Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Crisp Criticism - "Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice", "My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2", "A Bigger Splash"

Julien Faddoul

Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice

Fearing that the actions of Superman are left unchecked, Batman takes on the Man of Steel, while the world wrestles with what kind of a hero it really needs.
Another gargantuan comic book film clearly lost in the wilderness of its own making: It lurches from one dull scene to another without any sense of pace or tone, being all too concerned with setting up succeeding films that don’t exist yet.

d – Zack Snyder
w – Chris Terrio, David S. Goyer   (Based on the Characters Created by Bob Kane, Bill Finger, Jerry Siegel, Joe Shuster)
ph – Larry Fong
pd – Patrick Tatopoulos
m – Junkie XL, Hans Zimmer
ed – David Brenner
cos – Michael Wilkinson

p – Charles Roven, Deborah Snyder

Cast: Ben Affleck, Henry Cavill, Amy Adams, Jesse Eisenberg, Diane Lane, Laurence Fishburne, Jeremy Irons, Holly Hunter, Gal Gadot, Scoot McNairy, Callan Mulvey, Tao Okamoto, Brandon Spink, Lauren Cohan, Michael Shannon, Michael Cassidy, Rebecca Buller, Ezra Miller, Jason Momoa, Ray Fisher, Jeffrey Dean Morgan, Tj Norris, Harry Lennix, Christina Wren, Vikram Gandhi, Andrew Sullivan

Monday, March 28, 2016

The Witch (2016/US/UK/Canada/Brazil)

Julien Faddoul

*** (3 stars)

wd – Robert Eggers
ph – Jarin Blaschke
pd – Craig Lathrop
m – Mark Korven
ed – Louise Ford
cos – Linda Muir

p – Daniel Bekerman, Lars Knudsen, Jodi Redmond, Rodrigo Teixeira, Jay Van Hoy

Cast: Anya Taylor-Joy, Ralph Ineson, Kate Dickie, Harvey Scrimshaw, Ellie Grainger, Lucas Dawson

There’s an audacious scene in The Witch, which premiered at the 2015 Sundance Film Festival and was awarded the Best Director prize, where one of the characters, possessed by the devil, passionately and rabidly proclaims his undying and everlasting love for Christ before losing the battle with Lucifer and expiring. The reason this moment feels so bold is because one is unsure whether they should titter with amusement or cry in horror. I don’t mean to say that the scene is somehow unaware of what it is supposed to be, because that is exactly what this scene, and The Witch at large, strives to induce: a jittery state of anxiety and abstruseness.

Monday, March 21, 2016

Crisp Criticism - "Zootopia", "London Has Fallen", "Miracles from Heaven"

Julien Faddoul

Zootopia **

In a city of anthropomorphic animals, a rookie bunny cop and a cynical con artist fox must work together to uncover a conspiracy.
Clever anthropomorphism film from Disney that uses its immeasurable world to dichotomize current social problems, including bigotry, diversity and law corruption. But its themes only travel so far in execution, opting instead for the more traditional Disney approach of gags mixed with preachments. Though it remains, for the most, fairly absorbing.

d – Byron Howard, Rich Moore
co-d – Jared Bush
w – Byron Howard, Rich Moore, Jared Bush, Jim Reardon, Josie Trinidad, Phil Johnston, Jennifer Lee
ph – Nathan Detroit Warner, Brian Leach
pd – David Goetz
m – Michael Giacchino
ed – Fabienne Rawley, Jeremy Milton

p – Clark Spencer

Cast: Ginnifer Goodwin, Jason Bateman, Idris Elba, Jenny Slate, Nate Torrance, Don Lake, Bonnie Hunt, JK Simmons, Octavia Spencer, Alan Tudyk, Tommy Chong, Shakira

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Crisp Criticism - "10 Cloverfield Lane", "Triple 9", "The Finest Hours", "Grimsby"

Julien Faddoul

10 Cloverfield Lane ***

Waking up from a car accident, a young woman finds herself locked and chained in the basement of a man who says he's saved her life.
A difficult film to define: Weird, taut, extremely tense 3-person play with often brilliant cinematic orchestration and performances. Its heavy reliance on contrivances in the end – and its adherence to being a “spiritual successor” to the original Cloverfield (2008) – will irk some, but as a spooky thriller it’s superb.

d – Dan Trachtenberg
w – Josh Campbell, Matthew Stuecken, Damien Chazelle
ph – Jeff Cutter
pd – Ramsey Avery
m – Bear McCreary
ed – Stefan Grube
cos – Meagan McLaughlin

p – JJ Abrams, Lindsey Weber

Cast: Mary Elizabeth Winstead, John Goodman, John Gallagher Jr

Thursday, March 10, 2016

Crisp Criticism - "13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi", "Gods of Egypt", "Pride and Prejudice and Zombies"

Julien Faddoul

13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi

An American Ambassador is killed during an attack at a U.S. compound in Libya as a security team struggles to make sense out of the chaos.
A Bay movie stem to stern: American flags flapping in the breeze, muscly men huffing and puffing, and irresponsible amounts of Magic Hour photography that don’t make any seasonal sense. This film is obviously designed as a dog whistle for the conservative agenda in an election year, though many critics have tried to invalidate this through psychoanalytical nonsense that I remain unconvinced by. In the end, none of that is really relevant anyway. The fact that the film is a dull mess with unintelligible action interspersed with maudlin sequences of soldiers Skyping with their wife and kids is more atrocious than anything.

d – Michael Bay
w – Chuck Hogan   (Based on the Book by Mitchell Zuckoff)
ph – Dion Beebe
pd – Jeffrey Beecroft
m – Lorne Balfe
ed – Pietro Scalia, Calvin Wimmer 
cos – Deborah Lynn Scott

p – Michael Bay, Erwin Stoff

Cast: Pablo Schreiber, John Krasinski, David Denman, Toby Stephens, Max Martini, James Badge Dale, David Costabile, Elektra Anastasi, Alexia Barlier, Liisa Evastina, Dominic Fumusa, Demetrius Grosse, Steffi Thake, Kerim Troeller, Kenny Sheard

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Crisp Criticism - "Hail, Caesar!", "How to Be Single", "Son of Saul"

Julien Faddoul

Hail, Caesar! ***

A Hollywood fixer in the 1950s works to keep the studio's stars in line.
Emblematic and hilarious comedy from its directors, once again accentuating the despairing chaos and meaninglessness of life. Recreations of the cinema of the time are flawless, mashing together musicals, westerns, film noir and even sophisticated comedies of manners. It contains in-jokes that only the extremely seasoned will recognize, witty delineations of ideological politics and one brilliant breakout performance.

wd – Joel Coen, Ethan Coen
ph – Roger Deakins
pd – Jess Gonchor
m – Carter Burwell
ed – Roderick Jaynes
cos – Mary Zophres

p – Joel Coen, Ethan Coen

Cast: Josh Brolin, George Clooney, Tilda Swinton, Alden Ehrenreich, Ralph Fiennes, Scarlett Johansson, Channing Tatum, Frances McDormand, Jonah Hill, Alison Pill, Michael Gambon, VerĂ³nica Osorio, Emily Beecham, Heather Goldenhersh, Wayne Knight, Max Baker, Christopher Lambert, Fred Melamed, Patrick Fischler, David Krumholtz, Fisher Stevens, Alex Karpovsky, Clancy Brown