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Entries from Cinecultist tagged with 'A.O. Scott'

Age-Appropriate and other Misnomers

What movies are appropriate for children? is the subject of A.O. Scott's well-written essay in today's New York Times. This very topic has been on the Cinecultist brain lately too, between hanging out with our 11-year-old brother and 14-year-old sister over the holidays and writing reviews for Kaboose.com, a parenting website. "If it's PG-13, should we write a review about it?" is often a discussion between CC and our editor.

When Cinecultist thinks back to the movies we loved as a child, a huge chunk of them were not children's movies per se. As Scott writes, it's great for kids to feel challenged by their entertainment. Why does everything have to be so sanitized and stripped of all points controversial? Surely there are bloody, disturbing movies like No Country For Old Men out in theaters now that should be avoided with a kid in tow, but something like Persopolis would be perfect for my politics-minded little sister.

When CC, our 27-year-old sister and her boyfriend wanted to take our little brother to the movies over the vacation, we all went to see National Treasure: Book of Secrets. It seemed safe for him and entertaining enough for us. During a few of the more suspenseful moments, CC turned to look at Mark and noticed he had pulled his feet up onto his seat and had his fingers in his ears. Smart strategy: he didn't want to hear the explosion that was about to happen but he wanted to know the outcome. Despite a few of those anxious moments, Mark totally dug the movie and all the way home was asking us if he could become a treasure hunter. When we all encouraged him to let his imagination fly, he seemed a little skeptical but still excited about learning more about his own ancestors just like Nic Cage's character does. Movies do have the power to thrill and inspire, especially for children. They don't always have to fluffy and G rated.

pirates4.jpgAnd speaking of CC's Kaboose reviews, you can read our opinions of Water Horse: Legend of the Deep and The Pirates Who Don't Do Anything: A VeggieTales Movie on their site. Regarding the Veggies, it was perhaps one of the more boring flicks we've reviewed but at least the angry Cheetos were cute.

Ice Cream Melting Into Pie Shot? Only Wong Kar Wai

While the Cinecultist has been enjoying a birthday in Manhattan, Mr. A.O. "Fancy Pants" Scott has been in the South of France soaking up the sun and cinema at the Cannes Film Festival. He reports today in the Times about the scene on the Croisette and his early, albeit self-aware, opinion about the much-anticipated English language Wong Kar Wai starring Norah Jones, My Blueberry Nights. Scott declares Wong's newest is self-indulgent, but with more adjectives:

"One of the more annoying tics of the kibitzers at Cannes (including this correspondent) is the habit of rendering authoritative, often hyperbolic snap judgments before the final credits are done. Thus, while the soundtrack music from My Blueberry Nights... was still echoing in the Palais des Festivals, you could hear dyspeptic grumbling about Mr. Wong’s American venture, along with a certain amount of defensive praise. There will be plenty of time to sort it out. My initial impression is of a sweet, insubstantial movie that might have been more exciting — more meaningful — to make than it is to see."

The part that troubles CC, a fan of Wong's work but not an unequivocal one, is that the characters emoting in English seems to have rendered them more breezy and less neurotic in Scott's opinion. A breezy Wong Kar Wai character sounds like a contradiction in terms. What could our obsessive auteur be doing if he's not making every mere gesture and costume change hyperbolic? CC is increasingly skeptical but still curious about the Blueberry.