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Archive for October, 2009

DVD Report – October 27th

Hey Woody! We recognize you there underneath Larry David’s skin. And Criticker users weren’t too impressed by your return to NYC in Whatever Works. In fact, none of this week’s new releases amanaged to win everyone over, though Il Divo came close. It’s the story of former Italian Prime Minister Giulio Andreotti. (Personally, I don’t plan on letting the bad reviews prevent me from seeing Orphan.)

Ice Age: Dawn of the DinosaursAverage Tier 5.31
The sub zero heroes are back. Scrat is still trying to nab the ever elusive nut, while maybe finding true love. Manny and Ellie await the birth of their mini-mammoth. Diego the saber toothed tiger wonders if he’s growing too soft and Sid gets into trouble when he creates his own makeshift family by hijacking some dinosaur eggs. Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs @ Amazon

OrphanAverage Tier 4.74
A husband and wife who recently lost their baby adopt a 9-year-old girl who is not nearly as innocent as she claims to be Orphan @ Amazon

Whatever WorksAverage Tier 5.60
An eccentric man (Larry David) is taken into a series of adventures and encounters with his friends from Greenwich, a young woman from the South (Evan Rachel Wood), and her parents. Whatever Works @ Amazon

Divo, IlAverage Tier 6.84
The story of Italian Prime Minister Giulio Andreotti, who has been elected to Parliament seven times since is was established in 1946. Il Divo @ Amazon

Nothing Like the HolidaysAverage Tier 4.67
A Puerto Rican family living in the area of Humboldt Park in west Chicago face what may be their last Christmas together. Nothing Like the Holidays @ Amazon

New Enhancements – Film Submissions and Search Plugin

We snuck a couple new features into the code last week. Both had been in our list of things to do for months… and now they’re done! The list goes from 569 to 568.8 pages.

Your Film Submissions as Collection

Nearly all the films which enter our database are submissions made by users. Indeed, many have added hundreds and hundreds of films to the database. Until now, there was no easy way to see all the films which a particular user had created.

Now when you submit a new film to Criticker, it’s automatically added to a private collection called My Film Submissions Submitted Films. A link to this special collection is available from your profile (or the profile of whatever user you’re interested in!)

All previously submitted films have been automatically added to the collections, so now you finally have a list of your submissions!

Criticker Search Plugin

This didn’t turn out to be as difficult as we thought it would be! Criticker now has a search plugin, using the OpenSearch platform. Most browsers have a search box in their toolbar, and you can now add Criticker to it. This will allow you to do a search at Criticker, regardless of whether you’re on the site or not!

In home news, we’re going to be taking some time off next week. It’s our first vacation in over two years, and we’ll probably end up working most of it anyway. Sigh. We’re flying home to visit my family in the Midwest. So, apologies in advance for not being responsive to emails next week!

Collection Watch: Dreamworks Animation

With Pixar gobbling up both critical praise and popular admiration, it’s easy to forget that there’s another li’l animation studio over there in the corner, whimpering for attention. There there, Dreamworks, we haven’t forgotten about you. How could we? It’s because of Shrek 2 that Criticker came into being!

Shrek 2: Humanity’s Cultural Nadir

To help us remember Dreamworks’ other not-quite legendary achievements is a collection of films, created by Hells Zargon. I was amused to see that all my PSIs for these films were in the yellow range. A confirmation of mediocrity.

What is it? Why is Dreamworks unable to ascend to the heights of Pixar? Corporate vision, or just hiring the wrong creative teams?

DVD Report – October 13th

Finally a horror movie that manages to be both popular and good. Apparently, only Sam Raimi can make them… Criticker users approve of his return to the genre, Drag Me to Hell, a brutal, funny and supremely entertaining bit of terror. But the pick of the week is something entirely different — Every Little Step is a documentary about dancers competing for a spot in A Chorus Line, and received excellent notices from the Criticker community.

