Showing 1 - 2 of 2 Movie Blogs
*I'd like to apologise in advance for this blog. It'll feature references to new fangled bull crap like Twitter & a story that might have passed people (i.e people with lives) by. It'll contain terminology like Retweeting & Following. If you don't use said site (I'm not even sure why I do) you mightn't even be familiar with the events to which I refer*
Basically, you may have heard of a new film called Kick-Ass, it was released in the US over the weekend. I saw it when it came out in Ireland 2 weeks ago & really loved it. With the possible exception of The Road it's my favourite film I've seen in the cinema so far this year. Apparently it hasn't been doing well in the box office, which I think is a shame. Matthew Vaughn (the director of 2 of the better movies of last decade (in my opinion), Layer Cake & Stardust) actually had to secure the financing because none of the major studio's would back the film it unless it was compromised to suit them. The fact that he was able to produce such a great entertaining movie without studio interference is inspiring to me. I was hoping the film would storm the box office & basically spit in the face of corporate studio test audience lowest common denominator bullshit. But alas my hopes of an underdog victory are probably going to go unrealised.
You might ask what this has to do with Roger Ebert. The respected critic, whom I actually follow on Twitter, & usually enjoy reading, posted a seriously negative "review" of the aforementioned Kick-Ass. I put review in quotes, because from what I read, he didn't judge the film on any discernible film related categories. There was no mention of script, direction, sound design, editing & only a brief paragraph pertaining to acting right at the end (which was surprisingly positive). Instead he chose to express his horror at the excessive violence & in particular the character of Hit Girl (the foul mouthed, little purple wigged ninja girl that's in all the trailers) played by Chloe Moretz. General consensus is that the character is the film's secret weapon, a flurry of blood soaked OTT action that steals every scene she's in.
Roger? Not a fan. He was outraged. The idea of an 11 year old performing such heinous acts & saying such vile things? Seriously I think he was getting a case of the vapours (I wouldn't be surprised if he fainted). That's what he chose to harp on about. He chose to ignore the circumstance of said character that should be clear to anyone that actually watches the film. He even alludes to how the character would have a seriously negative effect on children (you know? The target audience? Of this R rated film (16 for any Paddy's reading this)). Your typical holier than thou moral high ground stuff.
It brought to mind something Armond White or Ben Shapiro would spew out. The review even resorts to the ultra dick move of spoiling the end of the film. Thankfully I'd seen it at that point but for anyone that hadn't (it spoils what I think is a great action set piece), it just seemed petty. The reasoning is also flawed & just a smidge hypocritical Ebert has given 4 star reviews to Once Upon A Time In America (a movie that I do love but presents an extreme Madonna/Whore view of women) & Bonnie & Clyde (which glamourises Cop Killers & makes bank robbery sexy) which even Ebert himself admits is " intended, horrifyingly, as entertainment." Well at least he didn't accuse fans of the film of pederasty like Christopher Tookey the Daily Fail critic.
You're probably thinking "it's just a review, Apples & Oranges etc. etc." or you might be thinking "who are you to question the Great Ebert lowly peon!!??" Both very valid queries. If it had just been the review I'd leave it at that (though I did tweet him to complain about the spoiler, of course he didn't respond (as you said "lowly peon")). The other reason he didn't respond was because my complaint was overwhelmed by the flood of NERD RAGE(!!!!). An avalanche of rebuttals of his Kick Ass review which seemed to consist primarily of "chah, well you're just too old" or the frankly reasonable "it's just a movie" gambit. The mighty geek dragon had been awakened from it's slumber.
How do I know about, the content of said nerd rage if I didn't take an active part. Well it was tweeted to me by Ebert himself & his supporters. That's right, just as nerds went on the offensive, the online critic blogocommunity sprang (from seats in a trendy cafe I'll presume) to Ebert's defense & by gum if Ebert didn't let us know by retweeting his defenders most choice output. "it's just a movie is no defense" & "it isn't that he's too old, it's that it's bad" were their primary forms of attack. Roger let us know that the Chicago Crtitics hated it too (& how proud that made him as a Chicagoan). He explained how a child using the c word was just 1 reason to "despise" this film (but he didn't write c word, if you know what I mean?).
