A Plus on the Need for More Female Film Critics

Posted onPosted on

Jill O’Rourke of A Plus has an excellent article about why it is important to have diversity in film criticism as well as in filmmaking.

AWFJ amplifies the voices of women who write about film — a group still very underrepresented in all forms of media — and focuses film industry and audience attention on the work of women behind and in front of the lens,” Merin said her organization, which was founded in 2006. The AWFJ website highlights feminist Movies of the Week, with reviews written by women, as well as spotlighting a female creator once a month. “Raising awareness through these ongoing AWFJ projects opens opportunity for women in film and hopefully will lead to a gender-equal playing field.”…”AWFJ invites all to join our THE FEMALE GAZE FORUM group on Facebook, where they can post information and recommendations about ‘feminist’ films and projects, applaud special achievements by women in film, and engage in substantive discussions about how to equal the playing field for women in film,” Merin suggests, in addition to creating viewing clubs and supporting the films recommended on the organization’s website. “Women represent more than 50 percent of the movie-going population. We want to see films that tell our stories and reflect our interests.”

Diversity in entertainment goes beyond just the faces on our screens. All aspects of the industry should reflect the people who consume its media. Chaz Ebert, widow of film critic Roger Ebert and publisher of RogerEbert.com, put it simply in The Daily Beast in 2015: “It is critical that the people who write about film and television and the arts — and indeed the world — mirror the people in our society.”

I am very lucky to be a longtime member of AWFJ and a contributor to Chaz Ebert’s rogerebert.com.

Related Tags:

 

Critics Gender and Diversity

Javier Bardem: Another Worst Movie of All Time Review

Posted onPosted on

I did not like Darren Aronofsky’s “mother!” one bit and called it pretentious and self-indulgent. I’m in the minority among critics, most of whom admired it, though many said they found it confusing. Rex Reed, however, hated it even more than I did, calling it possibly the worst movie of the century.

An exercise in torture and hysteria so over the top that I didn’t know whether to scream or laugh out loud…with the subtlety of a chainsaw…two hours of pretentious twaddle that tackles religion, paranoia, lust, rebellion, and a thirst for blood in a circus of grotesque debauchery.

That reminded me of another review of a film also starring Javier Bardem, “The Counselor,” dubbed by Salon’s Andrew O’Hehir not just “the worst movie ever made” but “a self-referential commentary on its own terribleness.”

Mr. Bardem, yes, you got an Oscar for the ultra-violent “No Country for Old Men,” but perhaps it’s time to try something different.

Related Tags:

 

Critics

Not Really “Rotten” — Movies Critics Overlook

Posted onPosted on

Digital Trends has a list of movies that received a “rotten” rating on the critic aggregator Rotten Tomatoes but deserve another look.

While I don’t agree with every choice (“Europtrip” is pretty bad) and some are uneven (“Troy”), I strongly endorse the inclusion of two great movies, “The Secret Life of Walter Mitty” with Ben Stiller and “Defiance,” with Daniel Craig and Liev Schreiber.  And if “A Knight’s Tale” is on cable, I usually find myself watching it.

Related Tags:

 

Critics For Your Netflix Queue Neglected gem

Bonnie and Clyde, Roger Ebert, and Pauline Kael

Posted onPosted on

Arthur Penn’s “Bonnie and Clyde” turns 50 this week. Rogerebert.com critics pay tribute, fitting as the film was one of Roger Ebert’s favorites and his review of the film helped to make his reputation as a critic of seriousness, insight, and influence. He wisely and accurately wrote at the time that the film was “a milestone in the history of American movies, a work of truth and brilliance” and predicted “years from now it is quite possible that ‘Bonnie and Clyde’ will be seen as the definitive film of the 1960s.” Later, with some perspective, he included it as one of his “Great Films” and wrote, “It was a film in which all of the unlikely pieces were assembled at the right time. And more than anything else, it was a masterpiece of tone, in which the actors and filmmakers were all in sync as they moved the material back and forth between comedy and tragedy.”

Copyright Warner Brothers 1967

At Flavorwire, Jason Bailey writes about Pauline Kael’s review, which he says was “as revolutionary to the craft of film criticism as Bonnie and Clyde was to the craft of film.”

“Bonnie and Clyde is the most excitingly American American movie since The Manchurian Candidate,” she wrote. “The audience is alive to it. Our experience as we watch it has some connection with the way we reacted to movies in childhood: with how we came to love them and to feel they were ours—not an art that we learned over the years to appreciate but simply and immediately ours.” And with that, she’s off and running, not only drawing us in with the breathless urgency of her praise, but vibing on what would become one of her signature preoccupations: the wild notion that this commoner’s entertainment could also be considered art, even when functioning outside the rigid confines of the “art film.”

She tackles this idea sideways, in considering and refuting the key argument of the film’s detractors (chief among them, Crowther at the Times): its violence. “To ask why people react so angrily to the best movies and have so little negative reaction to poor ones is to imply that they are so unused to the experience of art in movies that they fight it,” she surmises, and expands upon that notion thus:

Though we may dismiss the attacks with “What good movie doesn’t give some offense?,” the fact that it is generally only good movies that provoke attacks by many people suggests that the innocuousness of most of our movies is accepted with such complacence that when an American movie reaches people, when it makes them react, some of them think there must be something the matter with it—perhaps a law should be passed against it.

These were fairly radical notions at the time (for an American critic, anyway), that a popular art form like film should not only be provocative, but was better for it – and at the very least, it was a radical idea for the tony pages of the New Yorker. But the film’s volatile relationship with its audience, how it turns our expectations and reactions (to violence, to sexuality, and especially to humor) back on its viewers, make for both the essay’s most compelling ideas, and its most astonishing writing.

Also of interest: Variety’s Steven Gaydos debunks the myth that Kael’s review saved the film from studio neglect.

Related Tags:

 

Critics Film History Movie History

Want One of the Best Jobs in Movie Criticism/Coverage?

Posted onPosted on

The wonderful editor of Rotten Tomatoes, Matt Atchity, has left to oversee programming at the Young Turks, and that means the top job is open! Here’s your chance to run one of the most popular sites on the internet!

Related Tags:

 

Critics
THE MOVIE MOM® is a registered trademark of Nell Minow. Use of the mark without express consent from Nell Minow constitutes trademark infringement and unfair competition in violation of federal and state laws. All material © Nell Minow 1995-2017, all rights reserved, and no use or republication is permitted without explicit permission. This site hosts Nell Minow’s Movie Mom® archive, with material that originally appeared on Yahoo! Movies, Beliefnet, and other sources. Much of her new material can be found at Rogerebert.com, Huffington Post, and WheretoWatch. Her books include The Movie Mom’s Guide to Family Movies and 101 Must-See Movie Moments, and she can be heard each week on radio stations across the country.

Website Designed by Max LaZebnik