A Fascination with Movie Reviews

As long as there has been a film industry, there have been film critics. At what point in the history of Hollywood did being a film critic become a profession? That’s an interesting questions, and we think it would make a great post for a later day.

But the whole idea of movie reviews is fascinating. At some point, we decided that we wanted someone trustworthy to be a movie-watching guinea pig—or perhaps pioneer is a better word. We wanted them to watch the film first and tell us what they thought and if it was worth spending or money on to go see.

Before the age of the Internet, there were just a few trusted movie critics people listened to. Perhaps no one was more trusted than Siskel and Ebert. Now, every major and minor news outlet has at least one online entertainment reporter. Then there are blogs—like this one—where people with no formal training or credentials can say what they want.

It’s interesting to compare movie reviews to reviews in other industries. For cars, there’s all sorts of magazines and publications that break down automobiles for the consumer. You’ve got Kelley Blue Book, Car and Driver, JD Power, and many more to choose from.

Two of the best sources for reviews on just about anything are Consumer Reports and the Better Business Bureau. If you want to know the honest truth about a service or product, those are your best bets. For example, there’s a company we like that has excellent products called Melaleuca. You could take our word for it, but if you want the best Melaleuca reviews, you should read what the BBB has to say about Melaleuca.com.

If you want a good, extensive movie review, there’s always Rotten Tomatoes. If it’s an older movie, we prefer the critiques of the great Roger Ebert. In  our opinion, those are the BBB and Consumer Reports of the film industry.

One thing that makes a good film critic is being able to see the film from the eyes of the everyday film goer. We appreciate a critic who doesn’t care for a film personally, but admits that families with young kids will love it.

Also, we love critics that break down the movie in context, as oppose to selling it or not. There’s a lot of bias when it comes to breaking down movies. And it makes sense: movies are meant to evoke emotion, and it’s hard not to watch a movie and feel the emotion.

At the end of the day, we are film fans, not film buffs. We admit that we aren’t schooled in the arts or qualified to teach film theory. But we do know a good review when we see one.



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Hollywood, Nation Stunned by Deadly Shooting at Movie Screening


A Lafayette, Louisiana screening of Judd Apatow’s comedy film Trainwreck, starring Amy Schumer and Bill Hader, turned deadly when a gunman opened fire on the theatergoers.

The man stood up 20 minutes into the film and began shooting. He killed two people and wounded nine more. According to reports, the man fired a handgun, and shortly after officials arrived on the scene, he took his own life.

Some of the wounded are being listed as having life-threatening injuries and are in very critical condition.

The nightmare event has people across the country, from Lafayette all the way to Hollywood, grieving. Schumer quickly posted a tweet last night saying that her heart was broken and that her thoughts and prayers were with the people in Louisiana.

Donald Trump took time out of his presidential campaign to offer his condolences as well.

Some Hollywood celebrities, including Jenna Fischer, called for changes in gun-control policies: “Please. No more guns. Please. Churchgoers, school children, moviegoers…how many more innocent people have to die before we change?” Fischer tweeted.

The shooter, identified as 59-year-old John Russell Houser, allegedly had a restraining order placed against him in 2008 because his wife at the time was fearful of him, as was his daughter. Officials have yet to discover a motive.

The two dead are Mayci Breaux, 21, and Jillian Johnson, 33. Tweets from Hollywood expressed a desire to remember the victims, and not the shooter.



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Robert Pattinson Busy With Wedding, Two New Movies

WESTWOOD, CA - NOVEMBER 16:  Actor Robert Pattinson arrives to the premiere of Summit Entertainment's "The Twilight Saga: New Moon" at the Mann Village Theater on November 16, 2009 in Westwood, California.  (Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images)

Pattinson has a busy year ahead of him.

Robert Pattinson is engaged, which means he is consumed with wedding prep.(And can we just say that his fiancee, FKA twigs, has the coolest stage name ever?) And now his schedule is going to be even tighter, as he has accepted a starring role in the upcoming movie Good Time.

Good Time is an indie caper film that will be directed by the Safdie borthers, Benny and Josh. The movie follows a bank robber’s struggling attempt to evade authorities. Pattinson’s will star as the character Connie.

In addition to his role in Good Time, Pattinson is reportedly starring alongside James Franco in The Trap. Pattinson had been tabbed to star with Dakota Fanning in the soon-to-be-released thriller Brimstone. However, he was sadly replaced by Game of Thrones star Kit Harrington. Good for Kit, we say.

