Monday, November 26, 2018

Crisp Criticism - "Green Book", "Ralph Breaks the Internet", "The Front Runner", "Creed II", "Can You Ever Forgive Me?"

Julien Faddoul

Green Book *

A working-class Italian-American bouncer becomes the driver of an African-American classical pianist on a tour of venues through the 1960s American South.
Pleasant and old-fashioned road-movie, with the two leads providing most of the charm. Intellectually, it’s unsurprisingly dishonest about both the racial and sexual attitudes of the time, despite being “inspired” by a true story.

d – Peter Farrelly

w – Nick Vallelonga, Brian Hayes Currie, Peter Farrelly
ph – Sean Porter
pd – Tim Galvin
m – Kris Bowers
ed – Patrick J. Don Vito
cos – Betsy Heimann

p – Jim Burke, Brian Hayes Currie, Peter Farrelly, Nick Vallelonga, Charles B. Wessler

Cast: Viggo Mortensen, Mahershala Ali, Linda Cardellini, Don Stark, Sebastian Maniscalco, Tom Virtue, Brian Stepanek, Joe Cortese, David Kallaway, Paul Sloan, PJ Byrne

Ralph Breaks the Internet *

Six years after the events of Wreck-It Ralph, Ralph and Vanellope, now friends, discover a wifi router in their arcade, leading them into a new adventure.
Visually stimulating but dull and detached excuse for Disney to consistently flaunt its authoritative brand, regardless of the attempts at progressive humour. The point the film makes that human insecurities are ruining the possibilities of online communication are tired, and affect only if one considers the influence American animated films have on the world today.

d – Rich Moore, Phil Johnston
w – Rich Moore, Phil Johnston, Pamela Ribbon, Jim Reardon, Josie Trinidad
ph – Nathan Detroit Warner, Brian Leach
pd – Cory Loftis
m – Henry Jackman
ed – Jeremy Milton

p – Clark Spencer

Cast: John C. Reilly, Sarah Silverman, Gal Gadot, Taraji P. Henson, Alan Tudyk, Jack McBrayer, Jane Lynch

The Front Runner *

American Senator Gary Hart's presidential campaign in 1988 is derailed when he's caught in a scandalous love affair.
Altmanesque political drama that is elegant enough but strangely self-pitying and pernicious in its depiction of politicians vs. the media, essentially mourning a time in which conduct dictated that candidates’ bad behaviour in their private lives was either overlooked or off-limits. Many have identified the ill-timing of it all, but this disposition would be flaky at any period of time.

d – Jason Reitman
w – Matt Bai, Jay Carson, Jason Reitman   (Based on the Book by Matt Bai)
ph – Eric Steelberg
pd – Steve Saklad
m – Rob Simonsen
ed – Stefan Grube
cos – Danny Glicker

p – Helen Estabrook, Aaron L. Gilbert, Jason Reitman

Cast: Hugh Jackman, Vera Farmiga, JK Simmons, Alfred Molina, Sara Paxton, Kaitlyn Dever, Ari Graynor, Mike Judge, Toby Huss, Kevin Pollak, Evan Castelloe, Jennifer Landon, John Bedford Lloyd, William Walker, Bill Burr, Jonny Pasvolsky, Spencer Garrett, Gabriel Manak

Creed II **

Under the tutelage of Rocky Balboa, light heavyweight contender Adonis Creed faces off against Viktor Drago, son of Ivan Drago.
A charming and unaffected cast helps enliven what is regrettably a fairly predictable sequel to Ryan Coogler’s nuanced Rocky spinoff. It remains affable throughout.

d – Steven Caple Jr
w – Juel Taylor, Sylvester Stallone, Sascha Penn, Cheo Hodari Coker   (Based on the Characters Created by Sylvester Stallone)
ph – Kramer Morgenthau
pd – Franco-Giacomo Carbone
m – Ludwig Göransson
ed – Dana E. Glauberman, Saira Haider, Paul Harb
cos – Lizz Wolf

p – Sylvester Stallone, Kevin King Templeton, Charles Winkler, David Winkler, Irwin Winkler

Cast: Michael B. Jordan, Sylvester Stallone, Tessa Thompson, Dolph Lundgren, Florian Munteanu, Phylicia Rashād, Wood Harris, Andre Ward, Raul Torres, Tristan Mamasakhlisashvili, Brigitte Nielsen, Milo Ventimiglia

Can You Ever Forgive Me? **

When Lee Israel falls out of step with current tastes, she turns her art form to deception by forging letters from famous figures.
Less of an admonition on the increasing absence of literary appreciation (though the film does wax rhapsodic constantly about every celebrity that Israel impersonated) and more effective as a compassionate depiction of a gifted but unpleasant woman, with a wonderfully matter-of-fact performance from McCarthy.

d – Marielle Heller
w – Nicole Holofcener, Jeff Whitty
ph – Brandon Trost
pd – Stephen H. Carter
m – Nate Heller
ed – Anne McCabe
cos – Arjun Bhasin

p – Anne Carey, Amy Nauiokas, David Yarnell

Cast: Melissa McCarthy, Richard E. Grant, Dolly Wells, Ben Falcone, Gregory Korostishevsky, Jane Curtin, Stephen Spinella, Christian Navarro, Anna Deavere Smith

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