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Archive for June, 2008

Heroes of Contentiousness #2 – Dumb & Dumber

Dumb & Dumber @ Amazon

Hilarious or idiotic? It probably depends on the age you were, the first time you saw Dumb & Dumber. This film has strongly split Criticker users — which an FCQ (Film Contentiousness Quotient, see here for details) of 52.37 can attest to.

I saw it in the theater when I was 17: the perfect age for raunchy fart jokes. For most of the film, I was doubled-over in laughter, and still remember the side cramps I had for hours afterwards. Jim Carrey has never been funnier. Although the humor is puerile and the plot non-existent, I can profess nothing but love for a film which revels so joyously in idiocy.

But this isn’t about what I think — it’s up to you to decide: Dumb & Dumber, Great or Terrible?


Here are a couple dueling opinions from Criticker users.

Ytadel: “What makes it funny is Jim Carrey and Jeff Daniels’ genuine commitment to the material. They don’t half-ass it, thus, hilarity ensues. Guilty pleasure? No, I don’t feel that guilty about it.”

Zoidoid: “Comedy of the worst sort — juvenile jokes and bathroom humor. The highlight of this film is definitely the song “Red Right Hand” by Nick Cave appearing in one of the scenes”

Last week’s poll is closed, and we have decided that Saw is GREAT, 57% to 43%.


And just to prove that we don’t always have to disagree, here are two more films that are the opposite of contentious:
Unanimously Crap (FCQ 0.48): Alone in the Dark. Perhaps the worst video game adaptation of all time — and that’s saying something.
Unanimously Sweet (FCQ 2.29): Double Indemnity. Pure entertainment.

Burn After Reading – Advance Trailer

Burn After Reading Poster
Click for Full Image
Burn After Reading is shaping up to be the discerning film fan’s favorite film of 2008. The Coen Brothers directing Brad Pitt and George Clooney in a wacky crime caper… and let’s throw in Tilda Swinton, John Malkovich and Frances McDormand. It’s as though the Cohens are ticking off a list titled “How to Excite Movie Buffs”.

A dark spy-comedy from Academy Award winners Joel and Ethan Coen. An ousted CIA official’s memoir accidentally falls into the hands of two unwise gym employees intent on exploiting their find.

Color me skeptical. The Coens’ films often leave me cold, especially when they dip into comedy. It’s almost as though they’re too smart to really pull it off… But, this trailer is pretty good. We’ll see.

The film is due out in September, so we haven’t yet added it to Criticker.

Official Film Website


DVD Report – June 24th, 2008

This week’s crop of new films to DVD is a lot more robust than last week’s, with at least 2 films which should be on everyone’s must-see list: Persepolis, an Iranian animation based on the best selling graphic novel, and In Bruges, a great crime flick that flew under the radar last year. And how much do we love it that more Criticker users have seen both these two films than lame box-office champ Definitely, Maybe? Criticker users isn’t no dummiez!

Criticker Pick!Persepolis245 Rankings – Average Tier 7.64
The poignant coming-of-age story of a precocious and outspoken young Iranian girl, which begins during the Islamic Revolution. Persepolis @ Amazon

10,000 B.C.116 Rankings – Average Tier 2.56
A prehistoric epic that follows a young mammoth hunter’s journey through uncharted territory to secure the future of his tribe. 10,000 B.C. @ Amazon

Criticker Pick!In Bruges87 Rankings – Average Tier 7.21
Bruges, the most well-preserved medieval city in the whole of Belgium, is a welcoming destination for travellers from all over the world. But for hit men Ray and Ken, it could be their final destination; a difficult job has resulted in the pair being ordered right before Christmas by their London boss Harry to go and cool their heels in the storybook Flemish city for a couple of weeks… In Bruges @ Amazon

Definitely, Maybe59 Rankings – Average Tier 5.22
Will Hayes, a 30-something Manhattan dad is in the midst of a divorce when his 10 year old daughter, Maya, starts to question him about his life before marriage. Maya wants to know absolutely everything about how her parents met and fell in love. Will’s story begins in 1992… Definitely, Maybe @ Amazon

The Spiderwick Chronicles49 Rankings – Average Tier 5.02
Upon moving into the run-down Spiderwick Estate with their mother, twin brothers Jared and Simon Grace, along with their sister Mallory, find themselves pulled into an alternate world full of faeries and other creatures. The Spiderwick Chronicles @ Amazon

