Thursday, 14 June 2018

Crisp Criticism - "Incredibles 2", "Ocean's 8", "Hereditary"

Julien Faddoul

Incredibles 2 ***

Elastigirl springs into action to save the day, while Mr. Incredible faces his greatest challenge yet – taking care of his three children.
Brad Bird tropes are in full force: Superb actions sequences that make sublime use of the animation art, reliance on physical humour, obsessions with high-technology as both wish fulfilment and dangerous vice, and a liberal political agenda, with the female characters taking centre stage. There is very little modulation here; it’s high-adrenaline constantly, with a thousand things happening at once. In the first film, the point was an observation on how life contains both the mundane and the fantastic in concurrent servings. Here, those two points are made again but in separate stories, which is a bit disillusioning. It also can’t quite combat plot hurdles when countered against inconsequentiality, in an age when superhero fatigue is at a high. But as an action-thriller, it could scarcely be better.

wd – Brad Bird
ph – Erik Smitt, Mahyar Abousaeedi
pd – Ralph Eggleston
m – Michael Giacchino
ed – Stephen Schaffer

p – John Walker, Nicole Paradis Grindle

Cast: Craig T. Nelson, Holly Hunter, Sarah Vowell, Samuel L. Jackson, Brad Bird, Huck Milner, John Ratzenberger, Bob Odenkirk, Jonathan Banks, Isabella Rossellini, Catherine Keener, Sophia Bush, Phil LaMarr

Wednesday, 23 May 2018

Crisp Criticism - "Solo: A Star Wars Story", "Deadpool 2", "Life of the Party", "Tully"

Julien Faddoul

Solo: A Star Wars Story

Through a series of daring escapades deep within a dark and dangerous criminal underworld, Han Solo meets his mighty future co-pilot Chewbacca and encounters the notorious gambler Lando Calrissian.
Woeful from beginning to end, offering nothing new in regards to either aesthetic or subtext. Like the previous prequel in the franchise, this was designed merely to regurgitate scantly explored ideas in an exercise of referential ascertainment that for some reason people find gratifying. Like a well of water that will never run out. In the past, I have spent a great deal of ink on here explaining why this saddens me. By all means, enjoy your garbage.

d – Ron Howard
w – Jonathan Kasdan, Lawrence Kasdan (Based on the Characters by George Lucas)
ph – Bradford Young
pd – Neil Lamont
m – John Powell
ed – Pietro Scalia
cos – David Crossman Glyn Dillon

p – Kathleen Kennedy, Simon Emanuel, Allison Shearmur

Cast: Alden Ehrenreich, Woody Harrelson, Emilia Clarke, Donald Glover, Thandie Newton, Phoebe Waller-Bridge, Joonas Suotamo, Paul Bettany, Jon Favreau, Linda Hunt

Wednesday, 18 April 2018

Crisp Criticism - "Rampage", "Isle of Dogs", "Truth or Dare", "Annihilation"

Julien Faddoul


When three different animals become infected with a dangerous pathogen, a primatologist and a geneticist team up to stop them from destroying Chicago.
Based on an arcade game and dopey as all hell: Bad CGI characters, corny jokes, a puerile plot (with villains who seem to be based on the Trump children) and a star who is deathly afraid that any audience member may not like him.

d – Brad Peyton
w – Ryan Engle, Carlton Cuse, Ryan J. Condal, Adam Sztykiel
ph – Jason Presant
pd – Barry Chusid
m – Andrew Lockington
ed – Bob Ducsay, Jim May
cos – Melissa Bruning

p – Beau Flynn, Hiram Garcia, Brad Peyton, John Rickard

Cast: Dwayne Johnson, Naomie Harris, Jeffrey Dean Morgan, Joe Manganiello, Malin Ã…kerman, Jake Lacy, Jack Quaid, Marley Shelton, PJ Byrne, Breanne Hill, Matt Gerald

Tuesday, 10 April 2018

Crisp Criticism - "Blockers", "Love, Simon", "Every Day", "A Quiet Place"

Julien Faddoul

Blockers *

Three parents try to stop their daughters from having sex on prom night.
Sensitive parental comedy that’s sweet enough I guess, but is continually undermined by its lowbrow humour and, like all modern comedies, a desperate need to be as sarcastic as possible.

d – Kay Cannon
w – Brian Kehoe, Jim Kehoe
ph – Russ T. Alsobrook
pd – Brandon Tonner-Connolly
m – Mateo Messina
ed – Stacey Schroeder
cos – Sarah Mae Burton

p – Seth Rogen, Evan Goldberg, Jon Hurwitz, James Weaver, Hayden Schlossberg, Chris Fenton

