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July 15, 2009: "Out of Touch" 
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Gaffer

Joined: Sat Jul 18, 2009 2:54 am
Posts: 25
Post Re: July 15, 2009: "Out of Touch"
I used to think that critics were out of touch. That they were living in ivory towers telling us how poor our taste was. That films we liked were in fact awful only we didn't know any better. Of course, that was about twenty years ago. My tastes have changed with age, true. But some movie critics, like Mr. Berardinelli and Steven D. Greydanus from DecentFilms.com have also educated me. This is probably one aspect of a good movie critic that our host has failed to mention.

For a few of us who read the critics reviews, a good review can actually help a person appreciate films better. I am hardly a snobby movie goer, but thanks to James and Steven I can recognize trash when I see it on screen. As a result films I thought I liked I can no longer stomach (Kangaroo Jack). Of course, some films that the critics panned but I loved when I first saw them I still find downright enjoyable. In particular Independence Day and The Core.

Perceptive readers may find their tastes in movies changing when they read well composed reviews such as those from Berardinelli or Greydanus or Ebert. The first two seem to have a propensity for educating the movie viewer through their reviews rather than just offering an opinion of the film. Roger Ebert has printed a wealth of knowledge through his books to help educate the casual movie watcher. They point out the logical errors, the poor writing with excerpts as examples and the major plot holes in a film.

I used to turn off my brain when I walked into any movie theater and would never recognize these faults. I can't do that anymore. I can still be somewhat forgiving with some movies based on expectations regarding the film (The Core being a prime example). My critical analysis of a movie while watching it is never completely turned off like it used to be. I can watch better films and enjoy them. I can recognize garbage and avoid it. Or at least, if I get sucked in by the hype machine, have the good sense not see it a second time. Thank you, James. For this, I am grateful.


Sat Jul 18, 2009 3:28 am
Profile
Post Re: July 15, 2009: "Out of Touch"
TheTexasTwister wrote:
I used to think that critics were out of touch. That they were living in ivory towers telling us how poor our taste was. That films we liked were in fact awful only we didn't know any better. Of course, that was about twenty years ago. My tastes have changed with age, true. But some movie critics, like Mr. Berardinelli and Steven D. Greydanus from DecentFilms.com have also educated me. This is probably one aspect of a good movie critic that our host has failed to mention.

For a few of us who read the critics reviews, a good review can actually help a person appreciate films better. I am hardly a snobby movie goer, but thanks to James and Steven I can recognize trash when I see it on screen. As a result films I thought I liked I can no longer stomach (Kangaroo Jack). Of course, some films that the critics panned but I loved when I first saw them I still find downright enjoyable. In particular Independence Day and The Core.

Perceptive readers may find their tastes in movies changing when they read well composed reviews such as those from Berardinelli or Greydanus or Ebert. The first two seem to have a propensity for educating the movie viewer through their reviews rather than just offering an opinion of the film. Roger Ebert has printed a wealth of knowledge through his books to help educate the casual movie watcher. They point out the logical errors, the poor writing with excerpts as examples and the major plot holes in a film.

I used to turn off my brain when I walked into any movie theater and would never recognize these faults. I can't do that anymore. I can still be somewhat forgiving with some movies based on expectations regarding the film (The Core being a prime example). My critical analysis of a movie while watching it is never completely turned off like it used to be. I can watch better films and enjoy them. I can recognize garbage and avoid it. Or at least, if I get sucked in by the hype machine, have the good sense not see it a second time. Thank you, James. For this, I am grateful.

See i'm the complete opposite, I do appreciate what critics have to say, but they rarely ever change my opinion of a film I like, and genreally hearing critics bash a film like TF2 only makes me want to see the film even more, whereas I have no deisre whatsoever to see films that get seemingly endless praise such as Moon.


Sat Jul 18, 2009 11:18 am
Post Re: July 15, 2009: "Out of Touch"
TheTexasTwister wrote:
I used to think that critics were out of touch. That they were living in ivory towers telling us how poor our taste was. That films we liked were in fact awful only we didn't know any better. Of course, that was about twenty years ago. My tastes have changed with age, true. But some movie critics, like Mr. Berardinelli and Steven D. Greydanus from DecentFilms.com have also educated me. This is probably one aspect of a good movie critic that our host has failed to mention.

