Movie Reviews postsSaturday April 09, 2016
The False Positives in the 29% Rotten Tomatoes Rating of 'Batman v Superman'
'Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice' currently has a 29% rating on Rotten Tomatoes, which is rotten indeed, but I got curious about those critics that liked it. As in: What exactly did they like about it?
That's what I went searching for, but I found something else.
Yes, a few of the positive reviews are positive:
- “Unfairly maligned, Snyder's dark vision is impressive and starkly different from the competition. The plot is perhaps too ambitious but the film delivers more often than it doesn't with Affleck's Bruce Wayne and Gal Gadot being highlights.” — Chris Bumbray, JoBlo's Movie Emporium
But many sound like shrugs:
- “You take the good. You take the bad. You take them both and there you have a Zack Snyder film.” — Wesley Lovell, Cinema Sight
- “Above all of it's [sic] flaws, what works in Batman v Superman is enough to please the less demanding audiences.” -- Cuauhtémoc Ruelas, Tijuaneo
While a few are so negative they make you wonder what a critic has to say to give a movie a thumbs down:
- “Unfortunately, director Zach [sic] Snyder's scattershot, overly complicated and hugely drawn-out exposition depletes the story of all its fun and power, reducing his leads to impotent cranks.” - Roe McDermott, Hot Press
- “While the actors and the show are worth [sic] of a superhero film, it sacrifices the humanity of the characters and drowns in endless videogame sequences that ultimately leave us an emptiness and without amazement. Totally numb.” -- Mario P. Székely
A few of these were translated (poorly) from the Spanish. Maybe that's how they got translated into positive reviews, too: poorly.
Michael Shannon by Anthony Lane
Came across this nice description reading Lane's review of Jeff Nichols' new film, “Midnight Special”:
The actor Michael Shannon appears in all four [of Nichols'] films, starring in three of them, and, if you seek a reliable guide to Nichols's work, consider Shannon's face. Smiles do not become it; the mouth tightens, by reflex, to a crinkled line, and once, in “Take Shelter,” it gapes wide in a terrible and soundless O, as the hero wakes from a nightmare. The eyes, not quite matched, are set far apart in a square and noble head, which feels too heavy with care to be borne upon his shoulders. Although he is rangy and tall, anxiety freights him down, or brings him to a devastated halt. Shannon does not look alien, exactly, but never, even in company, do his characters seem like happy members of the human tribe.
Lane found the movie flawed but resonant. He would like to see it again, “to revel anew in its group portrait of those who are haunted by the will to believe.”
Michael Shannon in “Take Shelter”
Michael Bay is the Stone on Which Critics Sharpen Their Wit
Jeff Wells over at Hollywood Elsewhere has been criticizing the dudes at “Honest Trailers” for being a bit behind the times, but I suppose they did their send-up of the trailer for Michael Bay's 2001 film “Pearl Harbor” to coincide with the opening of Bay's new war movie, “13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi,” which is getting a lot of attention. (Me, I'd attack “Honest Trailers” more for not being very funny.)
Anyway, Wells uses the opportunity to quote from A.O. Scott's “Pearl Harbor” lede, which he calls “one of the finest opening paragraphs in the history of movie reviewing.” It ain't bad. But it ain't Anthony Lane, who gave us the following in his blistering review:
[That's] the second-best question of the film, topped only when Evelyn [Kate Beckinsale] finds Rafe [Ben Affleck] packing a suitcase, and, quick as a flash, says, “Packing?” She is understandably distraught by her sudden change of fortunes. One moment she is trying to cope with two grown men scrapping over her like a couple of roosters, and the next, as she says in some exasperation, “All this happened.” I am not absolutely sure what she means by “this,” but I imagine that she is referring to the trifling matter of an enraged United States being hauled into a global conflict. I guess we should thank Michael Bay for so bold a revisionist take on the Second World War: no longer the clash of virtuous freedom and a malevolent tyranny but a terrible bummer when a girl is trying to get her dates straight.
Critic Criticizes Critiquing of Critics
There are a zillion ways to lampoon a film critic, and sadly actor Jesse Eisenberg found exactly zero of them in his Shouts & Mumurs piece, “An Honest Film Review,” in the latest New Yorker.
Apparently critics have been objecting to the piece (and are accused of being thin-skinned), but I question Eisenberg less than The New Yorker, which gave prime real estate to a non-writer. Yeah, I know, Eisenberg's got a book out. Read the piece. He's a non-writer.
According to this post by Sam Adams on CriticWire, Eisenberg says he got the idea after reading a negative review of a Woody Allen movie:
The review said something along the lines of, “Woody Allen makes another movie. This one doesn't really work, but hey, he's doing one a year. Slow down, Wood-man.” And I realized the guy was not criticizing the movie. He was criticizing his own lack of productivity and laziness, vis-a-vis Woody Allen's productivity. But instead he was putting down the movie.
Interesting interpretation. But not mine. Mine goes like this:
- Woody Allen keeps making mediocre movies, year after year.
- Maybe if he took more time (say two years?) the movies might be better.
So not only is Eisenberg's piece lame, it's based upon an incorrect interpretation.
On the bright side, he's got a fallback position.
Blurb Whore Refueled
I haven't thought about blurb whores in a while. I guess I didn't know if they still did them. Why, in a world that doesn't care what critics think?
Then this morning I saw an ad on IMDb.com that called “The Transporter Refueled,” which is getting shitty reviews, “the summer's sexiest action thriller,” or some such. First thought: Isn't it fall already? Second thought: Who the hell said that? Peter Travers? Larry King? Earl Dittman? I looked. And looked. And looked harder:
Can you read it? I zoomed in. And in:
Kyle Something, obviously. From “Made in Hollywood.”
Actually, after some quick searching, Kylie Erica Mar. She interviews celebs. But thanks for making it clear, ad agency.
The movie opened to $2.4 million on Friday, good enough for barely first place. Apparently not enough moviegoers are reading Kyle.