MCN Columnists
Kim Voynar

Voynaristic By Kim VoynarVoynar@moviecitynews.com

Slumdog Millionaire and the Politics of Spin

What is it with the media’s insistence on attempting to spin stories to harm particular films? After enjoying the bounce of positive buzz from the Telluride and Toronto film festivals, solid critical support and a box office take bigger than anyone could have dreamed for a subtitled Bollywood hybrid, Slumdog Millionaire finds itself the target of…

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Deconstructing Oscar

Published under Oscar Outsider. Last week, those of us who were at Sundance had to pull our heads briefly out of the myopic world of Fest Coverage and back into the myopic world of Oscar Coverage when the all-important Oscar nominations were announced. Clearly, the people who run the Oscars hate those of us who…

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Sundance: It’s a Wrap

In the year of its 25th anniversary, the Sundance Film Festival coincided with the inauguration of a new president who offers hope to a country beaten down by war and a tough economic climate; it’s the first time in my own adult life I’ve ever cared enough about the inauguration to block out time on…

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Here We Go Again: The Foreign-Language Oscar Shortlist

Published under Oscar Outsider. The Oscar shortlist for foreign films was announced yesterday, and in spite of the rules changes that were supposed to stop such things from happening, Matteo Garrone‘s Gomorrah failed to make the short list. Really shocking omission, considering the film won the the Grand Prix at Cannes, the Silver Hugo, and has been…

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No Regrets: Why Even “Amateur” Films Deserve Honest Reviews

Should film critics differentiate or consider whether a given film is “professional” or “amateur” either in reviewing a film, or in deciding whether a film should even be reviewed at all? There’s been an interesting discussion about reviewing “amateur” versus “professional theater” on The Stranger‘s SLOG between critic Paul Constant and his editor, Brendan Kiley, that seems apropos…

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Originality Matters (Page 2)

Published under Oscar Outsider. Joel Coen and Ethan Coen, Burn After Reading I’ve written before that I’ve been befuddled by the rather tepid response to the Coen brother’s latest film, which I think is one of their better dark comedies.  The Coens are masters at exploiting the flaws and foibles of ordinary characters in extraordinary…

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Originality Matters: Considering the Best Original Screenplays of the Year

Published under Oscar Outsider. Spoiler Warning: This column contains heavy spoilers for the films The Wrestler, Happy-Go-Lucky, Burn After Reading, The Visitor and Frozen River. What elements set apart a few screenplays out of all those produced each year from the rest of the pack as we head into Oscar season? All scripts have certain…

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When Good Foreign Films Get Bad Remakes

We hear a lot about how American remakes of foreign films tend to be pale imitations of the original, and there’s more truth than stereotype to that sentiment. But are American remakes inferior because they’re made by Americans, or is there an inherent value in the unique cultural perspective of a foreign film that gets…

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Quote Unquotesee all »

“I was 15 when I first watched Sally Hardesty escape into the back of a pickup truck, covered in blood and cackling like a goddamn witch. All of her friends were dead. She had been kidnapped, tortured and even forced to feed her own blood to her cannibalistic captors’ impossibly shriveled patriarch. Being new to the horror genre, I was sure she was going to die. It had been a few months since I survived a violent sexual assault, where I subsequently ran from my assailant, tripped, fell and fought like hell. I crawled home with bloody knees, makeup-stained cheeks and a new void in both my mind and heart. My sense of safety, my ability to trust others, my willingness to form new relationships and my love of spending time with people I cared about were all taken from me. It wasn’t until I found the original The Texas Chain Saw Massacre that something clicked. It was Sally’s strength, and her resilience. It was watching her survive blows to the head from a hammer. It was watching her break free from her bonds and burst through a glass window. It was watching her get back up after she’d been stabbed. It was watching her crawl into the back of a truck, laughing as it drove away from Leatherface. She was the last one to confront the killer, and live. I remember sitting in front of the TV and thinking, There I am. That’s me.”
~ Lauren Milici On “The Final Girl”

“‘Thriller’ enforced its own reality principle; it was there, part of the every commute, a serenade to every errand, a referent to every purchase, a fact of every life. You didn’t have to like it, you only had to acknowledge it. By July 6, 1984, when the Jacksons played the first show of their ‘Victory’ tour, in Kansas City, Missouri, Jacksonism had produced a system of commodification so complete that whatever and whoever was admitted to it instantly became a new commodity. People were no longer comsuming commodities as such things are conventionally understood (records, videos, posters, books, magazines, key rings, earrings necklaces pins buttons wigs voice-altering devices Pepsis t-shirts underwear hats scarves gloves jackets – and why were there no jeans called Bille Jeans?); they were consuming their own gestures of consumption. That is, they were consuming not a Tayloristic Michael Jackson, or any licensed facsimile, but themselves. Riding a Mobius strip of pure capitalism, that was the transubstantiation.”
~ Greil Marcus On Michael Jackson