Thursday, October 18, 2012

Crisp Criticism - "A Cat in Paris", "Chico and Rita", "Lawless", "On the Road", "Killer Joe"

A Cat in Paris (2012/France)   **

In Paris, a cat who lives a secret life as a cat burglar's aide must come to the rescue of the little girl he lives with, after she falls into a gangster's clutches.
A trifle: a congenial animated comedy/thriller with a quaint charm to its simplistic animation. But one forgets it once it’s over.

wd – Alain Gagnol, Jean-Loup Felicioli
pd – Jean-Loup Felicioli
m – Serge Besset
ed – Herve Guichard

p – Jacques-Remy Girerd

Cast: Dominique Blanc, Bernadette Lafont, Bruno Salomone, Jean Benguigui, Oriane Zani, Bernard Bouillon

Chico and Rita (2012/)   *

A young Cuban piano player falls for a beautiful nightclub singer.
A somewhat disappointing endeavour, marrying astute animation and a ripe style with dull characters and a duller story. Even the music seems deficient.

d – Tono Errando, Javier Mariscal, Fernando Trueba
w – Ignacio Martinez de Pison, Fernando Trueba
m – Bebo Valdes
ed – Arnau Quiles

p – Santi Errando, Cristina Huete, Martin Pope, Michael Rose

Cast: Limara Meneses, Eman Xor Oña, Mario Guerra

Lawless (2012/US)   **

A bootlegging gang in Franklin County, Virginia is threatened by a new deputy who wants a cut of their profits.
Although the narrative doesn’t flow as a whole, with missing beats, needless longueurs and unnecessary asides, this is an effective and gripping gangster picture that pleasantly goes for purity rather than irony.

d – John Hillcoat
w – Nick Cave   (Based on the Novel by Matt Bondurant)
ph – Denoit Delhomme
pd – Chris Kennedy
m – Nick Cave, Warren Ellis
ed – Dylan Tichenor
cos – Margot Wilson

p – Douglas Wick, Michael Benaroya, Megan Ellison, Lucy Fisher

Cast: Shia LaBeouf, Tom Hardy, Guy Pearce, Jessica Chastain, Mia Wasikowska, Gary Oldman, Jason Clarke, Dane DeHaan

On the Road (2012/US/UK/Brazil/France)

A young writer, his free-spirited friend and the friend’s girl travel across America and encounter a mix of people who each impact them.
Fake, empty, dreary adaptation of Kerouac’s novel that never adheres to the desired charisma of its apparent time, setting and inhabitants because it’s too caught up with the imbecilic fashions of modern cinema, which include constant jump-cutting, celebrity cameos, naked flesh, murky photography and a nostalgic score. A complete failure.

d – Walter Salles
w – Jose Rivera   (Based on the Novel by Jack Kerouac)
ph – Eric Gautier
pd – Carlos Conti
m – Gustavo Santaolalla
ed – Francois Gédigier
cos – Danny Glicker

p – Charles Gillibert, Nathanaël Karmitz, Rebecca Yeldham

Cast: Garrett Hedlund, Sam Riley, Kristen Stewart, Amy Adams, Tom Sturridge, Danny Morgan, Alice Braga, Elisabeth Moss, Kirsten Dunst, Viggo Mortensen, Steve Buscemi, Terrence Howard, Marie-Ginette Guay

Killer Joe (2012/US)   **

When a debt puts a young man's life in danger, he turns to putting a hit out on his evil mother in order to collect the insurance.
A film that blatantly makes one question one’s own reaction to it, even on the simplest level of whether it is enjoyable or not. It contains savage repugnance, a fearless cast and some awkward lurches, with its stage origins intrusively obvious. More than anything, it is an example of the mastery of its director who, in his mid-seventies, is still finding new areas of the ocean to swim in.

d – William Friedkin
w – Tracy Letts   (Based on the Play by Tracy Letts)
ph – Caleb Deschanel
pd – Franco-Giacomo Carbone
m – Tyler Bates
ed – Darrin Navarro
cos – Peggy A. Schnitzer

p – Nicolas Chartier, Scott Einbinder

Cast: Matthew McConaughey, Emile Hirsch, Juno Temple, Gina Gershon, Thomas Haden Church, Marc Macaulay

Friday, October 12, 2012

Crisp Criticism - "Looper", "Taken 2", "Madagascar 3: Europe's Most Wanted"

Looper (2012/US)   ***

In 2074, when the mob wants to get rid of someone, the target is sent 30 years into the past, where a hired gun awaits.
Violent, engrossing, highly impressive time-travel picture that finds ways to go in unexpected directions and surprises right up to the final scene. It is dynamically filmed.

wd – Rian Johnson
ph – Steve Yedlin
pd – Ed Verreaux
m – Nathan Johnson
ed – Bob Ducsay
cos – Sharen Davis

p – Ram Bergman, Jams D. Stern

Cast: Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Bruce Willis, Emily Blunt, Jeff Daniels, Paul Dano, Noah Segan, Piper Perabo, Pierce Gagnon, Garret Dillahunt, Qing Xu

Taken 2 (2012/US)

In Istanbul, a retired CIA operative and his wife are taken hostage by the father of a kidnapper he killed while rescuing his daughter.
Putrid piece of action cinema aimed at the lowest common denominator. No denominator could be this low.

d – Olivier Megaton
w – Luc Besson, Robert Mark Kamen
ph – Romain Lacourbas
pd – Sébastien Inizan
m – Nathaniel Mechaly
ed – Camille Delamarre, Vincent Tabaillon
cos – Pamela Lee Incardona

p – Luc Besson

Cast: Liam Neeson, Maggie Grace, Famke Janssen, Leland Orser, Jon Gries, D.B. Sweeney, Luke Grimes, Rade Serbedzija

Madagascar 3: Europe’s Most Wanted (2012/US)  **

The four animals from the New York Zoo continue their journey trying to get back by disguising themselves as a travelling circus.

d – Eric Darnell, Tom McGrath, Conrad Vernon
w – Eric Darnell, Noah Baumbach
pd – Kendal Cronkhite
m – Hans Zimmer
ed – Nick Fletcher

p – Mireille Soria, Mark Swift

Cast: Ben Stiller, Chris Rock, David Schwimmer, Jada Pinkett Smith, Sacha Baron Cohen, Cedric the Entertainer, Andy Richter, Tom McGrath, Frances McDormand, Jessica Chastain, Bryan Cranston, Martin Short, Chris Miller