Why review?

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Voiced by Jon Stewart -- don't cry.
At the New York Post, Lou Lumenick writes about the fact that neither Tyler Perry‘s "Diary of a Mad Black Woman" sequel "Madea’s Family Reunion" nor Euro CGI kiddie flick "Doogal" are going to be screened for critics (though Slant‘s superhuman Ed Gonzalez has managed to review it despite this, by picking up the UK version, which has a different cast providing voices). "That makes eight so far this year, compared with seven in all of 2005, by The Post‘s count," Lumenick muses.

"We are not going to spend $50,000 for the privilege of negative reviews for a film that isn’t going to be affected by them," Tom Ortenberg, president of "Madea" distributor Lionsgate, told The Post.

If ever there was a review-proof film, "Diary" was it. At Salon, Russell Scott Smith outlines the phenomenon that is Tyler Perry, include the backlash some of the critics who panned it faced from Perry’s fiercely loyal fanbase:

"These people were desperate to be spoken to," says Boston Globe film critic Wesley Morris. "When something came along that was even remotely relevant, they threw all their weight behind it, even though it was a shittily made movie." Morris didn’t like "Diary." "Blows to the head are delivered with more subtlety," he wrote in his review. He also happens to be African-American, but as soon as his review came out, he says, he got phone calls and e-mails from Perry fans who accused him of being white — and a racist at that. The fans were even harsher when they knew for sure that the critic was white. [Roger] Ebert, who is married to an African-American woman and has long been a champion for black cinema, received so much angry e-mail and became such a lightning rod because of his negative "Diary" review that Perry felt compelled, during a visit to Chicago, to plead with his fans to lay off the guy.

Which leads to ledes like the following from Hollywood Elsewhere‘s Jeffrey Wells (who saw the film at the premiere):

It’s a little beside-the-point for a mildly snobby existentialist white-guy journalist like myself to put down "Madea’s Family Reunion" (Lionsgate, 2.24), Tyler Perry’s God-praising, conservative-values sequel to "Diary of a Mad Black Woman."

It’s a fairly crude and clumsy film, but I don’t think this matters. Because on its own terms and with the right crowd, "Family Reunion" works. I felt it last night at a big splashy premiere screening at Hollywood’s Arclight theatre, and I didn’t say a single snide or contrary word to anyone at the after-party. That would have been impolite. And again, guys like me are so not the point.

The idea of excusing oneself from a real review on the basis of not being the intended audience smacks of condescension, if not, well, cowardice — and since when has a critic, who watches films professionally, ever been the ideal audience for a film (and lord, what kind of film would that be?)? Should reviews of children’s films then be the sole provenance of a gouty, scowling eight-year-old with a light-up pen? Regardless, the idea of "it doesn’t work for me, but I could see how it could for the right people" is ridiculous — no one has any qualms about bashing, say, the latest tweener summer throwaway, which you’d think would fall under the same argument. We don’t like the implication.

Via Movie City News, a study done by Duke, Florida Atlantic and Carnegie Mellon universities finds that, due to the exponential rise in film releases, avoid writing reviews of films they don’t like. Except for the critics who tend to choose to write about the films they hated. Yes.

+ The new Amos ‘n’ Andy? (Salon)
+ Here She Comes! (Hollywood Elsewhere)
+ Study: Movie Critics Speak Even When They Don’t Utter a Word (Duke News)


The ’90s Are Back

The '90s live again during IFC's weekend marathon.

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Photo Credit: Everett Digital, Columbia Pictures

We know what you’re thinking: “Why on Earth would anyone want to reanimate the decade that gave us Haddaway, Los Del Rio, and Smash Mouth, not to mention Crystal Pepsi?”


Thoughts like those are normal. After all, we tend to remember lasting psychological trauma more vividly than fleeting joy. But if you dig deep, you’ll rediscover that the ’90s gave us so much to fondly revisit. Consider the four pillars of true ’90s culture.

Boy Bands

We all pretended to hate them, but watch us come alive at a karaoke bar when “I Want It That Way” comes on. Arguably more influential than Brit Pop and Grunge put together, because hello – Justin Timberlake. He’s a legitimate cultural gem.

Man-Child Movies

Adam Sandler is just behind The Simpsons in terms of his influence on humor. Somehow his man-child schtick didn’t get old until the aughts, and his success in that arena ushered in a wave of other man-child movies from fellow ’90s comedians. RIP Chris Farley (and WTF Rob Schneider).



Teen Angst

In horror, dramas, comedies, and everything in between: Troubled teens! Getting into trouble! Who couldn’t relate to their First World problems, plaid flannels, and lose grasp of the internet?

Mainstream Nihilism

From the Coen Bros to Fincher to Tarantino, filmmakers on the verge of explosive popularity seemed interested in one thing: mind f*cking their audiences by putting characters in situations (and plot lines) beyond anyone’s control.

Feeling better about that walk down memory lane? Good. Enjoy the revival.


And revisit some important ’90s classics all this weekend during IFC’s ’90s Marathon. Check out the full schedule here.


Get Physical

DVDs are the new Vinyl

Portlandia Season 7 Now Available On Disc.

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GIFs via Giffy

In this crazy digital age, sometimes all we really want is to reach out and touch something. Maybe that’s why so many of us are still gung-ho about owning stuff on DVD. It’s tangible. It’s real. It’s tech from a bygone era that still feels relevant, yet also kitschy and retro. It’s basically vinyl for people born after 1990.


Inevitably we all have that friend whose love of the disc is so absolutely repellent that he makes the technology less appealing. “The resolution, man. The colors. You can’t get latitude like that on a download.” Go to hell, Tim.

Yes, Tim sucks, and you don’t want to be like Tim, but maybe he’s onto something and DVD is still the future. Here are some benefits that go beyond touch.

It’s Decor and Decorum

With DVDs and a handsome bookshelf you can show off your great taste in film and television without showing off your search history. Good for first dates, dinner parties, family reunions, etc.


Forget Public Wifi

Warm up that optical drive. No more awkwardly streaming episodes on shady free wifi!



Internet service goes down. It happens all the time. It could happen right now. Then what? Without a DVD on hand you’ll be forced to make eye contact with your friends and family. Or worse – conversation.


Self Defense

You can’t throw a download like a ninja star. Think about it.


If you’d like to experience the benefits DVD ownership yourself, Portlandia Season 7 is now available on DVD and Blue-Ray.



Stan Diego Comic-Con

Stan Against Evil returns November 1st.

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Photo Credit: Erin Resnick, GIFs via Giphy

Another Comic-Con International is in the can, and multiple nerdgasms were had by all – not least of which were about the Stan Against Evil roundtable discussion. Dana, Janet and John dropped a whole lotta information on what’s to come in Season 2 and what it’s like to get covered in buckets of demon goo. Here are the highlights.

Premiere Date!

Season 2 hits the air November 1 and picks up right where things left off. Consider this your chance to seamlessly continue your Halloween binge.

Character Deets!

Most people know that Evie was written especially for Janet, but did you know that Stan is based on Dana Gould’s dad? It’s true. But that’s where the homage ends, because McGinley was taken off the leash to really build a unique character.

Happy Accidents!

Improv is apparently everything, because according to Gould the funniest material happens on the fly. We bet the writers are totally cool with it.

Exposed Roots!

If Stan fans are also into Twin Peaks and Doctor Who, that’s no accident. Both of those cult classic genre benders were front of mind when Stan was being developed.

Trailer Treasure!

Yep. A new trailer dropped. Feast your eyes.

Catch up on Stan Against Evil’s first season on the IFC app before it returns November 1st on IFC.