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 »

“It’s incredibly exciting to fabricate a world. I was like, ‘Man, why doesn’t every movie do this?’ You allow yourself the freedom to have every color of the palette make a statement. You allow yourself the freedom to paint buildings whatever color you want. You get to adjust or subvert the reality around you. And I say this as someone whose first films as a student were documentaries. With La La Land, I wanted to get at reality in an indirect way. It’s an emotional portrait of L.A., not a realistic one. And I wanted to push back against the strict reliance on realism, which is one reason why Hollywood doesn’t do musicals anymore. It wasn’t always this way. Just look at the movies of Douglas Sirk or Powell and Pressburger. They always went beyond ordinary realism to get to emotions. They were both mainstream and avant-garde. They were commercial at their core but also balls-out insane.”
~ Damien Chazelle On The Look Of La La Land

Fey: How are we going to proceed with any kind of dignity in an increasingly ugly world? And I actually was thinking — because I’ve got to write something for when I get the award — to use Sherry Lansing as an inspiration because she was a lady who worked in a very, very ugly business and always managed to be quite dignified. But in a world where the president makes fun of handicapped people and fat people, how do we proceed with dignity? I want to tell people, “If you do two things this year, watch Idiocracy by Mike Judge and read Leni Riefenstahl’s 800-page autobiography and then call it a year.”
Letterman: Wait a minute. Tell me about Leni Riefenstahl.
Fey: She grew up in Germany. She was in many ways a brilliant pioneer. She pioneered sports photography as we know it. She’s the one who had the idea to dig a trench next to the track for the Olympics and put a camera on a dolly. But she also rolled with the punches and said, “Well, he’s the führer. He’s my president. I’ll make films for him.” She did some terrible, terrible things. And I remember reading 20 years ago, thinking, “This is a real lesson, to be an artist who doesn’t roll with what your leader is doing just because he’s your leader.”
Letterman: My impression of this woman is that she was the sister of Satan.
Fey: She was in many ways. But what she claimed in the book was, “He was the president, so what was I supposed to do?” And I feel a lot of people are going to start rolling that way.
~ Tina Fey And David Letterman Are Anxious