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Archive for November, 2009

Criticker Lists – Lord of the Rings Villains

Since we unveiled Lists, over 400 have been created on an incredible variety of topics. Lists was meant to be a fun time-waster, and has proven to be pretty addictive.

There’s no restriction in what kind of lists can be made, and we could never have predicted how creative users would turn out to be. It’s a lot of fun to browse through and rank the lists. We’re going to start highlighting some of the more popular ones on the blog, starting with one that is connected to Criticker’s higher purpose — movies.

Vote for me, or I will kill you.

Ytadel created a number of lists about Lord of the Rings characters, and his third is Villains. Simply put these baddies in order of your most favorite to least, and see who you agree with. You can also see how you compare with the general consensus. (Hey, shlebede, you and I are at 96%!)

Check it out, and if you have fun with it, make sure to tell your kumpels.

Movie Forum

New Enhancement: Summary Credits

They’re always properly credited, but many of our film summaries originate from other websites. Once in awhile, though, users take the time to craft their own summaries. We greatly prefer this — unique content is extremely valuable to any website.

However, until now, users weren’t really able to claim a credit on hand-written summaries. Now, they can! When you have written a summary, either from the Film Information page’s “update” utility, or while submitting a film for entry in the database, you can mark it as your own.

It’s about time we properly recognize the time our users put in on improving Criticker’s summaries, and it will hopefully encourage more people to write their own.

Please don’t hesitate to overwrite summaries that are not original! We’d love for some of the more popular films on Criticker to have unique synopses.

If you’d like to claim the credit on any summaries you’ve already written, please send an email to info-at-criticker.com. Just make sure to include the link to the Criticker film pages, to avoid confusion.

Black Friday Deals

Collection Watch: Making Of…

Many behind-the-scenes full-length documentaries about the process of assembling a film are mere love-ins during which the cast & crew blather on about how “brilliant” and “fun to work” they all mutually are. I recently watched such a featurette on the Changeling DVD, during which Angelina Jolie and Clint Eastwood practically gave each other a tongue bath, so effusive were they in their praise of one another. Nothing about the filmmaking process, just endless slobbery proclamations of what a mastermind he is, how strong she is, how funny he is, how friendly she is, how… slobber, grunt, hump, schlick.

Terry Gilliam and Johnny Depp: not about to give each other a tongue bath

But it doesn’t have to be like that! Thanks to user Moribunny, there is a collection dedicated to “real” making-of films. These documentaries truly attempt to shed light on the process of the craft, and some manage to be even more entertaining than their subject. And at least one concerns a film that was never even completed: Lost in La Mancha about Terry Gilliam’s attempt to bring Don Quixote to the screen.

The collection is public, so if you know other great making-of documentaries to add, go for it!

Travel Blog

Horrible Amateur Twilight Merchandise

My brother, a Hardy-quoting literary sophisticate, is a high-school English teacher. By the demand of his students, he’s had to read and critically discuss all of Stephanie Meyer’s meisterwerks, something I believe directly related to his recently confessed contemplation of suicide.

Ain’t no party like a PDF party!

But Thomas Hardy never inspired legions of fans to create kitschy homemade Tess of the d’Urbervilles merchandise. Suck it, you loquacious windbag!

Here, according Pop Hangover, are the 10 worst Twilight items available on Etsy. Enjoy.

Free Mp3s from Amazon

DVD Report – November 25th

Uwe Boll, you mad genius! Far Cry is your swan song. Your Citizen Kane. Don’t let the derision of the Criticker community get you down! That hilariously low average tier is merely a reflection of popular ignorance. You know as well as I that a film based on a videogame, starring Til Schweiger and featuring genetically modified soldiers is good by default. Screw ’em all.

