Thursday, 2 March 2017

Crisp Criticism - "Logan", "Miss Sloane", "Wiener-Dog", "Three", "Silence"

Julien Faddoul

Logan **

In the near future, a weary Logan cares for an ailing Professor X in a hide out on the Mexican border. But Logan’s attempts to hide from the world and his legacy are up-ended when a young mutant arrives, being pursued by dark forces.
Psychotically violent, and altogether emphatically R-rated conclusion of the Wolverine franchise, exploring themes of retirement and withdrawal. Much of the action is dynamically staged (with a clear inspiration being the critical success of Mad Max: Fury Road). Jackman cements his creation as probably the most extensively weighty of the modern-day superhero portrayals.

d – James Mangold
w – Scott Frank, James Mangold, Michael Green
ph – John Mathieson
pd – François Audouy
m – Marco Beltrami
ed – Michael McCusker
cos – Daniel Orlandi

p – Hutch Parker, Lauren Shuler Donner, Simon Kinberg

Cast: Hugh Jackman, Patrick Stewart, Dafne Keen, Boyd Holbrook, Stephen Merchant, Richard E. Grant, Doris Morgado, Elizabeth Rodriguez, Eriq La Salle, Elise Neal

Miss Sloane *

An ambitious lobbyist faces off against the powerful gun lobby in an attempt to pass gun control legislation.
Slick and sometimes funny political dissection with everyone concerned going unabashedly over-the-top. But it’s far too long, with its ridiculousness becoming grating after a while.

d – John Madden
w – Jonathan Perera
ph – Sebastian Blenkov
pd – Matthew Davies
m – Max Richter
ed – Alexander Berner
cos – Georgina Yarhi

p – Ben Browning, Kris Thykier, Ariel Zeitoun

Cast: Jessica Chastain, Mark Strong, Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Michael Stuhlbarg, Alison Pill, Jake Lacy, John Lithgow, Sam Waterston, Jack Murray, Grace Lynn Kung

Wiener-Dog *

A dachshund passes from oddball owner to oddball owner, whose radically dysfunctional lives are all impacted by the pooch.
Another acidic but ultimately dull black comedy from Solondz, this time focusing on mortality. It plays like a kind of Au Hasard Balthazar for canines, but with nothing really illuminating to say.

wd – Todd Solondz
ph – Edward Lachman
pd – Akin Mackenzie
m – Nathan Larson, James Lavino
ed – Kevin Messman
cos – Amela Baksic

p – Megan Ellison, Christine Vachon

Cast: Ellen Burstyn, Kieran Culkin, Julie Delpy, Danny DeVito, Greta Gerwig, Tracy Letts, Zosia Mamet, Keaton Nigel Cooke

Three **

Realizing that he will be defeated in no time during a police showdown, a thug shoots himself to force the cops to cease fire and take him to the hospital. In the hospital, he claims human rights to refuse immediate treatment in order to buy time for his underlings to rescue him.
There’s no one quite like To, whom once again here demonstrates his singular mastery of the camera. The plot he has chosen this time disintegrates upon any sensible thought.

d – Johnnie To
w – Ho Leung Lau, Tin Shu Mak, Nai-Hoi Yau
ph – Siu-Keung Cheng
pd – Siu Hong Cheung
m – Xavier Jamaux
ed – Allen Leung, David M. Richardson
cos – Siu Hong Cheung

p – Johnnie To, Nai-Hoi Yau

Cast: Louis Koo, Zhao Wei, Wallace Chung, Michael Tse Tin-Wah, Lo Hoi-Pang, Eddie Cheung Siu-Fai, Lam Suet

Silence ***

In the 17th century, two Jesuit priests travel from Portugal to Japan which has, under the Tokugawa shogunate, banned Catholicism and almost all foreign contact.
One of Scorsese’s most ambitious and passionate films and, in some ways, his most fiercely controlled. Dramatically, it may feel sluggish in certain parts. But Scorsese’s mission is one of inquiry rather than sermon and his assumption of Mizoguchi-like rhythms and blatant untimeliness beget riveting cinema. Although one wishes he were more critical of the European missionaries, this is a work impossible to dismiss.

d – Martin Scorsese
w – Jay Cocks, Martin Scorsese   (Based on the Novel by Shûsaku Endô)
ph – Rodrigo Prieto
pd – Dante Ferretti
ed – Thelma Schoonmaker
cos – Dante Ferretti

p – Vittorio Cecchi Gori, Barbara De Fina, Randall Emmett, Irwin Winkler, Gaston Pavlovich, Emma Tillinger Koskoff, Martin Scorsese

Cast: Andrew Garfield, Adam Driver, Tadanobu Asano, Ciarán Hinds, Liam Neeson, Issei Ogata, Shinya Tsukamoto, Yoshi Oida, Yosuke Kubozuka, Nana Komatsu, Ryô Kase

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