tagged w/ Critics
Late one night I was channel surfing and stumbled upon Heckler, a documentary made by Jamie Kennedy. Kennedy set forth on the making of this documentary after receiving harsh criticism for Son of the Mask. He goes on to talk to several different people, such as Lewis Black, Dave Attell, George Lucas, Carrot Top, David Cross, Tom Green, and many more about criticism.
The documentary seemed to clump together critics, hecklers, and haters. I always considered all three different things. I saw a critic as a professional, and one whom unbiassedly reviews music, film, etc. I thought a heckler mostly as a drunken buffoon, idiot, moron at a comedy show whom thinks they are better than everyone. And finally, a hater to me was a new breed of moron whom just hates for no apparent reason; maybe they do it because they think they are funny, or have no other way to express this weird passion in them. Some of the people in the documentary referred to critics as haters and that kind of bothered me. After thinking about it a little more though, I could understand where they were coming from because of the development of the internet and blogging.Late one night I was channel surfing and stumbled upon Heckler, a documentary made by... more
The day before New Year's means you've got time to kill. And baby, ain't nothing kill time faster than a list or three.
-The Top 10 Conservative Films of the Decade from Brits! [Daily Telegraph]
-Does Knowing really belong on a Top Ten of 2009 list? Maybe...[Little Gold Men]
-Bilge Eberi's Top 10 has a Number One you won't believe. [AMC News]
-Andrew O'Hehir's best of 2009 is worth checking out, as is Film Salon. [Salon]
-Speaking of FS, Matt Zoller Seitz is counting down the best directors of the decade. [Film Salon]
-74 Critics are lumped into a gigantic Best Of 2009 diagram. One of them is an ex-teacher of mine. One is a friend of mine. The other is a fucking hack named Kirk Honeycutt who JUST THIS MONTH corrected his Harmony and Me typo from June. [MCN]
The day before New Year's means you've got time to kill. And baby,... more
The Car Music Project was conceived in late 1991 by composer Bill Milbrodt (mil-brōt), when his personal car, a battered and road-weary 1982 Honda Accord, was nearing the end of its useful life. After the car was entirely dismantled, metal sculpturer Ray Faunce III began creating the bands instruments from the old cars parts. Described by music critics as an "avant-garde genius" and likened to Frank Zappa, the Car Music Project's pit crew consists of top notch musicians. .... http://www.makeahistory.com/index.php/section-blog/190-car-music-projectThe Car Music Project was conceived in late 1991 by composer Bill Milbrodt... more
Everyone’s been making a fuss about the new Sherlock Holmes movie from Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels English crime filmmaker Guy Ritchie and how it’s suposed to be a different animal from the Sir Arthur Conan Doyle detective stories that are ingrained in pop culture. Many have worried it would be all flash and dazzle, a fear that wouldn’t be totally unjustified considering the quick-cut editing and matter-of-factness dialogue that Ritchie’s filmography has been host to.
But now that it’s out, it turns out we have nothing to worry about.
Well, almost nothing.
The Sherlock Holmes we’ve come to know is the one with that ridiculous deerstalker hat, perpetually staring through a magnifying glass and walking alongside an amusingly obese Watson. While it’s always more entertaining to see a jolly fat man in the movies than the new Holmes‘ version, the slim but adept (and to be fair, pretty strong in his own right) Watson, played by Jude Law, is just one example that proves the changes made in Ritchie’s Holmes work pretty well.
But it’s not all shoot-’em-ups and drug runs like you’d expect from Ritchie. It’s also not a Robert Downey, Jr. romp of charisma and smartassery (I have to admit, I was worried Downey would be reprising his super-likable characters from Iron Man and Kiss Kiss Bang Bang in this titular role.) Instead it is, quite genuinely, an old-school mystery movie.