For a few of us who read the critics reviews, a good review can actually help a person appreciate films better. I am hardly a snobby movie goer, but thanks to James and Steven I can recognize trash when I see it on screen. As a result films I thought I liked I can no longer stomach (Kangaroo Jack). Of course, some films that the critics panned but I loved when I first saw them I still find downright enjoyable. In particular Independence Day and The Core.

Perceptive readers may find their tastes in movies changing when they read well composed reviews such as those from Berardinelli or Greydanus or Ebert. The first two seem to have a propensity for educating the movie viewer through their reviews rather than just offering an opinion of the film. Roger Ebert has printed a wealth of knowledge through his books to help educate the casual movie watcher. They point out the logical errors, the poor writing with excerpts as examples and the major plot holes in a film.

I used to turn off my brain when I walked into any movie theater and would never recognize these faults. I can't do that anymore. I can still be somewhat forgiving with some movies based on expectations regarding the film (The Core being a prime example). My critical analysis of a movie while watching it is never completely turned off like it used to be. I can watch better films and enjoy them. I can recognize garbage and avoid it. Or at least, if I get sucked in by the hype machine, have the good sense not see it a second time. Thank you, James. For this, I am grateful.


Hi there

Welcome to the forum. Really well put.

I've been watching alot of classic movies this year and there's no doubt that some critics can help inform my views

Example - Mick lesalle is an authority on silent movies

I am going to check out Steven D. Greydanus from DecentFilms.com

Rob


Sat Jul 18, 2009 11:26 am
Gaffer

Joined: Sat Jul 18, 2009 2:54 am
Posts: 25
Post Re: July 15, 2009: "Out of Touch"
Vexer wrote:
See i'm the complete opposite, I do appreciate what critics have to say, but they rarely ever change my opinion of a film I like, and genreally hearing critics bash a film like TF2 only makes me want to see the film even more, whereas I have no deisre whatsoever to see films that get seemingly endless praise such as Moon.


Film appreciation among the masses is subjective. Always has been, always will be.

Movie critics tend mix personal opinions and expectations about a film with certain criteria such as plot construction, character development and logical flow. A film like TRANSFORMERS 2 isn't as concerned with these technical components and thus critics adjust their expectations accordingly. Films like MOON, however, are very concerned with plot, character and logical flow. Critics review it accordingly.

The regular film watcher just wants to be entertained. Some will like flashy effects and a huge coolness factor and find that entertaining. Others will care more for the plot and character and flow. They will find that entertaining. Some, like me, can appreciate both. Though I personally have limits of tolerability on either side of the equation. For me, TF2 exceeded those limits on that end of the scale.

I haven't seen MOON yet, but would certainly like to. Hopefully, it won't exceed my limits on the other end of the scale.


Sat Jul 18, 2009 6:42 pm
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Gaffer

Joined: Sat Jul 18, 2009 2:54 am
Posts: 25
Post Re: July 15, 2009: "Out of Touch"
Robert Holloway wrote:
Hi there

Welcome to the forum. Really well put.

I've been watching alot of classic movies this year and there's no doubt that some critics can help inform my views

Example - Mick lesalle is an authority on silent movies

I am going to check out Steven D. Greydanus from DecentFilms.com

Rob


Thank you. I'm grateful.
I've spent plenty of time reading Mr. Berardinelli's reviews. He is one of the three critics I trust most. The other two being Greydanus and Ebert.

I'll have to read up on Mick Lesalle. Though I generally don't watch silent films, perhaps his works will help me appreciate them more.

FYI: DecentFilms.com reviews films both from a typical film critic standpoint and from a Catholic standpoint. Don't worry, his reviews aren't judgmental or intended to sway readers to one religion or another. Only a movie review from that standpoint for those who would like that kind of analysis.

Some of his commentaries are very interesting. I would recommend those regarding the STAR WARS films and the HARRY POTTER and LORD OF THE RINGS films. A good place to start. Even if you aren't Catholic or religious, the commentaries make for interesting reading.


Sat Jul 18, 2009 6:55 pm
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Site Admin

Joined: Thu Jan 22, 2009 10:55 pm
Posts: 3151
Location: Mount Laurel, NJ, USA
Post Re: July 15, 2009: "Out of Touch"
TheTexasTwister wrote:
Perceptive readers may find their tastes in movies changing when they read well composed reviews such as those from Berardinelli or Greydanus or Ebert.


