Wednesday, 29 January 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

Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit

A young covert CIA analyst uncovers a Russian plot to crash the U.S. economy with a terrorist attack.
Functional reboot of the Clancy's character adding nothing new or interesting.

d – Kenneth Branagh
w – Adam Cozad, David Koepp   (Based on the Characters Created by Tom Clancy)
ph – Haris Zambarloukos
pd – Andrew Laws
m – Patrick Doyle
ed – Martin Walsh
cos – Jill Taylor

p – David Barron, Lorenzo di Bonaventura, Mace Neufeld, Mark Vahradian

Cast: Chris Pine, Keira Knightley, Kevin Costner, Kenneth Branagh, Lenn Kudrjawizki, Alec Utgoff, Peter Andersson, Elena Velikanova

Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones

A young man is pursued by unknown forces.
Another interminable piece of first-person fakery. Fans of the series, if any remain, will likely be disappointed by the lack of scares this time.

wd – Christopher Landon
ph – Gonzalo Amat
pd – Nathan Amondson
ed – Gregory Plotkin
cos – Marylou Lim

p – Jason Blum, Oren Peli

Cast: Andrew Jacobs, Jorge Diaz, Gabrielle Walsh, Renee Victor

Grudge Match

A pair of aging boxing rivals are coaxed out of retirement to fight one final bout 30 years after their last match.
Surprisingly, there is a welcome amount of sensitivity applied here. It is therefore unfortunate that every single joke is risible.

d – Peter Segal
w – Tim Kelleher, Rodney Rothman
ph – Dean Semler
pd – Wynn Thomas
m – Trevor Rabin
ed – William Kerr
cos – Mary E. Vogt

p – Michael Ewing, Bill Gerber, Mark Steven Johnson, Ravi D. Mehta, Peter Segal

Cast: Robert De Niro,, Sylvester Stallone, Alan Arkin, Jon Bernthal, Kevin Hart, Kim Basinger, Judd Lormand, Nicole Andrews, Han Soto, Griff Furst, Don Lake, Camden Gray, Carrie Lazar, John L. Armijo, Todd Truley

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