Thursday, 28 November 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

The Best Man Holiday *

When the college friends from The Best Man (1999) reunite after 15 years over the Christmas holidays, they recall their rivalries and romances.
As needless a sequel as this is, it does deliver some amusing and considered characterizations.

wd – Malcolm D. Lee
ph – Frank Prinzi
pd – Kalina Ivanov
m – Stanley Clarke
ed – Cara Silverman
cos – Danielle Hollowell

p – Bill Carraro, Sam Kitt, Spike Lee

Cast: Taye Diggs, Nia Long, Morris Chestnut, Harold Perrineau, Terrence Howard, Sanaa Lathan, Melissa De Sousa, Monica Calhoun, Regina Hall, Jim Moody, Jarrod Bunch, Victoria Dillard

Last Vegas

Three sixty-something friends take a break from their day-to-day lives to throw a bachelor party in Las Vegas.
Lame and limp comedy of a familiar type that provides intermittent pleasures between long stretches of monotony.

d – Jon Turteltaub
w – Dan Fogelman
ph – David Hennings
pd – David J. Bomba
m – Mark Mothersbaugh
ed – David Rennie
cos – Dayna Pink

p – Amy Baer, Joseph Drake, Laurence Mark

Cast: Michael Douglas, Robert De Niro, Morgan Freeman, Kevin Kline, Mary Steenburgen, Jerry Ferrara, Romany Malco, Roger Bart, Joanna Gleason, Michael Ealy, Bre Blair

The Book Thief

As the Nazis begin their dominance, a young German girl finds solace by stealing books and sharing them with others.
One of the more shockingly stupid films in recent memory: A movie narrated by Death that compares the horrors of the Holocaust with illiteracy. It’s as if World War II is seen from Mars, with various depictions and situations lacking any historical sense. It consistently insults the audience’s intelligence while it suffocates in it own manufactory. It makes The Reader (2008) look like Shoah (1985).

d – Brian Percival
w – Michael Petroni   (Based on the Novel by Markus Zusak)
ph – Florian Ballhaus
pd – Simon Elliott
m – John Williams
ed – John Wilson
cos – Anna B. Sheppard

p – Ken Blancato, Karen Rosenfelt

Cast: Sophie NĂ©lisse, Geoffrey Rush, Emily Watson, Ben Schnetzer, Roger Allam

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