Joe Bob Briggs

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Thumbnails 12/16/2013

Peter O'Toole 1932-2013; revisiting the Boston bombings; when Shaft ruled Hollywood; why we need more than three genders; how "Gravity" harkens back to film's silent era.

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"Talking faux-seriously about juvenilia..."

I regret that I haven't seen Guillermo Del Toro's "Hellboy" (2004) or "Hellboy II: The Golden Army" (2008), though De. Toro's "Pan's Labyrinth" was my top movie of 2006. Andrew Tracy at Reverse Shot evidently isn't impressed with the Hellboys, and I say "evidently" because I'm putting off reading the whole of his review of the new one until I've seen it.

But that hasn't stopped me from relishing the first two paragraphs! Because Tracy is articulating thoughts I've often entertained but too rarely raised in public. He begins: Talking faux-seriously about juvenilia has become a marvelous way to avoid talking seriously about the serious. The slew of hyperbolic, overheated critical rhetoric that follows in the wake -- hell, in advance of -- the latest high concept blockbuster is enough to make one gag. In these cases, critical investigation has by and large become a matter of repeating verbatim the films' stridently announced surface-level themes with some linguistic curlicues and intellectual tumbling tossed in.

Movie Answer Man

Movie Answer Man (08/04/1996)

Q. In your review of "A Time to Kill," you wrote that it was "a skillfully-constructed morality play that pushes all the right buttons and arrives at all the right conclusions." Okay, close your eyes. Now imagine the two rapists were killed by three hundred white men with a rope. Now imagine the two rapists were black. Does it still arrive at all the right conclusions? (John Lampkins, Los Angeles)