Paul writes: Andrew O’Hehir, film critic on Salon.com, has run a series of four posts on why the LOTR films got so much critical acclaim at their launch, but appeared on none of the top-films-of-the-decade critics lists of people he knew.
In his words: “To be clear, I’m genuinely not pimping any particular ideology. I enjoyed the films immensely, and wrote a rave about “Return of the King” for Salon at the time. But I can barely remember them today, feel unsure whether I’ll ever watch them again, and still don’t regret leaving them off my own personal decade-end list. Then again, this isn’t about my dumb-ass list, or Stephanie Zacharek’s, or anybody else’s; this was about the fact that when I reached out to 60 or 70 filmmakers, critics and bloggers I know, in search of entries for our Films of the Decade series, not one of them suggested Jackson’s colossal trilogy as a personal favorite. So something’s going on here, and these responses are helping me figure it out a little.” 1 2 3 4
Gary Kamiyawrites: Robert Zemeckis’ new film “Beowulf” gives a whole new meaning to the phrase “the sublime and the ridiculous.” Zemeckis took the oldest and most important text of our ur-language, and turned it into a 3-D Disneyland ride so cheesy he should have called it “Anglo-Saxons of the Caribbean.” Of course, there’s nothing new or surprising about this. Hollywood has been profaning history and literature since long before Cecil B. DeMille cast Charlton Heston as Moses. If the Bible isn’t sacred, why should the oldest poem in our ancestral language be?But the “Beowulf” travesty is especially glaring, because of the obvious contrast with another work that mined the same ancient field: J.R.R. Tolkien’s “The Lord of the Rings.” “Beowulf” isn’t just a bad, although visually spectacular, movie, it’s a huge missed opportunity. With enough imaginative audacity, Zemeckis could have created a mythical universe, one that finds the mysterious threads that connect the distant past to our time. Instead, he turned our shared cultural heritage into a cartoon. (This hasn’t hurt “Beowulf” at the box office: It was the highest-grossing movie in the country after its first weekend.) Beowulf vs. The Lord of the Rings
Idril Celebrindal writes: Just wanted to let you know that Salon.com named Cate Blanchett and Brett “Figwit” McKenzie as two of the sexiest men alive in 2007! Cate gets a nod for her turn as Bob Dylan in “I’m Not There” while Brett’s nom comes from “Flight of the Conchords.”Blanchett & McKenzie: Sexy Men