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How My Taste in Filmmakers Differs From James Berardinelli's 
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Post How My Taste in Filmmakers Differs From James Berardinelli's
I thought I saw a reference to a topic like this but I couldn't find the topic, so I'm starting a new one. I've recently come to the realization that, as much as my taste in movies generally dovetails with James' (which is one of the reasons why he's my favorite film reviewer), he and I do differ in our tastes, particularly in the case of certain filmmakers. Here are the big ones I've noticed:

James Cameron: Berardinelli is a much bigger fan of Cameron than I am. Some of my differences of opinion regarding his films are minor, but I've become increasingly less impressed with Cameron's films over the years, whereas James seems to love each successive film from him more than the last. I disagree most with James on The Abyss (JB rated 3.5, me 2.5), which I thought was pretty mediocre outside of the effects and Ed Harris, Terminator 2 (JB 3.5, me 2), which I thought was just a bloated, flashier rehash of the original masquerading as a sequel, and Avatar (JB 4, me 2), which was visually cool but utterly predictable in the story and pretty bad overall in the acting. I've never seen all of Titanic, but the parts I have seen gave me no desire to spend over 3 hours to watch all of it, so I can't think I'd ever give it 4 stars like Berardinelli did.

David Fincher: Though he's expounded on his distaste for Alien 3 (which I don't like either, 2 stars from me, JB 1.5), he generally really likes Fincher films, but the only one I've agreed with him on is The Social Network, which I also rated 3.5 stars. I hated Fight Club (1.5 stars from me) which he gave 4 stars, and I hated the turgid The Curious Case of Benjamin Button (1 star) even more, which he gave 3.5 stars. Indeed our difference of opinion regarding Fincher is one of the reasons I have no desire to see his version of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, despite James' 4 star review. I only wish I'd taken into account our difference of opinion on Cameron before I paid to see Avatar in a theater.

Trey Parker and Matt Stone: Here's a difference in the other direction. Oddly enough I couldn't find his reviews of South Park: Bigger, Longer, and Uncut and Team America: World Police via the reelviews.net search (had to use IMDB), but he gave them 3 and 2.5 stars respectively, and I love both of them. I give South Park 4 stars and Team America 3.5 stars. Obviously our senses of humor aren't entirely the same, though they agree more often than not.

Anyone else generally have a difference of opinion regarding filmmaker(s) from our intrepid host based on his reviews?


Tue Jun 18, 2013 3:39 am
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Post Re: How My Taste in Filmmakers Differs From James Berardinelli's
I'm going to save everyone the trouble right now.

[Reveal] Spoiler:
The Star Wars prequels.












You can all thank me by not bothering to bring these up. Nothing good will come of it.

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Tue Jun 18, 2013 3:55 am
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Post Re: How My Taste in Filmmakers Differs From James Berardinelli's
Personally I did not find South Park or Team America particularly funny or clever.

I feel Fincher is very hit and miss, I would give Se7en two stars myself as I found it very predictable and unremarkable, I liked but did not love GWTDT and Zodiac was extremely boring and uninvolving for me.

I like Michael Bay much more then he does, I would give Bad Boys 2 and all the Transformers films 3 stars myself.

Also have a higher opinon of Rob Cohen, I liked both Alex Cross and Stealth.

I like Cameron, but I absolutely despise Titanic, i'd give it 1 star(mostly for the technical aspects) and I feel even that is being generous. I find Avatar pretty damn overrated and if it wasn't for the 3-D there's no way JB would give it 4 stars.

I'm not nearly as big on the Coen bros. as he is, I did not like A Serious Man one bit and most of their films don't do that much for me.


Tue Jun 18, 2013 4:00 am
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Post Re: How My Taste in Filmmakers Differs From James Berardinelli's
Well, I think the OP's opinion of James Cameron's films differs from most people, not just JB.

Hmmm, for me, I found I really align with most of JB's taste. One thing I've noticed is that JB tends to review a movie on its very own. Not sure if that is the right way to say it, I just mean that in my mind he doesn't take into account much how the past histories of the movie, whether be its actors, directors, past movies (if it's in a franchise), hype, expectations, etc., factor into his grading or his views. He just reviews a movie based on its merits right when he watch it. I'm not saying that people who factor one or some of those aspects when viewing are wrong; yes there are sometimes when a movie can butcher its own potential or strays to far from its legacy if it's a franchise movie. Just that I feel he does it like that, hence his good reviews of modern installments of Star Wars, Star Trek, Terminators, and so on. All of this is to say that, since I live in Thailand where how the movie is distributed and how the hype around a movie works here (which is mostly just around the time when the movie comes out; not many people take movies seriously as work of arts here, hence why there are still not many memorable or famous movies from here except from some deservedly famous but very art film directors) are way different from in USA or other countries, I often agree with his way of reviewing movies like that, and are often baffled how movies that come with big hype or a lot of baggage get received around movie forums. (and sorry Ken, I have to bring it up since I'm baffled by that most of all: I can kind of see how the first two prequels receive the venom, with their childish sensibilities, but I really feel the third one is a legitimately good movie, and often assume that it got trashed along by association with the first two)

That said, obviously I'm not agreeing with James all the time. I think he and I differ most in a specific kind of action films. If it's fun enough and fast enough (without nausea inducing or incomprehensible), I'm gonna like it (the last three Fast and Furious movies is an example).

