Wednesday, 19 September 2018

The Films of 2018

102 Films

For all reviews click here.




Crazy Rich Asians
Eighth Grade


Den of Thieves
Early Man
Juliet, Naked
Operation Finale
The Seagull
Sherlock Gnomes
Super Troopers 2
White Boy Rick


Action Point
Avengers: Infinity War
Bad Samaritan
Book Club
The Bookshop
Breaking In
The Cloverfield Paradox
Death Wish
Dog Days
Double Lover
The Equalizer 2
The First Purge
Forever My Girl
Godard Mon Amour
The Happytime Murders
Hotel Artemis
The Hurricane Heist
I Can Only Imagine
I Feel Pretty
Ideal Homes
A Kid Like Jake
Mile 22
The Nun
On Chesil Beach
The Party
Paul, Apostle of Christ
Proud Mary
7 Days in Entebbe
Show Dogs
Slender Man
The Spy Who Dumped Me
The Strangers: Prey at Night
Uncle Drew

Thursday, 2 August 2018

Crisp Criticism - "Mission: Impossible - Fallout", "Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again", "The Catcher was a Spy", "RBG"

by Julien Faddoul

Mission: Impossible - Fallout **

When an IMF mission ends badly, the world is faced with dire consequences. As Ethan Hunt takes it upon himself to fulfil his original briefing, the CIA begins to question his loyalty and his motives.
Exquisitely staged set-pieces typify what is the longest entry in the Mission: Impossible franchise, with thrilling chases and sharp combat. But more so than usual, there is a reliance on mythology and its rather convoluted deception plot. As a result – typically for the franchise – it does run out of steam in the final act.

wd – Christopher McQuarrie
ph – Rob Hardy
pd – Peter Wenham
m – Lorne Balfe
ed – Eddie Hamilton
cos – Jeffrey Kurland

p – Tom Cruise, Christopher McQuarrie, Jake Myers, JJ Abrams

Cast: Tom Cruise, Henry Cavill, Simon Pegg, Ving Rhames, Rebecca Ferguson, Sean Harris, Alec Baldwin, Angela Bassett, Vanessa Kirby, Frederick Schmidt, Kristoffer Joner, Michelle Monaghan, Wes Bentley

Sunday, 15 July 2018

Crisp Criticism - "Ant-Man and the Wasp", "Set it Up", "Skyscraper", "You Were Never Really Here"

Julien Faddoul

Ant-Man and the Wasp *

As Scott Lang balances being both a Superhero and a father, Hope van Dyne and Dr. Hank Pym present an urgent new mission that finds the Ant-Man fighting alongside The Wasp to uncover secrets from their past.
Another inconsequential piece of comic-book filmmaking with low stakes, sarcastic jokes, the occasional high-energy set-piece and the predictable Marvel cadence. However, it does boast, along with Doctor Strange (2016), the best visual effects the studio has produced.

d – Peyton Reed
w – Chris McKenna, Erik Sommers, Paul Rudd, Andrew Barrer, Gabriel Ferrari
ph – Dante Spinotti
pd – Shepherd Frankel
m – Christophe Beck
ed – Dan Lebental, Craig Wood
cos – Louise Frogley

p – Stephen Broussard, Kevin Feige

Cast: Paul Rudd, Evangeline Lilly, Hannah John-Kamen, Michael Douglas, Michael Peña, Walton Goggins, Laurence Fishburne, Bobby Cannavale, Judy Greer

Tuesday, 3 July 2018

Crisp Criticism - "Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom", "Tag", "Lean on Pete", "Sicario: Day of the Soldado"

Julien Faddoul

Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom

When the island's dormant volcano begins roaring to life, a campaign is mounted to rescue the remaining dinosaurs from this extinction-level event.
You think the people in these movies would realise how ill-advised the concept of cloning dinosaurs would be by now. Then again, you'd think modern-day audiences would realise how boring it is to watch CGI animals chase around awkwardly reactive actors, but the box-office receipts say different. The trajectory of this franchise has become ridiculous to the point of paralysis: the characters' behaviour is senseless, the plot twists are laughable, the attempts at serious science are embarrassing and for no discernible reason a great deal of the action takes place indoors. A very stupid movie.

wd – JA Bayona
w – Derek Connolly, Colin Trevorrow   (Based on the Characters Created by Michael Crichton)
ph – Oscar Faura
pd – Andy Nicholson
m – Michael Giacchino
ed – Bernat Vilaplana
cos – Sammy Sheldon Differ

p – Patrick Crowley, Belén Atienza, Frank Marshall

Cast: Chris Pratt, Bryce Dallas Howard, Isabella Sermon, Rafe Spall, James Cromwell, Justice Smith, Daniella Pineda, Geraldine Chaplin, Ted Levine, Toby Jones, BD Wong, Jeff Goldblum, Michael Papajohn, Robert Emms

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 Åkerman, 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