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gobear
01-07-2005, 09:13 AM
I'm sure most of you know Thomas Carder's fundie movie review site, CapAlert (http://www.capalert.com/now_playing.htm), in which he critiques movies on their adherence to his idiosyncratic scoring system. In his review of Mewet The Fockers (http://www.capalert.com/capreports/meetthefo---s.htm), he deletes "Focker" because it too closely resembes what he calls "the most foul of the foul words" and dings trhe movie for possessing such qualities as " belittling of marriage before sex, multiple times" abd lines of dialogue that suggest critical thought, such as ""Always question authority."

But he's not alone in being a clueless, uninformed movie critic. Owen Glieberman of Entertainment Weekly and Stephanie Zacharek[/i] of Salon.com are also, IMO, inept and uninsightful movie reviewers.

So who do you think has no business critiquing film?

MovieMogul
01-07-2005, 11:48 AM
Well, Stephanie Z had an above-average Top 10 list (http://www.salon.com/ent/movies/feature/2004/12/24/best_movies/), so you'll get no gripes from me.

For me, the worst critics are the unadventurous ones--the ones that love the movies everyone loves and hates the movies everyone hates. These people play it safe and tend to show very little individual personality or insight. Joel Siegel and Leonard Maltin are two perfect examples, and Roger Ebert has become one, too. I'm glad RE has a national forum to be an advocate for smaller quality movies, but if you like as many films as he does, than the whole idea of separating the best from the rest becomes a bit meaningless.

There are some critics who I don't always agree with, but at least I know they're coming into the situation with knowledge and experience, if maybe a different set of standards. There are few things that make a critic an automatic dealmaker ("He liked X so he's stupid"); it all comes down to the defense, and the safer critics consistently show that anything adventurous, edgy, or off-the-beaten path will often be more scary or disorienting than the tried-&-true they love so much.

Then again, some critics (Rex Reed, Richard Roeper) are just morons, who are never able to articulate their complaints beyond "Me No Likee". They are proof that anyone can become a critic (which is why film criticism is in such a feeble state in most corners).

Miller
01-07-2005, 11:57 AM
Mick LeSalle, of the San Francisco Chronicle, is an anti-film reviewer. Whatever he says about a movie is always completely, 100% wrong, to the extent that his reviews are actually highly useful. If he says a movies is good, it's always bad. If he says a movie is bad, it's always good. If he says a movie is the best of the year, avoid it like the plague. If he says it's the worst movie ever, build a religion around it: it'll be that good.

He once panned So I Married an Axe Murderer by starting every single sentence in the review with "So..." "So, Mike Myers is in a new movie. So, it's really bad. So, it's not at all funny. So, I'm a fucking moron who came up with a stupid gag and am going to beat it into the ground because I'm under the mistaken impression that I'm both clever and relevant, when in fact, I'm neither."

I have to admit, he bugs me out of all proportion to his actual offences.

MovieMogul
01-07-2005, 12:06 PM
Mick LeSalle, of the San Francisco Chronicle, is an anti-film reviewer. Whatever he says about a movie is always completely, 100% wrong, to the extent that his reviews are actually highly useful. If he says a movies is good, it's always bad. If he says a movie is bad, it's always good. If he says a movie is the best of the year, avoid it like the plague. If he says it's the worst movie ever, build a religion around it: it'll be that good.In all fairness, this is not exactly correct--a stopped clock is right twice a day after all.

But I've heard the man speak in person, and he is a joke as a contemporary reviewer (he's not bad with the oldies); if there's a movie that you've heard terrible things about, and he comes out raving it (or vice versa), it is in your best interests to trust the masses.

The problem is that, generally speaking, all the SF Chronicle critics suck--just to different degrees.

Oh, and as for the OP, I don't count Thomas Carder as a film critic, because he's a self-appointed one. He's not getting paid (to my knowledge) by a media outlet with a screening process and editorial staff. Any jerkoff can have an opinion, so I don't hold it against him that he has one, too (though they're invariably lousy).

The piss-poor critics that got hired, on the other hand, are an entirely different matter.

Chastain86
01-07-2005, 12:15 PM
Peter Travers from Rolling Stone. Probably the most "for sale" critic in the industry, and he'd whore your movie as "the feel-good hit of the summer" for a double-sawbuck and a t-shirt.

SolGrundy
01-07-2005, 12:50 PM
Lisa Schwarzbaum of Entertainment Weekly just bugs the hell out of me. It's not that I always disagree with her on the movie as a whole; in fact, I frequently agree with both of EW's reviewers (which disturbs me, for some reason). It's two things:

1) She's got this weird, nebulous agenda going, and the moment a movie does anything to disturb it, it gets trashed. For example: Yes, I'm familiar with the first two rules of the Fight Club, but still I was hoping that in her review of the movie, she'd actually talk about the movie Fight Club. But no, she latched onto the idea that it was "misogynistic," and just ran with that. She ended up giving the thing an F, which is unfair because even those who didn't like the movie should be able to acknowledge that it was innovative and pretty well-made. And of course, she completely missed the point of the movie by missing the idea that it's a satire.

