Assemblog: September 7, 2012

Published on September 7th, 2012 in: Assemblog, Critics/Criticism, Horror, Movies, Reviews, Trailers |

lord of tears 11
Lord Of Tears

New this week on Popshifter: I have mixed but positive feelings about the new Weep release, Alate and suggest that you check out Blind Benny’s great new EP, No Honor, while Cait adores the reissues of 20/20’s self titled debut and Look Out! (and not-so-secretly wants them to get back together).

I’m still writing over at the TIFF Vanguard blog, so be sure to check out my posts. So far? Painless, Pusher, Beijing Flickers, Peaches Does Herself, Here Comes The Devil, and 90 Minutes. Even if you’re not at TIFF, you should check out the blog because it’s a good indicator of what movies to look forward to in the coming months, especially if you like things off the beaten path.

“How Is The Critic Free?” asks Caleb Crain in the Paris Review. This is a bit of a follow up to last week’s Assemblog about literary critics and, as you’d expect from a literary critic, you might have to look up a word or two when reading this (mine was apotropaic). But if you replace “literary” with “film” or “music” do these ideals still apply? “There’s only so much room in your garden, and there’s a hodgepodge of things that you want and don’t want from the plants growing in it.”

Teacher and critic Peter Gutierrez has devised a brilliant “Critic’s Bill Of Rights” which might sound odd, but if you’ve been following this blog for a few months, or hell, any pop culture-related criticism, you’ll soon see how important such a thing is.

There are only four and they’re so good I am going to post them all below, but keep in mind, you should read the whole post for full context and appreciation of what Gutierrez is proposing.

You’re allowed not to have an opinion about everything. (Be prepared, however, to articulate why the jury is still out on certain matters, to explain why you’re not yet comfortable judging particular aspects of a work.)

You’re allowed to change your opinions down the road. (But make sure to revise or augment your original critical text: think of your critical work in terms of a portfolio that can trace the evolution of your thoughts/insights on different issues/artists.)

You can acknowledge that certain aspects of a text work better for different types of audiences—that is, admit that you’re not a fan of a particular genre or creator, and/or are not sure what the basic appeal is for others. (If you’re not the target audience, though, you may want to explain why you’re responding to a given work and clarify any predispositions or biases that may color your criticism.)

You do not have to tell readers or listeners whether a particular media text is worth their time/money/energy. (Remember, though, that if you’re speaking to an audience that, like you, is already familiar with the work, you still need to add value via your insights and observations.)

For those of us who use Wikipedia frequently—and I mean as basic fact checking, not for a source of completely accurate, unbiased reportage on anything even remotely polemic—this is a startling and upsetting article: “Wikipedia reaches a turning point: it’s losing administrators faster than it can appoint them.”

Does this speak to a larger problem on truth-based living and critical thinking?

If you’ve seen Troll 2 or are a Troll 2 fan, you probably know about Best Worst Movie and you probably already know about The American Scream, a documentary on homemade haunted houses from director Michael Paul Stephenson. But for the rest of you, here’s the synopsis:

“Every Halloween, sleepy Fairhaven, Massachusetts erupts with the most ambitiously creative spookery in the world. Endless styrofoam tombstones and backyard beasts come courtesy of a few supremely dedicated local ‘home haunters’ who’ve devoted their lives to the art of handmade monster making. The American Scream follows three of these horrific households to uncover the triumphs and tragedies that come with carrying the blackened banner of true Halloween spirit.”

This sounds amazing, and I know I throw that word around a lot, but Halloween and haunted houses are huge for me. HUGE. The movie will screen at Fantastic Fest later this month and then have limited release in October. (H/T to Bloody Disgusting for the info!)

It’s trailers time!

Bloody Disgusting has the trailer and lots of stills for Lord Of Tears which should NOT be confused with Lords Of Salem, the new Rob Zombie movie. In fact, this trailer shows a restraint I wish Zombie would utilize in his own movies. It’s got a Hammer Horror feeling but a little bit of The Lair of the White Worm (the creepy parts, not the campy parts) and the visuals and mysterious storyline conveyed in the trailer is the kind of thing that horror fans like me wait for every time we watch a new horror trailer. Also female screenwriter! Watch it here.

Along with everyone else, I posted about Cloud Atlas a while back. It’s playing at TIFF now, but will open in theaters October 26. I never did watch that six-minute trailer, so this new, shorter one is a nice surprise. All I can say it: I need to read this book immediately! (H/T to /Film for the trailer.)

Less Lee Moore, Managing Editor

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