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  1. Today
  2. Before Rottentomatoes my main way of choosing if a movie was worth seeing was first *if my friends/family said so, then *trailers and whether *actors I liked were in it or its a Studio Ghibli film, and more recently if it had a good review on the DVD jacket by Roger Ebert (or Peter Travers used to be, which now I feel somewhat embarrassed by), but Rotten Tomatoes has made it a whole lot easier, and I do often read through the review blurbs, seeing why people gave a Rotten or Fresh score. Sometimes I've still chosen to go see a movie even if it was a low score and sometimes it turns out just as bad a said, or my own low expectations help me enjoy it more. I'm probably more of the average joe, I don't have favorite film reviewers since Ebert died (other than some of you like Steven Greydanus and Jeffrey Overstreet who I often google their thoughts on a movie if I'm up in the air about it), and I do tend to use review aggregates as a litmus test. Even on Netflix for a time I just picked a movie if it looked interesting, and then I started noticing that I had been watching a string of really bad movies and noticed that most of the ones I did like had higher star ratings (with some exceptions), so I just started picking what to add to my list based on star ratings and if it looked interesting to me. I still follow some of my old rules too, and it all works out usually. but that's what works for me. I don't expect it to for everyone.
  3. I think the suggestion that this is "the end of movie criticism" is akin to the various thinkpieces which arrive each year suggesting we're nearing "the end of cinema," usually because of the new era of television, streaming platforms, etc. Film writing continues to evolve and branch out into new territory, with interdisciplinary academic writing, long-form essays, podcasts, and various independent websites and magazines exploring new ways to engage with the form (my current favorite is Bright Wall/Dark Room, which is publishing some of the best criticism I've seen from a wide variety of authors and perspectives). Film criticism might be changing with different mediums and ways of propagating the writing, but unless we enter into an apocalyptic dystopia, I imagine writing about art and its impact is not going away any time soon. Maybe this is why Darren doesn't follow me on Letterboxd . My ratings average tend to peak at 4-stars, mainly because I've learned to discern which films I probably wouldn't like, and I don't have a publication or press responsibilities forcing me to watch and review films I assume I wouldn't enjoy.
  4. I am very out of the loop when it comes to film conversation right now. I fear it is because after things filter through Twitter and Letterboxd, not much makes it to forums any more - and I do not have extra time to spend on either of those platforms. So I am stuck with journals mainly. Though there is still a lot of terrific film writing out there. Much more than there seemed to be 10 years ago.
  5. One can now see the first five minutes: It is pretty disappointing, in that it all feels a bit flat despite the ornate CGI. Parts of it are frame for frame copies of the original, but something is just not translating into the live version (at least these five minutes). And I hope I am wrong, but I wager the 1 Cor 13 references scattered throughout the film are absent in this script. This would be a shame, given that this interplay between Paul's theology and post-humanity in the original made for one of the best pop culture biblical references in the 20th century.
  6. From 1988 (the same year that Tin Toy, the first CGI short to win an Oscar, came out): I
  7. Robin hasn't been onscreen since Batman and Robin, but they want to do a Nightwing movie? The brains behind the DC movie universe need to do some serious reflection.
