Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Crisp Criticism - "The Equalizer", "Dracula Untold", "Wish I Was Here"

Julien Faddoul

The Equalizer

A former black ops commando who has faked his death comes out to rescue a young girl from Russian gangsters.
Flaccid and stiff action-thriller that seems to be a throwback to the kind given to us in the 90s. It showboats its star as someone who has now become an exasperating parody of himself.

d – Antoine Fuqua
w – Richard Wenk   (Based on the Television Series by Michael Sloan, Richard Lindheim)
ph – Mauro Fiore
pd – Naomi Shohan
m – Harry Gregson-Williams
ed – John Refoua
cos – David C. Richardson

p – Todd Black, Jason Blumenthal, Tony Eldridge, Mace Neufeld, Alex Siskin, Michael Sloan, Steve Tisch, Denzel Washington, Richard Wenk

Cast: Denzel Washington, Marton Csokas, Chloë Grace Moretz, David Harbour, Haley Bennett, Bill Pullman, Melissa Leo, David Meunier, Johnny Skourtis

Monday, September 29, 2014

Crisp Criticism - "The Boxtrolls", "The Maze Runner", "We Are the Best!"

Julien Faddoul

The Boxtrolls ***

A human boy raised by trash-collecting trolls attempts to save them from an evil pest exterminator.
Dark, Dickensian, at times gross stop-motion film from Laika about the detrimental shyness that one formulates with one’s own families, politics and class-system. It oozes invention with every scene.

d – Anthony Stacchi, Graham Annable
w – Irena Brignull, Adam Pava   (Based on the Novel by Alan Snow)
pd – Paul Lasaine
m – Dario Marianelli
ed – Edie Bleiman Ichioka

p – Travis Knight, David Bleiman Ichioka

Cast: Ben Kingsley, Isaac Hempstead Wright, Elle Fanning, Jared Harris, Toni Collette, Simon Pegg, Nick Frost, Richard Ayoade, Tracy Morgan

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Crisp Criticism - "Sin City: A Dame to Kill for", "Night Moves", "The Congress", "The Identical"

Julien Faddoul

Sin City: A Dame to Kill for

Some of Sin City's most hard-boiled citizens cross paths with a few of its more reviled inhabitants.
A movie who’s sole intention is to show the audience some hats and coats and cigarettes and boobs and rain; beyond contempt.

d – Frank Miller, Robert Rodriquez
w – Frank Miller   (Based on the Graphic Novels by Frank Miller)
ph – Robert Rodriquez
pd – Caylah Eddleblute, Steve Joyner
m – Robert Rodriquez, Carl Thiel
ed – Robert Rodriquez
cos – Nina Proctor

p – Robert Rodriquez, Sergei Bespalov, Aaron Kaufman, Stephen L’Heureux, Mark C. Manuel, Alexander Rodnyansky

Cast: Mickey Rourke, Jessica Alba, Josh Brolin, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Rosario Dawson, Bruce Willis, Eva Green, Powers Boothe, Dennis Haysbert, Ray Liotta, Christopher Meloni, Jeremy Piven, Christopher Lloyd, Jaime King, Juno Temple, Stacy Keach, Marton Csokas

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

MANAKAMANA (Nepal/US/2014)

Julien Faddoul

** (2 stars)

d – Stephanie Spray, Pacho Velez
ph – Pacho Velez
ed – Stephanie Spray, Pacho Velez

p – Lucien Castaing-Taylor, Verena Paravel

MANAKAMANA begins in absolute darkness. We hear a loud clank, confusing and unnerving. It is soon visually clarified as the noise of a cable car set into action.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Crisp Criticism - "Boyhood", "Magic in the Moonlight", "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles"

Julien Faddoul

Boyhood ***

12 years in the life of a Texas boy.
An affecting, at times overwhelming experience: A film about the process of the organic specimen shot over the course of 12 years. For 165 minutes, one is walking on a tightrope of humanity vs. menace both fictively and aesthetically. Not all of it works – Linklater’s narrative is so glib and generalized – but it certainly is a vital document.

wd – Richard Linklater
ph – Lee Daniel, Shane F. Kelly
pd – Rodney Becker, Gay Studebaker
ed – Sandra Adair
cos – Kari Perkins

p – Richard Linklater, Jonathan Sehring, John Sloss, Cathleen Sutherland

Cast: Ellar Coltrane, Patricia Arquette, Ethan Hawke, Lorelei Linklater, Libby Villari, Marco Perella, Jamie Howard, Andrew Villarreal

Magic in the Moonlight *

A master magician begins to doubt his chronic skepticism when he meets a medium whom he believes is the real deal.
Another delightful film by the 78-year-old master done completely on autopilot, exploring themes he has covered countless times before.

wd – Woody Allen
ph – Darius Khondji
pd – Anne Seibel
ed – Alisa Lepselter
cos – Sonia Grande

p – Letty Aronson, Stephen Tenenbaum, Edward Walson

Cast: Emma Stone, Colin Firth, Hamish Linklater, Marcia Gay Harden, Jacki Weaver, Erica Leerhsen, Eileen Atkins, Simon McBurney

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles

A group of mutated warriors face off against an evil kingpin who wants to take over New York.
Atrocious, loud and brainless reboot of the children’s franchise with ugly images, incoherent action and poor performances.  

d – Jonathan Liebesman
w – Josh Appelbaum, André Nemec, Evan Daugherty   (Based on the Characters Created by Peter Laird, Kevin Eastman)
ph – Lula Carvalho
pd – Neil Spisak
m – Brian Tyler
ed – Joel Negron, Glen Scantlebury
cos – Sarah Edwards   

p – Michael Bay, Ian Bryce, Andrew Form, Bradley Fuller, Scott Mednick, Galen Walker

Cast: Megan Fox, Alan Ritchson, Jeremy Howard, Pete Ploszek, Noel Fisher, Will Arnett, Danny Woodburn, William Fichtner, Johnny Knoxville, Tony Shalhoub

Monday, September 1, 2014

Crisp Criticism - "If I Stay", "Into the Storm", "As Above, So Below"

Julien Faddoul

If I Stay

While in a coma after a fatal accident, a teenage female musician ways her options to decide whether she wants to live or die.
A ludicrous premise is presented here with a literal approach. This would have worked had the drama itself not been so bland. Therefore, the approach only heightens its obnoxiousness.

d – R.J. Cutler
w – Shauna Cross   (Based on the Novel by Gayle Forman)
ph – John de Borman
pd – Brent Thomas
m – Heitor Pereira
ed – Keith Henderson
cos – Monique Prudhomme

p – Denise Di Novi, Alison Greenspan

Cast: Chloe Grace Moretz, Mireille Enos, Jamie Blackley, Joshua Leonard, Liana Liberato, Stacy Keach, Gabrielle Rose, Jakob Davies