Back to the wedding: Pattinson and FKA twigs (aka Tahlia Debrett Barnett) got engaged earlier this year. The couple have a pretty chill relationship that isn’t plastered all over the tabloids like some. Twigs likes the quiet life, and she absolutely loathes the paparazzi, so don’t expect a big, lavish, overblown wedding of the Hollywood ilk.

There is no definite wedding date, and while it could happen this summer, Pattinson may just be too busy to make it happen the way his bride would like. Don;t be surprised if the wedding is pushed back to next year.

Source: E! Online

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TIFF posted this great BTS video last year of the riot scene in Cosmopolis last year and it’s included in the David Cronenberg: Virtual Museum. We see Robert Pattinson and Samantha Morton talk about the urge to destroy and the background getting ready for battle. It’s a great look back at the making of this intellectual film.

From CronenbergMuseum.TIFF.net:

Behind the Scenes: Cosmopolis: A Specter is Haunting the World

Much of Cosmopolis takes place in the back of Eric Packer’s (Robert Pattinson) limo, which has been cork lined—or “Prousted”—to block out the sounds of the external world. While the limo provides a very intimate setting for Eric and his occasional companions as they make their way through the streets of New York, more than 160 extras were employed as the mob of protestors running rampant outside of the car. This video takes a closer look at the sound design of this film, and the technical challenges of balancing the chaos of a crowd with the extreme quiet inside the limo.

Transcript after the cut

Transcript: Cosmopolis: A Specter is Haunting the World

NARRATOR: Stage 7, Pinewood Studios, Toronto Canada. We study one hundred and sixty background actors, assembled to play a mob of protesters, recently dubbed today as the 99%, though the filming of this scene pre-dated the Occupy Wall Street movement by four months. Their mantra is a derivation from the Communist Manifesto.

CREW MEMBER: Guys, quiet please!

WALTER GASPAROVIC: Once we’re rolling, I’m going to get you to start the chant. Just to get you going in that cadence, O.K.? When I call “Background Action,” you can keep the chant going. When I call “Rat,” you’ll start miming.

CREW MEMBER: Powdering bricks.

NARRATOR: One hundred and sixty years ago, Karl Marx wrote of a time when capitalism will have reached such a degree of expansion that society will move too fast for the people.

In Cosmopolis, Eric Packer is the 1 percent – the highest socio–economic layer, which controls the financial institutions and the corporations that shape the world.

WALTER GASPAROVIC: Background action!

CREW MEMBER: Background action!


NARRATOR: He does so from within the safety of a bullet-proof stretch limo, cork-lined to block out the fuss of social unrest outside. Such a vehicle only exists in fiction, as the modular limo set is decidedly not soundproof. The protesters become mute so as not to infringe upon the dialogue.

VIJA KINSKY: You have to understand: the more visionary the idea, the more people it leaves behind. This is what the protest is all about. Visions of technology and wealth, the force of cyber-capital that will send people to the gutter to wretch and die.

WALTER GASPAROVIC: O.K. Start rocking more violently, guys!


VIJA KINSKY: What would happen if they knew the head of Packer Capital was in the car?


VIJA KINSKY: You know what the anarchists have always said?

ERIC PACKER: The urge to destroy is a creative urge.

VIJA KINSKY: This is also the hallmark of capitalist thought. Enforced destruction.



VIJA KINSKY: Destroy the past, make the future.





NARRATOR: Walla. Walla is a sound effect for the murmur of a crowd in the background. The word was created in the days of radio when they needed atmospheric background noise. It was found that if several people simply repeated, “Walla, walla, walla,” it sounded like people talking.

MICHAEL O’FARRELL: This is the important thing: “A specter is haunting the world.” Again, one person starting, the rest growing in. Keep it going for a while.
That’s like a riot crowd. That’s, like, big cheers. “Yay!!!” Let it die out.


[TO EXTRAS:] There’s going to be a series of things that we need, sound effects-wise. So, I’m gonna just holler out things for you to say.




WALTER GASPAROVIC: When the glass broke. When the glass broke on the car. O.K., Ready? And…

CROWD: Yeah!!!

MICHAEL O’FARRELL: What’s on your signs? Your billboards?

WALTER GASPAROVIC: Let me bring some here. And then I could just put them up.


WALTER GASPAROVIC: They could just look at them.