  8. Yesterday
  9. Links to our threads on other DC Cinematic Universe films Man of Steel (2013), Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice (2016), Suicide Squad (2016), Wonder Woman (2017), Justice League (2017), Aquaman (2018), Shazam! (2019), Cyborg (2020), Green Lantern (2020), Black Adams (in development), Dark Universe (in development), The Flash (in development) and Gotham City Sirens (in development), as well as the not-yet-dated standalone Superman, Batman and Justice League sequels. Link to our thread on director Chris McKay's previous film The Lego Batman Movie (2016). - - - Batman Spinoff ‘Nightwing’ in the Works With ‘Lego Batman’ Director Warner Bros. is developing a live-action “Nightwing” movie, based on the DC character, with “The Lego Batman Movie” director Chris McKay in negotiations to helm. The Nightwing character first appeared in a 1963 DC comic book as an alias used by Superman in stories set in Kandor, a Kryptonian city that was preserved in a bottle. Nightwing was later re-imagined as a vigilante character, taken on by Dick Grayson when he left behind his Robin identity. Michael Cera voiced the Dick Grayson/Robin role in “Lego Batman.” Bill Dubuque, who wrote “The Accountant,” is writing the “Nightwing” script. The project is part of Warner Bros.’ DC Extended Universe, which launched with 2013’s “Man of Steel,” followed by last year’s “Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice” and “Suicide Squad.” Variety, February 23
  10. Backup Films Boards Ari Folman’s Animated ‘Anne Frank’ Feature (EXCLUSIVE) PARIS – Backup Films, the Paris-based outfit behind “Still Alice” and “Submergence,” has come on board “Where Is Anne Frank,” Ari Folman’s 17.5-million-euro ($18.8 million) animated follow-up to “The Congress” and “Waltz With Bashir.” Because “Where Is Anne Frank” is the first movie to be supported by The Anne Frank Fonds Basel, Folman has been granted privileged access to Anne Frank’s diary, various texts and family archives. “Where Is Anne Frank” is now set to go into production this month after spending two years in development. The feature-length film follows the journey of Kitty, the imaginary friend to whom Anne dedicated her diary. A fiery teenager, Kitty wakes up in the near future in Anne Frank’s house in Amsterdam and embarks on a journey to find Anne, who she believes is still alive, in today’s Europe. While the young girl is shocked by the modern world, she also comes across Anne’s legacy. . . . In line with Folman’s Oscar-nominated “Waltz With Bashir,” an intimate animated documentary shedding light on Folman’s experience as a soldier in the Lebanon war of 1982, “Where Is Anne Frank” will draw parallels between past and present turmoils in a thought-provoking way. But unlike “Waltz With Bashir,” “Where Is Anne Frank” is meant to appeal to children and families as well as young adults, said Jean-Baptiste Babin, founding partner of Backup Films, whose animation credits include “Minuscule” and “Song of the Sea.” “We aim to make a radically modern animated film. The overall ambition of the film is to ensure that Anne Frank’s diary remains relevant to millennials for the next decades,” said Diana Elbaum, who is producing the film and previously teamed with Folman on “The Congress.” . . . Variety, February 3
  11. Ok, but without Fincher or Mara I have a hard time caring about this movie.
  12. Six months out, I don't recall a lot of specifics, but I liked Frantz quite a bit when I saw it at TIFF last year.
  13. Links to our threads on the Swedish and American versions of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, the Swedish and American versions of The Girl Who Played with Fire, and the book series that started it all. Link to our thread on Alvarez's previous film Evil Dead (2013). We don't seem to have a thread on Don't Breathe (2016). - - - ‘The Girl In The Spider’s Web’ Director Speaks Out About Recasting Lisbeth Salander The Girl In The Spider’s Web is moving forward at Sony with Fede Alvarez taking the reins as director. Monday’s announcement revealed that the followup to David Fincher’s 2011 The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo would feature an entirely new cast, which meant replacing Rooney Mara in the Oscar-nominated role of Lisbeth Salander. Now, the Don’t Breathe helmer has spoken out about the recasting decision, tweeting that it’s a director’s job to choose the right person for the role. “It’s said that 50% of the director’s work is casting. If I’d just take Fincher’s (amazing) casting, I wouldn’t be doing half of my job,” he wrote after a fan asked what the reason was for recasting. Based on David Lagercrantz’s 2015 novel of the same name, the fourth in the series, the film will follow Salander and journalist Mikael Blomkvist after they enter a world of a ruthless underworld of spies, cybercriminals, and government operatives — some willing to kill to protect their secrets. Steven Knight and Alvarez and Jay Basu penned the script. . . ., March 14
  14. I'll just say that at this early point in the year, Frantz is my film to beat. The playing around between B&W and color was effective. I see why this won Cesar for Cinematography. The story is really well done and brings us questions of truth and lies in a wonderful way.
