Saturday, January 18, 2014

NOW Magazine's movie critics simply suck! (With the exception of Norm Wilner perhaps...)

Filmmakers (including myself on occasion) struggle greatly for years to get their stories on the big screen, from writing dozens of screenplay drafts, to finding money, to shooting, to post-production, to the agonizing process of distribution.

Audiences invest as little as nothing (if illegally downloading) or perhaps $13 if going to a theatre to view them.  

There's an old saying: those who can, do, and those who can't, teach.  This could also apply to film critics: those who can, make films, and those who can't, sit on the sidelines and attack the work of those who can.   

Some publications employ film critics who are fair, open-minded and willing to judge filmmakers' labours of love with a bit of humility, free of any personal agendas.

But not NOW Magazine in Toronto, where mostly amateurish writers in most sections spew their baseless subjectivity every week.  With the exception of Norm Wilner, whose opinions are generally top notch and take into account the actual art of the films and sometimes the intentions of the filmmakers, NOW's film critics frequently let their subjective b.s. opinions, prejudices and political agendas get in the way of their thinking.  

Even worse, Susan G. Cole, an otherwise delightful woman, puts her highly sensitive, left leaning/lesbian political filter on before watching anything.  She once talked down Gus Van Sant's historic epic 'Milk' simply because there weren't enough lesbian characters in it.  Yes a story about an openly gay man who surrounded himself mostly with other gay men in his pursuit of political office and authentically portrayed him as such was simply not lesbian enough for Ms. Cole.  Thus, the weak three star rating for a modern gay classic.

Of course, when films about lesbians have cropped up with zero gay male characters in sight, Cole has been more than eager to hand out five stars and gushing reviews.

Today, I read her review of the decent film 'Saving Mr. Banks' (starring Emma Thompson, pictured above playing the not-lesbian-enough lead character) and once again we don't get a fair reading of the film's artistic merits, but instead its failure to impress Cole's political agenda. 

"The older Travers is portrayed as an old lonely prune who only lightens up after she's been in Disney's orbit. I don't expect a Disney pic to highlight Travers's lesbian love life or her very serious spiritual pursuits, but this rendering is insulting," writes Cole.

See my point?  True, I don't much care for Disney's willingness to present sanitized versions of stories.  But 'Saving Mr. Banks' had its great strengths and was enjoyable.  Certainly, it was worth more than a pathetic two stars out of five. 

Oh well, as those familiar with NOW Magazine already know, one can't expect much in terms of fair, decent, objective reporting from them, either in their news section and of course in the film section.   Perhaps their music writers are qualified, but I'm not enough of a music aficionado to tell.

Most movie lovers are smart, discerning individuals.  Most of us know which reviewers and which organizations publish decent, fair, objective reviews we can trust and which ones don't.  I'm happy to remind everyone of NOW's considerable deficiencies in that department.  

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