I find the issue of changing tastes to be an interesting one.

I wonder what people will think of TRANSFORMERS 2 in a year. In five years. In ten years. And so on... And I wonder what a 12-year old who loves it today will think about it when they're 35. I know a lot of films I thought were great when I was 12 are now pretty much unwatchable. (There are also exceptions.)

Since I started reviewing films, I found my opinions becoming more stable, but they are no means set in concrete. The passage of time dims the luster of some films and makes others look better. A fascinating exercise in this will soon be available. In 1999, I did a retrospective of the '90s featuring my Top 10 and some runners-up. I am about to republish that list, with some annotations, in an upcoming ReelThoughts. I don't think any of the films on the list will surprise anyone, but the ORDER of the films may, because they are not directly reflected in that order in my Top 100. So, between the time when I composed the Top 10 of the '90s and my overall Top 100, there were some subtle shifts in my preferences.

They key is not to be paralyzed with this realization, otherwise you become like the guy who owns no computer because he's constantly aware that there's always something just around the corner with a great new feature and doesn't want to buy one today because it will be out-of-date tomorrow.


Sat Jul 18, 2009 10:18 pm
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Gaffer

Joined: Sat Jul 18, 2009 2:54 am
Posts: 25
Post Re: July 15, 2009: "Out of Touch"
James Berardinelli wrote:
I wonder what people will think of TRANSFORMERS 2 in a year. In five years. In ten years. And so on... And I wonder what a 12-year old who loves it today will think about it when they're 35. I know a lot of films I thought were great when I was 12 are now pretty much unwatchable. (There are also exceptions.)


I thank you, sir. It is an honor to have received a direct reply. I certainly wasn't expecting it.

It is obvious that some tastes change purely because of age. Certainly your average twelve year old won't find a dialogue heavy drama very interesting. They simply aren't old enough to understand what all the talking means across the length of the film. An adult, however, would more likely to become immersed in the drama that unfolds through the dialogue. Adults can understand the far more nuanced acting, script and what each development means to the characters as the film moves forward.

In my case, my tastes changed because of an introduction to critical appreciation of film. Sort of like reading the manual for the first time. Having watched plenty of old movies on Saturday afternoon television as a child I just sort of accepted what I saw as being normal for a film. Including cheesy dialogue, bad writing, major plot holes and poor casting choices. Reading your reviews and commentaries as well as those from Roger Ebert and Steven D. Greydanus I was receiving an introduction into film appreciation, albeit rather informally.

For example, in Roger Ebert's review of THE CORE he notes an example of really bad dialogue during the burnt peach scene. The scientists announce that the Earth will be destroyed in less than a year and the generals simply accept the pronouncement. No one questions it. No one acts surprised or skeptical, it is just accepted by everyone in the room. Having grown up on a diet of some truly lousy B-Movies I just sort of went along with that. It was what I head learned to expect from a film. Like the generals in that scene I never questioned it. That review put before me what bad dialogue is really all about. Other reviews from yourself, Roger Ebert and Mr. Greydanus have also taken the time to point out other types of flaws that routinely crop up in Hollywood films.

I suppose when you learn how things are supposed to work you gain a new appreciation for it.

I hope that this adds a little something to the conversation.


Sun Jul 19, 2009 12:57 am
Profile
Post Re: July 15, 2009: "Out of Touch"
Honestly, I don't think there's all that much overwhelming support for Transformers 2 out there and this whole reelthought seemed a bit overly defensive to me. Who's saying critics are out of touch because they didn't faun over Transformers flipppin 2? Berardinelli mentioned this, but, yeah, it's really impossible for anybody (even folks who enjoyed Transformers 2 for what it was) to cook up an impassioned defense of it. You know, there's this really gratuitous scene in that movie where they just blow up a library for no reason. I think if you're still 100% on board after that bold statement by Michael Bay then you're probably not the type who's gonna be reading and responding to all that much in-depth film criticism anyways

As far as the bigger issue here goes, lookit, I mean everybody has different tastes. And critics see an awful lot of movie every year so it does follow that they'd be a bit more jaded and underwhelmed than the masses by stupid, overlong retreads like Transformers 2. And, yeah, maybe some critics are just stuffy snobs. The best critics, though, are the ones who have an open mind about things and who write well or are especially knowledgeable or whatever. And I've always felt that when good critics watch a movie, it's the equivalent of the average theater goer's third or fourth viewing of that film, if that makes sense. So that's an advantage they have right there


Sun Jul 19, 2009 3:09 pm
Post Re: July 15, 2009: "Out of Touch"
Quote:
I thank you, sir. It is an honor to have received a direct reply. I certainly wasn't expecting it.



