Wednesday, 29 June 2016

Crisp Criticism - "Central Intelligence", "The BFG", "O.J.: Made in America"

Julien Faddoul

Central Intelligence *

After he reunites with an old pal through Facebook, a mild-mannered accountant is lured into the world of international espionage.
At times funny – certainly more than anything its two stars have done before – but ultimately hesitant action comedy on homoerotic relationships.

d – Rawson Marshall Thurber
w – Ike Barinholtz, David Stassen, Rawson Marshall Thurber
ph – Barry Peterson
pd – Stephen J. Lineweaver
m – Ludwig Göransson, Theodore Shapiro 
ed – Michael L. Sale
cos – Carol Ramsey

p – Peter Principato, Scott Stuber, Paul Young

Cast: Dwayne Johnson, Kevin Hart, Aaron Paul, Amy Ryan, Danielle Nicolet, Ryan Hansen, Bobby Brown, Megan Park, Timothy John Smith

The BFG *

A girl encounters the Big Friendly Giant who, despite his intimidating appearance, turns out to be a kindhearted soul who is considered an outcast by the other giants because he refuses to eat children.
The thinnest its director has ever been, filling this children’s tale with just as much treacle as wonder. It’s obvious that there is not much here to fill a 2-hour film, despite his usual dose of cogent warmth.

d – Steven Spielberg
w – Melissa Mathieson   (Based on the Book by Roald Dahl)
ph – Janusz Kaminski
pd – Rick Carter
m – John Williams
ed – Michael Kahn
cos – Joanna Johnston

p – Steven Spielberg, Frank Marshall, Sam Mercer

Cast: Rebecca Hall, Bill Hader, Mark Rylance, Ruby Barnhill, Marilyn Norry, Jemaine Clement, Penelope Wilton

O.J.: Made in America ****

The rise and fall of O.J. Simpson, a beloved American footballer and actor.
Massive 8-hour collage of drama, public footage, private footage and 72 interviews conducted over the course of 18 months that all culminates in one of the greatest pieces of cinematic journalism ever committed to the medium: covering not only the circumstances surrounding The Trial of the Century, but using it to ignite a staggering disquisition on the social history of race, fame, sports and Los Angeles over the past half-century. Los Angeles being the true lead character here in what is at times an overwhelming summation of America, alternating between material that is sometimes obvious and sometimes revelatory. Though not everyone agreed to participate (most notably Christopher Darden), Edelman pierces the commentary from almost every angle, gaining testimony from close friends, potent enemies, mere fans, civil rights activists, LAPD officers, legal consultants, social and cultural journalists, and members of both the key defense and prosecution teams. A masterpiece of film editing, the film weaves all these elements together into a gripping, spine-tingling non-fiction thriller without a single wasted second of its imposing runtime. In the end, the picture of the world the film paints is a bleak one; a world in which human beings are capable of things that confirm our darkest nightmares and where no one will be leaving quietly. And it’s that world that produced the Shakespearean tragedy of O.J. Simpson, a man who was made in America.

d – Ezra Edelman
ph – Nick Higgins
ed – Bret Granato, Maya Mumma, Ben Sozanski

p – Ezra Edelman

Cast: N/A

NOTE: O.J.: Made in America is a mini-series event commissioned by ESPN as part of their 30 for 30 series of documentaries, presented on television in five 90-minute parts. It premiered at the 2016 Sundance Film Festival in two 4-hour parts and has received a one-week theatrical release in New York and Los Angeles. Because of this, I have concluded that it falls within the rules and parameters held by The Cinema Touch.


  1. Interesting. I would love to see the OJ documentary. Wonderful reviews, your writing fails to disappoint.

  2. Interesting. I would love to see the OJ documentary. Wonderful reviews, your writing fails to disappoint.