Charlie Bartlett49 Rankings – Average Tier 4.81
Charlie Bartlett, a wealthy, intelligent 17-year-old, has been kicked out of nearly every boarding school in town and is now enrolled in the local public high school, headed by the reluctant Principal Gardner. Initially struggling to find a place in the new school, Charlie eventually establishes himself as the supportive listener who dispenses well-needed advice… Charlie Bartlett @ Amazon

AFI – Top Ten by Genre

The American Film Institute has released its 10 Top 10 – the top ten films in ten genres.


Winners include 2001 (Sci-Fi), Snow White (Animation) and Vertigo (Mystery). Take some time to browse their lists, you’ll surely find entrants to disagree with (Shrek?!!), but overall it’s hard to find too much fault.

What do you all think? Any glaring omissions?

Criticker in PCMag


Breaking News!

Yesterday, PCMag placed Criticker on spot 10 in its list of Best Websites for Movie Fans — one ahead of Flixter (ha!)

This is amazing and pretty exciting, especially considering that other sites on that list are run by companies with much larger budgets & staff.

We would like to use this chance to thank every single user who has signed with Criticker, invited their friends and families and sent us suggestions on how to make Criticker a better place. And of course for turning our Movie Forum into a lively place.

Read the story:

Criticker on PCMag listFull PCMag Story

Apple iTunesshow?id=zgmC70XXLTQ&bids=146261

Heroes of Contentiousness #1 – Saw

Saw @ Amazon
We’ve been trying to kick-start Criticker’s blog this week with a bunch of new features. One of these is to highlight the films which have split our user community. And, yes, we’re using an uncomplicated mathematical formula to generate a complicated acronym. Try this on for size:

(min(P,N)/max(P,N) * (P+N)/T) * 100 = FCQ

P = Positive Rankings (Tiers 8, 9, 10), N = Negative Rankings (Tiers 1, 2, 3),
T = Total Rankings, FCQ = Film Contentiousness Quotient

Step off, pretenders. That Geek License is ours! To put the equation above into plain English, these are the films that equal numbers of people hate and love, and that the fewest number of people feel indifferent about.


First up, with a FCQ of 48.77 is Saw. Most people loved or hated it. Regardless of the film’s cinematic worth, Saw was a massive success and the harbinger of a new (or, revived) genre of film: Gorno. In Saw, the emphasis was not so much on the struggle of good versus evil, as it was on watching people get murdered in the most disturbing ways possible.

Seen in the light of more recent splatter films such as Wolf Creek and the Hostel movies, Saw is mild (and more clever). But taking the film itself plus its historical context into account, where do you stand? Was Saw (palindrome!) a great film or a terrible one? “In between” is not an option.

Personally, I’m coming down on the side of Terrible. Saw was entertaining, but I can’t excuse it for sexing up murder and violence, let alone for being successful enough to popularize the practice. But don’t take it from me! Criticker users can say it better. User jetjaguar, for one, agrees:

“A movie that seems to think it’s much deeper than it actually has any hope of being. The camera and editing trick wear out their welcome long before the story descends into absolute nonsense. I really hate this movie.”

On the other side of the fence, rockyrules said:

Say what you will about it, but I walked in expecting a gritty and gory psychological thriller and that’s what I got. I loved the atmosphere, and the film had a clever premise and interesting plot twists. And yes, Cary Elwes is laughably bad in this film, but despite that, I enjoyed it.


Ay, can’t we get along? Actually, we can. Here are two films everyone agrees on:
Unanimously Crap (FCQ 0.84): The Animal. Sorry, Rob, we are in agreement.
Unanimously Sweet (FCQ 2.03): The Treasure of the Sierra Madre. A classic.

Alfred Hitchcock The Birds Barbie Doll

Birds barbie doll

Alfred Hitchcock would have been pleased. In case you haven’t ranked Birds yet – click on the link and do it now if you got a moment.

Will these plastic birds damage her delightful handbag or her carefully styled hair? We certainly hope not! Be sure to let Barbie into your home and pray that the birds don’t come in with her!

Link: Alfred Hitchcock The Birds Barbie Doll

[via: nerdapproved]