Harry Knowles & even McLovin himself, Chris Mintz Plasse (who was great in the movie by the way) got involved. Knowles accused Ebert of being a "grown up" (& for a brief while I felt like an allied soldier in WW2 discovering he was on the same side as Stalin) in a frankly baffling blog entry/stream of consciousness. Mintz Plasse went for the "you're too old" approach & my first thought was "McLOVINN NOOOOO!!!!"(in slow motion of course).
You see, if you ever check out Siskel & Ebert on youtube, Roger Ebert loves a good argument. He's what we in Ireland would call a shit stirrer. He just happened to start ragging on video games on the same day he unleashes untold Kick-Ass nerd rage. Coincidence?? I thinks not. Apparently games can't be art or something.
I don't doubt the review was genuine (I don't agree with it, but it's how he feels (stupid freedom of speech!!)), but all the subsequent stuff has the distinct eau de Trolling & people like Harry Knowles were simply feeding that troll. This took my awhile to work out so at first, as a fan of the movie, I started to get a little insulted. My cursor hung over the unfollow button. Then I started thinking I need to get my ass a life. But as I began to detect the air of trolling in Ebert's tweets. I calmed down (& realised that wasting hours online is a perfectly valid lifestyle choice).
So in summation Roger Ebert is not god & can troll with the best (& I'm still following him) but he should stick to genuinely evil targets like Andrew Breitbart or Sarah Palin & leave the little movie that could alone (& I've only just realised the irony of telling a movie critic to stick to non movie targets but my backspace key is um...broken). Ebert supporters, If you're reading this, seriously, Kick Ass is just a movie & not half as culturally poisonous as say The movie movies or the Wayans brothers body of work (well don't be a menace to south central & the first scary movie aren't so bad & Marlon's proved himself a talented actor). Ebert haters, Kick Ass is just a movie, don't get so worked up about a bad review (though I'll give you some slack for being peeved about the spoiler) if you look back through his archives there's plenty of things you disagree on. Not to self, get hobby. Half arsed blogging doesn't count.
In closing I highly recommend Kick Ass, go see it. It (*sigh*) Kicks Ass (I feel dirty). Support some independent cinema that isn't smug mumble core. Though If you've got a problem with ultra violence & kids using the c word go to the bathroom for a few minutes at around the 45 minute mark (or when he says he's going to Razul's house) & leave half an hour before the end.
PLEASE ACTUALLY READ THIS ARTICLE BEFORE YOU RATE OR COMMENT IT'S CLEARLY NOT INTENDED AS A SLIGHT AGAINST ROGER EBERT. IN FILM CRITICISM TERMS (& IN GENERAL TO BE HONEST) I'M NOT WORTHY TO LICK HIS SHOES.
I find Critical acclaim is generally fairly accurate. If a movie is good, it will get the acclaim it deserves. (A major exception for me at least is the French thriller "The Crimson Rivers" which I thought was unfairly mauled by some (one star out of five in Empire was overly harsh for what was essentially a cliche but enjoyable movie)
There are some instances where the critics will sing the praises of a film that I just can't comprehend. David Cronenburg's "A History of Violence" is one of the better regarded films in critical terms of the last decade. & I personally don't get the adulation. It's touted as this great exploration of cinema or cultural violence, but what I saw was a hamfisted thriller with a script that at times is incredibly clunky. Not to mention some of the acting is just bad. Ed Harris & William Hurt seem to have forgotten how to emote & with the script they were working with the results could be used to make furniture.
In terms of a popularity, I don't get 300. It was touted as this great action film. I see it as a an assembly line killathon polished up with slow motion & nu metal. The characters are very difficult to care about (setting up the pseudo fascistic killing machines as the underdog, doesn't ring true to me). People talk about how impressive the visuals are, but they were as good when put together with a more engaging script & set of characters in Sin City.
People probably won't agree with me on these choices, but I'm sure everyone has a film or films that they see as being Overrated.