Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Crisp Criticism - "12 Years a Slave", "Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit", "Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones", "Grudge Match"

Julien Faddoul

12 Years a Slave ***

In pre-Civil War United States, Solomon Northup, a free black man from upstate New York, is abducted and sold into slavery.
Unsentimental, brilliantly realized and fiercely controlled treatment of a true story. As a film of ideas, the imagery if often searing but the handling is restrained, with an exceptional cast.

d – Steve McQueen
w – John Ridley   (Based on the Book by Solomon Northup)
ph – Sean Bobbitt
pd – Adam Stockhausen
m – Hans Zimmer
ed – Joe Walker
cos – Patricia Norris

p – Brad Pitt, Dede Gardner, Jeremy Kleiner, Bill Pohlad, Steve McQueen, Arnon Milchan, Anthony Katagas

Cast: Chiwetel Ejiofor, Michael Fassbender, Lupita Nyong’o, Sarah Paulson, Benedict Cumberbatch, Brad Pitt, Paul Dano, Adepero Oduye, Paul Giamatti, Alfre Woodard, Garret Dillahunt, Scott McNairy, Taran Killam, Chris Chalk

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

The Wolf of Wall Street (2013/US)


Julien Faddoul

*** (3 stars)

d – Martin Scorsese
w – Terence Winter   (Based on the Book by Jordan Belfort)
ph – Rodrigo Prieto
pd – Bob Shaw
ed – Thelma Schoonmaker
cos – Sandy Powell

p – Martin Scorsese, Leonardo DiCaprio, Riza Aziz, Joey McFarland, Emma Tillinger Koskoff

Cast: Leonardo DiCaprio, Jonah Hill, Margot Robbie, Matthew McConaughey, Kyle Chandler, Rob Reiner, Jon Bernthal, Jon Favreau, Jean Dujardin, Joanna Lumley, Cristin Milioti, Christine Ebersole, Shea Whigham, Katarina Čas, P. J. Byrne, Kenneth Choi, Brian Sacca, Henry Zebrowski, Ethan Suplee, Barry Rothbart, Jake Hoffman, Mackenzie Meehan, Spike Jonze

In Martin Scorsese’s Goodfellas (1990), the director plays an ingenious slight-of-hand trick of the mind, using 146 minutes of cinema to simulate the process of a bullet ejecting from a gun. As the picture progresses, the faster and more haphazard it becomes, with Scorsese leaving out more and more information, culminating in Henry Hill’s famous “last day” sequence and concluding the film with a gun being fired directly to the audience.

Friday, January 17, 2014

Crisp Criticism - "Her", "Inside Llewyn Davis", "Drug War", "47 Ronin", "In a World", "Evocateur"

Julien Faddoul

Her **

In the not so distant future, a lonely writer purchases a newly developed operating system designed to meet the user's needs and unexpectedly develops a romance with it.
Soft, sweet to the point of saccharine, all-encompassing sci-fi/romance. There are acute allusions to Kubrick, Malick, Vonnegut and strangest of all, painter Cy Twombly. But Jonze’s point is both an obvious and diminutive one, with an ending that lets all the air straight out.

wd – Spike Jonze
ph – Hoyte Van Hoytema
pd – K.K. Barrett
m – William Butler, Owen Pallett
ed – Jeff Buchanan, Eric Zumbrunnen
cos – Casey Storm

p – Megan Ellison, Spike Jonze, Vincent Landay

Cast: Joaquin Phoenix, Scarlett Johansson, Amy Adams, Rooney Mara, Olivia Wilde, Chris Pratt, Matt Letscher, Portia Doubleday

Thursday, January 16, 2014

My 2013 Academy Award Nominations reactions

Julien Faddoul


American Hustle – Charles Roven, Richard Suckle, Megan Ellison, Jonathan Gordon
Captain Phillips – Scott Rudin, Dana Brunetti, Michael De Luca
Dallas Buyers Club – Robbie Brenner, Rachel Winter
Gravity – Alfonso Cuaron, David Heyman
Her – Megan Ellison, Spike Jonze, Vincent Landay
Nebraska – Albert Berger, Ron Yerxa
Philomena – Gabrielle Tana, Steve Coogan, Tracey Seaward
12 Years a Slave – Brad Pitt, Dede Gardner, Jeremy Kleiner, Steve McQueen, Anthony Katagas
The Wolf of Wall Street – TBD

9 out of 9 correct! I feel validated in my relentless feeling before-hand that all those people predicting Saving Mr Banks were making a foolish mistake. It is a shame about Inside Llewyn Davis though.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

2013 Academy Award Final Predictions

Julien Faddoul

Precursor prizes are listed with each corresponding nominee. With Best Picture I am predicting 9. For the rest, the top 5 serve as my official predictions. Lock them in. 

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Crisp Criticism - "August: Osage County", "Dallas Buyers Club", "Short Term 12", "The Selfish Giant", "Wolf Children"

Julien Faddoul

August: Osage County **

An Oklahoma family comes together for the funeral of their patriarch.
A masterful and inspired work of the stage is turned into a rather lifeless piece of cinema, with a poor sense of space and tone and a cast using their juicy roles to repeatedly trump each other. Despite this, Letts’ brilliant reconnaissance on the disillusionment of life remains intact, even if his humor has been gutted.

d – John Wells
w – Tracy Letts   (Based on the Play by Tracy Letts)
ph – Adriano Goldman
pd – David Gropman
m – Gustavo Santaolallo
ed – Stephen Mirrione
cos – Cindy Evans

p – Harvey Weinstein, George Clooney, Grant Heslov, Jean Dourmanian, Steve Traxler

Cast: Meryl Streep, Julia Roberts, Ewan McGregor, Chris Cooper, Abigail Breslin, Benedict Cumberbatch, Juliette Lewis, Margo Martindale, Dermot Mulroney, Julianne Nicholson, Sam Shepard, Misty Upham