Wednesday, 8 February 2017

Crisp Criticism - "Hidden Figures", "Loving", "The Boy and the Beast", "The Love Witch"

Julien Faddoul

Hidden Figures **

The story of a team of African-American women mathematicians who served a vital role in NASA during the early years of the US space program.
A retelling of an “inspirational true story” that gratifies solely on the status of its performances. As cinema, its fairly sluggish and as systematic as one would expect. Certain moments have power.

d – Theodore Melfi
w – Allison Schroeder, Theodore Melfi   (Based on the Book by Margot Lee Shetterly)
ph – Mandy Walker
pd – Wynn Thomas
m – Benjamin Wallfisch, Pharrell Williams, Hans Zimmer
ed – Peter Teschner
cos – Renee Ehrlich Kalfus

p – Donna Gigliotti, Peter Chernin, Jenno Topping, Pharrell Williams, Theodore Melfi

Cast: Taraji P. Henson, Octavia Spencer, Janelle Monae, Kevin Costner, Kirsten Dunst, Jim Parsons, Glen Powell, Mahershala Ali, Donna Biscoe, Rhoda Griffis

Loving **

The story of Richard and Mildred Loving, an interracial couple, whose challenge of their anti-miscegenation arrest for their marriage in Virginia led to a legal battle that would end at the US Supreme Court.
Sensitive, understated account of a law-changing marriage which, although isn’t as surefooted as a domestic drama, compensates with an unexpected amount of respect for its audience’s knowledge of history.

wd – Jeff Nichols
ph – Adam Stone
pd – Chad Keith
m – David Wingo
ed – Julie Monroe
cos – Erin Benach

p – Nancy Buirski, Ged Doherty, Colin Firth, Sarah Green, Peter Saraf, Marc Turtletaub

Cast: Ruth Negga, Joel Edgerton, Marton Csokas, Sharon Blackwood, Nick Kroll, Bill Camp, Alano Miller, David Jensen, Michael Shannon, Jon Bass, Scott Wichmann

The Boy and the Beast **

When a young orphaned boy living on the streets of Shibuya stumbles upon a fantastic world of beasts, he's taken in by a gruff warrior beast looking for an apprentice.
Delightful fantasy on the affinity of fathers and sons with all of its writer/director’s characteristics in full force, including rousing action, dynamic characters, stunning animation and a great deal of his strained sentimentality.

wd – Mamoru Hosoda
pd – Yôichi Nishikawa, Takashi Ohmori, Yohei Takamatsu
m – Masakatsu Takagi
ed – Mamoru Hosoda

p – Atsushi Chiba, Takuya Itô, Genki Kawamura, Seiji Okuda, Yuichiro Sato

Cast: Kōji Yakusho, Aoi Miyazaki, Shota Sometani, Suzu Hirose, Sumire Morohoshi, Yo Oizumi, Kazuhiro Yamaji, Mamoru Miyano, Haru Kuroki, Kappei Yamaguchi, Momoka Ohno, Kumiko Asou, Keishi Nagatsuka, Masahiko Tsugawa

The Love Witch ***

A modern-day witch uses spells and magic to get men to fall in love with her.
Fascinating, sometimes brilliant homage to the 35mm Technicolor horror films of the 1960s that, rather ingeniously, uses the enduring relevance of old forms to annotate on current female themes in society. Every frame its director’s vision, her feminist agenda (complete with a Chantal Akerman ending) so incises throughout the film’s core that it weaves seamlessly with her stylistic application, which on a technical level is immaculate. If it has a flaw, it’s overlength.

wd – Anna Biller
ph – M. David Mullen
pd – Anna Biller
m – Anna Biller
ed – Anna Biller
cos – Anna Biller

p – Anna Biller

Cast: Samantha Robinson, Gian Keys, Laura Waddell, Jeffrey Vincent Parise, Jared Sanford, Robert Seeley

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