MCN Originals Archive for May, 2009

Wilmington on DVDs: Of Time and the City, El Dorado, Zabriskie Point, and more…

PICK OF THE WEEK: NEW Of Time and the City (Three-and-a-Half Stars) U. K.; Terence Davies, 2008 (Strand Releasing) The sometimes mournfully brilliant British independent filmmaker Terence Davies returns to Liverpool, the place of his birth and growing up

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Wilmington on DVDs: The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance, Wise Blood, Valkyrie and more…

CO-PICKS OF THE WEEK: CLASSICS The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance (Two Discs) (Four Stars) U. S.; John Ford, 1962 (Paramount) John Ford’s last great Western is a visually spare masterpiece about the new and old frontiers

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Wilmington on DVDs: Tell No One, A Grin Without a Cat, Max Fleischer’s Superman and more…

PICK OF THE WEEK: NEW Tell No One (Three Stars) France; Guillaume Canet, 2006 (Music Box Films/MPI) A provincial French pediatrician named Beck (Francois Cluzet) — still tormented by the

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HotDocs: OnePiece: Yang Chung on optimism

For a few months I’ve been asking filmmakers for reasons to be cheerful. Why are they optimistic as artists or in their lives in the face of the dour moment we’re living in? Yang Chung (Up the Yangtze) and I grabbed a moment during a projection failure at the HotDocs premiere of Winnebago Man. [Or.]

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Wilmington on DVDs: The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, Wendy and Lucy, Science is Fiction and more…

CO-PICKS OF THE WEEK: NEW The Curious Case of Benjamin Button (Three and a Half Stars) U. S.; David Fincher, 2008 (Criterion) David Fincher, seemingly working at full intensity, gives us the epic adaptation of an obscure

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MCN Originals

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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