JB is a movie critic...It's not like Barack Obama replied to you directly.


Sun Jul 19, 2009 7:32 pm
Post Re: July 15, 2009: "Out of Touch"
Quote:
The third Transformers movie will be a strong candidate for the #1 spot in 2011 or 2012. (I can't anoint it as king yet, because it could be up against a heavy-hitter like Spider-Man 4 or The Avengers or The Dark Knight Returns.)


Don't forget the two Hobbit films.


Sun Jul 19, 2009 10:19 pm
Post Re: July 15, 2009: "Out of Touch"
Kyle wrote:
You know, there's this really gratuitous scene in that movie where they just blow up a library for no reason. I think if you're still 100% on board after that bold statement by Michael Bay then you're probably not the type who's gonna be reading and responding to all that much in-depth film criticism anyways


You're kidding...that just makes me want to see it more.


Sun Jul 19, 2009 10:41 pm
Gaffer

Joined: Sat Jul 18, 2009 2:54 am
Posts: 25
Post Re: July 15, 2009: "Out of Touch"
spencerworth34 wrote:
Quote:
I thank you, sir. It is an honor to have received a direct reply. I certainly wasn't expecting it.



JB is a movie critic...It's not like Barack Obama replied to you directly.


Just call me an old-fashioned kind of guy.


Sun Jul 19, 2009 11:14 pm
Profile
Post Re: July 15, 2009: "Out of Touch"
TheTexasTwister wrote:
spencerworth34 wrote:
Quote:
I thank you, sir. It is an honor to have received a direct reply. I certainly wasn't expecting it.



JB is a movie critic...It's not like Barack Obama replied to you directly.


Just call me an old-fashioned kind of guy.


Well James does reply on a regular basis so it's not as special as you make it out to be.


Sun Jul 19, 2009 11:20 pm
Post Re: July 15, 2009: "Out of Touch"
James Berardinelli wrote:
TheTexasTwister wrote:
Perceptive readers may find their tastes in movies changing when they read well composed reviews such as those from Berardinelli or Greydanus or Ebert.


I find the issue of changing tastes to be an interesting one.

I wonder what people will think of TRANSFORMERS 2 in a year. In five years. In ten years. And so on... And I wonder what a 12-year old who loves it today will think about it when they're 35. I know a lot of films I thought were great when I was 12 are now pretty much unwatchable. (There are also exceptions.)

Since I started reviewing films, I found my opinions becoming more stable, but they are no means set in concrete. The passage of time dims the luster of some films and makes others look better. A fascinating exercise in this will soon be available. In 1999, I did a retrospective of the '90s featuring my Top 10 and some runners-up. I am about to republish that list, with some annotations, in an upcoming ReelThoughts. I don't think any of the films on the list will surprise anyone, but the ORDER of the films may, because they are not directly reflected in that order in my Top 100. So, between the time when I composed the Top 10 of the '90s and my overall Top 100, there were some subtle shifts in my preferences.

They key is not to be paralyzed with this realization, otherwise you become like the guy who owns no computer because he's constantly aware that there's always something just around the corner with a great new feature and doesn't want to buy one today because it will be out-of-date tomorrow.


Trust me James, age changes perspective.
Rob


Mon Jul 20, 2009 2:57 am
Post Re: July 15, 2009: "Out of Touch"
Let's keep it friendly eh?

My impression with the whole Transformers 2 discussion is that 1) By liking it or wanting to see it, you are in some way "lesser" than people who don't, and 2) People who like Transformers 2 are not the same people who will like movies like Seraphim. This saddens me a great deal...


Mon Jul 20, 2009 9:58 am
Post Re: July 15, 2009: "Out of Touch"
Dragonbeard wrote:
Let's keep it friendly eh?

