sway you for me to state that the filmmakers behind this version have justified such behavior by adding another 40 minutes to the runtime with additional songs and plot elements that are all uniformly bad? It might. Would you find any point in my impression that in a full-scale musical containing some of the best songs ever written, no actual singing is ever heard outside of the audio processing provided by Auto-tune? Possibly. But judging from the box-office receipts that have collected after only a month, it is clear that you, dear readers, have already decided whether to participate in such solecism or not (as well as the rest of Disney’s plan involving the live-action appropriation of their own animated classics). All I can do is provide my perspective of the experience in question. For me, this film is disgusting, cynical, anti-audience and anti-art, and it saddened me deeply.

d – Bill Condon
w – Stephen Chbosky, Evan Spiliotopoulos
ph – Tobias A. Schliessler
pd – Sarah Greenwood
m – Alan Menken
ed – Virginia Katz
cos – Jacqueline Durran

p – David Hoberman, Todd Lieberman

Cast: Emma Watson, Dan Stevens, Luke Vans, Josh Gad, Kevin Kline, Hattie Morahan, Ewan McGregor, Ian McKellen, Emma Thompson, Nathan Mack, Audra McDonald, Stanley Tucci, Gugu Mbatha-Raw

Tuesday, 14 March 2017

The Films of 2017

100 Films

For all reviews click here.


****




***




**




*

Truman



NO STARS

The Belko Experiment
The Bye Bye Man
A Dog's Purpose
Fist Fight
Gifted
The Great Wall
Rings
Sandy Wexler
Sleepless
The Void
XXX: Return of Xander Cage