Thursday, November 28, 2013

Crisp Criticism - "The Hunger Games: Catching Fire", "The Best Man Holiday", "Last Vegas", "The Book Thief"

Julien Faddoul

The Hunger Games: Catching Fire *

The young victors of the 74th Hunger Games spark a rebellion in the Districts of Panem.
Once again we have a blockbuster-picture that’s crime is not incompetence, but indifference. It is, however, superior to the first film because its presentation as a lowbrow consumer product with faux-philosophical aspirations is meeker.

d – Francis Lawrence
w – Simon Beaufoy, Michael de Bruyn   (Based on the Novel by Suzanne Collins)
ph – Jo Willems
pd – Philip Messina
m – James Newton Howard
ed – Alan Edward Bell
cos – Trish Summerville

p – Nina Jacobson, Jon Kilik

Cast: Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson, Liam Hemsworth, Woody Harrelson, Elizabeth Banks, Lenny Kravitz, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Jeffrey Wright, Stanley Tucci, Donald Sutherland, Toby Jones, Sam Claflin, Jena Malone, Lynn Cohen, Amanda Plummer, Meta Golding, Bruno Gunn, Alan Ritchson, Stephanie Leigh Schlund, E. Roger Mitchell, Maria Howell

Monday, November 18, 2013

Crisp Criticism - "Ender's Game", "Enough Said", "The Fifth Estate", "Stranger By the Lake"

Julien Faddoul

Ender’s Game

A boy genius is recruited by the International Military to lead the fight against an alien race that nearly annihilated the human race in a previous invasion.
Solemn, joyless plunge into the depths of pomposity, with no affirmation given for the serious matters that the characters are discussing. It insults and belittles its audience at every opportunity.

wd – Gavin Hood   (Based on the Novel by Orson Scott Card)
ph – Donald McAlpine
pd – Sean Haworth, Ben Procter
m – Steve Jablonsky
ed – Lee Smith, Zach Staenberg
cos – Christine Bieselin Clark

p – Orson Scott Card, Robert Chartoff, Lynn Hendee, Alex Kurtzman, Roberto Orci, Linda McDonough, Gigi Pritzker, Ed Ulbrich

Cast: Asa Butterfield, Harrison Ford, Hailee Steinfeld, Abigail Breslin, Ben Kingsley, Viola Davis, Aramis Knight, Suraj Parthasarathy

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

The Counselor (2013/US)

Julien Faddoul

** (2 stars)

d – Ridley Scott
w – Cormac McCarthy
ph – Dariusz Wolski
pd – Arthur Max
m – Daniel Pemberton
ed – Pietro Scalia
cos – Janty Yates

p – Paula Mae Schwartz, Steve Schwartz, Ridley Scott, Nick Wechsler

Cast: Michael Fassbender, Penelope Cruz, Cameron Diaz, Javier Bardem, Brad Pitt, Rosie Perez, Natalie Dormer, Edgar Ramirez, Bruno Ganz, Ruben Blades

Critics like to compare movie experiences to help them with their reactive decisions. This, lets face it, has become rather ostentatious. And unfortunately for you, dearest of readers, ostentation is the only approach I can take with The Counselor, for I must admit that Touch of Evil (1958) and The Big Sleep (1946) – both masterpieces – took me multable viewings before I could make sense of their plots. At the time of release, both films were critical flops and were not regarded as the artistic jewels they were until many years later. Funny thing, time.