Saturday, June 22, 2019

Crisp Criticism - "Toy Story 4", "Late Night", "Men in Black: International", "Dark Phoenix", "Shaft"

Julien Faddoul

Toy Story 4 **

When a new toy called "Forky" joins Woody and the gang, a road trip alongside old and new friends reveals how big the world can be for a toy.
More of an epilogue than a final chapter for one of cinema’s incomparable series of films, acutely calling into question various epistemological understandings of a happy life, including applicable loyalty, childless marriages and the meaning behind sentience itself. But there are two major problems here: 1) Pixar – who at their best, insist on and sustain unusually high standards of sequence-by-sequence dramatic storytelling, and at their worst are dispiritedly defensive and/or misleading about said standards – have by this point covered so much ground concerning the existential perplexities of aging, mortality and being a parent/child that the cliché now writes itself. The emotional beats, right up to and including the expected bittersweet revelation, have now become calculable. And 2) None of this introspection harmonizes very well with the plot. There are essentially three stories here, strung together by a (typical) rescue-mission scenario that is far too slight to muster the angst that was clearly intended. Ergo, when the conclusion arrives, what should be displays of sentiment become displays of sentimentality. It’s all perfectly lovely but in an age when sequelitis is kicking the life out of the artform, this one never manages to lose the air of cumbrous inconsequentiality.

d – Josh Cooley
w – John Lasseter, Andrew Stanton, Josh Cooley, Valerie LaPointe, Stephany Folsom, Rashida Jones, Will McCormack, Martin Hynes
ph – Patrick Lin, Jean-Claude Kalache
pd – Bob Pauley
m – Randy Newman
ed – Axel Geddes

p – Mark Nielson, Jonas Rivera

Cast: Tom Hanks, Tim Allen, Annie Potts, Tony Hale, Keegan-Michael Key, Jordan Peele, Madeleine McGraw, Christina Hendricks, Keanu Reeves, Ally Maki, Jay Hernandez, Lori Alan, Joan Cusack, Bonnie Hunt, Kristen Schaal, Emily Davis, Wallace Shawn, John Ratzenberger, Blake Clark, June Squibb, Carl Weathers, Lila Sage Bromley, Don Rickles, Jeff Garlin, Estelle Harris, Laurie Metcalf, Mel Brooks, Alan Oppenheimer, Carol Burnett, Betty White, Carl Reiner, Bill Hader, Patricia Arquette, Timothy Dalton

Thursday, June 6, 2019

Crisp Criticism - "Godzilla: King of the Monsters", "Rocketman", "Ma", "Booksmart", "The Sun is Also a Star", "Deadwood: The Movie"

Julien Faddoul

Godzilla: King of the Monsters

A cryptozoological agency faces off against a battery of god-sized monsters, including Godzilla, who collides with Mothra, Rodan and Ghidorah.
Utterly inept, with no sense of stakes, character motivation or forward momentum. Just a tiresome blur of colour and noise.

d – Michael Dougherty
w – Max Borenstein, Michael Dougherty, Zach Shields
ph – Lawrence Sher
pd – Scott Chambliss
m – Bear McCreary
ed – Roger Barton, Bob Ducsay, Richard Pearson
cos – Louise Mingenbach

p – Alex Garcia, Jon Jashni, Mary Parent, Brian Rogers, Thomas Tull

Cast:  Kyle Chandler, Vera Farmiga, Millie Bobby Brown, Ken Watanabe, Sally Hawkins, Bradley Whitford, Charles Dance, Zhang Ziyi, O'Shea Jackson Jr, Thomas Middleditch, Aisha Hinds, David Strathairn, Anthony Ramos, Randy Havens, Jonathan Howard, Elizabeth Ludlow, Van Marten, Lexi Rabe, TJ Storm, Jason Liles, Richard Dorton, Alan Maxson, Joe Morton, CCH Pounder

Thursday, May 23, 2019

Crisp Criticism - "Aladdin", "The Hustle", "Tolkien", "John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum", "Under the Silver Lake", "All is True"

Julien Faddoul

A live-action retelling of the 1992 Disney film of the same name.
When will these Disney remakes end? The lachrymose that they induce is becoming too much to bear. I have nothing new to add that wasn’t already covered here or here. Whenever I walk past the ticket usher and into the cinema to experience another one of these, I often think of something Elliott Smith once wrote: “Two tickets torn in half and a lot of nothing to do. Do you miss me, miss misery, like you say you do”?
d – Guy Ritchie
w – John August, Guy Ritchie
ph – Alan Stewart
pd – Gemma Jackson
m – Alan Menken
m – Howard Ashman, Tim Rice, Benj Pasek, Justin Paul
ed – James Herbert
cos – Michael Wilkinson
p – Jonathan Eirich, Dan Lin
Cast: Mena Massoud, Naomi Scott, Will Smith, Marwan Kenzari, Navid Negahban, Nasim Pedrad, Billy Magnussen, Alan Tudyk, Frank Welker, Numan Acar, Robby Haynes, Nina Wadia

