Wednesday, October 31, 2018

Crisp Criticism - "Bohemian Rhapsody", "The Old Man & the Gun", "Indivisible", "Free Solo", "Don't Worry, He Won't Get Far on Foot"

Julien Faddoul

Bohemian Rhapsody

A chronicle of the years leading up to Queen's legendary appearance at the Live Aid (1985) concert.
Endlessly fascinating in its abysmal awfulness: It falls upon every musical biopic cliche in the book, bungles easily recognisable historical inaccuracies, deals rather distastefully with Mercury’s homosexuality and contains some of the worst lines of spoon-feeding exposition ever committed to film.

d – Bryan Singer
w – Anthony McCarten, Peter Morgan
ph – Newton Thomas Sigel
pd – Aaron Haye
m – John Ottman
ed – John Ottman
cos – Julian Day

p – Jim Beach, Graham King, Bryan Singer, Brian May, Peter Oberth, Roger Taylor

Cast: Rami Malek, Gwilym Lee, Ben Hardy, Joseph Mazzello, Lucy Boynton, Aidan Gillen, Tom Hollander, Mike Myers, Allen Leech, Aaron McCusker, Dermot Murphy, Meneka Das

The Old Man & the Gun **

Based on the true story of Forrest Tucker and his audacious escape from San Quentin at the age of 70 to an unprecedented string of heists that confounded authorities and enchanted the public.
Slight but infectious, almost irresistible tribute to its real-life criminal and the star who plays him. Lowery recreates the aesthetic of the 70s era films that Redford dominated in his prime.

wd – David Lowery   (Based on the Article by David Grann)
ph – Joe Anderson
pd – Scott Kuzio
m – Daniel Hart
ed – Lisa Zeno Churgin
cos – Annell Brodeur

p – James D. Stern, Dawn Ostroff, Jeremy Steckler, Anthony Mastromauro, Bill Holderman, Toby Halbrooks, James M. Johnston, Robert Redford

Cast: Robert Redford, Casey Affleck, Sissy Spacek, Danny Glover, Tika Sumpter, Tom Waits, Isiah Whitlock Jr, Robert Longstreet, Keith Carradine, John David Washington, Augustine Frizzell, Elisabeth Moss, Gene Jones


Upon returning from serving in the U.S. Army, a Chaplain faces a crisis that shatters his family and faith in God until his fellow soldiers help out with nonsensical platitudes that are supposed to sound like wisdom.
Christian evangelical nonsense; impassable to those who believe in anything even remotely contrary, and unsurprisingly incompetent on an artistic level.

d – David G. Evans
w – David G. Evans, Cheryl McKay, Peter White
ph – Bob Scott
pd – Darian Corley
ed – Jeff Canavan
cos – Anna Redmon

p – Darren Moorman

Cast: Justin Bruening, Sarah Drew, Jason George, Tia Mowry, Skye P. Marshall, Tanner Stine, Madeline Carroll, Michael O'Neill, Eric Close, Samara Lee

Free Solo **

Follow Alex Honnold as he becomes the first person to ever free solo climb Yosemite’s 3,000 foot high El Capitan wall. With no ropes or safety gear, he completed arguably the greatest feat in rock climbing history.
Those who find extreme rock climbing and other alarmingly dangerous physical endeavours to be glorious human feats that should be celebrated at every instance will be enthralled by what is a fairly conventional National Geographic documentary. To one who comprehends differently – finding, instead, such endeavours like “free soloing” to be rather unastute, the psychology behind them to be imbecilic and the film’s central figure here to be an inarticulate dolt – it is best to focus on the excellently filmed and edited climbing sequences and not the dreary goings-on of a guy in his 30s with intimacy problems.

d – Jimmy Chin, Elizabeth Chai Vasarhelyi
ph – Jimmy Chin, Matt Clegg, Clair Popkin, Mikey Schaefer
m – Marco Beltrami
ed – Bob Eisenhardt

p – Jimmy Chin, Shannon Dill, Evan Hayes, Elizabeth Chai Vasarhelyi

Cast: Alex Honnold, Jimmy Chin, Tommy Caldwell, Sanni McCandless

Don't Worry, He Won't Get Far on Foot *

On the rocky path to sobriety after a accident, an alcoholic discovers he loves drawing cartoons, which bring him a new lease on life.
Essentially an impetus for actors to play around with material, for the conversational scenes are virtually interchangeable within the the film itself (regardless of Van Sant’s fittering with chronology) and the performers in question are mostly playing against type. Some scenes are inspired but the film has very little to say about Alcoholism or 12-Stepping.

d – Gus Van Sant
w –  Gus Van Sant, John Callahan, Jack Gibson, William Andrew Eatman   (Based on the Book by John Callahan)
ph – Christopher Blauvelt
pd – Jahmin Assa
m – Danny Elfman
ed – David Marks, Gus Van Sant
cos – Danny Glicker

p – Charles-Marie Anthonioz, Mourad Belkeddar, Nicolas Lhermitte, Steve Golin

Cast: Joaquin Phoenix, Jonah Hill, Rooney Mara, Jack Black, Tony Greenhand, Beth Ditto, Mark Webber, Ronnie Adrian, Kim Gordon, Udo Kier, Carrie Brownstein, Ethan Tindukasiri

