Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Crisp Criticism - "Lion", "Passengers", "Why Him?", "The Birth of a Nation"

Julien Faddoul

Lion **

A five-year-old Indian boy gets lost on the streets of Calcutta. He survives many challenges before being adopted by a couple in Australia; 25 years later, he sets out to find his lost family.
Overlong cross-continental tale of the “inspirational” kind. Based on fact, it works for the most part and is saved from mawkishness by a light touch and honest performances.

d – Garth Davis
w – Luke Davies   (Based on the Book by Saroo Brierley)
ph – Greig Fraser
pd – Chris Kennedy
m – Volker Bertelmann, Dustin O'Halloran
ed – Alexandre de Franceschi
cos – Cappi Ireland

p – Iain Canning, Angie Fielder, Emile Sherman

Cast: Dev Patel, Rooney Mara, Nicole Kidman, David Wenham, Nawazuddin Siddiqui, Tannishtha Chatterjee, Deepti Naval, Divian Ladwa, Abhishek Bharate, Sunny Pawar

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Rogue One: A Star Wars Story (2016/US)

Julien Faddoul

0 stars

d – Gareth Edwards
w – Chris Weitz, Tony Gilroy, John Knoll, Gary Whitta   (Based on the Characters Created by George Lucas)
ph – Greig Fraser
pd – Doug Chiang, Neil Lamont
m – Michael Giacchino
ed – John Gilroy, Colin Goudie, Jabez Olssen
cos – David Crossman, Glyn Dillon

p – Simon Emanuel, Kathleen Kennedy, Allison Shearmur

Cast: Felicity Jones, Diego Luna, Ben Mendelsohn, Donnie Yen, Mads Mikkelsen, Alan Tudyk, Riz Ahmed, Jiang Wen, Forest Whitaker

Tedious set-pieces, drab characters, flat staging, banal writing, sloppy editing, over-length and a cynical raison d’etre are what make Rogue One a bad movie. I – not only in my capacity as a critic and historian of the cinema but merely as a citizen of a free country who takes it upon himself to regularly attend said medium as an audience member and endeavours to gleam entertainment and artistic enlightenment to pepper my life with – am able to suggest that with complete confidence, because, subjectively, anyone could.

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Crisp Criticism - "Allied", "13th", "Mascots"

Julien Faddoul

Allied *

In 1942, an intelligence officer in North Africa encounters a female French Resistance fighter on a deadly mission behind enemy lines. When they reunite in London, their relationship is tested by the pressures of war.
Glossy, old-fashioned WWII thriller that is cordial and elegant enough but too often coats itself in marshmallow and is, therefore, dramatically inert.

d – Robert Zemeckis
w – Steven Knight
ph – Don Burgess
pd – Gary Freeman
m – Alan Silvestri
ed – Mick Audsley, Jeremiah O'Driscoll
cos – Joanna Johnston

p – Graham King, Steve Starkey, Robert Zemeckis

Cast: Brad Pitt, Marion Cotillard, Lizzy Caplan, Matthew Goode, Jared Harris, Anton Lesser, August Diehl, Marion Bailey

Thursday, December 8, 2016

Crisp Criticism - "La La Land", "The Fits", "Things to Come", "Office Christmas Party"

Julien Faddoul

La La Land ***

A jazz pianist falls for an aspiring actress in Los Angeles.
Charming, infectious musical romance for the digital age that owes more than a whisper to Jacques Demy. It has a little more up its sleeve than one might expect, developing into a composed acknowledgement on the everyday trivialities that affect one’s aspirations. Those frustrated by its lack of new aesthetic ideas should be persuaded by its fierce commitment to bygone ones.

wd – Damien Chazelle
ph – Linus Sandgren
pd – David Wasco
m – Justin Hurwitz
ly – Benj Pasek, Justin Paul
ed – Tom Cross
cos – Mary Zophres

p – Fred Berger, Gary Gilbert, Jordan Horowitz, Marc Platt

Cast: Emma Stone, Ryan Gosling, JK Simmons, Finn Wittrock, John Legend, Rosemarie DeWitt, Tom Everett Scott

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Crisp Criticism - "Moana", "Queen of Katwe", "Underworld: Blood Wars"

Julien Faddoul

Moana **

In Ancient Polynesia, when a terrible curse incurred by the demigod Maui reaches an impetuous Chieftain's daughter's island, she answers the Ocean's call to seek him out to set things right.
Gorgeous, lively Disney animated feature with an acute sense of the culture it depicts. Its heroine, who lacks any desire for romance or even pure assistance, is refreshing. But its score is only adequate and the plot itself is fairly uninspired.

d – John Musker, Ron Clements
co-d – Chris Williams, Don Hall
w – Jared Bush, John Musker, Ron Clements, Chris Williams, Don Hall, Pamela Ribbon, Aaron Kandell, Jordan Kandell
ph – Rob Dressel, Adolph Lusinsky
pd – Ian Gooding
m – Lin-Manuel Miranda, Opetaia Foa'I, Mark Mancina
ed – Jeff Draheim

p – Osnat Shurer

Cast: Auli'i Cravalho, Dwayne Johnson, Rachel House, Temuera Morrison, Jemaine Clement, Nicole Scherzinger, Alan Tudyk