MCN Columnists
Mike Wilmington

Wilmington By Mike WilmingtonWilmington@moviecitynews.com

Wilmington on Movies: A Nightmare on Elm Street, Please Give and Harry Brown…

A Nightmare on Elm Street (One and a Half Stars) U.S.; Samuel Bayer, 2010 Twenty-six years ago, I walked into the only theater that ever stood on the very same block where I lived — the Vogue in Los Angeles on Hollywood Boulevard between La Brea and Cherokee — and got the living, screaming

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Wilmington on Movies: The Back-Up Plan, The Losers and Oceans …

The Back-up Plan (One and a Half Stars) U.S.; Alan Poul, 2010 If you don’t have a back-up plan when you wander into The Back-up Plan, the new Jennifer Lopez picture, you may

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Wilmington on Movies: Date Night, When You’re Strange, The Greatest and more …

Date Night (Three Stars) U.S.; Shawn Levy, 2010 Steve Carell and Tina Fey make a potentially great movie comedy couple in Date Night — even though

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Wilmington on Movies: Clash of the Titans, The Last Song and Mid-August Lunch

Clash of the Titans (Three Stars) U.S.; Louis Leterrier, 2010 The Kraken, the Medusa, the Pegasus and the lobster monsters are smashing successes in director Louis Leterrier’s lavish remake of Clash of the Titans — the 1981 Ray Harryhausen mythological epic.

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Wilmington

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“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