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This Week on Criticwire: From Cannes Favorites to Will Smith

Photo of Steve Greene By Steve Greene | Criticwire June 2, 2012 at 11:50AM

One major theme this week seemed to be that many people are inherently drawn to the bad side of movies. But what can we learn from our fascination with the less-than-successful elements of the film world?
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Weekend Reel Reads: On Sontag, Video Games and the Death of Ramon Novarro: One of the most diverse incarnations of this weekly feature that we've ever had, this octet of stories covers murder mysteries, classic film criticism and women editors.

The Criticwire Survey: Old Directors, New Technology: When we asked critics for the director who would best benefit from modern technical innovation, Hitchcock topped many of the lists. But many of the auteurs from the first half of the 20th century also received notice.

Why People Love When Critics Hate: Whether the subject is art or food or film, many readers draw a certain sense of deliciousness from a particularly scathing review. Jay Rayner's piece in The Guardian suggests that bad reviews go beyond critical evaluation and into the realm of entertainment.

Runtime: The Movies' Secret Spoilers: Sometimes, taking a peek at the time counter on a DVD player can tip off a viewer how a particular movie might end. Matt proposes a technological innovation that might counteract this slight pesky problem.

Criticwire at Cannes: The Top Films and Performances Poll: "Amour" and "Holy Motors" were big hits among critics, taking the top two slots of our Best Film poll. We also asked our Criticwire members at Cannes to send in their favorite performances and the biggest disappointments.

From the Wire: The Michael Jordan of Movie Stars: A recent Tim Grierson piece declared Will Smith the last movie star, comparing his ascendance and career arc to those of a certain bald basketball icon.

From the Wire: 'Battleship''s Less-Than-Pinpoint Accuracy: It appears that a film about a full-scale war between the U.S. Navy and malicious alien beings may not be an accurate depiction of water-bound military operations.

Early 'Prometheus' Reactions Find Signs of Intelligent Life in Ridley Scott's Sci-Fi Return: For those are uninterested in entering the "Prometheus" viewing experience with a clean slate, the first wave of reviews have started trickling out. The buzz isn't overwhelmingly positive, but there does seem to be some consensus about the movie's merits.

Criticwire Picks: "5 Broken Cameras" Signals Good Week for Festival Docs: Our weekly look at the best of the new releases features the Sundance and ND/NF success as well as the tribute doc "Paul Williams: Still Alive."

Paramount Pictures: Then and Now: In light of the supposedly tragic pushback of the "GI Joe" sequel, Matt compares the current reputation of Paramount with that of its more artistically open one during the 1970s.

Rotten Tomatoes Teams with Sirius XM for Radio Show: Criticwire endorses plans for Rotten Tomatoes' forthcoming satellite radio venture, which seems to be a blend of a bygone style and a modern format.

From the Wire: The Origin of the Tarantinoverse: One Reddit commenter may completely reshape how you view the films of the Tarantino canon, placing all of his films in an alternate universe where pop culture means so much more.

What Turns Flops Into Media Feeding Frenzies?: With the overall flop narrative so similar between the two films, why did "John Carter" get so much negative press, while "Battleship" seemingly escaped without massive public scrutiny? The answer, Matt posits, might have something to do with ambition (or the lack thereof).

The Funniest Internet Commenter of the Week for Friday, June 1st: In what is sure to give "Weird Pull Quote Theater" a run for its money as the greatest recurring feature on the Internet, this new series begins with a doozy.

Barbed Wire: 'Piranha 3DD': More panning! Critics appear to have sunk their teeth into a movie where killer fish sink their teeth into unpleasant locations. Proceed with caution.

A.O. Scott and David Carr Critique Criticism: In this week's edition of the pair's weekly web series, the two New York Times writers discuss the nature of the form, and reveal some deep-seated truths (?) about critic's masochistic tendencies.

This article is related to: This Week on Criticwire


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