Angels & DemonsAverage Tier 4.56
Harvard symbologist Robert Langdon works to solve a murder and prevent a terrorist act against the Vatican. Angels & Demons @ Amazon

Funny PeopleAverage Tier 5.87
When comedian George Simmons learns of his terminal health condition, his desire to form a genuine friendship cause him to take a green performer under his wing as his opening act. Funny People @ Amazon

GomorraAverage Tier 5.86
An inside look at Italy’s modern-day crime families. Based on a book by Roberto Saviano. Gomorra @ Amazon

Four ChristmasesAverage Tier 3.44
A couple struggle to visit all four of their divorced parents on Christmas Day. Four Christmases @ Amazon

Far CryAverage Tier 1.70
Jack Carver, a former member of the Special Forces takes the journalist Valerie Cardinal to an Island to visit her uncle Max who is working in a Military complex on the Island. As they arrive Valerie gets captured by the minions of Doctor Krüger. Jack does not care about her until his boat explodes. After the destruction of his boat Jack finds out about the true purpose of the Facilities on the Island, which is the creation of genetically modified soldiers. (Wikipedia) Far Cry @ Amazon

Amazon Black Friday Week DVD Sale

Heroes of Contentiousness – That’s a Wrap!

For a long while now, we’ve been highlighting the most contentious films in our database, based on a special formula which is designed to find movies which a lot of people hated, a lot of people loved, and not too many felt ambivalent about.

Although the list can fluctuate, based on new ratings and new movies, here are the 25 films we’ve featured in the blog. The number in parenthesis is the FCQ: the Film Contentiousness Quotient. The higher the number, the more contentious the film. Consensus seems to have mostly settled around a few of the films we featured at the very beginning of this project’s life, such as Transformers (consensus = “crap”).

Stealing the show from Kubrick’s final film, RHPC wins the title as the most contentious film at Criticker. A masterpiece, or a hideously overrated waste of time? It might depend on what decade you were born in. The numbers almost couldn’t be closer: 658 ratings in the bottom tiers and 671 in the top. Now that’s contentiousness!

#2) Eyes Wide Shut (56.95)
#3) Stay (54.71)
#4) Across the Universe (52.69)
#5) 300 (51.63)
#6) Chicago (50.97)
#7) Team America: World Police (50.60)
#8) The Butterfly Effect (49.92)
#9) Bad Santa (49.69)
#10) Star Wars: Episode III – Revenge of the Sith (49.61)
#11) I Am Sam (49.51)
#12) The Life of David Gale (49.35)
#13) The Mist (48.61)
#14) I Heart Huckabees (48.53)
#15) Dumb and Dumber (47.27)
#16) Empire Records (47.04)
#17) Brotherhood of the Wolf (46.45)
#18) Contact (46.30)
#19) Saw (45.16)
#20) Igby Goes Down (44.00)
#21) Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest (43.73)
#22) Girl, Interrupted (43.08)
#23) King Kong (39.58)
#24) Marie Antoinette (36.15)
#25) Transformers (33.73)

Of course, contentious films are being made all the time! Which of these recent films do you think is most likely to one day join the hallowed ranks of the Heroes of Contentiousness?

Future Hero of Contentiousness

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Neglected Gems: A Moment of Innocence

Iranian director Mohsen Makhmalbaf’s 1996 film A Moment of Innocence (Nun va Goldoon) is a semi-autobiographical reconstruction of an actual event in his life. As a teenager, Makhmalbaf stabbed a policeman while trying to steal his gun during a revolutionary rally in Tehran. Decades later, he attempted to find the policeman in an act of penance. His film pays homage to this event.

Makhmalbaf plays himself and (somewhat more remarkably) the police officer does the same. Both older, the film recounts their reunion and decision to create a film about the event. They set about doing so, casting younger versions of themselves and reimagining events from varying perspectives. But it’s not a documentary. The performances seem natural and unscripted, but the plot has been carefully planned. Banned in Iran, the movie won critical plaudits overseas.

It all might sound groaningly abstract, but Criticker users were almost unanimous in their praise, earning A Moment of Innocence a spot in our list of Neglected Gems. The film has a lightness and simplicity which make its complex themes easily accessible. You can’t help but ponder how much is real and how much imagined, and you’re unsure how much to trust what you’re watching. In his 4 1/2 star review, Slant’s Eric Henderson says that “A Moment of Innocence feels wispy and effortless, yet resonates heavy with the Proustian understanding of how memories only amplify and enrich with time”. A unique cinematic experience, at the very least.

Buy A Moment of Innocence here