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AdenDreamsOf
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@ Tom Block, I was hesitant to specifically mention that the AV Club is one online publication where this trend of self-acknowledged digressions appear a lot because they do have many good, professional writers who don't take the route that we're discussing. There are also plenty of other sites, publications, and individual bloggers who have adopted this style of writing. Maybe Glenn's post received so many comments and positive words partly because this discussion revolves around something very fundamental and elusive about reviewing- how much should a review or essay overtly be about the writer and how much should it simply be about the work being reviewed or analyzed? I agree with your comments. Lastly, the act of reviewing is inherently personal- writing about what we like and dislike is always going to be personal and say things about us as individuals- so I agree that the kind of essays or reviews that state a familiarity with "Hawaii Five-0" because the writer's sister used to watch it while doing geography homework are sadly self-involved and unprofessional.
Toggle Commented Mar 23, 2012 on From hunger at Some Came Running
This is a great post, Glenn, and I'm pleased to see the number of people who responded favorably to this piece. I'm wondering if the type of first person narrative element in the Wells review might simply point to a larger trend in arts and entertainment reviewing where first person digressions are used a filler method to avoid the more rigorous work of analyzing a film, book, or record on its own. This rather self-involved trend seems to displayed regularly on 'The AV Club' where writers will write about TV episodes and mention their spouse's reaction to an episode as if doing so was germane to the program being critiqued, or a film post will include the cost of how much the writer paid for his Cherry Coke at the concession stands. It's a lot easier to simply take up review space and write "I hated this movie so much that I had to walk out of the theater and splash water on my face at the water fountain" than to spend that review space actually writing that the film was strong or weak because of this or that reason.
Toggle Commented Mar 22, 2012 on From hunger at Some Came Running
I thought it was a strange and foreboding sign that I've only seen posters and commercials for 'Casa De Mi Padre' in the past week (basically seven days before the film's release). The possible sign I took this as is that the distributors of the film aren't too confident that it will make much money and that a big promotional campaign wouldn't be worth the time and funds. I would be impressed if this film was worse than the last Bernal and Luna outing, 'Rudo y Cursi'.
Toggle Commented Mar 16, 2012 on Briefly noted at Some Came Running
Glenn, I'd classify a Malkmus-like personality as being on the smug, self-involved side. Personally I'm a huge fan of his music, but I find the way he comes across in interviews to be saddening and obnoxious. He also doesn't seem to be particularly nice or grateful towards his fans/following. Nicky Katt's character in "The Limey" is too cool to be mentioned in the same sentence as Mr. Malkmus. "I embrace this lifestyle"
Toggle Commented Mar 10, 2012 on "Friends" with "Sushi" at Some Came Running
Glenn, are you saying that Scott looks like Malkmus or that he plays characters with Malkmus-like personalities?
Toggle Commented Mar 9, 2012 on "Friends" with "Sushi" at Some Came Running
I often get the feeling while watching a Denzel Washington movie that he has no interest in what the other performers are saying to him. The impression I usually get is that he seems to try and one up whoever he is performing with which becomes a way of acting at his cast mates instead of acting with them. I do think he can be skilled actor, but for my personal taste he often strikes me as trying to hog the scene.
Toggle Commented Feb 10, 2012 on "Safe House" at Some Came Running
Your post is very moving, Glenn. I did not know Mr. Ray at all, but I could tell from all that Biskind wrote about him in 'Down & Dirty Pictures' that he was definitely one of the good guys in an all too cutthroat business. I was excited to hear that Mr. Ray was overseeing the San Francisco Film Society a few months ago, and it's very sad that he barely had time to work with them before his passing. His work will definitely be remembered and live on.
Toggle Commented Jan 24, 2012 on Bingham Ray, 1954-2012 at Some Came Running
This film has looked both dull and bland from the first trailer I saw months ago. I agree with you and many other people that these real-life historical heroes deserve to be celebrated, but I'm not surprised to hear that you dislike the film. I can't judge the movie because I haven't seen it, but the Lucas brand has screamed 'Effects before all else' for so long that it's not funny anymore. It just is what is, and he no doubt will continue to make and be involved with wooden, superficial movies. Fortunately for me, I have a weekend of more promising fare planned: Fiennes does Shakespeare, new Soderbergh, and hopefully 'Pariah'. Also, I finally saw 'Shame' last night, and agree with every word you wrote about the film in both your review and 'For Your Consideration' piece.
