Entertainment behind the scenes
In Pixar’s 2007 movie “Ratatouille,” a food critic played by Peter O’Toole offers a glowing review of a restaurant run by a rat, in a poignant scene at the climax of the film. O’Toole’s dramatic speech begins with the words, “In many ways, the work of a critic is easy,” before going on to say that his true job is the “defense of the new.” When it comes to Disney/Pixar’s latest animated release “Up,” Kenneth Turan of the Los Angeles Times is on a similar wavelength. “Some films are an obligation to write about, ‘Up’ is the purest pleasure,” he reports.
Nearly all of Turan’s fellow critics agree about “Up,” which opens on Friday floating on a wave of box office success for other family-oriented films. The movie is about an old man and a boy who set off in a house carried skyward by 20,622 helium balloons. The aggregating Web site rottentomatoes.com reports that as of Thursday afternoon, 97 percent of critics have given the movie a favorable rating. Rotten Tomatoes has stamped all 10 Pixar films with its “Certified Fresh” seal of approval, going back to the 1995 “Toy Story.”
Turan in his review said that “Up” is noteworthy for starring an old man, voiced by Ed Asner, who appears genuinely old, instead of having the physicality of a young man. ”This is a film that is heartfelt enough to restore your faith in whatever needs restoration,” Turan wrote.
David Edelstein of New York Magazine remarked on the computer-generated imagery (CGI) of the film. “The look of ‘Up’ is a world away from Pixar’s usual CGI intricacies – simple in a way that only artists with a genius for complexity can achieve.”
Brian McCollum, pop music critic for the Detroit Free Press, called the show “one of the most sizzle-free Grammy events in recent memory, marked by tepid live performances, unmemorable acceptance speeches and low-key presenters with dud jokes.”
Swedish director Lukas Moodysson might not be the happiest of filmmakers at the moment. It’s hardly surprising, given that his latest movie “Mammoth“, starring Gael Garcia Bernal, was roundly booed by reporters and critics after a press screening at the Berlin film festival.
Critics have panned the examination of globalisation and economic migrants. The film’s average mark in Screen International’s informal poll of reviews is 0.9 out of four, or below a poor rating. Five out of eight critics deemed it plain “bad”.
The New York Times has re-visited the issue of the demise of the “old media” film critic, after a number of U.S. dailies and weeklies laid off staff amid falling advertising revenues, fears of a full-blown recession and competition from free Web sites and blog pages.
Critics have long been defending their corner, many embracing (at least publicly) the rise of the film blogger and stressing the difference between reviewing (personal opinion, reactionary) and criticising (analysis, broad knowledge base) a movie.