Sunday, 28 August 2016

Crisp Criticism - "War Dogs", "Indignation", "Ben-Hur"

Julien Faddoul

War Dogs

Based on the true story of two young men who won a $300 million contract from the Pentagon to arm America's allies in Afghanistan.
A grab-bag of Scorsesesque tricks by Phillips that never convince. Most of it is crass without any conductivity. Hill at least gives it some amusement.

d – Todd Phillips
w – Todd Phillips, Stephen Chin, Jason Smilovic   (Based on the Article by Guy Lawson)
ph – Lawrence Sher
pd – Bill Brzeski
m – Cliff Martinez
ed – Jeff Groth
cos – Michael Kaplan

p – Mark Gordon, Todd Phillips, Bradley Cooper

Cast: Miles Teller, Jonah Hill, Ana de Armas, Bradley Cooper, Barry Livingston, Brenda Koo, Jeff Pierre, Shaun Toub

Indignation ***

In 1951, a working-class Jewish student from New Jersey attends a small Ohio college, where he struggles with sexual repression and cultural disaffection, amid the ongoing Korean War.
Acute, extremely well-acted drama that undertakes the formidable and ultimately hopeless task of adapting Roth for the screen, but comes closer to success than any film has before. It recapitulates the Rothian perspective that the happy only feel at ease when the unhappy bear their burdens in silence, and without that silence happiness would be impossible.

wd – James Schamus   (Based on the Novel by Philip Roth)
ph – Christopher Blauvelt
pd – Inbal Weinberg
m – Jay Wadley
ed – Andrew Marcus
cos – Amy Roth

p – James Schamus, Rodrigo Teixeira, Anthony Bregman

Cast: Logan Lerman, Sarah Gadon, Tracy Letts, Ben Rosenfield, Linda Emond, Danny Burstein, Pico Alexander


Judah Ben-Hur, a prince falsely accused of treason by his adopted brother, an officer in the Roman army, returns to his homeland after years at sea to seek revenge, but finds redemption.
Yet another adaptation of the 1880 novel Ben-Hur: A Tale of the Christ, the most famous being the version from 1959 (though the best is still the 1925 silent version). This is the loosest yet and the junkiest. Please avoid.

d – Timur Bekmambetov
w – Keith R. Clarke, John Ridley   (Based on the Novel by Lew Wallace)
ph – Oliver Wood
pd – Naomi Shohan
m – Marco Beltrami
ed – Dody Dorn, Richard Francis-Bruce, Bob Murawski
cos – Varvara Avdyushko

p – Mark Burnett, Sean Daniel, Duncan Henderson, Joni Levin

Cast: Jack Huston, Morgan Freeman, Toby Kebbell, Nazanin Boniadi, Haluk Bilginer, Rodrigo Santoro

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