Kenny, thanks for your input. I've posted this response in the letters to the editor section.
Marc Maximov's review of my film, A NEW KIND OF LISTENING got a couple things rightthe film's "passionate argument for inclusion and respect makes it a powerful piece of advocacy." And he rightly quotes me when I said, "We don't want this film to be just about FC [Facilitated Communication]."
Unfortunately, Maximov made one factual error, was lazy in his reporting and missed a core message of the film.
First, Maximov wrote, "After seeing a rough cut of the film, officials at the [FC] institute had sufficient qualms to request a disclaimer at the end." No such request was made by the institute. Margaret Heath, Polly Medlicott and I included the language in deference to the institute's amazing work and the promise FC holds for thousands of people who can benefit from its use.
Secondly, in his critique of FC, Maximov wrongly asserts that Margaret Heath, a highly skilled and sensitive facilitator, actively influenced the typing shown in the film. Maximov's failure to contact Ms. Heath and explore his own skepticism before printing erroneous assumptions does a disservice to the many people working earnestly to give voice to people who might otherwise be voiceless.
Finally, as the review title indicates, Maximov's eyes were focused squarely on Chris Mueller-Medlicott and the disabled members of the theater group. Yes, Chris is a main character, and Maximov's discussion of his life and how it is treated in the film is right on. But one of the key messages of the filmthat inclusive arts benefits and transforms everybodywas missed.
The film is challenging and will stir controversy and debate. We need the courage to suspend disbelief and trust the heartfelt, inclusive work shared in A NEW KIND OF LISTENING.
I am puzzled why the Independent has published this critique basically missing the whole point of this documentary. I am angered by the fact
that his desperate nitpicking and Moore bashing (which appears to be popular like bashing the public option) might keep some people from
Mr. Norris, your review can only be read by a few since you are desperately trying to appear smart by infusing rather unknown words and complicated structures into your pseudo-intellectual blah. As opposed to you, Mr. Moore achieves the goal of guiding every viewer through his documentary without alienating any. This alone is an accomplishment.
Mr. Moore is not finger-pointing but presenting religious leaders with questions that elicit honest responses. And let me break the news to you. You will hear it directly or indirectly from every religious leader in this country that the American model of capitalism is evil and immoral. It clearly represents the direct opposite to the foundation of Christianity.
I am glad that there is at least one Michael Moore out there who is trying to depict the state of this country while reaching a significant audience by making it entertaining, as well. Again: 330,000,000 Americans, 2 parties, 1 Michael Moore daring to ask: Where do we come from? Who are we and where are we headed? .....mh, It is also sad that 1% of Americans own 95% of the wealth of this country.
Mr. Moore was quoting from a confidential newsletter from Citigroup to their wealthiest clients that social unrest would be the only risk to their portfolios. And here is the essential point Mr. Moore wants to convey to Americans: If you let Obama alone in this spiderweb of bribing lobbyism nothing will change, if Americans continue to stick with Nonsense TV, Sports and the resulting political complacency, nothing will change. But if Americans give up selfishness and
self-absorption, if they finally realize that they hold power in their hands by rallying against social injustice, America can change.
Mr. Moore presents a couple of very powerful examples to illustrate this point.
I don't want to use this space for countering Mr. Norris's arrogant and unjustified attacks on Michael Moore's work and his appalling
interpretations of this Moore production clearly suggesting a lack of empathy and frustration of never have accomplished anything with significance in his life. I just wished this documentary could be forced on every American TV channel on a rainy Sunday afternoon and I wished I never have to read any of Mr. Norris toxic movie reviews anymore. He gets a big bold F from me.
Interesting article on this beautiful film, The Wind Will Carry Us. I agree about the incredibly beautiful cinematography and see how many viewers might create their own interpretations, which I have seen that they have been doing through the years since this movie came out, but it seems like his Abbas' vision was so clear in this film and even throwing in a bit of humor was brilliant.
I am also thrilled to learn that poetry is not dead across the entire globe....
Resonant, but why underachieving?
