It may be apparent we’re still bobbing about in the wake of the past terrible work week â€” so how do we even begin on what was also a banner week for reviewers, headed up by that genitalia-revisiting gem of a follow-up, "Basic Instinct 2"? We…don’t. But we’d like to point out two highlights:
Roger Ebert‘s attempt at reviewing Stone’s Tramell retread prompted all sorts of philosophically difficult questions:
"Basic Instinct 2" resembles its heroine: It gets off by living
dangerously. Here is a movie so outrageous and preposterous it is
either (a) suicidal or (b) throbbing with a horrible fascination. I
lean toward (b). It’s a lot of things, but boring is not one of them. I
cannot recommend the movie, but … why the hell can’t I? Just because
it’s godawful? What kind of reason is that for staying away from a
movie? Godawful and boring, that would be a reason.
And Armond White delivered a review destined for the Armond annals of fame, coming up with one of those enigmatic critical arguments that so endears the crazy bastard to us (and leads us to occasional talks with Matt Singer of a "What film will Armond champion this month?" pool):
Commercial filmmakers could do worse than update Shakespeare as the makers of "She’s the Man" have done. They could pretend to be hip by being fashionably superficial as in the horrible new hipster bloodbath "Brick" which disgraces the teen-movie genre that John Hughes revolutionized. Through coarse imitation of film noir clichÃ©s cynically transferred to a high school setting, "Brick" disgraces basic social ideas. But "She’s the Man" enlivens the basics of falling in love and of sexual maturity by sweetly adapting the premise of Shakespeareâ€™s "Twelfth Night."
It’s doesn’t quite have the wild-eyed irrationality of his hoisting up of "You Got Served" ("proudly pop, a hiphop musical with muscular dancing that expressed the sexual and political energy of a not-yet calcified culture"), but then again, his heart’s clearly not in it with "She’s the Man" â€” it’s just another way to take a swipe at "Brick" (â™¥!) which is far more about film noir than about high school, anyway. But…anything to keep the phantom hipster menace at bay, huh, Armond?
And we’re very late on this, but it was (weirdly) Sara James in fashion trade rag Women’s Wear Daily who broke the news that the New York Times has chosen to nominate Manohla Dargis for the Pulitzer Prize for criticism, along with art critic Michael Kimmelman and architecture critic Nicolai Ouroussoff. Foolish accompanying unnamed-source bitchiness:
"By no means do you ever hear that [Dargis] is the best critic [the Times] has," said one person who’s worked with her there. "She’s known for synopsizing and giving stuff away. You’re not supposed to read her if you don’t want to know what’s going to happen."
We won’t touch upon any of the issues of basic journalism that require at least a hint of a synopsis in one’s review â€” we’ll just leave you to wonder what would be left of, say, Stephen Holden’s reviews, were he to be no longer allowed to summarize. Ah, whatev, as they say back in our homeland â€” clearly, we’re fans of Dargis, but the only film critics to have won the prize are Ebert (back in 1975) and the Wall Street Journal‘s Joe Morgenstern (last year).