Thursday, February 22, 2018

Crisp Criticism - "Black Panther", "The Square", "My Happy Family", "Film Stars Don't Die in Liverpool", "Winchester", "The 15:17 to Paris", "Brawl in Cell Block 99"

Julien Faddoul

Black Panther *

T’Challa, after the death of his father, the King of Wakanda, returns home to the isolated, technologically advanced African nation to succeed to the throne and take his rightful place as king.
As Marvel movies go, this one yearns to be taken seriously, with its scrutinizing, though compromised, inspection on modern political problems and its stunning design work. But the hosannas the film has received in certain circles is embarrassing, much of it a reaction to said representational issues that have more to do with the lack of diversity in modern-day big-budget cinema, rather than the film’s accomplishments with plot, character, performance or aesthetic. The problems that plague all these cookie-cutter superhero movies remain here, with no real conceptual originality (borrowing narrative trajectories from Star Wars and James Bond), inelegantly edited action set-pieces, dim humour and, in regards to life and death, zero stakes. It’s disconcerting what people will settle for nowadays.

d – Ryan Coogler
w – Joe Robert Cole, Ryan Coogler
ph – Rachel Morrison
pd – Hannah Beachler
m – Ludwig Göransson
ed – Michael P. Shawver, Claudia Castello
cos – Ruth E. Carter

p – Kevin Feige

Cast: Chadwick Boseman, Michael B. Jordan, Lupita Nyong'o, Danai Gurira, Martin Freeman, Daniel Kaluuya, Letitia Wright, Winston Duke, Angela Bassett, Forest Whitaker, Andy Serkis, Ashton Tyler, Seth Carr, Denzel Whitaker, Florence Kasumba, John Kani, Atandwa Kani, Sterling K. Brown

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Crisp Criticism - "Fifty Shades Freed", "Lady Bird", "Last Flag Flying", "Roman J. Israel, Esq.", "Faces Places"

Julien Faddoul

Fifty Shades Freed

Anastasia and Christian get married and then stuff happens, I guess.
Lifeless, psychologically absurd, ineptly plotted ruin of a movie that possesses no justification to be of interest to any thinking human in an age when internet porn is so easily accessible. Johnson seems so ready to wash her hands of her own participation at this point, while Dornan’s performance is so stiff and awkward it’s as if his only piece of direction was “Now remember, stick is lodged in rectum.”

d – James Foley
w – Niall Leonard   (Based on the Novel by E.L. James)
ph – John Schwartzman
pd – Nelson Coates
m – Danny Elfman
ed – Richard Francis-Bruce
cos – Shay Cunliffe

p – Dana Brunetti, Michael De Luca, E.L. James, Marcus Viscidi

Cast: Dakota Johnson, Jamie Dornan, Eric Johnson, Arielle Kebbel, Brant Daugherty, Fay Masterson, Max Martini, Eloise Mumford, Luke Grimes, Rita Ora, Marcia Gay Harden, Andrew Airlie, Dylan Neal, Gary Hudson, Tyler Hoechlin

Tuesday, February 6, 2018

Crisp Criticism - "Phantom Thread", "Song to Song", "Princess Cyd", "Wonderstruck"

Julien Faddoul

Phantom Thread ***

A renowned dressmaker in 1950's London, has his fastidious life disrupted by a young, strong-willed woman who becomes his muse and lover.
Unsettling, accentuated, circuitously recounted (as if it were some kind of affected biopic) depiction of both the benevolence and the non-conformity of intimate relationships. Despite the setting, it’s clearly its director’s most personal film yet, and one with equal measure prickly distress and stunning humanity.

wd – Paul Thomas Anderson
pd – Mark Tildesley
m – Johnny Greenwood
ed – Dylan Tichenor
cos – Mark Bridges

p – Megan Ellison, Paul Thomas Anderson, JoAnne Sellar, Daniel Lupi

Cast: Daniel Day-Lewis, Vicky Krieps, Lesley Manville, Richard Graham, Harriet Samson Harris, Camilla Rutherford, Jane Perry

Sunday, February 4, 2018

The 15 Worst Films of 2017

Julien Faddoul

Welcome to the bottom of the barrel of 2017. Of all the films I sat through in this past year, these were the 15 worst. Each placement is accompanied by my original short review.

Enjoy, but please under no circumstances see these movies if you haven’t already.

15. The Dark Tower

The fate of the world all depends on a bunch of boring idiots bla bla bla.
Utter rubbish: Ridiculous themes, incompetent action, bad acting and an incomprehensible plot, peppered with self-referential nods to the author of the source material. Stay away.

d – Nikolaj Arcel 
w – Akiva Goldsman, Jeff Pinkner, Anders Thomas Jensen, Nikolaj Arcel   (Based on the Novels by Stephen King)
ph – Rasmus Videbæk
pd – Christopher Glass
m – Junkie XL
ed – Alan Edward Bell, Dan Zimmerman
cos – Trish Summerville

p – Stephen King, Brian Grazer, Ron Howard, Akiva Goldsman

Cast: Idris Elba, Matthew McConaughey, Abbey Lee, Katheryn Winnick, Jackie Earle Haley, Tom Taylor, Dennis Haysbert, Alex McGregor, Nicholas Hamilton