Monday, 12 October 2015

Crisp Criticism - "Black Mass", "The Tribe", "The Diary of a Teenage Girl", "The Mend", "Goodnight Mommy"

Julien Faddoul

Black Mass

Whitey Bulger, the brother of a state senator and the most infamous violent criminal in the history of South Boston, becomes an FBI informant to take down a Mafia family invading his turf.
Total Scorsese-lite: An overblown retelling of a true story about male bonding, amid gangster clichés and exaggerated performances.

d – Scott Cooper   
w – Mark Mallouk, Jez Butterworth   (Based on the Book by Dick Lehr and Gerard O'Neill)
ph – Masanobu Takayanagi
pd – Stefania Cella
m – Tom Holkenborg
ed – David Rosenbloom
cos – Kasia Walicka-Maimone   

p – Scott Cooper, John Lesher, Patrick McCormick, Brian Oliver, Tyler Thompson

Cast: Johnny Depp, Joel Edgerton, Benedict Cumberbatch, Dakota Johnson, Kevin Bacon, Jesse Plemons, Corey Stoll, Peter Sarsgaard, Juno Temple, Adam Scott, Julianne Nicholson, Rory Cochrane, W. Earl Brown

The Tribe **

A deaf teenager struggles to fit into a boarding school for the deaf that also contains an organized crime system.
A formal achievement: A drama with no dialogue, told entirely in Ukrainian Sign Language with no subtitles to assist its audience. It relies all on gesticulations; with its camera hovering around the characters in conspicuously long takes clearly inspired by the Romanian New Wave. But the story it tells is labored: Filled with atrocious acts, it requires a lot from its brave cast of deaf performers, and, when removed from its central cinematic gimmick, seems somehow hollow.

wd – Miroslav Slaboshpitsky
ph – Valentyn Vasyanovych   
pd – Vlad Odudenko   
ed – Valentyn Vasyanovych   
cos – Alena Gres

p – Miroslav Slaboshpitsky

Cast: Grigoriy Fesenko, Yana Novikova, Rosa Babiy, Alexander Dsiadevich, Yaroslav Biletskiy, Ivan Tishko, Alexander Osadchiy, Alexander Sidelnikov, Alexander Panivan

The Diary of a Teenage Girl ***

A teen girl living in 1970s San Francisco enters into an affair with her mother's boyfriend.
Frank, witty dissection of a 16-year-old baby boomer's discovery of sex, with a mood of nostalgia-tinged melancholia. It contains a remarkable performance from its young lead.

wd – Marielle Heller   (Based on the Novel by Phoebe Gloeckner)
ph – Brandon Trost
pd – Jonah Markowitz
m – Nate Heller
ed – Marie-Hélène Dozo, Koen Timmerman
cos – Carmen Grande

p – Miranda Bailey, Anne Carey, Bert Hamelinck, Madeline Samit

Cast: Bel Powley, Kristen Wiig, Alexander Skarsgård, Christopher Meloni, Margarita Levieva, Quinn Nagle, Abby Wait, Austin Lyon, Miranda Bailey

The Mend *

An angry and struggling New Yorker uses his brother’s apartment while he’s on vacation with his fiancée.
Extremely interesting but highly affected piece of indie bohemia with plenty for cineastes to nibble on but no prevailing depth. It's the kind of experience when one leaves disgruntled but still eager to find out what its director will do next.

d – John Magary
w – John Magary, Russell Harbaugh, Myna Joseph
ph – Chris Teague
pd – Markus Kirschner
ed – Joseph Krings
cos – Markus Kirschner

p – Michael Prall, John Magary, Myna Joseph

Cast: Josh Lucas, Stephen Plunkett, Lucy Owens, Mickey Sumner, Austin Pendleton, Cory Nichols, Sekou Laidlow

Goodnight Mommy *

Twin boys, who have moved to a new home with their mother after she has face changing cosmetic surgery, begin to suspect she is an imposter.
Slickly shot and constructed Austrian horror film with a central plot-twist that is immediately overt. Its characters aren’t interesting enough to compensate for this.

wd – Severin Fiala, Veronika Franz
ph – Martin Gschlacht
pd – Hubert Klausner, Hannes Salat
m – Olga Neuwirth
ed – Michael Palm
cos – Tanja Hausner

p – Ulrich Seidl

Cast: Susanne Wuest, Elias Schwarz, Lukas Schwarz

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