Drag Me to HellAverage Tier 6.37
A loan officer ordered to evict an old woman from her home finds herself the recipient of a supernatural curse, which turns her life into a living hell. Desperate, she turns to a seer to try and save her soul, while evil forces work to push her to a breaking point. Drag Me to Hell @ Amazon

The ProposalAverage Tier 4.70
A pushy boss forces her young assistant to marry her in order to keep her Visa status in the U.S. and avoid deportation to Canada. The Proposal @ Amazon

Land of the LostAverage Tier 3.16
On his latest expedition, Dr. Rick Marshall is sucked into a space-time vortex alongside his research assistant and a redneck survivalist. In this alternate universe, the trio make friends with a primate named Chaka, their only ally in a world full of dinosaurs and other fantastic creatures. Land of the Lost @ Amazon

AdorationAverage Tier 5.54
For his French-class assignment, a high school student weaves his family history in a news story involving terrorism, and goes on to invite an Internet audience in on the resulting controversy. Adoration @ Amazon

Criticker Pick!Every Little StepAverage Tier 7.67
Follows the plight of real-life dancers as they struggle through auditions for the Broadway revival of “A Chorus Line”. Also investigates the history of the show and the creative minds behind the original and current incarnations. Every Little Step @ Amazon

Neglected Gems: Evangelion: 1.0 You Are (Not) Alone

Here’s a strange entry into our canon of Neglected Gems. Evangelion: 1.0 You Are (Not) Alone is a theatrical remake of the first 6 episodes of the beloved anime series Neon Genesis Evangelion.

I’m not sure if it’s best described as a remake or a cinematic adaptation of the series. But whatever it is, the first of four films in the “Rebuild of Evangelion” was a huge success with fans and critics alike. It’s mostly faithful to the source material, though there are a few changes that will surprise fans. A few scenes are cut, others are added, and new 3D technology is used in the animation where appropriate. Evangelion 1.0 was a smash in Japan and has found an appreciative audience overseas as well. It even landed on North American movie screens, avoiding the direct-to-DVD fate of almost all other anime.

Should I even bother trying to summarize the plot? Best leave that to the good folks of the Anime News Network:

After the second impact, all that remains of Japan is Tokyo-3, a city that’s being attacked by giant creatures that seek to eradicate the human kind, called Angels. After not seeing his father for more than eight years, Shinji Ikari receives a phone call, in which he is told to urgently come to the NERV Headquarters, an organization that deals with the destruction of the Angels through the use of giant mechs called Evas. Shinji’s objective is to pilot the Eva Unit 01, while teaming up with the Eva Unit 00 pilot, Ayanami Rei.

Um. Maybe it’s easier just to watch the film. Criticker users have given it an enthusiastic thumbs-up. The 2nd installment, You Can (Not) Advance, arrived in Japanese theaters this summer

Coney Island Time Lapse

Two New Small Enhancements – Orphaned Collections

Who doesn’t love an orphan?

Orphaned collections are sweet! Adopt one now!

Once a public collection has more than one contributor, it can no longer be deleted. It can, however, be disowned, making it an orphan. Orphaned collections can be adopted on a first-come, first-served basis.

We’ve just made it possible to see the current list of orphaned collections. If you see one that you want to take ownership of, just send us an email and let us know! Any that remain unclaimed after 6 months will be put down. Even the cute, red-haired ones.

For any film at Criticker, you’ve always been able to see just the rankings which have mini-reviews. But earlier this week, we also made it possible to sort those mini-reviews by the number of stars they’ve received. So if you’re really in a hurry, you can read just the most-loved mini-reviews for whatever film you’re interested in. Just click on “Sort by # Stars” after filtering on mini-review.

Hope you enjoy these new features!

Everything Should Be Set to The Arcade Fire

All of a sudden, Gremlins 2: The New Batch looks like it would be an awesome movie.

Actually, I’m just going to go about the rest of my life with Neon Bible blasting on my headphones. Everything will seem so much more uplifting and magnificent.

[via I Watch Stuff]

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