Toggle Commented Jan 20, 2012 on "Red Tails" at Some Came Running
@ Lazarus Your connection between how LaBute and Gordon Green's careers have both turned into major hackwork in the past two years could not be more astute. That being said, at least Neil LaBute is still writing compelling and original plays while he makes bad movies for a paycheck. Gordon Green is just making bad movies. I would give him points for his work on 'Eastbound & Down', but I mostly get the impression that Jody Hill is the brains behind that operation and Green is just one of the hired hands behind the camera.
@ Lazarus, I agree with you that 'In The Company of Men' and 'Your Friends And Neighbors' are both very misanthropic while being well-written, acted, and executed. Those films along with 'The Shape of Things' are the closest of his films that represent the style and themes (and structure) that most often appear in his stage work. Personally, I like 'Nurse Betty' the most because it feels so different from the rest of his films. (Then again, 'The Wicker Man', 'Death At A Funeral', and 'Lakeview Terrace' don't feel like LaBute movies, but they're also all so bad)
Glenn, I'm so glad to hear you like "Nurse Betty", and recognize Freeman's good work in that film. "Nurse Betty" is LaBute's most inventive and unpredictable film (at least that I've seen...I never bothered with 'Posession'). Everyone in that film gives a first rate performance, and "Nurse Betty" has an odd and somewhat dark warmth and heart that is largely missing from LaBute's misanthropic and abrasive body of work. It's a good one, and I think it will find a bigger following in the future.
This sounds like a clever way to keep track of how many times you listen to a given record in a year. I might start doing this (keeping track) this year after reading this post.
Toggle Commented Jan 6, 2012 on 2011 Soundtrack at Pretty Goes with Pretty
Judging by the nonstop grammatical errors and lack of clarity, I'm going to guess this person is either very uneducated or mentally ill so I would not feel offended if I were you, Mr. Kenny.
Toggle Commented Dec 27, 2011 on A kind of poem at Some Came Running
Excellent list, Glenn. I couldn't agree with you more on 'The Descendants', 'The Tree of Life', 'Midnight In Paris', 'Cold Weather', 'Meek's Cutoff', 'Win/Win', 'J. Edgar', 'Tinker Tailor', and 'Rango'. I'm very behind on many of the films on your list, and am looking forward to getting caught up. But...where is 'The Artist' on your list? I thought you loved that one. Just kidding.
Toggle Commented Dec 15, 2011 on Year's best at Some Came Running
Now just consider this: Ritchie's version of 'Sherlock Holmes' has moved so far from the Conan Doyle material at this point, can you imagine how a 'Sherlock Holmes' movie will look on screen in forty years?
Toggle Commented Dec 15, 2011 on No, shit at Some Came Running
Last year, I went on a J. Edgar Hoover reading binge. After learning about how mercurial, brilliant, and complicated Hoover was through Bryan Burrough’s book “Public Enemies”, I immediately read the definitive Hoover bio “The Man and The Secrets” by Curt Gentry. What fascinated me so much with Hoover was that he is such a tragic figure: his paranoia, resentments, insecurities, and other issues are what made him so powerful and influential while also holding back his growth as a human being. He did many immoral and corrupt things in his life, but my impression of him through those books was that he wanted to do good but lacked the personal skills to reflect and understand the perspectives of others to do so. I liked Eastwood’s film, but here are some things I think the film gets wrong: 1. I don’t think Hoover’s mom was anywhere near as controlling or domineering as the film portrays her. Hoover’s father died under circumstances related to mental illness when Hoover was young, and it was Hoover’s choice to look after and live with his mother. He wanted to protect her and did not want her to be alone, and she didn’t seem to pressure him to stay with her. Hoover was ashamed of his father’s mental instability which might have been part of the reason he grew up to put success before his own emotional needs. 2. The film did a poor job of painting the dynamic between Hoover and Martin Luther King. Hoover resented King because Hoover felt King wanted to promote communist values. Near the end of King’s life, Hoover decided to give King a final chance, invited him to his office, and the two of them spoke for a long time. Hoover left their meeting thinking he had buried a grudge and made a friend. What King didn’t know was that he was being bugged by Hoover. When King went home and was asked how the meeting went, King replied “The old man talks too much” which Hoover overheard over the wiretap. After that, Hoover gave the FBI instructions not to warn King’s camps of any assassination threats which was their policy before King cemented Hoover’s grudge for good. 3. The cross-dressing scene is completely made up. I realize it was put in the film for emotional purposes, but it ignores the most profound complication and enigma related to Hoover’s files: people of power were afraid of Hoover’s files because they didn’t know what was in them and rumors started about Hoover may have been the result of that same fear. People could only live in fear of what he knew and what he didn’t know. Some historians think that the rumor’s of Hoover’s homosexuality and cross dressing are the result of rumors started to malign Hoover much in the same way he used rumors and secrets to control and bully others. Anyway, that’s my long history lesson for the day.