My impression with the whole Transformers 2 discussion is that 1) By liking it or wanting to see it, you are in some way "lesser" than people who don't, and 2) People who like Transformers 2 are not the same people who will like movies like Seraphim. This saddens me a great deal...

Yeah, it seems like some people have a bit of an elitist attitude towards those like me who actually enjoy films like these, and they think that we only like those types of films and are incapable of enjoying more thought-provoking fare such as The Siege and Body Of Lies. Well I like both ends of the spectrum.


Mon Jul 20, 2009 10:42 am
Director

Joined: Sat Jul 11, 2009 8:28 pm
Posts: 1537
Location: Atlanta, Georgia
Post Re: July 15, 2009: "Out of Touch"
The issue is that the fanboys of TF:2 are unfairly bashing critics who are giving THEIR opinions on the film. It's no different for the fanpeople(it's PC for both men and women) to say they loved every minute of the film, it's their opinion also.


Mon Jul 20, 2009 11:46 am
Profile YIM
Post Re: July 15, 2009: "Out of Touch"
corpen11 wrote:
The issue is that the fanboys of TF:2 are unfairly bashing critics who are giving THEIR opinions on the film. It's no different for the fanpeople(it's PC for both men and women) to say they loved every minute of the film, it's their opinion also.

And there is the inevitable fanboy phenomenon of associating yourself with the movie you like, so that any criticism of the film is seen as a personal attack. Thus, personal attacks back at critics for their dislike of the film.


Mon Jul 20, 2009 3:11 pm
Post Re: July 15, 2009: "Out of Touch"
Perhaps I'm one of the few "critics" who thoroughly enjoyed Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen. I use quotations when I say critic only because it's more of a hobby then a career, but the bottom line is I don't think that critics, professional or otherwise, are not out of touch. It's simply a matter of personal taste. I'm not sure why most mainstream critics have been so harsh on the movie, but the general opinion seems to be that it's bloated, loud, and nearly incomprehensible. I don't see it that way. I thought it was a superbly crafted pure action movie. In short, it's a typical Michael Bay film, who I will go to my grave defending as one of the best action directors of all time.
The bottom line for me though is that both Transformers films really appealed to the kid in me. I know what to expect when I watch anything by Michael Bay, and the best way to enjoy Transformers and any of his films is to shut your brain off, sit back, and enjoy. He just wants to entertain you, and at that he succeeds by blowing lots of stuff up really, really well. Let's just face the facts, you don't go to a movie like Transformers to see deep characterization and a well structured plot. You go to munch on your popcorn and watch some adrenaline pumping action scenes with some of the best special effects ever put on film. If you put yourself in the right set of mind, you'll have a lot of fun watching this movie, because that's exactly what it is- lots of fun as only Michael Bay can deliver. In short, it's a perfect example of exactly what it wants to be.


Wed Jul 22, 2009 8:26 pm
Post Re: July 15, 2009: "Out of Touch"
Porcis wrote:
Perhaps I'm one of the few "critics" who thoroughly enjoyed Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen. I use quotations when I say critic only because it's more of a hobby then a career, but the bottom line is I don't think that critics, professional or otherwise, are not out of touch. It's simply a matter of personal taste. I'm not sure why most mainstream critics have been so harsh on the movie, but the general opinion seems to be that it's bloated, loud, and nearly incomprehensible. I don't see it that way. I thought it was a superbly crafted pure action movie. In short, it's a typical Michael Bay film, who I will go to my grave defending as one of the best action directors of all time.
The bottom line for me though is that both Transformers films really appealed to the kid in me. I know what to expect when I watch anything by Michael Bay, and the best way to enjoy Transformers and any of his films is to shut your brain off, sit back, and enjoy. He just wants to entertain you, and at that he succeeds by blowing lots of stuff up really, really well. Let's just face the facts, you don't go to a movie like Transformers to see deep characterization and a well structured plot. You go to munch on your popcorn and watch some adrenaline pumping action scenes with some of the best special effects ever put on film. If you put yourself in the right set of mind, you'll have a lot of fun watching this movie, because that's exactly what it is- lots of fun as only Michael Bay can deliver. In short, it's a perfect example of exactly what it wants to be.

My thoughts exactly!


Wed Jul 22, 2009 8:56 pm
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