It’s apparent from the get go that Ritchie’s not interested in giving us a straight-up entertainment ride - instead he creates a grimy 19th Century London, with filthy brown rooms shown through dirty cinematography, almost with the vibe of an early 70s New Hollywood film. It’s a great breath of fresh air from every other tent pole released today, from the good (Avatar) to the thoroughly crappy (Transformers 2). It’s not that movies shouldn’t look pristine, but it’s great to change it up and see Holmes in a dirty, utilitarian style that feels real (and, as a guy that got nauseous during The Hurt Locker, it’s great to see Ritchie do it without having to rely on steadicam.)
http://www.scene-stealers.com/print-reviews/movie-review-sherlock-holmes/Scene Stealers-- Everyone’s been making a fuss about the new Sherlock Holmes... more
We all know what the media thinks of women. Let’s just say that you can’t be too skinny, too slutty, or too bitchy in this post-millennial melee. And we all know what the various artistic outlets think of men. They’re pigs, prone to hygiene issues, and when they aren’t packing major toolboy muscle power, they’re dorking up the place with their testosterone and testes guided nerd noggins. Toss in the generic overview on children (cutesy, cloying, and precocious), minorities (straight out of a ‘30s Hollywood script), and any other recognizable type (brainiac scientist, hand-sign throwing skate rat) and it’s a specious look locked into a lowest common denominator decision.
So it’s no surprise then that the powers that be, desperate to connect with a web wired world, has decided that stuffy film critics with a wealth of history and a decent amount of artform perspective should be replaced by you - or at the very least, a dithering, dunderheaded close facsimile thereof. Like the glut of gamer experts who wear their oh-so idiosyncratic interests on their highly irreverent t-shirts, movie reviewing is being purposefully dumbed down to match your own inherent belief in your unsophisticated, knee-jerk reaction - sorry, opinion. Like the old saying about a-holes, it’s apparently true that everyone has a viewpoint on entertainment, and as with most mentions of the anus, they almost always stink.
http://www.popmatters.com/pm/post/71728-critical-confessions-part-15-movie-critics-nu-media-styleWe all know what the media thinks of women. Let’s just say that you can’t... more
Jorge Carreon blogs that Kathryn Bigelow's "The Hurt Locker" and Jason Reitman's "Up in the Air" may be the films to beat for Oscar glory. Both proved favorites of this year's L.A. Film Critics Awards.
http://www.examiner.com/x-1486-LA-Personalities-Examiner~y2009m12d13-The-Road-to-Oscar-Hurt-Locker-and-Up-in-the-Air-lead-LA-Film-Critics-AwardsJorge Carreon blogs that Kathryn Bigelow's "The Hurt Locker" and Jason... more
Censorship arrived in France, too. The newspaper France Soir has fired two correspondents, one in Rome and one in Moscow, because on their articles they were too much critical about the government of those countries.
http://www.inaltreparole.net/en/journalism/francesoircegiornalistecensura231109.htmlCensorship arrived in France, too. The newspaper France Soir has fired two... more
Benjamin Strong has an awesome interview with NY Press critic Armond White about the films of 1962 and why White has such a disdain for "online" when it comes to critics and the films of '62 which are showing at BAM.
White talked with the L last week about the NYFCC's lost year, and about remarks he made at the recent Hamptons International Film Festival. White has long been outspoken about what he sees as the corruption of film culture by television—just look at his withering review from this summer of Star Trek. White is also troubled by what he believes has been a decline in the respect accorded to film criticism, for which he blames, among other things, internet dilettantes.Benjamin Strong has an awesome interview with NY Press critic Armond White about the... more
When I see a lot of explosions, a lot of chases, I'm not terribly impressed. I think there are three terribly important elements that must be given position — priority position — in science fiction as well as in any other kind of drama: the first is story, the second is story, and the third is story. Story, story, story, story, story.When I see a lot of explosions, a lot of chases, I'm not terribly impressed. I... more
"This weekend, critics, academics, actors and directors are gathering in Stratford-on-Avon to discuss the business of reviewing Shakespeare. It should make for some lively sessions. Janet Suzman, Tim Supple, Stanley Wells, Peter Holland, Carol Rutter and Michael Coveney will be among those taking part. I've been asked to kick off with a talk representing the aisle-squatter's view.
I don't want to pre-empt my own lecture, but one thing seems clear to me: both Shakespeare production, and the whole reviewing business, is in a state of flux. On the production side, we talk of the virtues of ensemble and a coherent directorial vision. Yet the public clearly loves nothing more than seeing stars. Look at the way young people flocked to see David Tennant and Jude Law as Hamlet. And the prospect of Judi Dench returning to Shakespeare to play Titania-cum-Queen Elizabeth in Peter Hall's revival of A Midsummer Night's Dream next year is already causing people to salivate.
