Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Crisp Criticism - "Room", "Joy", "The Good Dinosaur", "Suffragette"

Julien Faddoul

Room ***

Held captive for years in an enclosed space, a woman and her 5-year-old son, whom she had with her kidnapper, attempt to gain their freedom.
Uncomfortable, incredibly moving and sensitive depiction of parents and children and the universe of love and animosity they create with one another. It dips here and there, but it conveys a potent subtlety on such trauma and the performances are uniformly exceptional.

d – Lenny Abrahamson
w – Emma Donoghue   (Based on the Novel by Emma Donoghue)
ph – Danny Cohen
pd – Ethan Tobman
m – Stephen Rennicks
ed – Nathan Nugent
cos – Lea Carlson

p – David Gross, Ed Guiney

Cast: Brie Larson, Jacob Tremblay, Joan Allen, Sean Bridgers, William H. Macy, Tom McCamus

Monday, December 28, 2015

Crisp Criticism - "Steve Jobs", "The End of the Tour", "Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Road Chip", "Youth", "Listen to Me Marlon"

Julien Faddoul

Steve Jobs ***

Set backstage at three iconic product launches in 1984, 1988 and 1998, Apple Inc. co-founder Steve Jobs finds himself involved an endless stream of unpleasant conversations with people who hate him.
A film with a final 15 minutes that is so horrendously misguided it threatens to ruin what came before. What comes before is a dynamically mounted (albeit very stagey), well-acted piece of razzmatazz. The adverse and inflexible aesthetics of the writer and director is at times jarring, but ultimately this paints a fascinating portrait, however inaccurate, of an admirable monster in a monstrous culture.

d – Danny Boyle
w – Aaron Sorkin   (Based on the Book by Walter Isaacson)
ph – Alwin H. Küchler
pd – Guy Hendrix Dyas
m – Daniel Pemberton
ed – Elliot Graham
cos – Suttirat Anne Larlarb

p – Scott Rudin, Danny Boyle, Guymon Casady, Christian Colson, Mark Gordon

Cast: Michael Fassbender, Kate Winslet, Seth Rogen, Jeff Daniels, Michael Stuhlbarg, Katherine Waterston, Makenzie Moss, Sarah Snook, Adam Shapiro, John Ortiz, Perla Haney-Jardine

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Star Wars: The Force Awakens (2015/US)

Julien Faddoul

* (1 star)

d – JJ Abrams
w – Lawrence Kasdan, JJ Abrams, Michael Arndt   (Based on the Characters Created by George Lucas)
ph – Dan Mindel
pd – Rick Carter, Darren Gilford
m – John Williams
ed – Maryann Brandon, Mary Jo Markey
cos – Michael Kaplan

p – JJ Abrams, Kathleen Kennedy, Bryan Burk

Cast: Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher, Mark Hamill, John Boyega, Daisy Ridley, Adam Driver, Oscar Isaac, Anthony Daniels, Peter Mayhew, Lupita Nyong'o, Andy Serkis, Domhnall Gleeson, Max von Sydow, Kenny Baker, Gwendoline Christie

It feels strange calling Star Wars: The Force Awakens a movie. As of the day I write this, it postures as a gargantuan event. Walking into the cinema was one of those experiences when you look around, see the various kinds of characters inhabiting it, and wonder how potent their lives are; what was the path they took that lead them here, all in the same place? But as with all movies that posture, they are beholden to the parameters of time – time being the ultimate film critic – and once all the hysteria and adrenaline dissipates, and the rumours and spoilers and reviews (especially this one) are all forgotten, all we’ll be left with is the movie itself.

Monday, December 14, 2015

Retrospective: The Star Wars Films

Julien Faddoul

Star Wars ****

Luke Skywalker joins forces with a Jedi Knight, a cocky pilot, a wookiee and two droids to save the universe from the Empire's world-destroying battle-station, while also attempting to rescue Princess Leia from the evil Darth Vader.
An attempt to combine the feel of Flash Gordon serials with Japanese military mythology resulted, with impeccable timing, in one of the most stylish movies ever made. Its engrossing chivalry, along with its inoffensiveness, ensured its global success. Nothing here is particularly shrewd, but it contains more imagination in single sequences than most entire films.

wd – George Lucas
ph – Gilbert Taylor
pd – John Barry
m – John Williams
ed – Paul Hirsch, Marcia Lucas, Richard Chew
cos – John Mollo

p – Gary Kurtz

Cast: Mark Hamill, Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher, Alec Guinness, Peter Cushing, Anthony Daniels, Kenny Baker, Peter Mayhew, David Prowse, James Earl Jones

Sunday, December 6, 2015

Crisp Criticism - "In the Heart of the Sea", "The Night Before", "Truth"

Julien Faddoul

In the Heart of the Sea *

Based on the 1820 event, a whaling ship is preyed upon by a sperm whale, stranding its crew at sea for 90 days, thousands of miles from home.
Old-fashioned ocean drama that confusingly assembles a large amount of spectacle with a blaring lack of luster. All attempts at generating some kind of human element fall flat.

d – Ron Howard
w – Charles Leavitt, Rick Jaffa, Amanda Silver   (Based on the Novel by Nathaniel Philbrick)
ph – Anthony Dod Mantle
pd – Mark Tildesley
m – Roque Baños
ed – Mike Hill, Dan Hanley
cos – Julian Day

p – Brian Grazer, Ron Howard, Joe Roth, Will Ward, Paula Weinstein

Cast: Chris Hemsworth, Cillian Murphy, Benjamin Walker, Ben Whishaw, Tom Holland, Brendan Gleeson, Donald Sumpter, Frank Dillane, Joseph Mawle