Wednesday, 18 April 2018

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

by
Julien Faddoul













Rampage

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"

by 
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"


by
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"

by
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!


by
Julien Faddoul

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

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

Enjoy!










The 2017 Cinema Touch Awards - SPECIAL CITATIONS


SPECIAL CITATION – THE YEARS GREATEST PIECE OF CINEMA…WAS ON TELEVISION




  

 


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...





SPECIAL CITATION – MOST OVERRATED FILM OF THE YEAR








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






SPECIAL CITATION – MOST UNDERRATED FILM OF THE YEAR







Wonderstruck
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






SPECIAL CITATION – MOST PLEASANT SURPRISE OF THE YEAR







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






SPECIAL CITATION – BIGGEST DISAPPOINTMENT OF THE YEAR








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






SPECIAL CITATION – MOST MISUNDERSTOOD FILM OF THE YEAR







Downsizing
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


by
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
Felicite
Foxtrot
The Glass Castle
God's Own Country
Hermia & Helena
I Love You, Daddy
In the Fade
Landline
The Light of the Moon
The Little Hours
The Lovers
My Entire High School Sinking Into the Sea
Sieranevada
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.