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

Cam *

A young camgirl discovers that she’s inexplicably been replaced on her site with an exact replica of herself.
Admiral attempt to fashion a horror film out of nothing. The technique is there, but the themes expressed are unoriginal and the performances are quite weak.

d – Daniel Goldhaber
w – Daniel Goldhaber, Isa Mazzei, Isabelle Link-Levy
ph – Katelin Arizmendi
pd – Emma Rose Mead
m – Gavin Brivik
ed – Daniel Garber
cos – Christina Flannery

p – Greg Gilreath, Adam Hendricks, John H. Lang, Isabelle Link-Levy

Cast: Madeline Brewer, Patch Darragh, Melora Walters, Devin Druid, Samantha Robinson, Imani Hakim

Shirkers **

In 1992, teenager Sandi Tan shot Singapore’s first indie road movie with her enigmatic American mentor Georges – who then vanished with all the footage. Twenty years later, the 16mm film is recovered, sending Tan, now a novelist in Los Angeles, on a personal odyssey in search of Georges’ vanishing footprints.
Much of the power here comes from Tan's real story which is insane(!) and truly fascinating rather than the filmmaking which is pedestrian. Though it’s hard to find a more gratifying film for cineastes, as it is a beautiful example of asservation on cinema’s power.

wd – Sandi Tan
ph – Iris Ng
m – Ishai Adar
ed – Lucas Celler, Kimberley Hassett, Sandi Tan

p – Sandi Tan, Jessica Levin, Maya Rudolph

Cast: Sandi Tan, Sophia Siddique Harvey, Georges Cardona, Philip Cheah, Jasmine Ng, Kin Kia, Stephen Tyler

The Possession of Hannah Grace

When a cop who is just out of rehab takes the graveyard shift in a city hospital morgue, she faces a series of bizarre, violent events caused by an evil entity in one of the corpses.
A horror film that begins promisingly and then loses the plot in typical contemporary obtuseness.

d – Diederik Van Rooijen
w – Brian Sieve
ph – Lennert Hillege
pd – Paula Loos
m – John Frizzell
ed – Stanley Kolk, Jake York
cos – Deborah Newhall

p – Todd Garner, Sean Robins

Cast: Shay Mitchell, Grey Damon, Stana Katic, Louis Herthum

Madeline’s Madeline *

Madeline has become an integral part of a prestigious physical theatre troupe. When the workshop’s ambitious director pushes the teenager to weave her rich interior world and troubled history with her mother into their collective art, the lines between performance and reality begin to blur. The resulting battle between imagination and appropriation rips out of the rehearsal space and through all three women’s lives.
A film that will assuage those who find this kind of chichi behaviour to be at all profound or even beneficial to the themes of both mental illness and the art-making process. Mostly, it just comes across as naive and over-directed, with juxtapositional techniques influenced by Maya Deren.

d – Josephine Decker
w – Josephine Decker, Donna di Novelli
ph – Ashley Connor
pd – Charlotte Royer
m – Caroline Shaw
ed – Harrison Atkins, Josephine Decker
cos – Sarah Maiorino

p – Elizabeth Rao, Krista Parris

Cast: Helena Howard, Molly Parker, Miranda July

Minding the Gap **

Three young men bond together to escape volatile families in their Rust-Belt hometown of Rockford, Illinois. As they face adult responsibilities, unexpected revelations threaten their decade-long friendship.
In the tradition of great Illinois documentarians like Steve James, Liu has fashioned an affecting essay on the conjunction and conflict of the American Dream and the realities of life. Pieced together with footage shot over the course of his own childhood, it provides a cogent closeness to its subjects and marred only when adhering to commonplace non-fiction editorial ticks.

d/ph – Bing Liu
m – Nathan Halpern, Chris Ruggiero
ed – Joshua Altman, Bing Liu

p – Diane Quon, Bing Liu

Cast: Bing Liu, Keire Johnson, Zack Mulligan, Nina Bowgren, Mengyue Bolen

We the Animals *

Three young brothers tear their way through childhood and push against the volatile love of their parents. As the two older siblings grow into versions of their father and Ma dreams of escape, the youngest embraces an imagined world all on his own.
Another in the seemingly endless line of low-budget indie films that equate childhood trauma with comfortable forms of magical thinking. This one remains stilted despite the care obviously taken.

d – Jeremiah Zagar
w – Daniel Kitrosser, Jeremiah Zagar   (Based on the Novel by Justin Torres)
ph – Zak Mulligan
pd – Katie Hickman
m – Nick Zammuto
ed – Keiko Deguchi, Brian A. Kates
cos – Emily Batson, Valentine Freeman

p – Andrew Goldman, Christina D. King, Paul Mezey, Jeremy Yaches

Cast: Evan Rosado, Raúl Castillo, Sheila Vand, Josiah Santiago, Isaiah Kristian

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