Wednesday, 25 November 2015

Crisp Criticism - "By the Sea", "Our Brand is Crisis", "Love the Coopers", "The Program"

Julien Faddoul

By the Sea **

In mid-1970s France, a former dancer and her husband travel the country together and slowly grow apart.
A fascinating film, partly due to the cultural consciousness that its husband/wife filmmaking team bring to it and partly due to its confused if charming aesthetic, with its writer/director borrowing heavily from, of all people, Michelangelo Antonioni. The fact that the culmination is fairly unsatisfactory doesn’t detract from its eminence as a curious cinematic artifact.

wd – Angelina Jolie Pitt
ph – Christian Berger
pd – Jon Hutman
m – Gabriel Yared
ed – Martin Pensa, Patricia Rommel
cos – Ellen Mirojnick

p – Angelina Jolie Pitt, Brad Pitt

Cast: Angelina Jolie Pitt, Brad Pitt, Mélanie Laurent, Melvil Poupaud, Niels Arestrup, Richard Bohringer, Laurence Rickard

Our Brand is Crisis *

A battle-hardened American political consultant is sent to help re-elect a controversial president in Bolivia, where she must compete with a long-term rival working for another candidate.
A political comedy that isn’t very much of either. Based on a more effective 2006 Documentary, this adaptation consistently changes gears and tone until it descends into glibness, despite a good cast.

d – David Gordon Green
w – Peter Straughan   (Based on the Documentary by Rachel Boynton)
ph – Tim Orr
pd – Richard A. Wright
m – David Wingo
ed – Colin Patton
cos – Jenny Eagan

p – Grant Heslov, George Clooney

Cast: Sandra Bullock, Anthony Mackie, Billy Bob Thornton, Zoe Kazan, Scoot McNairy, Ann Dowd, Joaquim de Almeida, Candice Harrison, Carmela Zumbado, Erick Chavarria, Reynaldo Pacheco

Love the Coopers

When four generations of the Cooper clan come together for their annual Christmas Eve celebration, a series of unexpected visitors and unlikely events turn the night upside down.
Glumly scripted family comedy; full of obnoxiousness and dilapidation; very few laughs.

d – Jessie Nelson
w – Steven Rogers
ph – Elliot Davis
pd – Beth A. Rubino
m – Nick Urata
ed – Nancy Richardson
cos – Hope Hanafin

p – Brian Grazer, Michael London, Jessie Nelson, Janice Williams

Cast: Olivia Wilde, Amanda Seyfried, Marisa Tomei, Diane Keaton, John Goodman, Anthony Mackie, Jake Lacy, Ed Helms, Alan Arkin, Alex Borstein, Jon Tenney, June Squibb, Michelle Veintimilla

The Program *

An Irish sports journalist becomes convinced that banned substances fuel Lance Armstrong’s performances during the Tour de France victories. With this conviction, he starts hunting for evidence that will expose Armstrong.
Uninspired, lean dissection of a topical piece of sporting history with a good performance from Foster.

d – Stephen Frears
w – John Hodge   (Based on the Book by David Walsh)
ph – Danny Cohen
pd – Alan MacDonald
m – Alex Heffes
ed – Valerio Bonelli
cos – Jane Petrie

p – Tim Beaven, Eric Fellner, Tracey Seaward, Kate Solomon

Cast: Ben Foster, Chris O'Dowd, Dustin Hoffman, Jesse Plemons, Lee Pace, Guillaume Canet

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