MCN Columnists
Kim Voynar

Voynar By Kim VoynarVoynar@moviecitynews.com

Sundance 2015 Review: Advantageous

In Phang’s imaginary future, it’s pretty much the same-old, same-old: As men grow older and wiser, they morph into handsome “silver foxes” without losing stride on the career or social desirability fronts. As women grow older and wiser, though, their perceived worth diminishes while those aging men chase after younger, newer versions to upgrade to. Phang’s tale imagines a reality where a woman could choose to “upgrade” herself to a younger and thereby more desirable version. You don’t have to be a woman working in the film industry to relate to (or fear) such a thing, though Hollywood is perhaps closer to the future we see here than anywhere else and, sadly, populated by a lot of women who would quite likely line up around the block to take advantage of it.

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Sundance 2015 Review: The Second Mother

The intelligent, sometimes biting social commentary woven throughout the film is somewhat reminiscent of Lucretia Martel’s 2008 Cannes entry The Headless Woman, but where that film relied on ethereal cinematography and wove its social commentary enigmatically and almost abstractly, The Second Mother tackles similar issues of class division and human dignity primarily through humor and studies in contrast: Val’s unquestioning acceptance of the social construct versus her smart, modern daughter’s questioning of “the way things are.”

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Sundance Review: Silent House

I admit to being a bit paranoid about big spooky houses and things that go bump in the night. I can’t imagine that I would ever choose to live in a big, rambling old house so isolated from civilization that my cell phone wouldn’t work in an emergency. That’s just asking for trouble. And if…

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Sundance Dispatch: Good News, Bad News

The good news was, I flew Southwest, where Bags Fly Free!(tm) So I was able to bring two bags. Major bonus, because that meant I could bring more boots! And a stash of food cheaper than it would cost me at The Market Formerly Known As Albertsons. The bad news was, my flight was delayed…

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Sundance Preview

The independent film world is already descending upon beautiful Park City, Utah for the Sundance Film Festival. The shuttles will be crowded, Main Street will be packed with film buffs, talent, people who are there to socialize and score some free swag, and probably Banksy will not show up this year to adorn Park City…

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Top 10 Documentaries of 2010

I had kind of a bad year for documentaries, which is too bad because I love docs. Maybe it’s partly because I missed Sundance, or because docs can be hit and miss and I just happened to fall on the wrong side of that equation this year. Whatever the case, I managed somehow to miss…

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Top Ten Feature Films 2010

I really struggled over my top ten list this year. There were maybe six films that were pretty hard locks early on, which only left four open slots for the rest of a field of strong contenders — not a lot of wiggle room in a year with a good many solid films rightfully in…

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Voynaristic: The Kids Are (Not Quite) All Right

I realize it’s not the popular thing to say, but I’m going to go out on a limb and tell you that I finally got around to seeing The Kids Are All Right and it was just … all right. Look, it’s not a bad film, by any means. In fact, it may even be a pretty good film. But the best film of the year? Or even in the top ten best films of the year? Not quite.

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1,000 Monkeys: The Real Things

These are the things, now that I am 42 and on the other side of scary illness with life smelling sweet again, and with the days and months and years of my childrens’ childhoods slipping past me ever faster, that I ponder when I pause to consider where my life is now, and who I am and aspire to be. Frankly, they are not, generally, the kind of things you tend to think of in your lean and hungry 20s or 30s, when work seems to be all that matters. But at 42, I’ve learned the wisdom of the words Socrates wrote so long ago: “Beware the barrenness of the busy life.”

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Review: Megamind

Let’s get this out of the way right up front: You don’t really need to pay the premium to see Megamind in 3-D. It’s a sharp, nice looking film as it is, but I didn’t find the 3-D elements, though relatively seamless and painless, to be anything I couldn’t live without.

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Wait, Now They’re Letting “Fatties” Make Out on TV? Surely You Jest …

Boy, mag/website Marie Claire really stepped in a big pile of cow patties with this blog post by Maura Kelly titled “Should Fatties Get a Room (Even on TV)? the other day. The piece was about television show Mike & Molly, which depicts an obese couple who meet at Overeaters Anonymous, and was apparently prompted…

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Review: Paranormal Activity 2

Fans of surprise horror hit Paranormal Activity will find much to like in Paranormal Activity 2. This second round of things-that-go-bump-in-the-night-vision-cameras retains the slow-building, repetitive pace of the first film, while still delivering (for the most part) plenty of scares to keep you on the edge of your seat.

