Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Variety blog slams Lyons

Anne Thompson from the Thompson on Hollywood blog at Variety.com slams Ben Lyons
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At the Movies: Stopping the Two Bens

My Sunday night At the Movies habit is so deeply ingrained that I keep watching, even when it's a train wreck. The film discourse between the two new young hosts, Ben Lyons and Ben Mankiewicz, is dismayingly shallow. A new website has launched devoted to getting rid of Lyons. And one of the show's co-founders, Chicago Sun-Times critic Roger Ebert, who had to leave the telecast because he lost his voice, has posted a list of dos and don'ts for would-be critics. It's not a stretch to figure out one target for this critics' primer. UPDATE: efilmcritic's Erik Childress is running a Lyons quote of the week on his CriticWatch blog.

E! Entertainment's Lyons, for one, loves running photos in his blog of himself posing at the Toronto Film fest with stars like Keira Knightley. He once came up with this sage line: "I love women in real life, but I hated 'The Women.'" And he chose as one of his picks-of-the-week--usually saved for pointing viewers at things they should not fail to miss-- the trailer for the upcoming vampire flick Twilight. The now-you-see-it-now-you-don't critics' corner, which has been disparaged in many quarters, has not yet been killed off entirely, it seems. One of its stronger participants, IFC's Matt Singer, says he has been scheduled to shoot another one.

Ratings have plummeted, by as much as 20%, depending on the demo. But the show's producer, David Plummer, denies that At the Movies ever approached former host Richard Roeper to return. For one thing, it was Roeper's choice not to renew his contract. (Roeper could not be reached for comment.) He's been working on setting up his own syndicated show. As to rumors about replacing Lyons or Mankiewicz, "that story has no merit," said Disney ABC.

Meanwhile Ebert remains a powerful print and internet presence, and has added his trademark thumbs up and down (which Disney ABC failed to retain for the show) to his blog.

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