Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Crisp Criticism - "The Danish Girl", "Dirty Grandpa", "Rock the Kasbah", "Chi-Raq"

Julien Faddoul

The Danish Girl

The story of Danish painter Einar Wegener, one of the first recipients of gender reassignment surgery.
Overly calculated, badly acted wallow in banal “dignified” contours with virtually nothing about its director’s aesthetic being well suited to the material.

d – Tom Hooper
w – Lucinda Coxon   (Based on the Novel by David Ebershoff)
ph – Danny Cohen
pd – Eve Stewart
m – Alexandre Desplat
ed – Melanie Oliver
cos – Paco Delgado

p – Tim Bevan, Eric Fellner, Anne Harrison, Tom Hooper, Gail Mutrux

Cast: Eddie Redmayne, Alicia Vikander, Amber Heard, Matthias Schoenaerts, Ben Whishaw, Emerald Fennell, Sebastian Koch, Adrian Schiller

Friday, January 22, 2016

The Hateful Eight (2015/US)

Julien Faddoul

** (2 stars)

wd – Quentin Tarantino
ph – Robert Richardson
pd – Yohei Taneda
m – Ennio Morricone
ed – Fred Raskin
cos – Courtney Hoffman

p – Richard N. Gladstein, Stacey Sher, Shannon McIntosh

Cast: Samuel L. Jackson, Kurt Russell, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Walton Goggins, Tim Roth, Michael Madsen, Bruce Dern, Demián Bichir, James Parks

America is a good idea.

Alexis de Tocqueville, a French political thinker and historian, wrote the following in his analysis and description of American life, Democracy in America, published in 1835:

I sought for the greatness and genius of America in her ample rivers – It was not there; in her fertile fields and boundless prairies, and it was not there; in her rich mines and her vast world commerce, and it was not there. Not until I went into the churches of America and heard her pulpits ablaze with righteousness did I meet the secret of her genius and power. America is great because she is good, and if America ceases to be good, she will cease to be great.

Sunday, January 17, 2016

Crisp Criticism - "Carol", "The 5th Wave", "Goosebumps", "The Forest"

Julien Faddoul

Carol ****

In 1952 New York, a toy store clerk and a married socialite, both female, form a romantic relationship. 
A superb film: Icy, contemplative, brilliantly written romance with an almost total lack of sentimentality. Its impeccable mix of lensing, mise-en-scène and performances creates a vivid web of dexterity rarely seen on screen. Virtually every shot and every gesture is so deeply felt as to be utterly penetrating.

d – Todd Haynes
w – Phyllis Nagy   (Based on the Novel by Patricia Highsmith)
ph – Edward Lachman
pd – Judy Becker
m – Carter Burwell
ed – Affonso Gonçalves
cos – Sandy Powell

p – Elizabeth Karlsen, Stephen Woolley, Christine Vachon

Cast: Cate Blanchett, Rooney Mara, Sarah Paulson, Kyle Chandler, Jake Lacy, John Magaro, Cory Michael Smith, Kevin Crowley

Thursday, January 14, 2016

My Reactions to the 88th Academy Awards Nominations

Julien Faddoul

Below is the full list of nominees for the 88th Academy Awards with my written reactions.

A few notes:

Overall, I did pretty well in terms of predictions. The only outright shocking inclusions were in the ANIMATED FEATURE and COSTUME DESIGN categories. Everything else was well within the realm of possibility.

Nomination Tally:
12 (The Revenant),
10 (Mad Max: Fury Road),
7 (The Martian),
6 (Bridge of Spies, Carol, Spotlight),
5 (The Big Short, Star Wars: The Force Awakens),
4 (The Danish Girl, Room),
3 (Brooklyn, The Hateful Eight, Sicario)
2 (Ex Machina, Inside Out, Steve Jobs)

Like last year, they went with 8 BEST PICTURE nominees.

Carol is the most nominated film to not be nominated for the top prize. Chalk this up to the Academy respecting the movie’s artistic virtues but not feeling particular warm toward it as a film.