Wednesday, May 15, 2019

Crisp Criticism - "Pokémon Detective Pikachu", "Long Shot", "UglyDolls", "The Intruder", "Chase"

Julien Faddoul

Pokémon Detective Pikachu

In a world where people collect pocket-size monsters (Pokémon) and treat them like cockfighters, a boy comes across one that can talk and seeks to be a detective.
As cynical and disturbing an example of current studio cinema as one could encounter: Yet again another movie designed to indoctrinate the idiot seals who in the case are apparently children of the 90s to slap their fins in unison at the altar that is the never-ending ouroboros of corporate nostalgia. Judging from the first week of receipts, it worked. The plot is a rip-off of Who Framed Roger Rabbit (1988), the dialogue is embarrassing, the performances are uncomfortable, the sound design is screeching and the visuals look like vomit.

d – Rob Letterman
w – Dan Hernandez, Benji Samit, Rob Letterman, Derek Connolly, Nicole Perlman   (Based on the Characters Created by Satoshi Tajiri, Ken Sugimori, Junichi Masuda)
ph – John Mathieson
pd – Nigel Phelps
m – Henry Jackman
ed – Mark Sanger, James Thomas
cos – Suzie Harman

p – Satoshi Tajiri, Thomas Tull, Ali Mendes

Cast: Ryan Reynolds, Justice Smith, Kathryn Newton, Bill Nighy, Ken Watanabe, Chris Geere, Suki Waterhouse, Josette Simon, Alejandro De Mesa, Rita Ora, Karan Soni, Max Fincham

Thursday, April 25, 2019

Crisp Criticism - "Her Smell', "Peterloo", "Little", "High Life", "The Curse of La Llorona", "Missing Link"

Julien Faddoul

Her Smell ***

A self-destructive punk rocker struggles with sobriety while trying to recapture the creative inspiration that led her band to success.
A kinetically unpleasant film to sit through, presented as five separate sequences depicting its main character’s demise and ultimate redemption. Formidable and often astounding for those who can take it, with dizzying illustration of the camera, sound design and performance. It shows both its director and its star at the height of their uncompromising capabilities, both of whom tower above virtually everyone else in independent cinema today.

wd – Alex Ross Perry
ph – Sean Price Williams
pd – Fletcher Chancey
m – Keegan DeWitt
ed – Robert Greene
cos – Amanda Ford

p – Elisabeth Moss, Matthew Perniciaro, Alex Ross Perry, Adam Piotrowicz, Michael Sherman

Cast: Elisabeth Moss, Cara Delevingne, Dan Stevens, Amber Heard, Agyness Deyn, Gayle Rankin, Ashley Benson, Eric Stoltz, Dylan Gelula, Virginia Madsen

Saturday, April 13, 2019

Crisp Criticism - "Shazam", "Dumbo", "The Beach Bum", "The Best of Enemies", "The Highwaymen", "Hellboy", "Pet Sematary"

Julien Faddoul

Shazam *

A boy is given the ability to become an adult superhero in times of need with a single magic word.
Lively superhero film based on DC comics that takes forever to get going and doesn’t end anywhere edifying. It might have been twice as effective at half the length (133 minutes).

d – David F. Sandberg
w – Henry Gayden, Darren Lemke   (Based on the Characters Created by Bill Parker, CC Beck)
ph – Maxime Alexandre
pd – Jennifer Spence
m – Benjamin Wallfisch
ed – Michel Aller
cos – Leah Butler

p – Peter Safran

Cast: Zachary Levi, Asher Angel, Jack Dylan Grazer, Mark Strong, Djimon Hounsou, Grace Fulton, Faithe Herman, Ian Chen, Jovan Armand, Cooper Andrews, Marta Milans, Adam Brody

Monday, March 25, 2019

The Films of 2019

82 Films

For all reviews click here.





Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile
Gloria Bell
Happy Death Day 2U
The Kid Who Would Be King
Knife + Heart
The Lego Movie 2: The Second Part
Never Look Away
The Wedding Guest


Avengers: Endgame
Clara's Ghost
Cold Pursuit
A Dog's Journey
Escape Room
The Heiress
I Hate Kids
I'm Not Here
The Kid
King of Thieves
A Madea Family Reunion
Mary Magdalene
Miss Bala
The Prodigy
Red Joan
Unicorn Store
The Upside
Velvet Buzzsaw
What Men Want