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DVD Talk review of 'Notorious: Criterion Collection'

Old 05-17-04, 11:33 AM
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DVD Talk review of 'Notorious: Criterion Collection'

I read Holly E. Ordway's DVD review of Notorious: Criterion Collection at http://www.dvdtalk.com/reviews/read.php?ID=2950 and...What kind of review is this? This film is a classic - its not intended to be a spy movie and whoever bases their review should be poisoned slowly!
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Old 05-17-04, 02:32 PM
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...well... as an antidote to HEO's review, here's the - very perceptive - review by Ebert...

. . . . . .
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Old 05-17-04, 03:02 PM
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LOL... It's just an opinion, no matter how wrong it may be... Different strokes...

But yeah, Ebert's review is the one you should be reading... He gets it.
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Old 05-18-04, 12:33 PM
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Yikes. Talk about missing the boat.
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Old 05-19-04, 07:47 PM
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I read reviews like this and it saddens me. It's like the viewer expects movies of yesteryear to contain the same present day razzle dazzle, instead of appreciating the style and depth that exist on repeated viewings. The movie's spy business plotline leads to much better depths to explore regarding human characters. I've loved this movie since I was about 16 years old, and it's still great for anyone to see.
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Old 05-22-04, 04:17 PM
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In DVD Talk's defence, the DVD Savant also reviews this title and his review is typically insightful:

http://www.dvdtalk.com/reviews/read.php?ID=1746

Maybe Ms. Ordway should avoid reviewing classics until she educates herself a little more on film history.
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Old 05-24-04, 01:16 AM
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I actually agree somewhat. While I do think it is a very good film, I like quite a few Hitchcock movies more and don't consider it one of his greatest films. Perhaps I just need to watch it again, but it only struck me as "very good" instead of "great".
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Old 05-24-04, 01:22 PM
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I'd much rather read a well-reasoned and articulately-delivered review that explains why a "classic" isn't all its cracked up to be, rather than one that simply tows the company line without breaking down why it's so damn good.

Do you really need to be educated on film history to review a movie? I would like to think that you can watch a movie and discuss why it worked/didn't work for you without a broad knowledge of the industry, its historical context, or other films of its ilk. I think that differentiates a film reviewer from a film critic or historian.

That having been said, I love Notorious to death, but I still don't think it's as good as, say, Rebecca, North by Northwest, Rear Window, Vertigo, The Lady Vanishes, The 39 Steps, or Rope.
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Old 05-25-04, 11:12 AM
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Notorious could be released tomorrow and be a blockbuster. Case in point, MI:2.
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Old 05-25-04, 01:04 PM
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Here is the quote of the review that really bothers me:

in the space of two hours’ time, with outside considerations put aside, did it entertain me? move me emotionally? give me an insight into another time, place, or person?
But then later she says the movie's main flaw is this:

In this case, I wouldn’t be surprised if the potency of Alicia’s characterization has dwindled as cultural mores have changed since 1946....Viewing Notorious in the present day, I find it hard to perceive Alicia as even potentially “tainted”
First off, thats a big fat contradiction. If you view movies as a way to see the past (as she says in her first quote) then it stil works.

Secondly, the reviewer misses the whole point - its not she has a checkered past - but that she is willfully allowing to be used (for sex) by Alex Sebastian. And that her lover, Devlin, is the one responsible for it - something that he can't get over.
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Old 05-25-04, 02:05 PM
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Originally posted by Matt Millheiser
That having been said, I love Notorious to death, but I still don't think it's as good as, say, Rebecca, North by Northwest, Rear Window, Vertigo, The Lady Vanishes, The 39 Steps, or Rope.
I disagree. I think the vast majority of Hitchcock fans would name Vertigo, North by Northwest, Notorious, Psycho, or Rear Window as the favorite Hitchcock movie, making that the upper echelon. (That's how I rank 'em)
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Old 05-25-04, 07:21 PM
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Originally posted by Matt Millheiser
I'd much rather read a well-reasoned and articulately-delivered review that explains why a "classic" isn't all its cracked up to be, rather than one that simply tows the company line without breaking down why it's so damn good.
I agree, but I don't think that the above-review was well-reasoned.