Friday, October 26, 2018

Crisp Criticism - "Bad Times at the El Royale", "Sorry to Bother You", "Halloween", "The Sisters Brothers", "Mid90s", "Support the Girls"

Julien Faddoul

Bad Times at the El Royale **

Circa 1968, several strangers, most with a secret to bury, meet by chance at Lake Tahoe's El Royale, a rundown hotel with a dark past. Over the course of one night, everyone will show their true colours.
Fun, slickly told – if not especially substantial – little puzzle-thriller with suave allusions to everybody from René Clair to Quentin Tarantino. It cannot justify its gross overlength (particularly in its endless final act) and some regrettably mannered performances.

wd – Drew Goddard
ph – Seamus McGarvey
pd – Martin Whist
m – Michael Giacchino
ed – Lisa Lassek
cos – Danny Glicker

p – Jeremy Latcham, Drew Goddard

Cast: Jeff Bridges, Cynthia Erivo, Dakota Johnson, Jon Hamm, Chris Hemsworth, Cailee Spaeny, Lewis Pullman, Nick Offerman, Xavier Dolan, Shea Whigham

Friday, October 19, 2018

Crisp Criticism - "First Man", "The Rider", "Private Life", "22 July", ""

Julien Faddoul

First Man **

A look at the life of the astronaut Neil Armstrong and the legendary space mission that led him to become the first man to walk on the Moon on July 20, 1969.
Chazelle’s meticulously constructed film, in which a biographical psychodrama is exercised to expound upon so many greater themes of human history (the hazardousness of the US Space Program, 60’s masculine stoicism, the allure of a new world, science as a federal priority, parental grief etc.) that it ends up illuminating none of them.

d – Damien Chazelle
w – Josh Singer   (Based on the Book by James R. Hansen)
ph – Linus Sandgren
pd – Nathan Crowley
m – Justin Hurwitz
ed – Tom Cross
cos – Mary Zophres

p – Marty Bowen, Damien Chazelle, Wyck Godfrey, Isaac Klausner

Cast: Ryan Gosling, Claire Foy, Corey Stoll, Kyle Chandler, Jason Clarke, Shea Whigham, Christopher Abbott, Brian d'Arcy James, Pablo Schreiber, Patrick Fugit, Cory Michael Smith, Ethan Embry, Ciarán Hinds, Skyler Bible, Lukas Haas, Brady Smith, JD Evermore, Steve Coulter, Olivia Hamilton

Thursday, October 11, 2018

Crisp Criticism - "A Star Is Born", "Venom", "Little Women", "Golden Exits", "Life Itself"

Julien Faddoul

A Star is Born *

A musician helps a young singer and actress find fame, even as age and alcoholism send his own career into a downward spiral.
It’s never less than interesting seeing Cooper - his first effort as a filmmaker - hold on so staunchly to reconstructing essentially the same beats that have been interpreted in five films now (including the 1932 original What Price Hollywood?) The result is a rather bland pop-rock remake relying far too much on ersatz naturalism to cover up its stale script, including an overabundance of curse words and hand-held close-ups. Some of the numbers are staged with verve, but the melodrama is dead in the water.

d – Bradley Cooper
w – Eric Roth, Bradley Cooper, Will Fetters   (Based on the Story by William A. Wellman, Robert Carson)
ph – Matthew Libatique
pd – Karen Murphy
ed – Jay Cassidy
cos – Erin Benach

p – Bradley Cooper, Bill Gerber, Lynette Howell Taylor, Jon Peters, Todd Phillips

Cast: Bradley Cooper, Lady Gaga, Sam Elliott, Dave Chappelle, Bonnie Somerville, Andrew Dice Clay, Michael Harney

Thursday, October 4, 2018

Crisp Criticism - "BlacKkKlansman", "The Meg", "Christopher Robin", "The Spy Who Dumped Me", "White Boy Rick", "The Happytime Murders", "Juliet, Naked", "Eighth Grade", "Crazy Rich Asians", "Smallfoot", "A Simple Favor"

Julien Faddoul

BlacKkKlansman **

An African-American police officer from Colorado successfully manages to infiltrate the local Ku Klux Klan and become the head of the chapter.
Fascinating mostly for its premise and as a study on society's lack of prescience on modern political problems, with the latter given far more latitude than the former. Lee’s typical shifts in tone and overt visual flourishes don't always work to his thematic advantage, but the humanity is there.

d – Spike Lee
w – Spike Lee, David Rabinowitz, Charlie Wachtel, Kevin Willmott   (Based on the Book by Ron Stallworth)
ph – Chayse Irvin
pd – Curt Beech
m – Terence Blanchard
ed – Barry Alexander Brown
cos – Marci Rodgers

p – Jason Blum, Spike Lee, Raymond Mansfield, Sean McKittrick, Jordan Peele, Shaun Redick

Cast: John David Washington, Adam Driver, Laura Harrier, Topher Grace, Corey Hawkins, Jasper Pääkkönen, Paul Walter Hauser, Ryan Eggold, Ashlie Atkinson, Ken Garito, Robert John Burke, Isiah Whitlock Jr, Frederick Weller, Harry Belafonte, Alec Baldwin