Of course, star-driven Shakespeare need not preclude strong direction. One of the most exciting productions of recent years was Rupert Goold's Macbeth, which had an edge-of the-seat, horror-movie quality and a deeply intelligent performance from Patrick Stewart as a Stalinist tyrant thane. Michael Grandage's Donmar Othello combined a monumental performance from Chiwetel Ejiofor with a cool, classical vision of the play. But I still think we're not quite sure what we want from Shakespeare today. One moment it's long-term ensembles; the next, it's big names. Similarly we talk about the need for textual purity; yet no one seems to notice when Greg Doran softens the climax to Hamlet by virtually eliminating Fortinbras. And a joky rewrite of Cymbeline, such as Kneehigh gave us at Stratford recently, has people in ecstasy rather than complaining about the butchery of the verse.
If Shakespeare production is in a state of confusion, so too are the critics. We scribblers sometimes like to see ourselves as part of a great tradition that extends from Hazlitt and Shaw to Agate and Tynan: however puny our efforts, we are subliminally conscious of our rich inheritance. Yet criticism today operates in a very different climate from the past. Space is tight, reviews are part of a consumerist culture and the blogosphere means everyone is now a critic. Change is inevitable. But the critic is today caught in a cleft stick. Confronted, say, by Tennant's Hamlet, is the critic meant to put it in its historical context or the context of Doctor Who? Possibly both. But it can be tricky trying to reconcile the idea of the critic as essayist and commentator on modern culture.
I don't want to agonise too much. Criticism is an unending challenge; one of the exhilarations of the job is tackling Shakespeare and trying to pin down both performances and changing production styles. Attitudes to Shakespeare also tell us a lot about ourselves: look, for instance, at the rediscovery of the History plays as a metaphor for modern power-politics. All this – and much more – will doubtless be aired at the Shakespeare Centre in Stratford this coming weekend. If you're in the vicinity, come along and add to the confusion – and the fun.""This weekend, critics, academics, actors and directors are gathering in... more
"A question that comes up time and again in the theatre world is how critics and practitioners should relate to one another. The rise of theatre blogging has done a great deal to blur the lines between these two camps, due to the fact that more directors, actors and designers are taking to their keyboards to air their opinions, and that the internet allows artists and reviewers to talk more directly than ever before.
Yet, as we can see from this week's blogs, this situation can give rise to a number of quite knotty ethical questions. Rob Weinert-Kendt has been looking back at the argument that erupted a couple of weeks ago when David Cote, the theatre editor of Time Out New York, engaged in a thorough trashing of blogger and playwright George Hunka. Weinert-Kendt is interested in how a relationship in the virtual world can affect matters in the real one; he mentions that the New York Times once commissioned him to review one of Hunka's plays, but eventually spiked it "because George and I were on each other's blogrolls". Weinert-Kendt goes on to wonder what sort of coverage Hunka and his theatre company can now expect from Time Out. Given Cote's attitude, would it be naive to assume Hunka might be treated fairly?
This sense of responsibility incurred by the critic towards the artist is being discussed in a different way by Kris Vire on the Storefront Rebellion blog. He responds to a recent suggestion that in a time of recession, "critics should champion [rather than criticise] theatre in their communities to help save art". This, Vire argues, is nonsense: "It does no one any good to encourage bad theatre … The absolute worst thing we can do as critics is to be soft on a show we didn't enjoy because people worked so hard on it."
Suzy Evans, in a guest post on the Playgoer's blog, agrees. She argues that "just because we're in a recession doesn't mean critics should promote and congratulate poor theatre – that would simply exacerbate the problem". If critics praise bad work, not only will readers lose their faith in the judgment of the writers, artists won't be challenged or motivated to do better.
Many theatre practitioners might actually agree with this. The actor Travis Bedard, who blogs at Cambiare Productions, recently received very mixed reviews for a show he was in. "It is in my best interest to have as rigorous a review of my work as I can get," he wrote. "I may discard some of it as not useful to my future work or as an outlier in reference to this work. But if it's all going to simply be treacley appreciation for 'how hard I tried' I will never be one whit better tomorrow than I am today." In the long run, honesty is far more valuable than flattery."""A question that comes up time and again in the theatre world is how critics and... more
WASHINGTON – President Barack Obama is challenging critics of his push to overhaul the health care system to stop making "phony claims" about proposals now the subject of intense coast-to-coast debate.