Cast: Leslie Mann, Ike Barinholtz, John Cena, Kathryn Newton, Geraldine Viswanathan, Gideon Adlon, Graham Phillips, Miles Robbins, Jimmy Bellinger, Jake Picking, Sarayu Rao

Monday, 2 April 2018

Crisp Criticism - "Ready Player One", "A Wrinkle in Time", "Peter Rabbit", "Pacific Rim: Uprising"

Julien Faddoul

Ready Player One

When the creator of a popular video game system dies, a virtual contest is created to compete for his fortune.
A master filmmaker – who in the 1970s helped perpetuate the now obsessive need for the culture to soak itself in nostalgia for whatever occurred during one’s formative years – delivers us the ultimate ouroboros of nostalgia for nostalgia. Literally hundreds of visual and aural pop-culture references whiz by in an uncompromising celebration of the introductory years of the early movie blockbusters, recreated here with a $200 million budget. And that’s the reason why, in spite of any amount of skilful staging, dazzling CGI or clever stratagems (not that there’s a lot of any of these), this film had almost no chance with me, as, philosophically, everything the film propagates I find unconditionally abhorrent. We live in the era of the death-dealing nostalgia. Even on the most superficial level, what is more serviceable: A amalgamation of seemingly endless pop-culture references or creating something new that others may yearn to refer to? Dear reader, if spending 140 minutes playing spot-the-reference is your idea of a fulfilling experience, then by all means ignore me. But, personally, I have better things to do with my time.

d – Steven Spielberg
w – Zak Penn, Ernest Cline (Based on the Novel by Ernest Cline)
ph – Janusz Kaminski
pd – Adam Stockhausen
m – Alan Silvestri
ed – Sarah Broshar, Michael Kahn
cos – Kasia Walicka-Maimone

p – Donald De Line, Dan Farah, Kristie Macosko Krieger, Steven Spielberg

Cast: Tye Sheridan, Olivia Cooke, Ben Mendelsohn, Lena Waithe, T.J. Miller, Simon Pegg, Mark Rylance, Philip Zhao, Win Morisaki, Hannah John-Kamen, Ralph Ineson, Susan Lynch

Tuesday, 20 March 2018

Crisp Criticism - "Tomb Raider", "Red Sparrow", "Game Night", "The Death of Stalin", "12 Strong"

Julien Faddoul

Tomb Raider

Lara Croft must push herself beyond her limits when she finds herself on the island where her father disappeared.
A reboot of a pair of films based on a utterly uninteresting video game character; one whose only seeming ability is to run away from danger. Some set-pieces are exciting, but all of them seem extraneous.

d – Roar Uthaug
w – Geneva Robertson-Dworet, Alastair Siddons, Evan Daugherty
ph – George Richmond
pd – Stuart Baird, Tom Harrison-Read, Michael Tronick
m – Junkie XL
ed – Gary Freeman
cos – Colleen Atwood

p – Graham King

Cast: Alicia Vikander, Walton Goggins, Dominic West, Daniel Wu, Kristin Scott Thomas, Derek Jacobi, Nick Frost, Hannah John-Kamen, Antonio Aakeel

Monday, 12 March 2018

The 6th Annual Cinema Touch Awards!

Julien Faddoul

Welcome to the 6th Annual Cinema Touch Awards for 2017.

Here are my favourite cinematic achievements of the year in several categories.


The 2017 Cinema Touch Awards - SPECIAL CITATIONS




Twin Peaks: The Return
Washington State. The White Lodge. The Roadhouse. The Double R Diner. The Great Northern Hotel. Laura Palmer. Dale Cooper. Diane Evans. Audrey Horne. Dougie and Janey-E Jones. Gordon Cole. The Log Lady. BOB. MIKE. The Arm. HELLOOOOOO!!

This is David Lynch and Mark Frost’s Twin Peaks.

The recognition from film critics over what is clearly a masterwork has once again sparked the debate as to what constitutes a film. For me it has always been dependent on the medium to which it was both intended and ultimately presented. Both Lynch and Showtime intended for this to be television, so it is. End of discussion. That being said, no other work of art this year grabbed me, frightened me, uplifted me or even moved me as much this 18-hour leviathan.

When people – somewhat transparently, I feel – cite that they believe television in recent years is more satisfying or audacious than cinema, I often think of something Charlie Kaufman once said: “I’m still waiting for the experimental TV”. I feel similar. I have dedicated my life to movies not because it’s my resolute religion, but because I truly see nothing else that quite measures up to them, despite a love/hate relationship that we share. If something someday greater reveals itself, it’ll be a glorious discovery. But until then, Fire Walk with Me...