Democracy now! Democracy now!
A specter is haunting the world! A specter is haunting the world!



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One of the great things about Cosmopolis is the ongoing conversation that is had. A recent blog post from Memoirs From A Culture Stalker took a look at Cosmopolis and Cronenberg’s use of bodies in the film. It’s a good read that adds more layers to a film that already unfolds like an onion.

Cosmopolis is a film about rapid, difficult conversations mostly taking place in a car. Its narrative stakes are obscure, it lacks anything like a climax, and it features some of the most soulless and alienated characters I have seen. Yet compelling direction from Canadian vet David Cronenberg and its timely indictment of our finance-driven way of life make it a bleak, deconstructive comedy worth watching.

For this post, I would like to narrow my focus to what I think is the master theme of the film: the human body. Cronenberg, who has directed such fleshly pictures as The Fly, Videodrome, Dead Ringers, and Crash (no, not that one), is obviously preoccupied with embodiment as a subject. For him, the body is a site of transformation, suffering, pleasure, and horror. But humans are not merely flesh but also psychology, and therefore a place where we can see “normative” boundaries between mind and body, inside and outside, and all sorts of others break down and blur. In Cosmopolis, Cronenberg investigates what I would call financial bodies, bodies that are abstracted, rationalized, and monetized into nonexistence or irrelevance.

We’ll be looking first at the body of our protagonist,  Eric Packer (perfectly embodied by Robert Pattinson). A financial wunderkind worth tens of billions of dollars, he initiates the plot of the film by setting out across New York City in search of a haircut. This day, however, the American President is also in town, as well as a mob of anarchist protesters and a so-called “credible threat” to Packer’s life. While this is going on, he is intentionally destroying his company and personal fortune through bad currency speculation. Much of the reasoning for this remains mysterious, though hints surface here and there. The film makes much of the tedium and arduousness of his slow advance through the city in a technically advanced and closely guarded stretch limousine, outwardly identical to all the others. While Packer is able to manage all aspects of his business using his networked car and its various computer interfaces, he must bodily move from one side of the city to another to get his haircut.

Click HERE to keep reading the analysis….

In conclusion:

Pattinson’s performance and Cronenberg’s camera are able to tell us that, whatever despicable things Packer has done, he is no less human than those protesters. Something admirable about Cosmopolis is that, while it is clearly a film critiquing the suffocating excess of wealth and its displacement and marginalization of the poor, it  does not let the audience off with an easy moral or a tidy political solution. This is why, even though the dialogue in the film is abstract and didactic, the film still feels unresolved and tense throughout. It might be obvious about what it’s about, but it’s far more obtuse about what it thinks we should do about it. It’s a film that points to the smouldering wreckage of global consumer capitalism while admitting that we in the first world have our entire identity invested in it.

Cronenberg is teaming up again with Robert Pattinson, Sarah Gadon, producer Martin Katz and more to film his next movie, Maps To The Stars. Follow our blog HERE if you’d like to keep up with the news. Production begins July 8th.

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Indiewire made a list of 2012 independent films that ranked in their Year-End Critic’s Poll that are now streaming on Netflix so “you can now have immediate access to  some of the most acclaimed recent films”. Cosmopolis is number 6 on the list. I checked out a few of these already but I’m most excited for Holy Motors since it was constantly mentioned with Cosmopolis last year (the year of white limos) and topped many lists. Click HERE to see the impressive Best of 2012 rankings list forCosmopolis and check our some of the films you probably recognize from joining Cosmopolis on those year-end lists.

France1. Holy Motors (Ranked #1 on Indiewire’s Year-End Critic’s Poll List)

2. Once Upon A Time in Anatolia (Ranked #8 on Indiewire’s Year-End Critic’s Poll List )

3. The Turin Horse (Ranked #9 on Indiewire’s Year-End Critic’s Poll List)

4. The Deep Blue Sea (Ranked #14 on Indiewire’s Year-End Critic’s Poll List)

5. Oslo, August 31st (Ranked #15 on Indiewire’s Year-End Critic’s Poll List)

6. Cosmopolis (Ranked #17 on Indiewire’s Year-End Critic’s Poll List)

7. The Kid With A Bike (Ranked #18 on Indiewire’s Year-End Critic’s Poll List)

8. The Loneliest Planet (Ranked #20 on Indiewire’s Year-End Critic’s Poll List)

9. Neighbouring Sounds (Ranked #26 on Indiewire’s Year-End Critic’s Poll List)

10. Bernie (Ranked #28 on Indiewire’s Year-End Critic’s Poll List)

Click HERE to get the streaming links for Compliance, Elena, The Imposter, How to Survive a Plague, The Cabin in the Woods, Take This Waltz, Goodbye First Love, Keep the Lights On, andAlps.

