A week shy of my homie John Lichman's migration from New York to Los Angeles for a sweet gig at Current's new Rotten Tomatoes show, I took some time to watch the first episode of the program (check it out here). Considering RT's systematic reduction of the critical process to a dispiritedly simplistic duality, the show sports a surprisingly insightful plurality of voices. The hosts are not just charismatic -- they're wittily self-deprecating, as if slyly acknowledging the silliness expected of them. As a result, they come close to subverting those low expectations, as does the entire structure of the show, which alternates from the host's comments to those of various filmmakers, critics, comedians, etc.
It's a fairly unique approach: Criticism as video collage. I kinda like it.
There's actual content in these critiques: Co-host Brett Ehrlich constructs a near-academic thesis about the inherent flaws of video game adaptations, while Ellen Fox avoids needless pretentiousness by admitting that, as a gamer novice, her experience with the latest Street Fighter movie may differ from that of a diehard fan. I love how she champions After Hours in their list of top conspiracy movies.
Still, the program has an obvious populist approach, so I'm curious to see how much they're willing to bend the rules. Let's see how these two handle the next Assayas film. I'll be watching.