2) She seems to be embarrassed to be working for Entertainment Weekly. You can the defensiveness in her reviews; she's just desperate to show how much she's read and how much she knows. It reminds me of posters who come on here and use four-dollar words to describe "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" or cartoons -- I just want to say, look, low-brow is perfectly acceptable, and if you have something intelligent to say, it'll come through even if you don't use words and phrases like "zeitgeist" and "mise en scene."

She seems like she'd be able to have some genuine, insightful commentary on some movies (and books), but it's drowned out by all the axe-grinding.

RealityChuck
01-07-2005, 02:05 PM
Gene Shalit. He's more interesting in thinking up "clever" things to say then review the film. I swear he first thinks of what he thinks are cute things to say and then fits his opinion so he can say them.

lee
01-07-2005, 02:25 PM
CapAlert is a most useful site. I don't like most violence in movies. This is not a moral stance, I find on screen violence disturbing and even some descriptions of violence. Is site has been very good so that I can avoid films that might otherwise give me nightmares. He is accurate in what he does. He is also quite funny, what more can you ask?

IIRC He is not saying we need to stop these movies from being made available, he is providing a service so that those who wish to avoid certain things may do so.

vibrotronica
01-07-2005, 02:27 PM
I can't stand Stephanie Z. Did you notice any significant omissions in her and her lackey Charles Taylor's lists? Like Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, the best movie of 2004? Why is it omitted? Because Charlie Kaufman apparently kicked her dog at some point in the past, so she dismissess anything he's even remotely connected to out of hand. She's too concerned with being thought of as an edgy critic to actually consider films on their own merit.

MovieMogul
01-07-2005, 02:40 PM
Why is it omitted? Because Charlie Kaufman apparently kicked her dog at some point in the past, so she dismissess anything he's even remotely connected to out of hand. She's too concerned with being thought of as an edgy critic to actually consider films on their own merit.Yeah, that must be the reason. She couldn't possibly think that the movie was simply overrated, huh? No reasonable critic could take any objection to that movie, right? Nope, it has to be some vanity combined with a personal vendetta that prevents her from putting it on the list. :rolleyes:

And that lackey Taylor is, IIRC, her husband (which explains some of their overlapping opinions).

Cervaise
01-07-2005, 03:13 PM
Well, Stephanie Z had an above-average Top 10 list (http://www.salon.com/ent/movies/feature/2004/12/24/best_movies/), so you'll get no gripes from me.Wow, love for Last Life in the Universe and Goodbye Dragon Inn, two of my favorite movies of 2004. Neat. But a shout-out for Anatomy of Hell? Uh, no.CapAlert is a most useful site.Use www.screenit.com instead. All the same useful information, none of the weirdo moralizing.

vibrotronica
01-07-2005, 03:51 PM
Yeah, that must be the reason. She couldn't possibly think that the movie was simply overrated, huh? No reasonable critic could take any objection to that movie, right? Nope, it has to be some vanity combined with a personal vendetta that prevents her from putting it on the list.Maybe if I hadn't seen her do the same thing to everything Kaufman put his pen to in his whole career and see her do the same thing to a number of other talented people who she feels compelled to take down a notch I would entertain the possibility that it was an honestly arrived at opinion.
And that lackey Taylor is, IIRC, her husbandSo she's a nepotist, too!

MovieMogul
01-07-2005, 04:23 PM
Maybe if I hadn't seen her do the same thing to everything Kaufman put his pen to in his whole career and see her do the same thing to a number of other talented people who she feels compelled to take down a notch I would entertain the possibility that it was an honestly arrived at opinion.
So she's a nepotist, too!Although I think ESotSM is the best film of the year, the ascendancy of Kaufman to some kind of screenwriting diety has been one of the more tedious trends, with BJM and Adaptation grossly overrated, so I have no objection with those who take him (or the Andersons, Wes & PT) down a peg, when done thoughtfully (can't say I remember SZ's review, but I probably would've if I objected to it that much)So she's a nepotist, too!Who knows--maybe she got the job first! :p

mobo85
01-07-2005, 04:45 PM
Of course, the Rev. Thom. A. Carver is always unintentionally funny. I just have to go back to him for a minute to point out he comes up with some good lines every so often ("I'm not a homophobe-I just hate homosexuals."), especially when they're taken out of context. "Red does not mean 'stop,' green does not mean 'go'" sounds like some sort of communist slogan or something, and "We don't 'miss the point,' we ignore it" would make a great company motto. For a really bad company, I mean.

Evil Captor
01-08-2005, 08:10 PM
Bob Mondelo of NPR. What a total waste of brain meat. You know he's always going to like foreign films about middle-aged Englishwomen who go to Italy to discover life which means talking endlessly about stuff, and dislike anything that's crudely entertaining. Frankly, I've learned to dislike just the sound of his voice.

To be fair, I don't think he'd like me, either.

Bob Scene
01-08-2005, 09:13 PM
I just want to say that over the years Capalert has made me pretty tempted to change my SDMB user name to Adult Male In Underwear, Repeatedly.

