Thursday, 3 August 2017

Crisp Criticism - "War for the Planet of the Apes", "Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets", "A Ghost Story"

Julien Faddoul

War for the Planet of the Apes **

After the apes suffer horrible losses, Caesar wrestles with his darker instincts and begins his own mythic quest to avenge his kind.
Certainly, the best of the three prequels in this franchise: Solemn, soulful war film – more specifically prison-camp war film – that consistently interests with its low-key philosophical excursions and provides another example of exquisite performance capture/animation. Its greatest sin is overlength.

d – Matt Reeves
w – Mark Bomback, Matt Reeves   (Based on the Characters Created by Rick Jaffa, Amanda Silver)
ph – Michael Seresin
pd – James Chinlund
m – Michael Giacchino
ed – William Hoy, Stan Salfas
cos – Melissa Bruning

p – Peter Chernin, Dylan Clark

Cast: Andy Serkis, Woody Harrelson, Steve Zahn, Karin Konoval, Terry Notary, Ty Olsson, Judy Greer, Max Lloyd-Jones, Devyn Dalton, Sara Canning, Michael Adamthwaite

Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets *

A dark force threatens Alpha, a vast metropolis and home to species from a thousand planets. Special operatives Valerian and Laureline must race to identify the marauding menace and safeguard not just Alpha, but the future of the universe.
A film with quite a bit of charm, most of it visual, until it becomes completely exhausting. The poor acting doesn’t help, but it’s always hard to pooh-pooh Besson’s daffy murals, particularly one this colourful.

wd – Luc Besson   (Based on the Comic Book by Pierre Christin, Jean-Claude Mézières)
ph – Thierry Arbogast
pd – Hugues Tissandier
m – Alexandre Desplat
ed – Julien Rey
cos – Olivier Bériot

p – Luc Besson, Virginie Besson-Silla

Cast: Dane DeHaan, Cara Delevingne, Clive Owen, Rihanna, Ethan Hawke, Herbie Hancock, Kris Wu, Sam Spruell, Alain Chabat, John Goodman, Rutger Hauer, Aymeline Valade, Elizabeth Debicki, Mathieu Kassovitz

A Ghost Story **

A recently deceased, white-sheeted ghost returns to his suburban home to try to reconnect with his bereft wife.
Passive, inordinately cryptic epistle on death that is constantly teetering on the edge of twee throughout. Lowery’s approach here is often Brechtian, with some arresting images, sounds and edits, and a fierce handling of the passage of time.

wd – David Lowery
ph – Andrew Droz Palermo
pd – Jade Healy, Tom Walker
m – Daniel Hart
ed – David Lowery
cos – Annell Brodeur

p – Adam Donaghey, James M. Johnston, Toby Halbrooks

Cast: Casey Affleck, Rooney Mara, Will Oldham, Kesha

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