Daily Archives: February 9, 2018

From “Film Criticism in the Age of the Internet: A Critical Symposium” [2008]

From Cineaste, Vol. XXXIII, No. 4, 2008. -– J.R.

1) Has Internet criticism made a significant contribution to film culture? Does it tend to supplement print criticism or can it actually carve out critical terrain that is distinctive from traditional print criticism? Which Internet critics and bloggers do you read on a regular basis?

1) a. Significant and profound. Because the changes it has wrought are ongoing and unfolding, it’s still hard to have a comprehensive fix on them.

1) b. It can and does do both. By broadening the playing field in terms of players, methodologies, audiences, social formations, and outlets, it certainly expands the options. The interactivity of almost immediate feedback, the strengths and limitations of being able to post almost as quickly as one can think (or type), the relative ease of making screen grabs — these and many other aspects of Internet discourse are bringing about changes in content as well as in style and form, shape and size.

1) c. Here’s just a sample: To varying degrees (some much more regularly than others), I like to read Acquarello, David Bordwell, Zach Campbell, Fred Camper, Roger Ebert, Flavia de la Fuente, Filipe Furtado, Michael E.Read more »

Satire in Action [15 MINUTES]

From the Chicago Reader (March 23, 2001). — J.R.

15 Minutes ***

Directed and written by John Herzfeld

With Robert De Niro, Edward Burns, Kelsey Grammer, Avery Brooks, Melina Kanakaredes, Karel Roden, and Oleg Taktarov.

A first-rate Hollywood entertainment, 15 Minutes is more than a little schizophrenic, a shotgun wedding between two seemingly irreconcilable genres — the buddy/cop action thriller and the angry social satire. It can’t even be unambiguous about the reason for its title. Presumably to placate the action-thriller buffs — some of whom are bound to be pissed off because satire is what closes in New Haven — there’s a throwaway line toward the end of the movie in which a vengeful cop is told he’ll have custody of the killer of his slain colleague for 15 minutes. Far more important is the satirical reference the movie bothers to cite only in the press notes: Andy Warhol’s 1968 assertion that “In the future everyone will be world-famous for 15 minutes.”

I’m a satire buff, but I have to confess that I do like at least a couple of the straight-ahead and relatively mindless action sequences: several cops chasing a Czech killer through busy midtown Manhattan traffic, while the killer, Emil, and his simpleminded Russian sidekick, Oleg (who videotapes everything and whose hero is Frank Capra), flee toward Central Park; and a fire marshal and a murder witness trying to escape from her apartment after it explodes in flames.… Read more »

All Is Forgiven [MONSTER'S BALL]

From the Chicago Reader (February 22, 2002). — J.R.

Monster’s Ball

** (Worth seeing)

Directed by Marc Forster

Written by Milo Addica and Will Rokos

With Billy Bob Thornton, Halle Berry, Peter Boyle, Heath Ledger, Sean Combs, Mos Def, and Coronji Calhoun.

Monster’s Ball is a Hollywood art movie; even the fancy color graphics imposed on the seedy milieu behind the opening credits tell us that. For some viewers, including a few reviewers, the movie becomes bearable only after an hour of misery, when the lead characters, Hank Grotowski (Billy Bob Thornton) and Leticia Musgrove (Halle Berry), finally get around to having their big sex scene (which I have to admit is worth the price of admission). Maybe the sex is prompted by these characters’ mutual misery, but it also happens because this is a Hollywood movie and these are its stars. And because it’s also an art movie, all the misery preceding the scene makes it feel earned.

Hank is a white corrections officer at the state pen in Georgia who recently guided Leticia’s husband, who’s black, to the electric chair, though it takes him a long time — and her even longer — to figure out the connection.… Read more »