Poor Ridley Scott. His exclusion is shocking, based on the fact that he was most likely poised to win the award as a piece of career recognition. Also, his snub means The Martian will have a tough time winning BEST PICTURE…unless an Argo thing happens.

Yay, When Marnie Was There!!


The Big Short
Bridge of Spies
Mad Max: Fury Road
The Martian
The Revenant

8/8 correct, though I did throw the net to 10 for the sake of fortuitousness.

I feel validated in my sticking with Room and Brooklyn when others abandoned them as possibilities.

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

My Predictions for the 88th Academy Awards Nominations

Julien Faddoul

The nominations for the 88th Academy Awards are tomorrow morning. Despite their nonsensicality, I always have fun predicting them every year. Here are my final predictions.

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 3.


The Big Short, Bridge of Spies, Mad Max, The Martian, The Revenant and Spotlight are all in. Brooklyn, Carol, Room and Compton are all vulnerable. It all depends on how many nominees ultimately make it through (decided by a preferential ballot). The race this year has been thinner than usual with all 13 of these films having their own ardent supporters and detractors, and then some.


The Big Short
Bridge of Spies
Mad Max: Fury Road
The Martian
The Revenant
Straight Outta Compton


Inside Out

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Crisp Criticism - "The Big Short", "Sisters", "The Peanuts Movie", "Stonewall", "Entertainment"

Julien Faddoul

The Big Short **

The men who made millions from a global economic meltdown.
Obnoxious but fascinating and admirable hyperlink comedy on humanity’s inherent disregard for what is difficult to decipher. But the writing, directing and acting is all irritatingly affected to the point innocuousness, with only one performance coming off sincerely.

d – Adam McKay
w – Charles Randolph, Adam McKay   (Based on the Book by Michael Lewis)
ph – Barry Ackroyd
pd – Clayton Hartley
m – Nicholas Britell
ed – Hank Corwin
cos – Susan Matheson

p – Dede Gardner, Jeremy Kleiner, Arnon Milchan, Brad Pitt

Cast: Christian Bale, Ryan Gosling, Steve Carell, Brad Pitt, Finn Wittrock, Melissa Leo, Marisa Tomei, Max Greenfield, Tracy Letts, Billy Magnussen, Rafe Spall, Hamish Linklater, Byron Mann, Al Sapienza, Jeremy Strong, Adepero Oduye

Thursday, January 7, 2016

The Revenant (2015/US)

Julien Faddoul

** (2 stars)

d – Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu
w – Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu, Mark L. Smith   (Based on the Book by Michael Punke)
ph – Emmanuel Lubezki
pd – Jack Fisk
m – Ryuichi Sakamoto, Alva Noto, Bryce Dessner
ed – Stephen Mirrione
cos – Jacqueline west

p – Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu, Arnon Milchan, Steve Golin, David Kanter, Mary Parent, James W. Skotchdopole, Keith Redmon

Cast: Leonardo DiCaprio, Tom Hardy, Domhnall Gleeson, Will Poulter, Lukas Haas, Forrest Goodluck

Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu’s 6th film, the gorgeous and at times beguiling The Revenant, tells the true story of Hugh Glass, though it is loosely based on Michael Punke’s book which itself is based on the famous story. The tale goes that Glass (Leonardo DiCaprio), a fur trapper in the early part of the 19th century, was essentially left for dead by his comrades after a bear attack and then proceeded to successfully crawl his way back to base across hundred of miles in the blistering cold. In this interpretation of the tale, he does this to exact bloody revenge. This deviates from the true story, although I’m sure what we know to be the truth about Hugh Glass has most likely been distorted over the years.

The Films of 2016

205 Films

For all reviews click here.




Always Shine


I, Daniel Blake
King Cobra
My King
The Other Side
The Tale of Tales


Absolutely Fabulous: The Movie
The Benefactor
Bleed for This
Elvis and Nixon
The Hollars
Ice Age: Collision Course
I'm Not Ashamed
I Saw the Light
Last Days in the Desert
Max Steel
Michael Moore in TrumpLand
Middle School: The Worst Years of My Life
Mr Church
Nine Lives
Search Party
When the Bough Breaks