Thursday, January 29, 2015

Crisp Criticism - "Foxcatcher", "Wild", "Big Eyes"

Julien Faddoul

Foxcatcher *

The Olympic Wrestling Champion brother team of David and Mark Schultz joins Team Foxcatcher lead by multimillionaire sponsor John E. du Pont as they train for the 1988 games in Seoul.
Suffocating, at times intriguing though removed film based on fact that contains many mini-movies inside of it fighting for attention, all of them at surface level. Because of the apogee, the director percolates a sense of dread that paralyzes the story, humour, politics and performances.

d – Bennett Miller
w – E. Max Frye, Dan Futterman
ph – Greig Fraser
pd – Jess Gonchor
m – Rob Simonsen
ed – Jay Cassidy, Stuart Levy, Conor O'Neill
cos – Kasia Walicka-Maimone

p – Anthony Bregman, Megan Ellison, Jon Kilik, Bennett Miller

Cast: Steve Carell, Channing Tatum, Mark Ruffalo, Sienna Miller, Vanessa Redgrave, Anthony Michael Hall

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

American Sniper (2014/US)

Julien Faddoul

** (2 stars)

d – Clint Eastwood
w – Jason Hall   (Based on the Book by Chris Kyle, Scott McEwen, James Defelice)
ph – Tom Stern
pd – Charisse Cardenas, James J. Murakami
ed – Joel Cox, Gary Roach

p – Clint Eastwood, Robert Lorenz, Andrew Lazar, Bradley Cooper, Peter Morgan

Cast: Bradley Cooper, Sienna Miller, Max Charles, Luke Grimes, Kyle Gallner, Sam Jaeger, Jake McDorman, Jonathan Groff

Clint Eastwood’s films are perpetually interesting. They exude a classicism that has divided the film culture into those who see his kind of simplistic lucidity as brave and those who see it as ineptitude. His penchant for shooting the script as written and often in very few takes makes him, and his methods, particularly old-fashioned. He’s certainly more Woody Van Dyke than David Fincher.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Crisp Criticism - "Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)", "Unbroken", "Into the Woods"

Julien Faddoul

Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance) **

A fading actor, best known for his portrayal of a popular superhero, attempts to mount a comeback by appearing in a Broadway play.
A basically unconvincing story becomes piquant through its execution: Simulated to appear, for the most part, like one long shot with its excellent ensemble cast generating a world full of anxiety, bitchiness and indecency as they travel through the hallways of the St. James Theatre. It’s director’s attempt, however, to bang the drum loudly in search of emotional significance, is a bust.

d – Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu
w – Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu, Nicolás Giacobone, Alexander Dinelaris Jr, Armando Bo
ph – Emmanuel Lubezki
pd – Kevin Thompson
m – Antonio Sanchez
ed – Douglas Crise, Stephen Mirrione
cos – Albert Wolsky

p – Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu, John Lesher, Arnon Milchan, James W. Skotchdopole

Cast: Michael Keaton, Edward Norton, Emma Stone, Naomi Watts, Zach Galifianakis, Andrea Riseborough, Amy Ryan, Lindsay Duncan, Merritt Wever

Thursday, January 15, 2015

My Reactions to the 87th Academy Awards Nominations

Julien Faddoul

Below is the full list of nominees for the 87th Academy Awards with my written reactions.

A few of notes:

Many people dislike the word “snub” so if I end up relying on it too heavily please forgive me.

Birdman and The Grand Budapest Hotel receive the most nominations with 9 each, followed by The Imitation Game with 8, American Sniper and Boyhood with 6, and Foxcatcher, Interstellar, The Theory of Everything and Whiplash with 5.

Selma takes the Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close/The Blindside position of being a Best Picture nominee with only one other nomination. This is obviously going to upset a lot of people. One could argue this is because of its somewhat late arrival to campaign. It is DuVernay’s omission that feels the queasiest. Prepare for all the sexism/racism accusations your computer can show you!

Foxcatcher receiving as many nominations as it did I think proves it just missed out of the top category by a hair’s lack of number 1 votes.

Gone Girl received only 1 nomination in the end. Oh, well.

The Hobbit ends its reign of terror with only a single nomination. Take that Jackson!

The Lego Movie! Yikes!

Nothing for Big Eyes.

The only category where I scored perfectly were PICTURE, SUPPORTING ACTOR and ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

My Predictions for the 87th Academy Awards Nominations

Julien Faddoul

The nominations for the 87th Academy Awards are tomorrow morning. Despite their nonsensicality, I always have fun predicting them every year. Here are my final predictions.

A couple of notes:

  • I have made the necessary amount of predictions correlating to the limit of each category – 10 for PICTURE, 3 for MAKEUP and 5 for everything else – after which I list my alternates which I have limited myself to only 5, except in the DOCUMENTARY and ORIGINAL SONG categories. 
  • Those marked in BLUE are what I consider to be locks for a nomination.


Those unfamiliar with recent tradition, the top category is a net that can go to up to 10 nominees. This practice has been in place since 2011, though funnily enough every year since then has always had 9 nominees. I am taking the opportunity to predict 10 though anything goes with a category that has an irresolute number. 

From American Sniper on, I get insecure. Those that are above it are pretty safe. Having now seen Unbroken, its sudden fall from grace makes sense. Though this category has had a pretty bumpy ride all year. Let’s hope something a little more interesting than Boyhood winning everything transpires.

  1. Boyhood
  2. Birdman
  3. Selma
  4. The Imitation Game
  5. The Theory of Everything
  6. The Grand Budapest Hotel
  7. Whiplash
  8. American Sniper
  9. Foxcatcher
  10. Nightcrawler
  • Gone Girl
  • Into the Woods
  • Unbroken
  • Mr Turner
  • Wild

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Crisp Criticism - "Taken 3", "Penguins of Madagascar", "Still Alice", "Rosewater"

Julien Faddoul

Taken 3

Ex-government operative Bryan Mills finds his life is shattered when he's falsely accused of a murder that hits close to home.
Dead in the water, with a recycled plot and unintelligible cutting.

d – Olivier Megaton
w – Luc Besson, Robert Mark Kamen
ph – Eric Kress
pd – Sébastien Inizan
m – Nathaniel Mechaly
ed – Audrey Simonaud, Nicolas Trembasiewicz
cos – Olivier Bériot

p – Luc Besson

Cast: Liam Neeson, Forest Whitaker, Famke Janssen, Maggie Grace, Dougray Scott, Sam Spruell, Leland Orser

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Crisp Criticism - "Dumb and Dumber To", "The Imitation Game", "The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby: Them"

Julien Faddoul

Dumber and Dumber To *

20 years after the dimwits set out on their first adventure, they head out in search of one of their long lost children in the hope of gaining a new kidney.
Essentially unnecessary sequel with the jokes landing only about a third of the time.

d – Bobby Farrelly, Peter Farrelly
w – Bobby Farrelly, Peter Farrelly, Sean Anders, John Morris, Bennett Yellin, Mike Cerrone
ph – Matthew F. Leonetti
pd – Aaron Osborne
ed – Steven Rasch
cos – Karen Patch

p – Riza Aziz, Bobby Farrelly, Peter Farrelly, Joey McFarland, Bardley Thomas, Charles B. Wessler

Cast: Jim Carrey, Jeff Daniels, Rob Riggle, Laurie Holden, Kathleen Turner, Rachel Melvin