"This is an issue of vital concern to every American, and I'm glad that so many are engaged," Obama said in his weekly radio and Internet address Saturday. "But it also should be an honest debate, not one dominated by willful misrepresentations and outright distortions, spread by the very folks who would benefit the most by keeping things exactly as they are."
"So today, I want to spend a few minutes debunking some of the more outrageous myths circulating on the Internet, on cable TV and repeated at some town halls across this country," the president said.
Obama said the overhaul would not cover illegal immigrants nor use taxpayer dollars to pay for abortions, and he does not intend a government takeover of health care — as critics have claimed at contentious town hall-style meetings with members of Congress.
He also took a swipe at "death panels," an idea former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin introduced on her Facebook page.
"As every credible person who has looked into it has said, there are no so-called death panels — an offensive notion to me and to the American people," Obama said. "These are phony claims meant to divide us."
more at link....as well as a video.
FEW minutes? More like a couple.....A HUGE difference. --- FAIL.WASHINGTON – President Barack Obama is challenging critics of his push to... more
Much gnashing of teeth of late on the webs re: the collapse of cinema and cinema-going culture. Click the link above and check out these posts, (and the comments from their Readers), from the always-necessary Roger Ebert, Some Came Running's Glenn Kenny and and One-Ben Replacement A.O. Scott.
What do I think?
Well…though I’m tempted to say that every generation always tells the next to “Get off my lawn!”, I think there’s no denying that cinema, (meaning modern projected images w/sound in a theatre), has declined since my youth – in the quality of the pics, the importance of them in mainstream culture, and in people’s desire to see good, thought-provoking stories.
But that’s just me. What do you think?Much gnashing of teeth of late on the webs re: the collapse of cinema and cinema-going... more
Alexis Soloski writes, "While the British theatre scene prepares for Edinburgh, in New York, the International Fringe festival begins on 14 August, and I've been planning my schedule for the opening weekend. In two and a half days I'll see more than a dozen shows, and, if this year is anything like the last 10, I'll also have to deal with too little sleep, too much pizza, freezing air conditioning, boiling sun, torrential rain and several of the worst plays I will see all year.
While I love my work as a drama critic and used to very much enjoy my days of frantic Fringe-ing, I have begun to view this late-summer ritual with something approaching dread. It's not the fault of the Fringe, but rather the fact that in recent years New York has come to suffer from a condition called festival glut. And it's an acute case. Not very long ago, Manhattan theatre used to take a summer holiday. A few shows demanded attention, such as the Public's Shakespeare in the Park, but, for the most part, a critic could have a holiday – some time to relax and indulge in other passions. Dagger-sharpening, say. Or making small children cry.
I should say I'm not in the least anti-theatre. Last month I spent my holiday in London and Manchester, seeing plenty of plays. Nor am I anti-festival. Every year a critic friend and I hatch schemes to get ourselves to the Festival d'Avignon; they've yet to work.
But I'm unconvinced that the typical strategy of taking in as many shows as you can is a particularly functional or pleasurable way to experience theatre. It's an efficient use of time, I suppose, and encourages associative thinking as you try to make sense of so many disparate works. But every year, even if I take assiduous notes and drink too much coffee, the shows start to blur together in my head – tragedies mixing with musicals, parodies with confessional solo works. I also find that festival-going itself appeals to me less than it once did. Experiences I used to love in my 20s – bad food, lack of sleep, quick-fire romance – no longer seem quite as fun."Alexis Soloski writes, "While the British theatre scene prepares for Edinburgh,... more
Terry Teachout writes, "Critics don't get much respect. (Pause here for raucous laughter.) If you doubt it, look up the word "critic" in any book of quotations and see what you find.
On Saturday, the Santa Fe Opera will present the world premiere of "The Letter," an opera by the Pulitzer Prize-winning composer Paul Moravec for which I wrote the libretto. It's based on the 1927 play by W. Somerset Maugham, the British novelist who wrote "Of Human Bondage" and "The Razor's Edge."
You probably know "The Letter" from William Wyler's 1940 film, in which Bette Davis played a pistol-packing adulteress. While the plot is mostly Maugham's, our musical version is otherwise very different from the play. We've turned it into what Paul calls an "opera noir," a fast-moving thriller that plays for 90 intermission-free minutes. (Imagine a cross between "Tosca" and "Double Indemnity" and you'll get the idea.)
