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January 13, 2011


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It's sometimes claimed that 'Watchmen' (the original Moore/Gibbons story) succeeded in distilling all that needed to or could be said on the superhero genre. These days (with the possible exception of 'The Incredibles') I fear this single comicbook cover might actually come closer to the truth:


Tom Block

I'm sure of very few things in this life but of this I'm certain: not liking Ron Howard movies does NOT make you a dick.


I was going to trot out my usual party line of how upset I am when critics decide ambitious misfires (full disclosure; I haven't yet seen HEREAFTER or BIUTIFUL, two films I noticed on more than a few of those worst lists) more than cynical, "we think you, the audience, are so stupid you'll actually pay money to see this crap" movies (nor have I seen GROWN-UPS, THE LAST AIRBENDER, LITTLE FOCKERS, or SEX AND THE CITY 2, three other prominent entries), but it did seem, with a few reliable exceptions (why Rex Reed is asked to participate in any gathering of "serious" critics is beyond me), like most of the critics listed here opted towards the latter type of movie, and that does make me feel a little better. Also, I must shamefacedly admit my least favorite movie of the year was Atom Egoyan's utterly misguided CHLOE, which, even if I get the feeling this was his way of trying to cash in, still feels more like an ambitious misfire.

warren oates

Fortuitously, my iTunes has chanced upon Daft Punk's "Around the World," the music video of which, by Michel Gondry, is perhaps my favorite of all time.

Hopefully THE GREEN HORNET will permit small moments of Gondrian joy between the requisite blockbuster beats.

@lipranzer: What's up with all the CHLOE haters? I sometimes feel like it's Jonathan Rosenbaum and me against the world when it comes to this film, Egoyan's best in years and a throwback to his earlier pervier art movies, only this time with better-looking Hollywood stars.

warren oates

From David Bordwell's blog: "I take comfort in learning just last weekend what terminated Stephen Chow’s directorship of THE GREEN HORNET. According to one report he proposed to plant a microchip in the hero’s brain and have Kato control him with a joystick. In an Entertainment Weekly article not online, director Michel Gondry claims that Chow’s plans were too far out. 'Really, really crazy ideas that you would not dare bring to a studio. AIDS was involved. Plastic boobs were involved too.'”


The main thing I got from that "worst of" list is that *some* people really have the wrong idea about BLACK SWAN. A certain person seemed to ignore the fact that Portman's character *does* have at least one orgasm, but this doesn't quite solve her problems.

Michael Adams

"Slow and torturous as a weevil climbing a cornstalk in slow motion."
I haven't seen Winter's Bone and suspect he is being a tad excessive in his vile (not that there's anything wrong with that), but Rex Reed deserves some positive recognition for a change for this line. By the way, Rex, Inception makes perfect sense to anyone who can watch and think at the same time.

Ryan Kelly

"A certain person seemed to ignore the fact that Portman's character *does* have at least one orgasm, but this doesn't quite solve her problems."

I did not care for "Black Swan", but the accusations of misogyny are inexplicable and perhaps even irresponsible. That is NOT a word you just toss around.

Maybe you could make the case that the film doesn't understand women, but really, that's not the same thing. At all.


"That is NOT a word you just toss around."

Well of COURSE it is, Ryan! Haven't you noticed?

Jason LaRiviere

Good point about Schafer, Glenn. This is one of the dumbest things I've ever read that wasn't a Sarah Palin Facebook message: http://www.slate.com/id/2281140/


@Jason - Thanks for sharing that. Now I'm going to pissed all day.

Tom Russell

By a rather astounding coincidence, I read an account of how Premiere got star ratings in an interview you did with Aaron Aradillas earlier this morning. Or, rather, earlier this morning, I read the account in an interview you did with Mr. Aradillas a few years back:

Michael Solomon: Is there any reason in particular we don't have star ratings on the reviews?
Glenn: Uh, I dunno.
Solomon: You think we could maybe initiate them?
Glenn: I don't see why not.
Solomon: Why don't we do that next issue then?
Glenn: Sure.

