Monday, December 29, 2014

Crisp Criticism - "The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies", "Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb", "The Water Diviner", "The Book of Life"

Julien Faddoul

The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies

The story concludes, beginning mere seconds after the previous film.
Shorter than the previous two films but even more laborious, with battle after battle with no incentives. Good effects.

d – Peter Jackson
w – Fran Walsh, Philippa Boyens, Peter Jackson, Guillermo del Toro   (Based on the Novel by J.R.R. Tolkien)
ph – Andrew Lesnie
pd – Dan Hennah
m – Howard Shore
ed – Jabez Olssen
cos – Richard Taylor, Bob Buck, Ann Maskrey

p – Carolynne Cunningham, Peter Jackson, Fran Walsh, Zane Weiner

Cast: Martin Freeman, Ian McKellen, Richard Armitage, Benedict Cumberbatch, Orlando Bloom, Evangeline Lilly, Luke Evans, Lee Pace, Stephen Fry, Graham McTavish, Ken Stott, Aidan Turner, Dean O'Gorman, Mark Hadlow, Jed Brophy, Adam Brown, John Callen, Peter Hambleton, William Kircher, James Nesbitt, Stephen Hunter, Cate Blanchett, Mikael Persbrandt

Thursday, December 25, 2014

Retrospective: The Last 25 Years of Walt Disney Animation Studios

Julien Faddoul

The Jeffrey Katzenberg Era

The Little Mermaid (1989) ***

A mermaid falls in love with a prince and longs to be human.
The film that opened the door for the Disney Renaissance, reestablishing the commitment to superior animation and an excellent score. The rampant sentimentality is forgiven.

Writer/Director – John Musker, Ron Clements
Music – Alan Menken
Lyrics – Howard Ashman
Original Score – Alan Menken
Art Director – Michael A. Peraza, Donald A. Towns
Editor – John Carnochan
Visual Effects Supervisor – Mark Dindal
Layout Supervisor – David A. Dunnet
Background Supervisor – Donald A. Towns
Clean-Up Supervisor – Vera Lanpher

Supervising Animators
Mark Henn
Glen Keane
Duncan Marjoribanks
Ruben A. Aquino
Andreas Deja
Matthew O’Callaghan

Producer – Howard Ashman, John Musker

Cast: Rene Auberjonois, Christopher Daniel Barnes, Jodi Benson, Pat Carroll, Paddi Edwards, Buddy Hackett, Jason Marin, Kenneth Mars, Edie McClurg, Will Ryan, Ben Wright, Samuel E. Wright

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Crisp Criticism - "Annie", "Horrible Bosses 2", "St. Vincent"

Julien Faddoul


A foster kid, who lives with her mean foster mom, sees her life change when a business tycoon and New York mayoral candidate makes a thinly-veiled campaign move and takes her in.
Icky stock confection taped together with fabricated vocals and some truly atrocious acting.

d – Will Gluck
w – Will Gluck, Aline Brosh McKenna   (Based on the Musical Book by Thomas Meehan)
ph – Michael Grady
pd – Marcia Hinds
m – Greg Kurstin
ed – Tia Nolan
cos – Renee Ehrlich Kalfus

p – Jay Brown, Will Gluck, James Lassiter, Jada Pinkett Smith, Caleeb Pinkett, Tyran Smith, Will Smith, Jay-Z

Cast: Jamie Foxx, Quvenzhane Wallis, Cameron Diaz, Rose Byrne, Bobby Cannavale, Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje

Monday, December 15, 2014

Big Hero 6 (US/2014)

Julien Faddoul

*** (3 stars)

d – Don Hall, Chris Williams
w – Jordan Roberts, Robert L. Baird, Daniel Gerson   (Based on the Characters Created by Duncan Rouleau, Steven T. Seagle)
pd – Paul Felix
m – Henry Jackman
ed – Tim Mertens

p – Roy Conli

Cast: Scott Adsit, Ryan Potter, Daniel Henney, T.J. Miller, Jamie Chung, Damon Wayans Jr., Genesis Rodriguez, James Cromwell, Alan Tudyk, Maya Rudolph

In reading other reviews of Big Hero 6, the 54th feature film from Walt Disney Animation Studios, many critics seem to be pestered by the film’s association with Marvel Studios. The Marvel brand has, in this day and age, become a classification of its own. The movie has flying jetpacks, a gigantic city under destruction, a superhero who self-sacrifices and a Stan Lee cameo – all things that have become tiresome tropes in big-budget Marvel moviemaking. Many have identified these aspects to explain their drudging experience.

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Crisp Criticism - "Serena", "Get on Up", "Why Don’t You Play in Hell?"

Julien Faddoul

Serena *

Set in 1930s North Carolina, a man’s timber empire is in jeopardy when it becomes clear that his wife is as barren as the land he harvests.
Once again, Bier’s blockheaded use of metaphor paralyzes her own drama here, as well as the miscasting of her two leads.

d – Susanne Bier
w – Christopher Kyle   (Based on the Book by Ron Rash)
ph – Morten Søborg
pd – Richard Bridgland
m – Johan Söderqvist
ed – Pernille Bech Christensen, Matthew Newman, Simon Webb
cos – Signe Sejlund

p – Ben Cosgrove, Mark Cuban, Paula Mae Schwartz, Steve Schwartz, Todd Wagner, Nick Wechsler

Cast: Jennifer Lawrence, Bradley Cooper, Rhys Ifans, Toby Jones, Sean Harris, Sam Reid, Blake Ritson

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Crisp Criticism - "Night Crawler", "Exodus: Gods and Kings", "Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day"

Julien Faddoul

Nightcrawler *

An unemployment lunatic, who has been driven to thievery, finds a job in the world of LA crime journalism.
Unsettling thriller/black comedy that is far too satisfied with itself and its rather obvious delineations on the corruption of human decency to be at all illuminating, despite a committed central performance.

wd – Dan Gilroy
ph – Robert Elswit
pd – Kevin Kavanaugh
m – James Newton Howard
ed – John Gilroy
cos – Amy Westcott

p – Jennifer Fox, Tony Gilroy, Jake Gyllenhaal, David Lancaster, Michel Litvak

Cast: Jake Gyllenhaal. Rene Russo, Riz Ahmed, Bill Paxton