District 9 is the whole nine yards of an outstanding movie placed only at a budget of $30Mil! It's got the elements of a great film piece, by piece, and put together by talented minds and actors! A film Directed by Neill Blomkamp, and written by Neill & Terri Tatchell, and produced by Peter Jackson! Sharlto Copley did spectacular as the character "Wikus Van De Merwe", overcoming the struggles and understanding in the end why the aliens (Prawn) were kept against their will. Everyone, even the bipedal, scaley, but intelligent Prawn need equality! Jason Cope's acting along with creating the language of the prawn is fascinating but leaves me pondering, how did he do it?
This talented creation has many messages just by the way it is acted. Scenes of poverty, disgusting living conditions and racism all lead to hidden messages that can be understood if you are in the zone. Messages that clearly state, how we as people would interact and coexist with aliens if in fact this were to occur. How secret agencies would kill for alien technology, only to greedily strengthen and better ourselves. How little of the worlds people would bravely stand up, and fight for the rights of others even if it puts themselves in danger. How humanity can't stand itself because of our skin or how we look. How power is abused in agencies and the greed for money and depicts other messages along the way.
The strongest message in the movie was one particular scene, one that many viewers had seconds of silence was the Weapons Testing on a defenseless Prawn, killed against Wikus Van De Merwe's will. Wikus, strapped in the chair, alien weapon in hand, defiant of the orders MNU gave him, he simply said "I will kill your pigs on the wall but I will not kill that Prawn." In the end, forcing wikus to kill an innocent Prawn. This bears the message, "Humanities greed for Technology to better their weapons." Watching that scene, my friend says, "This is why we all need to go, our time needs to end now." If we are doing this to ourselves, these words repeat in my mind, "I'm disgusted to be part of the Human Civilization."
District 9 is a strong movie and those are the messages I saw and how a friend and I thought about it. I recommend you go see this movie for it does harbor other messages.
For me, District 9 gets a 5 out of 5!
Wow, I came to the site in order to read your now infamous review and I am glad I did so AFTER I saw the (incredible, visually stunning, emotionally moving) film. You are consistently the weakest reviewer of the Independent but this review is so sophomoric, so obtuse and unprofessional that it warrants acknowledgment from the Indy and your editor that publishing it was a mistake.
I had to digest Quentin's movie for 24 hours; and although gruesome at times, the dialogue was well written. The plot took twists and turns but it's worth hanging in there to see how it evolves. One of the best cinematic moments: The Jews hidden in the basement under the house and the audience able to see their frightened eyes peering through the clapboards knowing they could be discovered any second by the nazi colonel. Beautifully portrayed.
What you call "flashes of interpretive memory," our writer saw as "grainy reenactments." As for the floor debate, our writer didn't say it wasn't important; she said it went on a bit long, at some cost to the film's momentum. I'm not sure there's anything here but differing subjective interpretations.
As Sarah's editor, let me say that she wrote a reasonable and respectful response to your film. That's what critics do.
About your last comment, the less said the betterbut for the record, our paper serves a market of at least 1.7 million people.
I heard NRP's story regarding the film last night. It sounds like an amazing piece of filmmaking. At first glance, it may sound very similar to "In the Realms of the Unreal," however this seems, to me, to be an ENTIRELY different perspective, considering that THIS magnum opus is being described the the author himself!
As the director of "for my wife..." I found your review blurb of our film to be off the mark and misleading.
To date we have won five film festival awards (including two juried Best Documentary Awards) and were designated fifth in Sydney, Australia's Top 10 Audience Favorite Films in their Mardi Gras Film Festival.
There is no "grainy re-enactment" of the tragic events that took Kate Fleming's life, but flashes of interpretive memory, images that haunt Charlene Strong to this day.
The "overlong legislative floor debate" you mention is a critical look at how the small-minded men and women who make our laws expose their ignorance and prejudice in session. The sequence closes on the most moving Civil Rights testimony of the entire film.
But most importantly, your "review" missed the point of the film... Equal Rights. No where did you mention that North Carolina is far behind the national curve on granting same-sex couples the most meager sense of equality or protecting the rights of LGBT families. "for my wife..." presents this case in a moving and logical way. It is a film you should recommend, not deter viewers from seeing.
As is often the case in small town papers like yours, Ms Ewald, the film reviewers know less about film than about criticism.