Am I right in assuming the story-for-another-time of the star ratings is different (and dishier) than that one?


Glenn Kenny

@ Tom Russell: Well, I suppose I could elaborate on it a little more, but, yeah, that's pretty much it.


Warren (btw, do you post under that on the AV Club?), I'm one of those who actually liked NATHALIE, and felt Egoyan and writer Erin Cressida Wilson (who wrote SECRETARY, which I also really liked) took what was (relatively) subtle about the original and dumbed it down for a FATAL ATTRACTION rip-off (stalking the son? Really?). Not even the girl-on-girl action could save it.


"Not even the girl-on-girl action could save it."

This is demonstrably untrue.

warren oates

@lipranzer, that must be my doppelganger at the AV Club. I'm here and at Scanners usually. You have me intrigued enough about NATHALIE to Netflix it, but let me ask you this: Are you a fan of early Egoyan? Everything up to EXOTICA? Because I'm not sure you'd find the kind of subtlety you're looking for there. Egoyan's films have always seemed to me to be about unhealthy obsessions that look ridiculous to anyone outside them and weird transfers of desire born of mourning and rejection.

warren oates

Forgot to mention that Egoyan has always said Pasolini's TEOREMA--in which an interloper beds every member of the family--is one of his favorite movies. So CHLOE is in some ways his version of it. If I hadn't known it was a remake of a French film, I'd have taken it for an Egoyan original.

Kent Jones

I haven't seem CHLOE so I can't comment. But from my perspective, thematic consistency is not the problem with Atom Egoyan's post-SWEET HEREAFTER films. ADORATION, for instance, was a good Atom Egoyan movie in theory, but in reality it lacked the alluring, funereal oddness of those early movies, the sense that you were watching creatures onscreen who might have been people but might just as well have been apparitions, humanoids. All those early movies are fascinatingly, wonderfully creepy. After SWEET HEREAFTER, when things became a bit more normal, I've been disappointed. Although, I did think that the one with Kevin Bacon was a little undervalued.


I have seen a couple of Egoyan's pre-EXOTICA movies, THE ADJUSTER and his segment for MONTREAL PU VAR, both of which I disliked (though, as the song goes, I was so much older then, I'm younger than that now). And maybe "subtle" was the wrong choice for NATHALIE - like CHLOE, it is about a prostitute describing quite graphic sexual encounters - but in that movie, you never see it happening, and it's left all to your imagination. Also, while I like Amanda Seyfried, she was never believable in the part the way Emmanuelle Beart was in the original (admittedly, I have a huge crush on Beart).

I have found Egoyan's post-SWEET HEREAFTER (my favorite film of his) work to be mixed as well - really liked FELICIA'S JOURNEY and ARARAT, was disappointed in WHERE THE TRUTH LIES (like Denys Arcand's STARDOM, Altman's PRET A PORTER, and Woody Allen's CELEBRITY, a film about "showbiz" that didn't really want to get its hands dirty. Plus, except for Kevin Bacon, it suffered from miscasting of its leads) and ADORATION (seemed like he came up with a good idea but didn't know what to do with it). But at least the latter two felt like he was trying for something. Maybe if I'd seen Egoyan's earlier films I'd feel differently about CHLOE, but I felt the same way about that as I did when I stumbled onto FULL BODY MASSAGE on cable one night only to discover it was directed by Nicolas Roeg; how the mighty have fallen.


Anyone else find Richard Brody's cworst movie of the year SECRET SUNSHINE to be by far the most provocative choice among all the critics? I haven't seen it yet, I want to and will probably have to wait for the dvd, but Brody's takedown is the first thing I've read about the film that has been anything less than positive.

And for what it's worth, I think the first 2/3's of CHLOE are pretty solid and with terrific performance from Julianne Moore and Amanda Seyfried.


Re: "Fock You". I was listening to one of the commentaries for the 42nd Street Forever trailer compilations recently and during the trailer for Yor, a terrible dubbed Italian fantasy film one of the commentators said it was the subject of one of their favourite one line dismissive reviews: "Up Yors!"

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