Evil Captor
01-09-2005, 09:34 AM
Revisiting the Capalert site put me in mind of a film that I KNOW would melt their brains: it's a hentai (Japanese XXX anime) called Viper GTS. It's about a group of demonesses who are collecting souls for a male demon. At one point angels capture one of the demonesses and take her up to heaven, naked and in chains, to be tried for stealing souls. She's found guilty: her punishment -- she's collared and chained and gang-raped by angels, who although they have hot female bodies, all turn out to be ... chicks with dicks. Yes, God's holy attendants are chicks with dicks and rapists to boot ... on God's orders, of course.

Yeah, that might give Capalert a heart attack or two, just TRYING to describe the levels of blasphemy involved in this hentai. The thing is, Viper GTS is a funny, lighthearted film, not to be taken seriously -- it might accurately be titled: Harry Potter Does Demonesses. But I don't think the Capalert crew would see that.

gobear
01-09-2005, 10:53 AM
Re-reading my OP, I wish this place had an Edit function so that I could clean up a messy, pre-coffee intake post.


CapAlert is a most useful site. I don't like most violence in movies. This is not a moral stance, I find on screen violence disturbing and even some descriptions of violence. Is site has been very good so that I can avoid films that might otherwise give me nightmares. He is accurate in what he does. He is also quite funny, what more can you ask?

As Cervaise pointed out, screenit.com provides a review of sexual and violent content within a film's context. Carder clearly doesn't understand the movies he sees, which he scores with bizarre criteria. He grades films with a prudish eye, blasting even the most innocuous films with weird accusations dredged up from his grubby subconscious. From his review of the Spongebob Squarepants movie:

Another example of "posterior" was Patrick carrying a banner much like the hand-held "Rah Rah team!" banners with the staff of it pinched like a thong strap between his nude posterior cheeks. Not my kind of fun, folks. One more. SpongeBob bares his backside. If you don't believe a round peg will fit into a square hole, just watch this movie. The filmmakers expect us to accept that SpongeBob's round posterior is suited for his square pants. Sort of makes the intent of the filmmakers clear, doesn't it. [**] How do I know SquarePants has a round bottom? I saw it in the movie. And so will your kids if they see it.

Other issues of "mild crude humor" include a suggestion of a centerfold magazine, a number of examples of drawing attention to "posterior", and Patrick saying things such as "Did you see my [posterior]?" and "You're hot!" while drooling over Mindy. And to top off the sexual content of this film was Patrick portraying sadomasochism by wearing black coarse-net hose with black spiked heel boots. [1 Cor. 15:33, Jude 4]

Sadomasochism? It's freakin' Spongebob!

DoctorJ
01-09-2005, 11:08 AM
I can't believe the CAPAlert guy is still around--he's been at it for years. I always found him entertaining. The funniest part is the way he insists that his system is 100% objective, when it pretty obviously isn't.

Fenris
01-09-2005, 12:53 PM
And for easy proof of his non-objectivity, realize that he blasts every use of any sort of magic in any film--from Wizard of Oz to Lord of the Rings to Harry Potter since he believes that all witchcraft is Satanic (or "offense against God", IIRC). Um. Except Mary Poppins. He likes that one so it gets a pass for obvious witchcraft. C'mon. Mary Poppins sliding up the bannister, Linda Blair's head rotating 360o--same thing, folks! (IIRC, it's the highest rated movie on his entire site). :dubious:

There's nothing wrong with him having a screwball scale that works for him, unless he applies it inconsistantly. Which he does.

On the other hand he's still better than Frank Rich and his "Do I like the politics of the movie or director? If 'Yes", "Movie good". If "No", "Movie bad" regardless of merit" style of reviews. Rich is a douche*.

Fenris

*
< South Park >
Frank Rich: I'm not a douche. What if I'm not justwriting my reviews to take political shots? What if really believe what I'm saying?

Stan: Then you're a stupid douche.
< /South Park >

Wendell Wagner
01-09-2005, 01:41 PM
Although she's retired now, Rita Kempley of _The Washington Post_ was a truly terrible film reviewer. She was already writing when I started reading the paper in the 1980's and just retired a couple of years ago. In the 1980's she was so bad that I had to wonder why any major newspaper would shame itelf by hiring such a bad writer. She would do film reviews that consisted of making a couple of jokes about the film and pretending that was a considered opinion on the movie. By the time she had retired, she had gotten slightly better and was merely a waste of space.

I actually like Bob Mondello. I think the problem is that he has a limited range of films that he can speak on usefully. He's also the drama critic for _The Washington City Paper_. He's probably better at the sort of film that came from literature or drama.

Stephen Hunter of _The Washington Post_ isn't a bad reviewer, but he's overrated. He and Roger Ebert are the only two film reviewers to win a Pulitzer Prize. Hunter writes clever stuff, but he doesn't have very deep insights on the films. Interestingly, for the first couple of years after he came to _The Post_ (from _The Baltimore Sun_), he was making interesting insights on the films, but then he started slacking off.

Guinastasia
01-09-2005, 09:42 PM
Back to School Special. (http://www.capalert.com/backtoschool/backtoschool.htm)

Where Carder explains why various symbols, including the peace sign and the Star of David, are Satanic.

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