Also, I still can't believe he gave the first two Transformers the same grade. There is definitely a big gap in quality somewhere. Yes, the first one has a couple of cringey manipulative scenes (the speech during a transformer's "torture", for one) and I mostly wait for the incomprehensible climax fight scene to end to see the result, but it had a sense of giddy fun and mostly funny (if immature) humour, especially the first half, while Revenge of the Fallen's soullessness put me off watching the third one altogether, hitting rock bottom when someone dies, goes to robot heaven to meet robot god, and then just comes back to life for no reason at all. Would give the first one 6.8 and the second one 2.


Tue Jun 18, 2013 6:02 am
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Post Re: How My Taste in Filmmakers Differs From James Berardinelli's
I completely agree with James on Sofia Coppola. If there's one filmmaker I would label as pseudo-intellectual, it would be her. I loved Lost in Translation, but everything after that has been well-edited, posh-looking garbage masquerading as art. All style, coupled with the illusion of profundity.

Francis Ford Coppola made great art accessible. Sofia Coppola makes the illusion of great art inaccessible.

To put things into perspective:

1. The Virgin Suicides - ImageImageImageImage
2. Lost in Translation - ImageImageImageImage
3. Marie Antoinette - ImageImageImageImage
4. Somewhere - ImageImageImageImage
5. The Bling Ring - ImageImageImageImage


Tue Jun 18, 2013 11:54 am
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Post Re: How My Taste in Filmmakers Differs From James Berardinelli's
I feel the opposite about Coppola, Lost In Translation did nothing for me, however I enjoyed Somewhere and am looking forward to Bling Ring.


Tue Jun 18, 2013 12:42 pm
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Post Re: How My Taste in Filmmakers Differs From James Berardinelli's
peng wrote:
Well, I think the OP's opinion of James Cameron's films differs from most people, not just JB.


Fair enough. I find him a wizard with special effects, but he really needs to get someone else to write his movies. Rare is the screenplay of his that doesn't cause me to groan.

And don't bother with Transformers 3. I checked it out on Netflix streaming, and really wish I hadn't.


Tue Jun 18, 2013 2:03 pm
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Post Re: How My Taste in Filmmakers Differs From James Berardinelli's
Yeah, I think I read somewhere that even mgamescook hates it? That's enough for me to stay away, even though I'm at first intrigued by the seemingly smoother action scenes in the trailer.


Tue Jun 18, 2013 10:25 pm
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Post Re: How My Taste in Filmmakers Differs From James Berardinelli's
peng wrote:
Yeah, I think I read somewhere that even mgamescook hates it? That's enough for me to stay away, even though I'm at first intrigued by the seemingly smoother action scenes in the trailer.


Yes, it was a bad experience but I saw it in 3D. In 2D it may be a bit better than the hellish 3 hours I sat through the first time. Maybe I'll give it another go someday.

In terms of disagreeing with JB. I haven't seen Monsters University, but this description alone feels like an automatic two stars:

Quote:
Safe prequel that does what's needed to entertain families and ensure box office success.


Fri Jun 28, 2013 5:03 am
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Post Re: How My Taste in Filmmakers Differs From James Berardinelli's
That cannot be disagreement in taste from JB, since you haven't even seen the movie, and don't know if you are going to like it or not (if you're not set out to hate it first). There's a difference between what a movie represents and its actual quality (although I got a feeling you take the former into consideration when you rate a movie, which I really, really disagree, but whatever).

Anyway, I've read in many reviews, JB included, and then from the last movie you watched thread, that there's something in the third act so great it elevates the movie as a whole. That combined with having Monsters, inc. as my top-tier Pixar will have me in the theater when this movie comes around for sure. Haven't seen a Pixar movie in theater since Toy Story 3.


Fri Jun 28, 2013 10:06 pm
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Post Re: How My Taste in Filmmakers Differs From James Berardinelli's
I'd say the one on which him and I differ slightly is Michael Mann. On one hand he did highly rate Last Of The Mohicans and The Insider (which I agree with) and he was on the mark with Miami Vice and Public Enemies. But I didn't agree with his two star rating of Heat or his low-opinion of Manhunter (which he expressed on here a while back) and felt that he kinda underrated Collateral. So it's a slight difference of opinion. But there nonetheless.

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Sat Jun 29, 2013 1:11 am
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Post Re: How My Taste in Filmmakers Differs From James Berardinelli's
Jeff Wilder wrote:
I'd say the one on which him and I differ slightly is Michael Mann. On one hand he did highly rate Last Of The Mohicans and The Insider (which I agree with) and he was on the mark with Miami Vice and Public Enemies. But I didn't agree with his two star rating of Heat or his low-opinion of Manhunter (which he expressed on here a while back) and felt that he kinda underrated Collateral. So it's a slight difference of opinion. But there nonetheless.

Personally I thought he was on the mark with Heat, but I despised Public Enemies.

I also disagree with him on Roland Emmerich, I enjoyed Stargate, Independence Day, Godzilla, and White House Down more then JB did, I thought Day After Tomorrow was mediocre and Anonymous was awful, I agree with him on 2012 and 10,000 BC. JB also mentioned having an unpublished review of Universal Soldier.


Sat Jun 29, 2013 1:34 am
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Post Re: How My Taste in Filmmakers Differs From James Berardinelli's
Quote:
There's a difference between what a movie represents and its actual quality (although I got a feeling you take the former into consideration when you rate a movie


Your feeling is correct, but I stand by this position. There's nothing worse than a movie which feels like it represents corporate product.


Sat Jun 29, 2013 3:44 am
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Post Re: How My Taste in Filmmakers Differs From James Berardinelli's
Like this one?




RIP Phil Hartman.

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Sat Jun 29, 2013 4:01 am
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