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 »

“By the time the sounds of the Von Trapp children warbling ‘Silent Night’ drift through The Giver, you may find yourself wondering what fresh movie hell this is. In truth, the enervating hash of dystopian dread, vague religiosity and commercial advertising-style uplift is nothing if not stale. Adapted from Lois Lowry’s book for young readers, the story involves an isolated society that, with its cubistic dwellings, mindless smiles, monochromatic environs and nebulous communitarianism, seem modeled on a Scandinavian country or an old Mentos commercial.”
~ Manohla Dargis’ Deadly Lede For Review Of The Giver

“It’s possible that in the coming days or, God forbid, weeks, the president could have something more specific to say about the freighted decades-long history of political imbalance at work, in this case between a mostly black working-class town and its majority white government and police force. But this is a black man who must choose his words about race, governance, and law enforcement even more carefully than a white politician would. And this is the third summer in which, as president, he would have to do so…

“Until this point in the turmoil, the absence of the crucial second face in the incident seemed to heighten the distance between police and the people they serve. It grants them both an anonymity and autonomy that matches the bizarre transformation, in Ferguson and elsewhere, of police into troops. The riot gear turns 2014 into a dot on a Jim Crow–era timeline. Since the officer’s name wasn’t made public more immediately, it should have seemed urgent for the police to lose the riot attire and take steps to minimize distrust, to dispel the contagious assumption that silence equates racism…

“What is so affecting isn’t just that 18-year-old Michael Brown was killed when he was barely a man. It’s other things as well. One was how many reports of the incident that first day mentioned that he was about to start college. That’s a rite that’s universally emotional. But for a black male from a poor family, the first day of college is a freighted day that usually requires the sacrifice of more than one person. Black people know the odds of getting to and graduating from college, and that they’re low. That Brown seemed to be on the right path compounded the parental, local, and national outrage over his being wiped from it.”

~ Wesley Morris On Let’s Be Cops, The Shooting In Ferguson, Obama…