Toggle Commented Nov 19, 2011 on "J. Edgar" at Some Came Running
Normally I'm against speaking in generalizations about groups of people because doing so usually comes across as shallow and vague, but as a 25 year old who has to deal with elitist hipsters on a regular basis I can personally say that this is what their average opinion on Lou Reed and "Lulu" looks like. -They will obviously snicker at just the thought of "Lulu" because they find Metallica to be "corporate, washed up, gym bro" music. -They like Lou Reed's old stuff, especially with Velvet Underground, but will go out of their way to name "Berlin" as their favorite and speak at length on how 'conceptual' and 'honest' it is. -Just to go against what they perceive as the tide of the average music listener's opinion, they will also say that John Cale was the real artist in VU and they'll name off "Academy in Peril" and whatever albums Cale did with Eno. Hell, they'll probably mention John Cage too because his name sounds like John Cale and he's all 'forward thinking' like Cale and Eno too (they're probably unaware Cage is dead). -Finally, the conversation will steer towards the fact that the hipster thinks Reed's wife Laurie Anderson is more skilled than old Lou. They'll have no valid reason to make this statement, but they'll do it because the conversation started off about "Lulu" and they still want to smugly laugh at Reed and Metallica.
I'm very pleased to see that you included both Luhrman's "Romeo + Juliet" and Nelson's "O" in your Worst Of list. The former is a superficial, stupid mess and the latter is a desperate, laughably bad adaptation. If I were to make my own Best Of list for Shakespeare adaptations, I'd undoubtedly include the "Hamlet" version with Ethan Hawke. That version from 2000 veers very close to Luhrman and Nelson territory because the film takes place in the present and has Julia Stiles, but the supporting performances by MacLachlan, Murray, and Shepard are strong enough to carry the film in my opinion. I really enjoyed your lists. Your readers are definitely lucking out since they've gotten three Glenn Kenny movie lists in such a short amount of time.
Toggle Commented Oct 28, 2011 on Brush up at Some Came Running
The MSN website doesn't seem to want to let me view your list of horror films, but I will try again later. I like how casually you call the directors of 'Catfish' "doofuses" though the description is rather appropriate considering how self-involved and naive they came across in that film. I liked the first two 'Paranormal Activity' films, and was somewhat excited for yet another one until I heard the 'Catfish' bros were making it. Your review seems to confirm some of my fears about the film, but I'm sure I'll still see it.
Toggle Commented Oct 20, 2011 on Horrors at Some Came Running
I really enjoyed your review of "Warrior". Everyone I know who has seen the film has been very surprised by how moving, detailed, and exciting the story is. "Warrior" is both a solid sports movie, and a very astute look at a broken family.
Toggle Commented Sep 6, 2011 on The current cinema at Some Came Running
I agree with a lot of what you noted in your review. The film's music is very overdone and self-serious, and overall the movie is very serious without ever saying anything profound or insightful (and the movie contributes nothing new in my opinion to discourse on the Holocaust and Israeli identity). You were also correct in your assessment of the 'love triangle': Chastain's character comes across as foolish and selfish when her motivations and issues are probably far more complicated than the writers cared to detail. Which leads me to something that was on my mind throughout the entire film: this is a movie with basically four characters and only one of them, the Worthington/Hinds role, is sympathetic, heroic, and likable. This might come across as overly malicious, but I didn't find the Mirren and Wilkinson characters to be particularly more likable than the evil Nazi doctor they were hunting down (and that says a lot about how poorly those two characters are written and presented). "The Debt" is self-serious, self-righteous, and only a decent espionage film for the first half of the film.
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Aug 29, 2011