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Ray Pride

By Ray Pride Pride@moviecitynews.com

Admit it, I’m an idiot: the Trib’s new hires

Nothing like a crackerjack cultural critic getting down to the nitty-gritty right out of the gate: “Admit it,” writes Chicago “Tribune staff reporter” Jessica Reaves, “sometimes you get tired of art house movies starring actors who take ‘their craft’ very, very seriously. Sometimes you want to buy an extra-large popcorn and settle in for a big budget Hollywood blockbuster replete with entertaining explosions, undemanding dialogue and completely unrealistic action sequences. If all that sounds like gloriously uncomplicated fun,” she writes in a two-and-a-half star review, “The Guardian is your movie.” schoolforscoundrels_234.jpg And: “There are movies that burst out of the starting gate and soar along effortlessly right through the finish line. Those movies are rare, and School for Scoundrels is not one of them…” Reaves’ disappointment grows: Old School was “one of my favorite stupid movies in recent memory.” And what of Jesus Camp? “Whatever you think of America’s religious right, one fact is undeniable: They know how to make noise. And not just literal noise (although a quick visit to any worship service will prove they’re quite good at that) but figurative, symbolic noise in the form of political lobbying and outreach… If you weren’t aware of this powerful voting bloc, you’ve probably spent the past five year with your head under a rock.” (Note the demurely placed “probably,” a hacktastic feat of journalistic restraint.) Further evidence of the terrifying rigors of being a fourth or fifth string reviewer forced to take things seriously when all you want to do is sneer is heaped by one Michael Esposito, who writes of Kyle Henry‘s defiantly opaque 2005 Sundance entrant, Room: “Room is one of those films that wants to make you think. You know the kind: lots of weird stuff happens, topped off by no real resolution in the end. It may also be the longest 75-minute film in the history of cinema-there was a clock check 25 minutes in, after thinking, ‘this has got to be over.'” Surely mid-twentieth century Trib critic Mae T. Inee is rolling in her collective grave.

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“Film festivals, for those who don’t know, are not exactly the glitzy red carpet affairs you see on TV. Those do happen, but they’re a tiny part of the festival. The main part of any film festival are the thousands of people with festival passes hanging on lanyards beneath their anoraks, carrying brochures for movies you have never and will never hear of, desperately scrabbling to sell whatever movie it is to buyers from all over the world. Every hotel bar, every cafe, every restaurant is filled to the brim with these people, talking loudly about non-existent deals. The Brits are the worst because most of the British film industry, with a few honourable exceptions, are scam artists and chancers who move around from company to company failing to get anything good made and trying to cast Danny Dyer in anything that moves. I’m seeing guys here who I first met twenty years ago and who are still wearing the same clothes, doing the same job (albeit for a different company) and spinning the same line of bullshit about how THIS movie has Al Pacino or Meryl Streep or George Clooney attached and, whilst that last one didn’t work out, THIS ONE is going to be HUGE. As the day goes on, they start drinking and it all gets ugly and, well, that’s why I’m the guy walking through the Tiergarten with a camera taking pictures of frozen lakes and pretending this isn’t happening.

“Berlin is cool, though and I’ve been lucky to be doing meetings with some people who want to actually get things done. We’ll see what comes of it.”
~ Julian Simpson 

“The difference between poetry and prose, and why if you’re not acculturated to poetry, you might resist it: that page is frightening. Why is it not filled? The two categories of people who don’t feel that way are children and prisoners. So many prison poets; they see that gap and experience it differently. I’m for the gap!”
~ Poet Eileen Myles