On this week's episode of At the Movies, Ben Lyons shows us that he knows some rules and not others.
He slams the new "Norwegian Nazi zombie movie" Dead Snow, saying:
A lot better zombie movies in recent years, 28 Days Later, 28 Weeks Later. I thought those were really effective because they establish the rules of zombies. How do you kill a zombie, if a zombie bites you does that turn you into a zombie. They were not consistent here with these parameters.Whether being consistent with the rules of zombies--rather than providing interesting characters or just effectively terrifying scenarios--is what makes a good thriller, I'll put aside for the moment. Just to say that I'm not sure that The Blair Witch Project particularly followed the "rules of witches," nor was it any worse for it. More unfortunately, though, is that he does not seem to know the rules of film criticism nearly so well as the rules of zombies.
And I don't just refer to Ebert's Little Rule Book (aka How Not to be Ben Lyons). Let's just take a very simple "rule": don't play into the Hollywood hype machine. This is one of Lyons' worst offenses which he never seems to learn from. And he does it again this week, calling the new Transformers movie, "the most anticipated movie of the summer!"
Really? By whom? I mean, is it more anticipated than Up, The Girlfriend Experience, Moon, Whatever Works, Public Enemies, Bruno, or Inglorious Basterds? Certainly not by me--even though I don't have particularly high hopes for the last two, I still have some hope that they will be pretty good, certainly more than the new Transformers movie. And I am not the only one. But until recently, Ben had G.I. Joe as one of his most anticipated movies of the summer.
Based on the last one, I have little anticipation for the sequel. But even according to Ben Lyons, "It's one of those movies, the more I go back and watch the first one, it's less and less impressive to me. I find myself not enjoying myself as much as I watched it in the theater." So why hype the sequel? Maybe it is because he, like Hansel in Zoolander, is a rogue with an attitude that says "Who cares? It's only film criticism." Or maybe he just lives and breathes the Hollywood hype machine, in spite of his better instincts and contradictory comments.
Finally, Mank gives his DVD pick of the week: Waltz with Bashir, which he says was "a surprise at the Oscars, a surprise because it did not win." I completely agree--I thought it was a front-runner at the Oscars and I thought it was a great film.
But that is why it makes it even more of a mystery that they did not review the film when it was originally released.