Friday, 22 July 2016

Crisp Criticism - "Star Trek Beyond", "Swiss Army Man", "Knight of Cups"

Julien Faddoul

Star Trek Beyond **

The USS Enterprise crew explores the furthest reaches of uncharted space, where they encounter a mysterious new enemy who puts them and everything the Federation stands for to the test.
Solemn yet breezy, pulpy yet ample, dealing with anticipated philosophical dilemmas such as death, leadership, allegiance and nationalism. It isn’t always particularly substantial, but the film is filled with visual ideas that keeps one engaged, no doubt served well by a change in director. As with the previous two films since the series’ reboot, some decisions seem problematic and compromised, but this is about as good as we’re going to get from big-budget sci-fi nowadays.

d – Justin Lin
w – Simon Pegg, Doug Jung   (Based on the Series by Gene Roddenberry)
ph – Stephen F. Windon
pd – Thomas E. Sanders
m – Michael Giacchino
ed – Greg D'Auria, Dylan Highsmith, Kelly Matsumoto, Steven Sprung
cos – Sanja Milkovic Hays

p – Bryan Burk, Roberto Orci

Cast: Chris Pine, Zachary Quinto, Karl Urban, Zoe Saldana, Simon Pegg, John Cho, Anton Yelchin, Idris Elba, Sofia Boutella, Deep Roy, Shohreh Aghdashloo

Swiss Army Man *

A hopeless man stranded in the wilderness befriends a dead body and together they go on a surreal journey to get home.
An eccentric premise paves the way for a tender comedy on millennial relationships. Anyone ripe enough to already be acquainted with such trivialities will find little illuminating here other than amorous whimsy (borrowed heavily from Michel Gondry) and dedicated performances form its leads.

wd – Dan Kwan, Daniel Scheinert
ph – Larkin Seiple
pd – Jason Kisvarday
m – Andy Hull, Robert McDowell
ed – Matthew Hannam
cos – Stephani Lewis

p – Miranda Bailey, Lawrence Inglee, Lauren Mann, Amanda Marshall, Eyal Rimmon, Jonathan Wang

Cast: Paul Dano, Daniel Radcliffe, Mary Elizabeth Winstead

Knight of Cups

A writer indulging in all that Los Angeles and Las Vegas has to offer undertakes a search for love and self via a series of adventures with six different women.
A total farrago: Murky, simplistic, relying almost totally on voice-over and Steadicam shots, Malick here attempts to mediate on his time in Hollywood as a hotshot screenwriter in the 70s. None of it convinces, exposing Malick's artistry to be nothing more than a bag of tricks, peppered with performances from his massive cast that range from the atrocious to the lazy.

wd – Terrence Malick
ph – Emmanuel Lubezki
pd – Jack Fisk
m – Hanan Townshend
ed – A.J. Edwards, Keith Fraase, Geoffrey Richman, Mark Yoshikawa   
cos – Jacqueline West

p – Nicholas Gonda, Ken Kao, Sarah Green

Cast: Christian Bale, Cate Blanchett, Natalie Portman, Brian Dennehy, Antonio Banderas, Freida Pinto, Wes Bentley, Isabel Lucas, Teresa Palmer, Imogen Poots, Peter Matthiessen, Armin Mueller-Stahl, Cherry Jones, Patrick Whitesell, Rick Hess, Michael Wincott, Kevin Corrigan, Jason Clarke, Joel Kinnaman, Clifton Collins Jr, Nick Offerman, Jamie Harris, Lawrence Jackson, Dane DeHaan, Shea Whigham, Ryan O'Neal, Bruce Wagner, Jocelin Donahue, Nicky Whelan, Fabio, Joe Manganiello, Thomas Lennon, Joe Lo Truglio, Beau Garrett, Katia Winter

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