The Shape of Water
Del Toro’s sketchbook of ideas has never worked for me. And I remain astonished as to why this one in particular worked for so many others. All the characters are flimsy cyphers with none of what they represent coalescing in any way. Even apart from that, as a piece of direction, it’s pedestrian at best, with Del Toro clumsily keeping his camera moving for no reason other than to add mobility to an inert plot.

Runner Up: The Killing of a Sacred Deer


One of the best children’s films of recent years. It flopped at the box-office and even critics didn’t feel it measured up to Todd Haynes' previous work. Please ignore all of this and experience it for yourselves. It’ll stay with you.

Runner Up: Logan Lucky


Star Wars: The Last Jedi
One of the most incontrovertible examples of the influence and necessity of a dynamic auteur: Rian Johnson crystalizes all the adolescent mumbo jumbo of the Star Wars franchise, designed to coddle a malnourished movie-going public that is bred on nostalgia, into a rather gratifying piece of interplanetary theatrics. The religious mysticism is harmonized, the humour is acute and the battle sequences, both on the military and hand-to-hand scales, are expertly filmed. He also accomplishes the task of conveying a sense that momentous consequences are involved in the decisions taken. Surely the best Star Wars film since the original trilogy, the aesthetic is deeply rooted not only in those films, but in the Kurosawa masterpieces that inspired them. It’s too long, too sentimental and too preoccupied with setting up plotlines for future instalments, but this is probably about as personal as these films are going to get.

Runner Up: Happy Death Day


The Beguiled
Surely Sofia Coppola’s least interesting work to date, not so much adapting the novel again but directly remaking the 1971 film. Her version strips away the psychosis of wartime impropriety and sexual frustrations and relies, almost solely, on atmospherics, and the disequilibrium that comes from isolation. The isolated girl – the ladybird trapped in a cage, if you will – has always been Coppola’s dominating theme but there is little evidence of anything else added here and the reason she would want to remake such material remains, for me, a mystery.

Runner Up: I, Tonya


Truly a strange, half-baked brew, and one that merits admiration for its unconventionality alone. The fun here is in the details, as opposed to its narrative, which sets up its central premise brilliantly and then completely collapses into a hole of liberal finger-wagging and distasteful stereotypes. Though claims of stereotyping and racism were fairly undeserving, with said reaction stemming more from being bored. Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri is far more queasy in its depiction of the prejudiced but, because it’s a far more conventional movie, no one outside of the film critic community seemed to care.

Runner Up: The Boss Baby

To return to the main awards page, CLICK HERE.

The 2017 Cinema Touch Awards - PICTURE

Julien Faddoul

5. BPM (Beats Per Minute)
For a dense, beautifully acted and constructed rendering of ACT UP Paris in the early 1990s. It's two major accomplishments lie in making committee meetings completely enthralling and, despite following similar story beats, completely subverting the genre of the AIDS-victim movie.

4. Good Time
For the year's greatest yarn. Narratively, a series of sordid dead-ends, all of which are electrifyingly rendered in a way to note on issues of race, drugs and the intellectually disadvantaged.

3. A Quiet Passion
For a witty and meticulously composed biopic on Dickinson by a filmmaker with similar personal tribulations. The whole thing is endlessly engaging with everyone concerned completely in sync.

2. The Florida Project
For an exquisite, intuitive depiction of the hidden homeless, living week-to-week, as seen through the eyes of children. Comparisons to the European neo-realist films of the late 50s are undeniable, and Baker orchestrates his meandering episodes – shot on 35mm – with an unshakable mix of joy and distress.

1. Call Me by Your Name
For a wise, Rohmeresque, gorgeously composed and acted account on the minute nuances of human passions. It exhibits an authenticity concerning both sexual desire and cherished companionship that is rarely seen on screen.

My Top Ten

6. Nocturama
7. Lady Bird
8. The Post
9. Wonderstruck
10. Columbus

Honorable Mentions (Alphabetical)

The Big Sick
Phantom Thread

Films I'm Sad to Have Missed

All I See is You
Band Aid
Dawson City: Frozen Time
The Death of Louis XIV
The Dinner
EX LIBRIS – The New York Public Library
The Glass Castle
God's Own Country
Hermia & Helena
I Love You, Daddy
In the Fade
The Light of the Moon
The Little Hours
The Lovers
My Entire High School Sinking Into the Sea
Starless Dreams
The Woman Who Left

Films I'm REALLY Sad to Have Missed

A Fantastic Woman
The Ornithologist

To return to the main awards page, CLICK HERE.