Monday, June 22, 2009

At the Movies: Some rules are sacred

Ben Lyons: Less than meets the eye
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.


Anonymous said...

This past weekend's show just proved what an idiot Lyons is.

For Woody Allen's new film he said he loved it even though it was the same as his other films.

Then he shot down another film (can't remember which one) because it was not original.

Seriously buddy, make up your mind.

azdouglas said...

First of all--thank God for your site! Ben Lyons is awful. Second, American culture and mediocrity are the same thing.

That being said, one of the best examples of his stupidity was when Manks criticized the performance of Dakota Fanning in a movie and Lyons got mad and said it "was mean" to criticize a child star. What??!! If I'm going to pay 10$ I should know whether or not (according to a real film critic) a film or performance is decent or awful. There are good child performances and bad ones--and I would like to know that. At least Manks understands that you evaluate the film for what it is.

Ben Lyons is an idiot!

Anonymous said...

where did the transformers pic come from? ben's website?

Scott said...

Yes, that actually is Ben Lyons in a transformer mask. Click on the picture and you will see that it originated on his Web site.

Anonymous said...

Ben Lyons is a fucking tool.

Anonymous said...

I just realized the Lyons call the 28 day later series "zombie movies". They are not zombie movies, they are about a rabies type virus. So this douche needs to do some research about the rules of a zombie film, because he seems to have yet seen one.