Sunday, December 30, 2018

Crisp Criticism - "If Beale Street Could Talk", "Aquaman", "The Mule", "Mortal Engines", "The House That Jack Built", "Mary Queen of Scots", "Arizona", "Vox Lux", "Shoplifters"

Julien Faddoul

If Beale Street Could Talk ****

After her fiance is falsely imprisoned, a pregnant African-American woman sets out to clear his name and prove his innocence.
Baldwin once wrote: “Know from whence you came. If you know whence you came, there are absolutely no limitations to where you can go”. To many, movies are the food of their emotions – especially love – and although Baldwin was not referring to cinema specifically, cineastes understand that all contributions to the artform are connected in the “story of the cinema”, like waves are to the ocean. Jenkins’ adaptation is both a rose and its vaporizer; both a needle and its thread. In its depiction of swooning first love, its socio-political outrage, its illustration of the philosophies of solitude and solidarity, its extraordinary use of camera movement, sound design, editing and performance: it is superb work from all involved.

wd – Barry Jenkins   (Based on the Book by James Baldwin)
ph – James Laxton
pd – Mark Friedberg
m – Nicholas Britell
ed – Joi McMillon, Nat Sanders
cos – Caroline Eselin

p – Megan Ellison, Jeremy Kleiner, Dede Gardner, Adele Romanski, Sara Murphy, Barry Jenkins

Cast: KiKi Layne, Stephan James, Regina King, Colman Domingo, Teyonah Parris, Michael Beach, Aunjanue Ellis, Ebony Obsidian, Dominique Thorne, Brian Tyree Henry, Diego Luna, Dave Franco, Finn Wittrock, Ed Skrein, Emily Rios, Pedro Pascal, Bobby Conte Thornton Marcia Jean Kurtz

Monday, December 17, 2018

Crisp Criticism - "The Favourite", "Blindspotting", "Colette", "Hearts Beat Loud", "Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse"

Julien Faddoul

The Favourite **

In 18th century England, the close relationship between Queen Anne and Sarah Churchill is threatened by the arrival of Sarah’s cousin, Abigail Hill, resulting in a bitter rivalry between the two cousins to be the Queen’s favourite.
A cool and fairly ostentatious dissection of sexual dynamics and historical rumour, punctuated by Lanthimos’ typical deadpan drollery. It’s held together by an exceptional ensemble of players rather than its script, which regrettably mistakes acidity for wit.

d – Yorgos Lanthimos
w – Deborah Davis, Tony McNamara
ph – Robbie Ryan
pd – Fiona Crombie
ed – Yorgos Mavropsaridis
cos – Sandy Powell

p – Ceci Dempsey, Ed Guiney, Yorgos Lanthimos, Lee Magiday

Cast: Olivia Colman, Emma Stone, Rachel Weisz, Nicholas Hoult, Joe Alwyn, Mark Gatiss, Jenny Rainsford, James Smith

Tuesday, December 11, 2018

Crisp Criticism: "Roma", "Leave No Trace", "Zama", "The Guilty", "The Wife", "Western"

Julien Faddoul

Roma **

A year in the life of a middle-class family in Mexico City in the early 1970s, seen from the perspective of their mild-mannered domestic.
Quiet, vivid, episodic Fellini-esque reminiscence of a time gone-by and all the self-indulgence that goes with that. Fascinating on a moment-to-moment basis, its lack of an arresting narrative is trumpeted by imposing mise-en-scène. Due to knee-jerk reactions from critics, it is a film with much to answer for, but as a piece of filmmaking it’s spotless rather than flawless.

w/d/ph – Alfonso Cuarón
pd – Eugenio Caballero
ed – Alfonso Cuarón, Adam Gough
cos – Anna Terrazas

p – Nicolás Celis, Alfonso Cuarón, Gabriela Rodriguez

Cast: Yalitza Aparicio, Marina de Tavira, Diego Cortina Autrey, Carlos Peralta, Marco Graf, Daniela Demesa, Nancy García García, Verónica García, Andy Cortés, Fernando Grediaga, Jorge Antonio Guerrero, José Manuel Guerrero Mendoza, Latin Lover, Zarela Lizbeth Chinolla Arellano, José Luis López Gómez

Sunday, December 2, 2018

Crisp Criticism - "Robin Hood", "Cam", "Shirkers", "The Possession of Hannah Grace", "Madeline's Madeline", "Minding the Gap", "We the Animals"

Julien Faddoul

Robin Hood

A war-hardened Crusader and his Moorish commander mount an audacious revolt against the corrupt English crown.
Embarrassing, poorly lit, nonsensically outlined action-film that bears little resemblance to the English folklore and seems to be proud of it. At least it moves fast.

d – Otto Bathurst
w – Ben Chandler, David James Kelly
ph – George Steel
pd – Jean-Vincent Puzos
m – Joseph Trapanese
ed – Chris Barwell, Joe Hutshing
cos – Julian Day

p – Jennifer Davisson, Leonardo DiCaprio, Edward L. McDonnell

Cast: Taron Egerton, Jamie Foxx, Ben Mendelsohn, Eve Hewson, Jamie Dornan, Tim Minchin, Paul Anderson, Björn Bengtsson, Josh Herdman, Roderick Hill, F. Murray Abraham