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This Week on Criticwire: Books, Blindspots and the Continued Criticism of Everything

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by Steve Greene
March 31, 2012 12:22 PM
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As the films that spawned them continue their box-office conquests, conversations about "The Hunger Games" and "The Raid: Redemption" carried over into their second and third weeks. But not all critic-related issues are ones that circle around current properties. Here's a refresher on everything from this week on Criticwire.

Critic Knows Best (Or Thinks They Do, Anyway): Almost everyone would concede that part of a critic's job description is to evaluate a particular work of art. But Matt wonders if there's any value in a critic extending beyond that task and into the realm of "solving" any artistic problems.

From the Wire: A Brief HIstory of Unemployment Onscreen: As a new post at the Misfortune Cookie blog can attest, any member of the film industry currently looking for work is in the company of some of film's greatest characters.

Criticizing the Critic of Everything: Jonathan Poritsky responded to Matt's "Critic of Everything" post from last week, which raises another debate about whether "The Raid: Redemption" should be evaluated in full or simply against other recent action films.  

The Criticwire Survey: The Best Review I Ever Wrote: In the Survey's inaugural edition, we asked a number of critics to name the film reviews that they felt most proud to have been published.

The Connection Between Big Opening Weekends and Good Reviews: A recent Movieline piece posited that high critical marks have been instrumental in helping recent box-office smashes get even bigger. But, even if a statistical relationship does exist, it may be difficult to prove that one leads to the other.

Of Turtles and Men: The Rush to Judge Movies Before They're Made: Legions of "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles" devotees have already voiced their displeasure with the impending Michael Bay adaptation. But a pair of Matts (Singer and Patches) seem to be in agreement both that a reboot may not be the worst thing and that judgment should be withheld until the product makes it to the screen.

Blindspots: The Critic's (Not-So-)Secret Shame: In humanity's quest to make every pursuit a comprehensive one, sometimes it's important to realize that nobody has seen everything. Eric D. Snider's Shame List helps us come to term with our cinematic shortcomings.

From the Wire: Books to Film and Back: A recent A.V. Club conversation between Scott Tobias and Tasha Robinson prompts an expansion on the "proper" type of adaptation and what films handle the transition most effectively.

Criticwire Picks: 'The Island President' Highlights a Weekend of Dealing with Threats: The new documentary garnered the highest average score among this weekend of new releases, but other tales of triumph are drawing attention as well.

Retro/Active: Rosenbaum on 'A.I. Artificial Intelligence': The ending of Spielberg's 2001 film has been severely maligned both in its theatrical run and after. But Jonathan Rosenbaum's new piece not only defends it; he presents an ideal example of how best to handle the "Critic of Everything" problem.

VODetails: Our ongoing series highlighting emerging on-demand releases added two new entries this week - Kentucker Audley's "Open Five" and Evan Kelly's "The Corridor."

Prose & Conversations: 'Bully' Rating Debating With Tim Grierson and Andrew O'Hehir: Whether unfairly or not, the debate over the MPAA's rating of "Bully" seems to have overshadowed some of the film's message. Grierson and O'Hehir have differing opinions, but with Matt mediating, the two are able to respond to each other's claims.

Why the Best Movies Still Get Bad Reviews -- And Why That's a Good Thing: Some (if not all) of the great masterpieces have earned a negative review or two. Matt explains why there's value in that.

From the Wire: The Death of the American Action Film: Adam Sternbergh pointed out that the international competition in the action movie market is putting Hollywood to shame. While Matt doesn't disagree, he offers a glimmer of hope for enthusiasts of American muscle.

From the Wire: Reading 'Hunger Games'' Romance: In honor of the newly launched ScreenCrush, Matt takes a look at Britt Hayes' piece on young adult adaptations' manipulation of young love.

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