Friday, 17 January 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

Inside Llewyn Davis ***

In Greenwich Village in the early 1960s, a talented but volatile folk singer contemplates leaving the music scene altogether.
This is cold Coens: Homeric in its approach to what are vignettes in a week of this musician’s life, centering on an astounding lead performance. It is deep, exceptionally written and vividly photographed, but like all their films, this is not an odyssey, but purgatory.

wd – Joel Coen, Ethan Coen
ph – Bruno Delbonnel
pd – Jess Gonchor
ed – Roderick Jaynes
cos – Mary Zophres

p – Scott Rudin, Joel Coen, Ethan Coen

Cast: Oscar Isaac, Carey Mulligan, John Goodman, Garrett Hedlund, Justin Timberlake, F. Murray Abraham, Stark Sands, Adam Driver, Max Casella

Drug War ***

Undercover drug teams of police infiltrate a sizeable drug network with the help of one of their operators, in exchange for his life.
Johnnie To as angelic purist: a masterful crime thriller of the typical To kind, with all double-crossing variables orchestrated with great skill and climaxing with a massive shootout.

d – Johnnie To
w – Ryker Chan, Wai Ka-Fai, Nai-Hoi Yau, Xi Yu
ph – Siu-keung Cheng
pd – Horace Ma
m – Xavier Jamaux
ed – Allen Leung

p – Johnnie To, Wai Ka-Fai

Cast: Louis Koo, Sun Honglei, Huang Yi, Wallace Chung, Gao Yunxiang, Li Guangjie, Guo Tao, Li Jing, Lo Hoi-pang, Eddie Cheung, Gordon Lam, Michelle Ye, Lam Suet

47 Ronin

The ancient Japanese tale of 47 master-less samurai.
Somehow, this is both racist and jingoistic, but that only relates to morality. As cinema, it is a travesty beyond anything you can comprehend.

d – Carl Rinsch
w – Chris Morgan, Hossein Amini, Walter Hamada
ph – John Mathieson
pd – Jan Roelfs
m – Ilan Eshkeri
ed – Stuart Baird
cos – Penny Rose

p – Pamela Abdy, Eric McLeod

Cast: Keanu Reeves, Hiroyuki Sanada, Kou Shibasaki, Tadanobu Asano, Rinko Kikuchi, Min Tanaka, Jin Akanishi

In a World *

An underachieving vocal coach is pursuing her aspirations of becoming a voice-over star.
Amusing, snide, miscalculated comedy set in the world of voice-over that covers so much plot machinations that it feels more like a pilot for a television series.

wd – Lake Bell
ph – Seamus Tierney
pd – Megan Fenton
m – Ryan Miller
ed – Tom McArdle
cos – Lindy McMichael

p – Lake Bell, Mark Roberts, Jett Steiger, Eddie Vaisman

Cast: Lake Bell, Fred Melamed, Michaela Watkins, Ken Marino, Demetri Martin, Rob Corddry, Alexandra Holden, Nick Offerman, Geena Davis, Eva Longoria, Tig Notaro

Evocateur: The Morton Downey Jr Movie **

Documentary of the immediate rise and just as immediate fall of The Morton Downey Jr Show and its provocative host.
Slick documentary on a marvellous subject that provides plenty of enticing footage, but sagaciousness only occasionally surfaces.

d – Seth Kramer, Daniel A. Miller, Jeremy Newberger
w – Daniel A. Miller
m – Peter Rundquist
ed – Seth Kramer

p – Seth Kramer, Daniel A. Miller, Jeremy Newberger

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