Posts Tagged ‘Zach Snyder’

Metro In Focus: Fans and critics clash over superhero movie

Screen Shot 2016-03-29 at 1.07.04 PMBy Richard Crouse – Metro In Focus

Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice didn’t do well with critics, but was a giant hit with fans. The New Republic called it an “indigestible, posturing, two-and-a-half-hour mope-fest,” while Time Out blasted it, calling it “a $250 million tombstone for a genre in dire need of a break.”

In my written review I gave it an unenthusiastic two out of five star rating, describing it as “essentially a long trailer for the next DC superhero ensemble movie tagged on to a WrestleMania style smack down.” On my regular Canada AM review segment I joked it should have been subtitled Yawn of Justice.

About four seconds after I wrapped my television review the first of many tweets and facebook responses started cluttering up my social media pages. I’d detail them all individually, but most of them were variations on this one from Frank in Nova Scotia: “@RichardCrouse good thing #DawnOfJustice was made for fans and not critics. These are usually the good ones. Can’t wait to see it.”

I hope Frank liked the movie. I suspect he was part of the opening weekend’s overwhelmingly male demographic—66 percent of the audience were male, 63 percent between the ages of 18 and 34—who flocked to the film. Also, his twitter cover page shows Superman shooting lasers from his eyes at Batman. I imagine if he could find a picture of Supes blasting a critic he would have used that one instead.

Superhero movies tend to accentuate the divide between critics and fans and rarely has the gap been wider and deeper than it is in the reaction to Batman v Superman.

The thing is, there shouldn’t be a divide between professional moviegoers and fans. It’s not Criticman v Fandom or Us v Them. We share a love of story, characters and images on screen. We may express our opinions differently, but as Devin Faraci pointed out recently film critics are film critics because they are passionate about movies. Take writer John Gholson for instance. In response to the blow back his negative review of the film received he tweeted, “If you think “I wanted to hate” BVS, you’re out of your mind and the reason I’m still upset days later is because I wanted to LOVE it.”

For sure there are critics who automatically dismiss superhero movies. Or romantic comedies, or whatever your favourite genre, but no one forces you to read them. Choose your favourite film critic like you would a friend, someone who shares your enthusiasms, or challenges them or whatever makes you happy. The point is no one is holding Batman’s grapple gun to your head making you read bad reviews of your fan favourites.

Better yet, take musician and social activist Jello Biafra’s advice. “Don’t hate the media,” he said, “become the media.” It’s never been easier to express yourself publicly, whether it’s on your own blog or social media but here’s a pro tip: go see the movie before sharing your thoughts.

Not that reviews or blogs were going to make a great deal of difference to Batman v Superman’s box office fate. Paul Dergarabedian, senior media analyst at comScore nailed it when he said, “Reviews don’t matter. The Batsuit and Superman’s cape are made of Teflon.” The movie was review proof as evidenced by its 29 percent Tomatometer score compared to its massive $ $166.1 million North American take.

Breathing new life into ‘women in prison’ In Focus by Richard Crouse METRO CANADA Published: March 23, 2011

Sucker-Punch-HQ-Wallpapers-1920x1200-5Recently a poll found that more than one in five British cinema-goers preferred comedy to any other film style. Action/adventure films placed second, with romantic comedies rounding out the top three. That trio of genres eats up most of the space at the movie theatres, but there are hundreds of other kinds of films.

This weekend, Sucker Punch opens in theatres, a women-in-prison film directed by 300 helmer Zach Snyder, reviving a genre thought to have gone the way of nunsploitation and Pauly Shore movies.

Of all the sub-sub genres, the women-in-prison movie has to be one of the least appreciated… at least in recent years. There was a time when these stories of women in lock up, at the mercy of cruel prison guards, proudly took up screens in drive-ins and second-run houses. With names like Caged Heat and Barbed Wire Dolls, these movies, along with kung fu and blaxploitation flicks, kept many a grindhouse in business.

WIP films have been around since the 1930s, but didn’t become popular until the 1950s when cautionary tales like Agnes Moorehead’s Caged and Ida Lupino’s Women’s Prison mixed and matched hardened criminals with sadistic guards.

It wasn’t until Spanish exploitation filmmaker Jess Franco hit upon the misogynistic recipe of mixing babes, bars and bondage, however, that the subgenre was officially born.

His first WIP movie, 99 Women (featuring the voice of the demon child in The Exorcist, Mercedes McCambridge), sparked a revolution in sexploitation films.

One of the early stars to emerge from the WIP heyday was Pam Grier. Starring in The Big Bird Cage and The Big Doll House—“Their bodies were caged, but not their desires. They would do anything for a man. Or to him.”— Grier became, as Quentin Tarantino called her, “the first female action star.”

No WIP exploitation film ever won an Academy Award, but at least one of their filmmakers did. Today, Oscar -winner Jonathan Demme is known as the man behind Silence of the Lambs and Philadelphia, but buried deep down on his resume is his big screen debut, Caged Heat. In addition to the obligatory violence and nudity, Demme added a storyline about prisoner abuse through medical experiments.

“Jonathan took that assignment,” remembers producer Roger Corman, “and said: ‘This is gonna be the best one ever made.’ Jonathan took the genre, worked with it, and made something exceptionally good.”