Tuesday, 17 February 2015

Crisp Criticism - "Inherent Vice", "Beyond the Lights", "Leviathan", "Tom at the Farm"

Julien Faddoul

Inherent Vice ***

In Los Angeles at the turn of the 1970s, drug-fueled detective Larry "Doc" Sportello investigates the disappearance of an ex-girlfriend.
Truthful to the spirit of its source material, this is a sore, savage comedy on man’s rebellion to approaching complexities of life. Characters and plot machinations haphazardly enter as if they escaped from their own movie to the point where bewilderment becomes involuntary. It exhibits the growing maturity of its director, who here gives little effort to show off or even charm.

wd – Paul Thomas Anderson   (Based on the Novel by Thomas Pynchon)
ph – Robert Elswit
pd – David Crank
m – Jonny Greenwood
ed – Leslie Jones
cos – Mark Bridges

p – Paul Thomason Anderson, JoAnne Sellar, Daniel Lupi

Cast: Joaquin Phoenix, Josh Brolin, Owen Wilson, Katherine Waterston, Reese Witherspoon, Benicio Del Toro, Jena Malone, Joanna Newsom, Jordan Christian Hearn, Hong Chau, Jeannie Berlin, Maya Rudolph, Michael K. Williams, Michelle Sinclair, Martin Short, Sasha Pieterse, Martin Donovan, Eric Roberts, Serena Scott Thomas, Jefferson Mays, Keith Jardine, Peter McRobbie

Beyond the Lights **

A talented young musician on the brink of super stardom struggles with the pressure of her new-found success.
Not entirely successful but surprisingly intelligent rumination on the desperation of stardom. It suffers from corniness in the third act.

wd – Gina Prince-Bythewood
ph – Tami Reiker
pd – Cecilia Montiel
m – Mark Isham
ed – Terilyn A. Shropshire
cos – Sandra Hernandez

p – Stephanie Allain, Reggie Rock Bythewood, Amar’e Stoudemire

Cast: Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Nate Parker, Minnie Driver, Machine Gun Kelly, Danny Glover, Darryl stephens, Elaine Tan

Leviathan **

A present day social drama spanning multiple characters about the human insecurity in a "new country" which gradually unwinds to a mythological scale concerning the human condition on earth entirely.
Dramatically sprawling piece of Russian life that is typical of this director, though more conversational than usual. His theses don’t compute with the film’s extraneous running time.

d – Andrey Zvyagintsev
w – Andrey Zvyagintsev, Oleg Negin
ph – Mikhail Krichman
pd – Andrey Ponkratov
m – Philip Glass
ed – Andrey Zvyagintsev

p – Sergey Melkumov, Alexander Rodnyansky, Marianna Sardarova

Cast: Aleksey Serebryakov, Vladimir Vdovichenkov, Elena Lyadova, Roman Madyanov, Anna Ukolova, Aleksey Rozin, Dmitriy Bykovskiy-Romashov, Sergey Pokhodaev, Sergey Bachurskiy, Platon Kamenev, Irina Graba

Tom at the Farm *

After his boyfriend dies, a copywriter travels to the countryside to attend the funeral and is surprised when he finds out that no one knows who he is.
Hitchcockian thriller that shows a growth from its wunderkind director beyond his usual grab-bag of aesthetic influences, but his excesses and vanities still remain.

d – Xavier Dolan
w – Xavier Dolan, Michel Marc Bouchard
ph – Andre Turpin
ad – Colombe Raby
m – Gabriel Yared
ed – Xavier Dolan
cos – Xavier Dolan

p – Charles Gillibert, Nathanael Karmitz

Cast: Xavier Dolan, Pierre-Yves Cardinal, Lise Roy

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