  15. One slot available if you want in go to
  16. I rather didn't like it, or at least had very mixed feelings, mostly due to its constant throwbacks to earlier, better films:
  17. And the Marion Crane arc begins. This has always been the challenge the show would have to confront--how, exactly, to deal with the Hitchcock movie (and, to a far lesser extent, the source novel). I can't say it really grabs me, though it's certainly more intriguing than the Dylan-Emma stuff; those actors really don't sell the married-with-child angle. After seeing how effectively Hannibal cannibalized and reconstituted its own source material, I was hoping for something a bit more daring vis-a-vis Marion, but (the AV Club to the contrary), the scenes involving her play very much like a remake of the Hitchcock original. There are changes, of course. Sam Loomis's marriage (and the existence of cell phones!) pushes the story in a slightly new direction, as does Norman's ongoing breakdown. Highmore is working overtime to sell that angle and it shows; his Norman Bates seems constantly on the edge of tears, lately, which is effective insofar as this is so very definitely Norman's story now. To my understanding, the Marion storyline is a two-episode arc, so next week we'll presumably be getting to the shower. I'm more worried now than I was about how that will play out. (On another note, I would like to emphasize how gorgeous this show is. The sequence with Marion pulling up to the hotel was a treat to watch)
  18. Genuine, thoughtful, and good film criticism has always been rare. We can always use more Pauline Kaels and Rogert Eberts, and some of the best writing on film I've read has been done by good writers who are not popular "film critics" at all (such as Geoff Dyer, Zadie Smith, and David Foster Wallace). Popular aggregates and ratings systems, of any variety, have practically nothing to do with film criticism. Do not use them to decide what you watch.
  19. This is a proclamation that gets tossed out every time something like this changes, but I doubt criticism is going away entirely. It's interesting that he name drops Siskel and Ebert, since they were grilled over the same thing regarding their "thumbs up, thumbs down". The truth is I don't think very many people actually read film criticism anyway. They usually go on word of mouth and advertising, and RT really just tracks word of mouth. That is, there *is* no "RottenTomatoes" that gives a score. RottenTomatoes is not an entity that reviews movies. It's merely an aggregate. And, if your taste runs toward the aggregate, it's probably going to steer you well. If you have more idiosyncratic taste, you may be baffled, as this writer apparently was over HAIL, CAESAR! (which I loved by the way). Personally, given the limited time I have I'm more in the "wait until a couple of critics I like and whose taste I can accurately gauge chime in" camp. It's one of the reasons I give out very few low, low ratings. I don't really like RT that much, except as a place to collect reviews in one spot. Darren Hughes commented on Twitter that he judges people based on the distribution of their Letterboxd ratings (tongue in cheek, I assume). The idea being that he doesn't trust people who give out tons of 4s and 5s. But, with my other commitments in life and the fact that I'm still discovering a lot of older, well-regarded films, means that my distribution skews high. But I just try to avoid things I know I'm going to dislike.
  20. According to one guy at least What do you think? Does the popularity of RottenTomatoes and Netflix's new thumbs up thumbs down rating system spell the end of movie criticism? I'm not sure I agree with him. On RT I'd say they have a rather rigorous process to be considered for addition to their reviewers pool, and while I'm not really that sure about Netflix I don't really think it ever was a bastion of great film criticism to start... And he might invalidate his whole opinion to me by loathing Hail, Caesar...course that might be petty of me heh. I'm one of those guys who rarely sees a movie in theater unless it has a high RT rating (unless I'm bored, or it was something I wanted to see regardless) and they haven't steered me that badly yet. In particular I had no interest in seeing Ouija: Origin of Evil til I noticed its higher RT rating, and I was duly impressed with the film, a rare light years better sequel/prequel (TBF the original was a very meh movie on its own so it wasn't that hard to beat it)
  21. Last week
  22. Fair enough, y'all. We've got a great community thing going on here that long ago earned my lasting trust and respect, so I'll participate in a (no pun intended) good faith manner.
  23. I really liked it.
  24. I like this approach very much and it is more or less what I had in mind when I voted for "films on waking up."
  25. Again, and I can emphasize this, imagine the "Top 25 Films on Conversion" that someone like Ted Baehr would create. Then, imagine us doing the opposite of that and calling it "Top 25 Films on Waking Up." I believe such a list would focus on stories where characters' eyes' are opened to spiritual realities, both with and/or without institutionalized religious contexts. I would want to craft the list in such a way that it is attractive, challenging, and inspiring to any thinking person, wherever that person may currently be in thinking through what he or she believes.
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