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The Color Purple

So today is “wear purple in support of LGBT teens” day, courtesy of the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD). All across the mighty land of Facebook, people have changed their profile pics to purple in support of the day. I’m not seeing a lot of purple around the homeschool center today, except on…

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Indie Screener Grab Bag: Repeaters

Now that we have a flatscreen and DVD player installed in our bedroom, I can actually watch screeners at home with something approximating a semi-theatrical experience, which is better for most films than watching them on my portable mini-DVD player. So, catching up with some screeners I’ve been watching of late … Henceforth, I’ll be…

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TIFF Review: Hereafter

After a pretty spectacular opening scene, I was hopeful that Clint Eastwood‘s highly anticipated film, Hereafter, with a script by Peter Morgan, was going to be something special. Then it became evident that the setup is a triptych, which is really hard to weave together into a coherant story without it feeling enormously contrived. Unfortunately,…

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A Few Words on Never Let Me Go

SPOILER WARNING: Mild spoilers for Never Let Me Go, so if you don’t already know generally what it’s about and don’t want to, move along. It’s unfortunate to see Never Let Me Go sliding off the radar. It’s an intelligent, thoughtful film that deals with some intriguing moral questions — questions that are particularly relevant…

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I’m OK, You’re OK, “Gay” Jokes in Movies are Not OK

And now for a few words on the “gay” issue surrounding Universal’s film The Dilemma, whose trailer, with Vince Vaughn uttering the line, “Electric cars are gay. I mean, not homosexual gay, but my-parents-are-chaperoning-the-dance gay,” has stirred considerable controversy (note: the trailer has been edited to take out that line). Were gay rights activists right…

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Review: Secretariat

Secretariat, the horse, was a big, glossy chestnut colt who won the Triple Crown and is widely regarded today as perhaps the best racehorse who ever lived. Secretariat, the movie, is big, glossy cinematic comfort food for the family in troubled times, grilled cheese and tomato soup wholesomeness to soothe the soul and take the…

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TIFF Review: It’s Kind of a Funny Story

I had mixed feelings about It’s Kind of a Funny Story, directed by Half Nelson and Sugar directors Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck. They were so mixed, in fact, that I ended up doing something I’ve never done at a fest before — I saw the film twice, once at a P&I screening and once…

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Review: The Social Network

So now I’ve seen it and yes, okay, The Social Network really is all that and a bag of chips, as the kids say — for what it is. Not a “masterpiece.” Not “astounding.” Probably — almost definitely — not a film that will “literally” change your life. Maybe — dare I say it? — not even the absolute “best” film of Fincher’s oeuvre.

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Quote Unquotesee all »

“The worst thing that we have in today’s movie culture is Rotten Tomatoes. It’s the destruction of our business. I have such respect and admiration for film criticism. When I was growing up film criticism was a real art. And there was intellect that went into that. And you would read Pauline’s Kael’s reviews, or some others, and that doesn’t exist anymore. Now it’s about a number. A compounded number of how many positives vs. negatives. Now it’s about, ‘What’s your Rotten Tomatoes score?’ And that’s sad, because the Rotten Tomatoes score was so low on Batman v Superman I think it put a cloud over a movie that was incredibly successful. People don’t realize what goes into making a movie like that. It’s mind-blowing. It’s just insane, it’s hurting the business, it’s getting people to not see a movie. In Middle America it’s, ‘Oh, it’s a low Rotten Tomatoes score so I’m not going to go see it because it must suck.’ But that number is an aggregate and one that nobody can figure out exactly what it means, and it’s not always correct. I’ve seen some great movies with really abysmal Rotten Tomatoes scores. What’s sad is film criticism has disappeared. It’s really sad.”
~ Brett Ratner Has A Sad

“The loss of a local newspaper critic is a real loss. People who know the local audience and know the local cultural scene are very important resources. You can’t just substitute the stuff that comes in from nowhere through syndication or the wire. I think at the same time, some of the newer outlets have really beefed up and improved their coverage and made room for criticism. The real problem is in the more specialized art forms — fine arts, classical music, dance and jazz, say. There is a real slowing of critical voices, partly because those art forms have smaller audiences. Newspapers and magazines can say that doesn’t get enough traffic, so we don’t have room for that. To me, that’s especially worrisome. This is the opposite of what newspapers are supposed to do, which is not to try to figure out what people are already interested in and recite that back to them, but to hopefully guide them to something that they should be interested in, connecting potential audiences with more interesting work.

“Then again, not everyone needs a critic. People have been going to movies for more than 100 years now, and probably the vast majority of those people have not read movie reviews or cared what critics thought. But there has always been an important subset that wants to know more, that wants to think about what they’ve seen and what they’re going to see, and wants someone to think along with. I think critics are important, not just as dispensers of consumer advice — though that’s certainly part of it, too — but as trusted voices and companions for people to argue with in your head when you’re going to movies or afterwards.”
~ A. O. Scott