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Archive for January, 2010 Page 2 of 3

DVD Report – January 19th

It’s a well-known phenomenon: the more irrational and aggressive someone is in their public hatred of homosexuality, the more likely that person himself is gay. Easy to ridicule, but this poisonous self-hatred and denial can have real consequences when mixed with power. This week’s lone Criticker Pick, Outrage, is an examination of closeted politicians who seek to destroy the gay agenda, lest anyone accuse them of joining it. A brave documentary and powerful indictment against some privileged people.

The Invention of LyingAverage Tier 4.55
A comedy set in a world where no one has ever lied, until a writer seizes the opportunity for personal gain. The Invention of Lying @ Amazon

GamerAverage Tier 3.31
Set in a future-world where humans can control other humans in mass-scale, multi-player online gaming environments, a star player (Butler) from a game called “Slayers” looks to regain his independence while taking down the game’s mastermind (Hall). Gamer @ Amazon

PandorumAverage Tier 4.84
A pair of crew members aboard a spaceship wake up with no knowledge of their mission or their identities. Pandorum @ Amazon

WhiteoutAverage Tier 2.09
U.S. Marshal Carrie Stetko tracks a killer in Antarctica, as the sun is about to set for six months. Whiteout @ Amazon

Criticker Pick!OutrageAverage Tier 7.00
An indictment of closeted politicians who lobby for anti-gay legislation in the U.S. Outrage @ Amazon

Collection Watch: Merrie Melodies

Few things bring about a sense of nostalgia quite like the classic Merrie Melodies. To help us on our trip down memory lane, Spunkie has created a collection full of them.

Merrie Melodies was kind of a cousin to Looney Toons. Both owned by Warner Brothers, the two series shared the same cast of characters (Bugs, Porky & Daffy among them) and even the same animators. The only way to distinguish between them was often the logo at the beginning of the short.

The characteristic feature of Merrie Melodies, as opposed to Looney Tunes, was that it was conceived as a way to promote WB’s feature films by incorporating a show tune into the animation. This restriction, though, annoyed animators and was soon forgotten about. Extremely popular with the public, Merrie Melodies would run from 1931 to 1969.

There are well over 200 Merrie Melodies, though the collection only currently numbers 38. If you’d like to add more, feel free! The collection is public, which means other users can contribute.

Forum Watch: Your Favorite Scene

The Criticker Forums are a great place to both share your own thoughts, and learn a lot from other knowledgeable people. When you see a topic like Your Favorite Scene, started in October 2009 by frederic_g54, you can be sure that you’re in for a treat.

The scenes picked out by the community are great… terrifying, amazing, stylish and hilarious (often, unintentionally). Famous scenes from Psycho, The Good, The Bad and the Ugly, 8 1/2, Dog Day Afternoon, There Will Be Blood, Au hasard Balthazar… so far, 4 pages full of cinema’s most classic moments. Most contributers take the time to embed a YouTube video, which adds a lot.

Check out the discussion. You’re sure to find some forgotten favorites and discover scenes you’ve not yet watched. Make sure to add your personal faves!

10 Weird Things You Can Buy From Amazon

Haitian Film

Like most of the world right now, we’ve been horrified and captivated by what’s happened in Haiti. The most important thing that anyone can do is donate generously to the relief efforts — we’re no experts in altruism, so please refer to this helpful article at Aidwatchers.com for the best way to send money.

A consequence of this tragedy is an increased interest in the beleaguered island nation. If you’d like to bolster your knowledge of Haiti, a good place to start might be FilmHaiti.com, a website that offers a lot of videos about the country.

Say Hello to Criticker’s New Navigation

This morning, we introduced new changes to Criticker’s navigation scheme. So far, there haven’t been too many exasperated emails demanding that we change it back, so… I think that counts a success!

Here are some of the highlights:

1. Live Updating # Films – When you rank a new film, or delete a ranking, the number of rankings is automatically updated.
2. Forum/Blog Highlights – We’ve replaced the (ugly) link bubbles with the latest topics being discussed at the blog and forums.
3. Improved Submenu – Drop down menus is so 2008! Criticker is so 2010! The new menu layout is a huge step up… the options stay active even when not hovered upon, and don’t get in the way of other content.
4. Overall Style – Cleaner and sleeker. This is the first of many stylistic improvements we plan on making in the new year — others will be less noticeable, but we’re going to be constantly making changes to improve the way Criticker feels and works.

DVD Report – January 12th

I hope you saved some Christmas cash, because there are some great new films on DVD this week. In fact, this is the best DVD Report we’ve ever had the opportunity to write — no less than 4 are extremely highly-rated by users of Criticker. Science Fiction, War, Comedy, Drama… the only genre which doesn’t make the grade is Horror. With freezing weather devastating most of the Northern Hemisphere, it’s the perfect time to stay indoors and catch up on some awesome flicks.

Critcker Pick!
MoonAverage Tier 7.64
Sam Bell is nearing the end of his contract with Lunar. He’s been a faithful employee for 3 long years. His home has been Sarang, a moon base where he has spent his days alone, mining Helium 3. Moon @ Amazon
Critcker Pick!
The Hurt LockerAverage Tier 7.49
Iraq. Forced to play a dangerous game of cat-and-mouse in the chaos of war, an elite Army bomb squad unit must come together in a city where everyone is a potential enemy and every object could be a deadly bomb. The Hurt Locker @ Amazon
Critcker Pick!
In the LoopAverage Tier 7.54
A parody of the inner workings of U.S. and British government agencies and their international relations. In the Loop @ Amazon
Critcker Pick!
DeparturesAverage Tier 7.05
A failed cellist connects with his inner undertaker and his rural hometown in this tonally eccentric, lushly scored, movingly funny drama. Crushed at the breakup of his Tokyo orchestra, Daigo retreats to his picturesque northern Japan hometown, with adoring wife Mika in tow, to find his true calling. (psfilmfest.org) Departures @ Amazon

Halloween IIAverage Tier 3.64
Laurie Strode struggles to come to terms with her brother Michael’s deadly return to Haddonfield, Illinois; meanwhile, Michael prepares for another reunion with his sister Halloween II @ Amazon

DVDs for a dollar

Download the full Avatar Screenplay as PDF

Avatar is still number one at the box office. Incredible. The word-of-mouth on the most expensive motion picture ever has been excellent, and Mr. Cameron must be giddy with glee — I sure as hell didn’t expect it to do this well.

Avatar Screnplay

But as mind-blowing as the special effects are, you don’t see many people staggering out of the theater excitedly discussing the screenwriting… indeed, that’s the only part of Avatar which has been widely mocked (Ferngully, but worse).

If you’d like to relive the experience of Avatar, without all the special effects and solely on the merits of its screenplay, you may be slightly off, but we’re here to serve. Fox Screenings has released the full transcript. Go nuts.

Discuss Avatar in the Forums