Sunday, September 16, 2007

Reviews from the 'Boro (Volume 8)

Some interestng developments happened this week regarding film criticism in Greensboro. Orson Scott Card, famed author and critic for Rhino Times, wrote this week that he is considering ending his column with the weekly paper. I'm certain that his 'Uncle Orson Reviews Everything' column has always been a labor of love for the most part - an efficient way to dialogue with local readers and fans. Personally, I always enjoyed Card's column for the fact that he often lends his voice to 'the other side' of the critical world.

One can visit a movie listing on and expect to find twenty-to-thirty different variations on the same review. However, if there's one thing that ALWAYS sets Card's reviews apart, it's that he cares nothing for directors. Orson even goes so far as to bash the work of 'critical darlings' like Martin Scorsese, M. Night Shymalan, or any other director who strives to lend his or her stamp to a production in an attempt to be an 'auteur.' That's not to say Orson is a a tasteless cretin. Orson just places a higher value on actors and especially writers; and the only directors he does care for are the ones he thinks have the good sense to stay out of the way.

Fortunately, his column hasn't been nixed just yet. He plans on scaling it back, making it less sprawling. When the title says, 'Reviews Everything,' sometimes it means just that. Does this mean we will get more focused review dedicated either to just one book or movie? Who knows. I just hope card won't throw in the towel. Maybe he could just take a short break for a while?

You can get more details on the potential of Orson retiring his column by clicking here.

As for Glen Baity of Yes!Weekly, he reviewed 3:10 to Yuma. While he actually caught the same advanced screening that I did, Glen decided to post it a week late for whatever reason. Maybe it was a deadline? Anyway, he liked the film a lot, but made no mention of the exploding horse. Was I the only one taken aback by that? A lot of the amped-up action in Yuma simply did not fit the tried and true template of western violence. The horse was just the icing on this cake. Glen did like the acting, especially from Russell Crowe. He also made the following valid point about Movie Show favorite Ben Foster:

[Foster] does a fine job here, as he did playing another combustible maniac in Alpha Dog, but both those performances reek of missed opportunity, through no fault of Foster's. He cuts an imposing, scarecrow-like figure in 3:10 to Yuma, but the character, as fun as he is to watch, is basically a hardened sociopath with no past and no future. A little background could have made his a supporting role on par with Val Kilmer's Doc Holliday in Tombstone; unfortunately, we'll have to wait for another film to see what the undeniably talented Foster can do. That's a bit of a loss for 3:10 to Yuma, as I believe he's a young actor capable of a real breakout performance sooner than later.

Foster's talents were a bit wasted. In a way, his intense on-screen loyalty towards Crowe's character could be viewed as homoerotic longing since the movie provides no other context. Several folks have made this point on IMDB, and there's really nothing within the film that would allow the director to respond to the contrary. Does that make this newest version of 3:10 to Yuma the Commando of our time? Only time will tell, my friends.


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