Metacritical Mass, Part Two: Plot Holes and A-holes

Published on July 25th, 2012 in: Critics/Criticism, Movies, Over the Gadfly's Nest |

By Less Lee Moore

Last week, I criticized criticism (as well as criticized the criticism of criticism), discussed how critics enjoy movies, and disapproved of Kevin Smith’s anti-critic campaign. This was all uppermost in my mind after the early reviews of The Dark Knight Rises provoked some rather unsavory behavior.

anne hathaway handcuffs
It’s okay, Selina. I’m afraid of them, too.

In the interim, I have actually seen The Dark Knight Rises (twice) and read the original reviews that caused such a stir. I’ve also endured an absolutely soul-crushing onslaught of “reviews” of The Dark Knight Rises passing themselves off as criticism. And I’ve come to question whether I even want to be considered as a film critic anymore.


Movie Review: Red Lights

Published on July 13th, 2012 in: Current Faves, Movie Reviews, Movies, Reviews |

By Less Lee Moore

This review also appears on The

At its most basic level, Red Lights is about two paranormal investigators who debunk cases of alleged psychic phenomena. Yet what the movie is really about is something more: Faith, and whether or not that faith can be shaken.

matheson buckley red lights

Sigourney Weaver plays Dr. Margaret Matheson, a psychologist who’s built her career on not just shaking, but also shattering, the faith of those who believe in the paranormal or supernatural. Cillian Murphy is her assistant, Tom Buckley, a physicist who in Matheson’s view is brilliant enough to be doing something more with his life than helping her. Early on in the film, Matheson asks Buckley why he stays with her. He doesn’t answer. Finding out the answer is part of what makes Red Lights so engaging.


Because That’s What I Choose To Believe: Prometheus and a Call For Positivity

Published on June 14th, 2012 in: Critics/Criticism, Horror, Media, Movies, Over the Gadfly's Nest, Science Fiction, The Internets |

By Less Lee Moore

By now, you’ve probably heard about Ridley Scott’s latest sci-fi epic, Prometheus, and possibly even seen it. Hopefully, you have not based your enjoyment of the film on what critics are saying. Although there are several who have embraced Prometheus, flaws and all (Roger Ebert, The Guardian, HuffPo, The New Yorker, Screen Rant, and David Chen from /Film), there seems to be an overwhelming majority who are trashing every aspect of the movie.

shaw prometheus1


Feed Your Head

Published on July 30th, 2010 in: Editorial, Movies, Science Fiction |

The movie medium began as a series of technical advancements and research projects, an attempt to put still photographs into motion, beginning with Eadweard Muybridge’s “zoopraxiscope” and Thomas Edison’s inventions of the kinetoscope in 1889 and the vitascope in 1895, and quickly moving towards the many imitations and variations that followed.

According to film historian Benjamin B. Hampton, Edison was too involved in his laboratory experiments and “too far removed from the public to realize that his invention was anything more than a toy.” Yet soon, “[M]en with keener commercial sense than Edison. . . saw a field of money-making.”

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Altered States, 1980

Although the more artistic possibilities of this new medium would soon reveal themselves through films like George Méliès’ A Trip To The Moon, these seem to have been exceptions to the norm. Hampton notes that although “[T]here was no opposition to quality; there merely was no conscious effort” since the main objectives were that the films “did not require any more film or cost any more money.”

And there was a lot of money to be made. By 1913, the gross income of Edison’s Vitagraph corporation “was between five and six million dollars a year,” a nearly inconceivable amount of money for the time. The battle between art and commerce has continued in the film industry ever since.