In case you're wondering, I haven't spent my whole life dreaming of writing an opera libretto. The thought of doing so never entered my mind until Paul invited me to collaborate with him. Nor am I a frustrated playwright: I love reviewing shows and writing biographies on the side. But now that I've got the bit between my teeth, I admit to being thrilled by the prospect of hearing my words sung on stage.
I also admit to having been both amused and touched by the words of an actress I know whom I ran into last summer in a theater lobby. She introduced me to her boyfriend as follows: "Terry isn't just a writer and a critic -- he's an artist too. He's writing an opera!"
Yes, I laughed, but mainly because she blew the bull's-eye out of the target. As far as I'm concerned, critics aren't artists. In my capacity as a critic and biographer, I think of myself as an artisan -- a craftsman. One of the reasons why I believe this to be so is because I used to be an artist. I spent many years working as a professional musician, and that experience has conditioned my approach to criticism. I try to write not as a lofty figure from on high, smashing stone tablets over the heads of character actors and prima donnas, but as someone who has spent his whole adult life immersed in the world of art, both as a critic and, once upon a time, as a practitioner."Terry Teachout writes, "Critics don't get much respect. (Pause here for... more
"The decision to revoke the fourth estate's Tony voting privileges has spurred an outcry from disenfranchised journos and other legiters.
The Tony Award Management Committee announced via email Tuesday evening that members of the so-called First Night Press List -- the group of critics, reporters and editors invited to see Broadway shows on or before opening night -- would no longer be allowed to vote for the legit world's highest-profile kudos.
Journalists have been included in the voting pool since the 1963-64 season, the same year members of the League of New York Theaters and Producers -- the org that later became the Broadway League, now a co-presenter of the Tonys -- were invited to vote.
Move reduces the pool of Tony voters by about 100, or down more than 10%, to approximately 700.
As soon as the email went out, those affected voiced skepticism regarding the stated rationale behind the move, with some viewing the change as an effort by producers, presenters and promoters -- who make up the majority of the voting pool -- to tighten control of the Tony Awards, widely regarded as a top marketing showcase for Broadway fare.
Other critics took it as a slap in the face that further marginalizes their standing in the Gotham theater community. Irked members of the New York Drama Critics Circle soon launched into a debate regarding a variety of potential responses, including lodging a formal complaint to reopen negotiations, as well as prompting talk of expanding the NYDCC's annual awards to counter the exclusion from the Tonys.
The Tonys were the only kudos among the major entertainment industry laurels to have included press among voters. There's no significant critical presence among voting bodies for Grammys, Emmys or Oscars.
The severance letter, sent out by the Tony Awards' press agency, PMK/HBH, reasoned that the impartiality of journos might be compromised by their direct involvement in the selection of Tony winners. Announcement also noted that the press has plenty of opportunity to make critics' opinions known via the media outlets that run their theater coverage, as well as through the annual awards roundups in which various groups participate, such as the NYDCC Awards, Drama Desks and Outer Critics Circle Awards.
Decision also repped an effort to pare back an expanding first-night list, which has grown over the years to include a wide array of assignment editors, bloggers, TV bookers and others. Generous estimates peg the actual number of legitimate first-night press at 30-40, leaving 60 or so other media professionals who may or may not cover theater directly and in many cases don't see a large number of the eligible shows.
"It was not a desire to insult the press in any way but to address the fact that the criteria for inclusion on the first-night list was not coincident with any criteria for why one should or should not be a voter," said Howard Sherman, exec director of the American Theater Wing, co-presenter of the Tonys.
Rather than risk the controversy of disenfranchising only some of that press list, the management committee decided to revoke the vote for the entire group.
Some in the industry said they viewed the measure as throwing the baby out with the bathwater.""The decision to revoke the fourth estate's Tony voting privileges has... more
Conservative economist Bruce Bartlett—who shocked the GOP establishment by backing Obama—now says the far left is being too hard on the president’s stimulus plan.Conservative economist Bruce Bartlett—who shocked the GOP establishment by... more
This week on infoMania we take a look at the wall-to-wall Michael Jackson media madness. Conor tries to figure out what the heck Nancy Grace is so mad about. Ben lays out his thoughts on the success of Transformers 2. Sarah takes a serious look at hair commercials. Sergio counts down the top 5 rap videos on iTunes. And people shoot rockets out of their butts.
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UPDATE: Thanks for all the great submissions! The call-out for shirts is now closed.This week on infoMania we take a look at the wall-to-wall Michael Jackson media... more