Tag Archives: Roger Ebert

Original idea?

Finally…the critics and I agree!

While Roger Ebert was all up in arms about the ‘reprehensible’ superhero flick “Kick Ass,” I was more upset by the Chris Rock vehicle “Death at a Funeral.”

Nothing against Rock, but I loved the original British version released a mere three years ago.

Isn’t a buppy version a bit premature?

Turns out many critics felt exactly the same way.  As the New York Daily News so succinctly summed it up, “…unless you also intend to improve upon the first attempt, what’s the point?”

The original movie starred Matthew MacFadyen — best known to American audiences as Mr. Darcy to Keira Knightley’s Elizabeth Bennett in “Pride & Prejudice” — and Peter Dinklage, who plays the identical role in the new version.

Think about it.  Wouldn’t audiences have questioned a new version of “Jerry MaGuire” three years later?  A buppy take on “You’ve Got Mail?”  The “Lord of the Rings” trilogy remade with a new cast of actors?

Granted, the original “Death at a Funeral” wasn’t a big commercial success, but still — it’s like no one wants to take a chance on a new script these days. Better to re-do than do something original…

like “The Joneses”, which I did see this weekend.

A black comedy, this movie contains a premise I have never seen before.  Well-acted. Interesting. Unexpected.

Brace yourself.

New “New Moon”

Roger Ebert hated it.

The New York Times dismissed it as the “big tease that turns into the long goodbye.”  (Gotta love the wordplay.)

And rottentomatoes.com ranked it 29% rotten.

Good work, “Twilight Saga: New Moon.”   You are even less popular with critics than your predecessor, “Twilight,” which more or less confused journalists last fall, scoring 49% on the freshometer.  (Edward actually glamoured the ones that hated it.  Fact.)

Of course, “New Moon” wasn’t filmed, edited and released in less than a year to please the critics.  It was rushed to theatres to capitalize on the pre-teen, teen and cougar crazies who were screaming for more. (I realize I fall within this group, although my self-awareness makes me a shade less scary).

But while I loved the “Twilight” movie and subsequently read all the books, I hated the “New Moon” book.  I know many of my friends felt the same.  Hated that Edward left after just a chapter or two.  Labored through all the werewolf crap ’cause, seriously —  Where the hell was Edward? Of course, I perked up at the end of the book, but if I had encountered Stephenie Meyer on the street at that point, we would have had words.

Director Chris Weitz of “New Moon” knew fans like me were out there, too.  So he made a film that’s better than the book.  No mistake — he stuck to the story more religiously than even the “Twilight” movie did, but his visual interpretation is more satisfying than Meyer’s original text.

How often does that happen?

Now, granted, I saw the movie at midnight at a theatre in my Upper West Side neighborhood, so you might think I’m a tad giddy.  I was worried about staying awake or being coherent.  But when 500 other people are watching a movie with you, and they are just as stoked as you are to be there, it makes for a great movie-going experience.

I had a blast.  I loved the movie.  Story aside, the cinematography, effects and makeup are head-and-shoulders above the original.  It’s just a beautiful movie to watch.

Oh — and Edward doesn’t suck either.

Well, he does.  But, he doesn’t.