Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Crisp Criticism - "Mr Peabody & Sherman", "Need for Speed", "The Single Moms Club", "Veronica Mars"

Julien Faddoul

Mr Peabody & Sherman   **

A genius talking dog and his adoptive human son go back in time to fix history when their time machine is stolen.
Smart, droll children’s film based on the 60s cartoon interstitials. It has a plot peppered with sentimentality that bogs it down, but otherwise it is a joy all the way.

d – Rob Minkoff
w – Craig Wright   (Based on the Characters Created by Ted Key)
pd – David James
m – Danny Elfman
ed – Michael Andrews

p – Alex Schwartz, Denise Nolan Cascino

Cast: Ty Burrell, Max Charles, Ariel Winter, Stephen Colbert, Leslie Mann, Stanley Tucci, Patrick Warburton, Allison Janney, Stephen Tobolowsky, Dennis Haysbert

Monday, March 24, 2014

Nymphomaniac (2014/Denmark/Belgium/France/Germany/UK)

Julien Faddoul

** (2 stars)

wd – Lars von Trier
ph – Manuel Alberto Claro
pd – Simone Grau
ed – Morten Højbjerg (Vol. I), Molly Marlene Stensgaard (Vol. II)
cos – Manon Rasmussen

p – Louise Vesth, Marie Cecilie Gade, Peter Aalbæk Jensen 

Cast: Charlotte Gainsbourg, Stellan Skarsgård, Stacy Martin, Shia LaBeouf, Christian Slater, Uma Thurman, Sophie Kennedy Clark, Connie Nielsen, James Northcote, Hugo Speer, Jamie Bell, Willem Dafoe, Mia Goth, Michaël Pas, Jean-Marc Barr, Udo Kier

There is a moment in Nymphomaniac (Vol. II to be precise) where director Lars von Trier has his titular heroine Joe, in an outstanding illustration of neglect, leave her sitter-less son alone at home at 1:00am so she can go satisfy her sexual hunger. Her son navigates his way out of his cot and climbs atop the edge of Joe’s apartment balcony, all the while Lascia ch'io pianga by Handel plays on the soundtrack. This moment directly insinuates the opening of Lars von Trier’s previous film Antichrist (2009). This moment also certifies two things: A) That Lars von Trier is, unless all my acumen fails me, hilarious and B) that he, more than any other filmmaker, will do everything in his ability and aptitude to confront, disaffect and stroke his audience, including being, for all intents and purposes, hilarious.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Crisp Criticism - "300: Rise of an Empire", "The Monuments Men", "Non-Stop", "3 Days to Kill", "Tracks"

Julien Faddoul

300: Rise of an Empire

Greek general Themistokles leads the charge against invading Persian forces led by mortal-turned-god Xerxes and Artemisia, vengeful commander of the Persian navy.
A sequel no one wanted that is even dumber that its predecessor, with stylized violence that is so kitsch it induces lethargy.

d – Noam Murro
w – Zack Snyder, Kurt Johnstad   (Based on the Graphic Novel by Frank Miller)
ph – Simon Duggan
pd – Patrick Tatopoulos
m – Junkie XL
ed – David Brenner, Wyatt Smith
cos – Alexandra Byrne

p – Marc Canton, Bernie Goldmann, Gianni Nunnari, Deborah Snyder, Zack Snyder, Thomas Tull

Cast: Sullivan Stapleton, Eva Green, Lena Headey, Hans Matheson, Callan Mulvey, David Wenham, Rodrigo Santoro, Jack O’Connell

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

The 2013 Cinema Touch Awards - FOREIGN-LANGUAGE FILM

Julien Faddoul

5. Faust
Alexander Sokurov’s demented cinematic epigram.

4. Like Someone in Love
Kiarostami is always concerned more with was doesn’t occur.

3. I’m So Excited
Either you find it funny or you don’t, what can I say.

2. Drug War
Hands-down the best police procedural of the new decade.

1. No
Chile! La alegria ya vieeene!

Runner Up: Beyond the Hills

The 2013 Cinema Touch Awards - ADAPTED SCREENPLAY

Julien Faddoul

5. Beyond the Hills – Cristian Mungiu
For an austere but deeply composed allegorical investigation.

4. August: Osage County – Tracy Letts
For the savagery we loved. Unlike most critics, I believed his screen piece retained the ardent nobility of his stage piece.

3. 12 Years a Slave – John Ridley
For his (along with his director's) interest in not only the horror but also the mechanics. The physical violence is imperative, but it was the pettiness of a nation that allowed the sin to occur.

2. No – Pedro Peirano
For taking a rather wishy-washy David vs. Goliath proposition and creating a most dynamic thriller with some of the most astute confabulations of the year.

1. The Wind Rises – Hayao Miyazaki
For having precise control over the aesthetic shifts into both melodrama and dream logic. It's maybe the greatest biopic since Raging Bull.

Runner Up: From Up on Poppy HillsHayao Miyazaki, Keiko Niwa