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"What does it mean to spend money? A dollar."

"It means you can see this movie on iTunes."

Screen Shot 2013-05-21 at 5.44.29 PM

Click HERE to rent Cosmopolis this week for only 99 cents!

"It's mine if I buy."

Click HERE to buy Cosmopolis for only $5.99!

Thanks, Al, for the tip!

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Grab your Sobieski!

Cosmopolis Blog discovered a fun reviewer that lists drinking games for the films they review.Movieboozer wasn’t a fan of the film but we think their game is pretty spot on for having an “enhanced” movie watching experience:

Drinking Game

Take a Drink: any time a rat is referred to or shown


Take a Drink: whenever anyone talks in convoluted finance-speak


Take a Drink: anytime anyone has or refers to sex


Do a Shot: whenever Pattinson tells someone his prostate is asymmetrical


And there you go! I bet Kendra would have liked to play but she’s a sloppy drunk and always spills drinks where they don’t belong.

I watch this movie all the time and will definitely test this out with Chauffeur Deb. The financial and sex talk ones are going to be the killer. Let us know if you try the game. You can always play with coffee and OJ but where’s the fun in that?


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The future is impatient. Pressing upon our characters, Eric Packer and Vija. Chief of Theory or not, you can’t stop birthdays from rolling around and today we celebrate Robert Pattinson and Samantha Morton who share May 13th as their day of birth.


They were not born to run. We look at them and know what they are. Two tremendously talented actors who continue to share complex, riveting characters on the big screen. We wish them all the best and continued success.

Chiaroscuro wrote a great review for Cosmopolis that’s a pleasure to read on this celebratory day. An excerpt:

‘Cosmopolis’ proves to be an outstanding and unflinching depiction of the current climate. The character of Eric Packer almost serves as a modern day martyr. His overwhelming sense of isolation from the real world or the growing disillusionment that comes with being wealthy, he seems relentless in his pursuit to reject any association with such a fatally mundane lifestyle.

In a real game changing role, Pattinson delivers his most accomplished and assured performance to date. Anchoring the film with meticulous poise and charisma, his thoroughly engaging protagonist here may finally put the doubters to rest in regards his acting abilities.

Cronenberg certainly hasn’t opted for the ‘hack and slash’ approach here either in his interpretation of Delillo’s work. The tongue twisting lengthy segments of dialogue literally torn from the pages are daringly faithful. The uninitiated perhaps will be left dumbfounded by the bamboozling of such intelligent jargon, others will find it refreshing and mesmerising. Whilst his directorial style remains intimate and precise, he certainly doesn’t shy away from the visual metaphors either. A particular highlight involving Pattinson facing up to Paul Giamatti’s antagonist Benno Levin, framed exquisitely within a wide angle shot emphasising the ever growing class divide between the rich and a disgruntled working class.

Overwhelming in its deconstruction of so many subject matters, it’s certainly too unusual and talky for the mainstream. For the more open-minded among us however, ‘Cosmopolis’ is an engrossing piece of cinema saturated in social resonance and intellect that deserves its intricacies to be deciphered.

Click HERE to read the review in its entirety! Click HERE to read more reviews!

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Cosmopolis will be shown at the Domestic Arrivals Festival on March 2nd in downtown London, Ontario at the Museum London.

10:00 pm
Cosmopolis, David Cronenberg, 2012, Canada, 109 min, 14A

Arriving in the wake of the Occupy movements and the recent financial collapse, David Cronenberg’s stylish and timely adaptation of Don DeLillo’s apocalyptic satire follows a billionaire financier (Robert Pattinson) as he creeps across an imploding New York City in a limo, his life of absurd luxury collapsing around him. It’s a scenario geared expressly toward Cronenberg’s sensibilities, playing out like Videodrom–or, as The New Yorker argued, Crash–transplanted to the endangered world of the one per cent. With Robert Pattinson, Paul Giamatti, Juliette Binoche, Jay Baruchel.

Canada’s Top Ten 2012

If you’re in the area, go show your support for this excellent film! Tickets are $10 at the door. Click HERE to see other pricing and to purchase.

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