- David Rothmiller
Of course Ron Pauls storming out of a hotel room was not the sign of his homophobia. But what he said was homophobic for sure! He should have just said "No!" :)
RaleighRob: I thought my point was pretty clear: Far from denigrating the country, I was simply saying that France, while possessing an extraordinary and enviable culture, is also a country like any other, subject to the same economic and social problems other nations have on our increasingly integrated and interdependent globe.
For France, the issue is a little more acute because of the increasing isolation of its rich language in a world that tends to do its business in English and Chineseone of the subtle points made in Olivier Assayas' film.
I agree with you, by the way, that the U.S. is no great shakes next to France. Certainly we could learn a lot from them about providing health care for everyone. (I like their 35-hour work week, too, but that doesn't seem to be working out so well.)
For what it's worth, here's an abstract of the French economic situation, courtesy of The Economist:
Fading glory? Difficult to live? Um...ok?
Your review of the film is great and all but your knowledge of France isn't as good. In fact it is pretty bad.
How "difficult" is it to live in a country that ranks 11 on the UN Human Development Index? (The US ranks 15, by the way.) And we rank similar in per capita GDP according to the IMF (US at 15, France at 16). And of course a big topic these days is health care....the WHO ranks France as #1 with the US at only 37. Wow.
You make France sound like it's on the verge of falling into the Third World...and that's certainly not the case. (If anything, it may be us!)
I'll echo all the other complaints about appropriate methods of introducing spoilers (hint: it's before, not after. Hope this helps), and add that that Gil Scott Heron reference in the photo caption makes you look like a pretentious jerk, instead of simply a jerk.
So, you got that going for you.
I want to reiterate everything the others have said about this movie. I had made up my mind that Moon would be a horrible movie based on the author's review. My friend convinced me to go and the review ruined my whole experience of it. Not only was I primed to look for the negative in the movie (which I had trouble finding), but so much of the plot was completely ruined for me. I was pissed. Opinions of the film aside, you CANNOT spoil a plot. The most "egregious" bit of all this is that your contempt for the film experience and your readers was clear when you wrote "(spoiler, sorry)". What the F*%k!
Now opinions up front. You gave that movie 1 star!??? Okay,maybe it wasn't a four star, but it wasn't Big Mama's House 2. Come ON!!! IMDB gives it 8.3/10 and RottenTomatoes gives it a 90%...........out of a HUNDRED percent!!!
David, I thought your recent coverage of the Varsity closing down was great. And I'm sure I have read many of your reviews in the past and thought they were spot on, but I can't see what you were thinking. It's like you didn't even give this film a chance.
I used to totally trust the Independent for most opinions, but now I will certainly be skeptical.
- bt -
My experience of the movie, which I saw at Northgate, theatre 8, was colored by the problematic visual clarity. I couldn't get away from the fact that what I was looking at wasn't clear, wasn't clean, focused. Patrons had to tell the management to get the previews/ads in focus (focus was way off). Then I found the movie to be fuzzy. This is not a problem I've ever encountered in a theatre before. I'm wondering of this is was way the movie was meant to be (I doubt it), or if there was a problem with the theatre. The management insisted that there was no problem. What is the experience of others???
I helped review this movie on www.iheartchaos.com, and let me say that a)We liked the movie, and b)We took great strides to not reveal any plot spoilers. We aren't movie reviewers by trade, but somehow we managed to uphold higher standards than you did. I will agree that it was difficult to review without mentioning the rest of the plot, but that's what an honest reviewer should do. I would have done the same thing if I didn't like the movie. There are many people that would really like this movie, and you just totally ruined it for them.
It's not the job of a reviewer, no matter how self-important, to give away the plot of a movie.
The Indy should hire someone who knows the basic requirements of the job.
Please learn to write a review without spoiling the plot. If you must do so please indicate a spoiler beforehand not after. What an @$$hole.
Gotta say, I thoroughly enjoyed Moon and its minimalist, throwback approach to sci-fi. (Plus they used models for their FX! who uses models anymore?) Yes, some of the dialog was banal, and if the movie suffered from anything, it was that it wasn't creepy enough, and didn't go far enough in showing what a fubbed up situation in which the main character was stuck.
I also have to disagree with David's physics part of the review: that wasn't frost on the faceplate; it was pretty clear it was a thick coating of moondust.
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