Do you really need to be educated on film history to review a movie?
No, but your opinion has less weight if you aren't educated as to the language of film - how films work, are put together, how story evolves through a visual medium, etc. I'm not talking about education of film history, like who slept with whom, I'm talking about having a strong background in film, an education in understanding.

I've seen lots of buildings in my life, but I don't think anyone would take my architectural criticism seriously because I don't know that much about the craft of architecture.

It seems like the reviewer of Notorious doesn't know very much about how films work.

I would like to think that you can watch a movie and discuss why it worked/didn't work for you without a broad knowledge of... other films of its ilk.
Sure, you can base your opinion on one film, after having seen only one, but your opinion won't be very well informed.

I think that differentiates a film reviewer from a film critic or historian.
The biggest difference between film reviewer and film critic is the intended audience.

Film reviewers are writing to convince an audience who hasn't seen a film whether they should or shouldn't see a particular film.

Film critics write mostly for audiences who have already seen the film.

That having been said, I love Notorious to death, but I still don't think it's as good as, say, Rebecca, North by Northwest, Rear Window, Vertigo, The Lady Vanishes, The 39 Steps, or Rope.
I thought it was better than TLV, 39 Steps, and Rope, and certainly better than Psycho, which I think is overrated. But that's what's so beautiful. Hitchcock made so many great films that we can argue over which one is better than another.

I've read many of your reviews Matt and respect your opinion when it comes to films even if I don't always agree. But the Notorious review above was uninformed and ill-considered. I'd be interested in reading a negative review of Notorious, as all films have *some* flaws, but this one didn't really hit the mark.
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Old 05-26-04, 06:58 PM
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Originally posted by jough
The biggest difference between film reviewer and film critic is the intended audience.

Film reviewers are writing to convince an audience who hasn't seen a film whether they should or shouldn't see a particular film.

Film critics write mostly for audiences who have already seen the film.
There is no difference between "film reviewer" and "film critic" as you describe. Which of those two titles do you think Roger Ebert puts on his resume? And which of those audiences is he writing for?
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Old 05-27-04, 01:55 AM
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Originally posted by jough

Film critics write mostly for audiences who have already seen the film.
Well, that doesn't sound like much fun, does it?
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Old 05-27-04, 11:40 AM
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All academic criticism of art is written for those who have experienced the work. The idea is to enrich someone's experience of the work through the critic's scholarship.

However, most criticism is more about the critic's ideas than about the artist's.
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Old 05-27-04, 11:46 AM
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Originally posted by Josh Z
There is no difference between "film reviewer" and "film critic" as you describe. Which of those two titles do you think Roger Ebert puts on his resume? And which of those audiences is he writing for?
No difference? The difference is in content - the difference is nearly *entire*. It's like saying there's no difference between the Bible and Stephen King's "It" because they're both books dealing with the supernatural.

Roger ebert wears both hats. When he's writing about new movies, he's a movie reviewer, writing to pan or promote a film.

When he writes his essays on "The Great Movies" he'll often write about elements of the film that would "spoil" a film for those who haven't seen it. Reviewers and critics - the former is written to convince someone to either see or pass on a film - to inform their decision about whether or not a film will likely be to their liking - the latter may gloss over the description of the plot and images except to remind the reader about something in the film that the critic wants to discuss.
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Old 05-27-04, 04:15 PM
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Originally posted by jough
When he writes his essays on "The Great Movies" he'll often write about elements of the film that would "spoil" a film for those who haven't seen it. Reviewers and critics - the former is written to convince someone to either see or pass on a film - to inform their decision about whether or not a film will likely be to their liking - the latter may gloss over the description of the plot and images except to remind the reader about something in the film that the critic wants to discuss.
I think you're trying to draw your semantic line in the wrong place. "Reviewer" and "critic" are essentially interchangable terms. What you are describing is a film academic, which is another animal altogether.
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