Monday, 17 July 2017

Crisp Criticism - "Spider-Man: Homecoming", "The Lost City of Z", "Baby Driver", "The Beguiled"

Julien Faddoul

Spider-Man: Homecoming *

Several months after the events of Captain America: Civil War, Peter Parker, with the help of his mentor Tony Stark, tries to balance his life as an ordinary high school student in Queens, New York City while fighting crime as his superhero alter ego Spider-Man as a new threat, the Vulture, emerges.
The third incarnation of this story in 15 years. For this reason, and the usual Marvel movie flaws of tired beats, terrible action and the moronically dogged adherence to fan-service, no amount of nimbleness and charm – not that there is a great deal – can starve off the inborn monotony. Early sequences involving high school antics work the best.

d – Jon Watts
w – Jonathan Goldstein, John Francis Daley, Jon Watts, Christopher Ford, Chris McKenna, Erik Sommers   (Based on the Characters by Stan Lee, Steve Ditko)
ph – Salvatore Totino
pd – Oliver Scholl
m – Michael Giacchino
ed – Debbie Berman, Dan Lebental
cos – Lousie Frogley

p – Kevin Feige, Amy Pascal

Cast: Tom Holland, Michael Keaton, Robert Downey Jr, Marisa Tomei, Jon Favreau, Gwyneth Paltrow, Zendaya, Donald Glover, Jacob Batalon, Laura Harrier, Tony Revolori, Bokeem Woodbine, Tyne Daly, Abraham Attah, Hannibal Buress, Kenneth Choi, Selenis Leyva, Angourie Rice, Martin Starr, Garcelle Beauvais, Michael Chernus

The Lost City of Z **

A true-life drama, centering on British explorer Col. Percival Fawcett, who disappeared while searching for a mysterious city in the Amazon in the 1920s.
Gray’s extraordinary discipline and craftsmanship is once again truly stirring to witness; his eye for handsomeness and delicate rhythms parasol his films in a manner totally unique in modern-day cinema. But this work is more emotionally distant than usual, which would have been tolerable if the narrative – which is based on real events – weren’t as disjointed as it is.

wd – James Gray   (Based on the Novel by David Grann)
ph – Darius Khondji
pd – Jean-Vincent Puzos
m – Christopher Spelman
ed – John Axelrad, Lee Haugen
cos – Sonia Grande

p – Dede Gardner, James Gray, Dale Armin Johnson, Anthony Katagas, Jeremy Kleiner

Cast: Charlie Hunnam, Robert Pattinson, Sienna Miller, Tom Holland, Angus Macfadyen, Ian McDiarmid, Franco Nero, Bobby Smalldridge, Tom Mulheron, Edward Ashley

Baby Driver **

After being coerced into working for a crime boss, a young getaway driver finds himself taking part in a heist doomed to fail.
Slick, nifty piece of pulp action/comedy done with its director’s typical referential and frenetic style – with an endeavour to avoid using the same shot set-ups twice. But substance here is lacking, with no character coming off as a real person in any way. Some will certainly find it obnoxious, others will enjoy the ride.

wd – Edgar Wright
ph – Bill Pope
pd – Marcus Rowland
m – Steven Price
ed – Jonathan Amos, Paul Machliss
cos – Courtney Hoffman

p – Nira Park, Eric Fellner, Tim Beaven

Cast: Ansel Elgort, Lily James, Kevin Spacey, Jamie Foxx, Jon Hamm, Eiza González, CJ Jones, Jon Bernthal

The Beguiled *

During the Civil War, at a Southern girls’ boarding school, young women take in an injured enemy soldier.
Surely Coppola’s least interesting work to date, not so much adapting the novel again but directly remaking the 1971 film. Her version strips away the psychosis of wartime impropriety and sexual frustrations and relies, almost solely, on atmospherics, and the disequilibrium that comes from isolation. The isolated girl – the ladybird trapped in a cage, if you will – has always been Coppola’s dominating theme but there is little evidence of anything else added here and the reason she would want to remake such material remains, for me, a mystery.

wd – Sofia Coppola   (Based on the Novel by Thomas Cullinan)
ph – Philippe Le Sourd
pd – Anne Ross
ed – Sarah Flack
cos – Stacey Battat

p – Sofia Coppola, Youree Henley

Cast: Colin Farrell, Nicole Kidman, Kirsten Dunst, Elle Fanning, Angourie Rice, Oona Laurence, Addison Riecke, Emma Howard, Wayne Pére, Eric Ian, Matt Story, Rod J. Pierce

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