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Talk movies with Ty Burr

Boston Globe film critic Ty Burr was online Friday, July 27, 2007, to field your questions and comments about the latest news in the world of film. He also chatted with you about your favorite -- and least favorite -- films, and new releases worth seeing.

The transcript follows.

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Ty_Burr: Hi everyone -- anyone? Ty Burr here. Landing in my seat after returning from screening the new Lindsay Lohan movie...
Ty_Burr: It's 1 pm, time to get started. If you're out there, fire me some questions or comments on recent movies.
Earo__Guest_: Haha how was it?
Ty_Burr: "I Know Who Killed Me"? Well.. pretty disgusting, but better than I was expecting...
Ty_Burr: It's a full-on horror movie in the torture cycle, but it's surprisingly well made. Not art by a long shot, but decent craft. Put me in mind of early DePalma, actually.
Ty_Burr: Director Chris Sivertson's one to keep an eye out for -- ick..
Ty_Burr: Lohan was... okay. The girl really can't give a line reading, but she's reasonably sympathetic.
Earo__Guest_: like Carrie?
Ty_Burr: no, the DePalme it reminded me of was Sisters... and Body Double...
john__Guest_: did you like Rescue Dawn
Ty_Burr: Very much. Did you? As a Herzog fan (and a Christian Bale fan) I thought it paid off remarkably well.
Ty_Burr: On the surface it looks like a straight-up POW survival movie, but I think there's more going on in it.
Daed__Guest_: Anyone heard of Stardust?
Ty_Burr: Yep. You a Neil Gaiman fan, Daed?
Ty_Burr: We haven't seen it here yet, though I'm curious. These kind of fantasy stories work on the page and often die on the screen... remembering Labyrinth and that one with Tom Cruise as Tom o' the Green and Tim Curry as the Debbil...
Ty_Burr: This one has DeNiro in it, which actually has me worried. When he's in the wrong part, duck.
madvibes__Guest_: How's it going, Ty? I have The Death of Mr. Lazarescu here from netflix, for tonight. looking forward to it!
Ty_Burr: Hey madvibes, nice to see ya. Enjoy the movie, but power down your metabolism... it's very slow and not plot-driven. But brilliant for all that. If you like it, check out "12:08 East of Bucharest" opening today at the Kendall.
Earo__Guest_: Ty, one day I would love to be a film critic. You are one of my idols. Any advice for an up-and-coming film buff?
Ty_Burr: Hm, Earo... are you *sure* you want to be a critic? It means you have to sit through awful movies without being able to leave. It means you have to come up with something fresh to say about stuff that's completely mediocre.
Ty_Burr: But of course it also means you get to turn readers on to movies they might not otherwise see -- that's the good part.
Ty_Burr: Advice? The question is whether there'll even *be* movies or newspapers in 15 years, at least as we know them.
Ty_Burr: That said, the best thing to do is see as many movies as possible and write as much as possible (not necessarily about movies). Get comfortable with a voice and a sensibility. And be honest about what you like and don't like.
Ty_Burr: Oh, and learn a ton about film history, the film industry, and all other relevant areas. You have to provide context, short range and long.
Ty_Burr: Still interested?
Earo__Guest_: I've been reviewing films for my school newspaper---I had to sit through "Spider-man 3" and "Blades of Glory" I'm up for the challenge
Ty_Burr: excellent :) full speed ahead, then
franco__Guest_: any chance of doing a few changes to the Sunday movie Grid? (ie kicking out Entertainment weeking and Variety and throwing in a few other regional papers that aren't afraid to pan a moive?)
Ty_Burr: Hm, I'll pass it along to the editors. I like throwing Variety in there, just as a snapshot of the industry view. And EW, well, I used to work there, so I'm partial.
Ty_Burr: But the grid's always subject to discussion. Who would you suggest, Franco?
madvibes__Guest_: What's Alfonso Cuaron been up to these days?
Ty_Burr: He's working on an untitled (so far) script for a digital movie... not sure what that means. Supposedly due in 2008.
mgf__Guest_: What the heck is sunshine about?
Ty_Burr: Good question, mgf... I haven't seen it yet (Wesley loved it), but from what I gather, it's about astronauts sent to restart the sun before it goes out..
Ty_Burr: But basically you're going to go for another Danny Boyle extravaganza
Ty_Burr: If you liked Trainspotting or 28 Days Later, you should give it a look.
franco__Guest_: Well, maybe an Atlanta , Chicago or Dallas Paper. Also the newyork and time don't review many flicks. I'm doing a lot of checking on rottentomatoes too.
Ty_Burr: Atlanta just let their critic go a few months back, Eleanor Ringel. Problem is, so many papers are canning their movie critics and using reviews off the wire.
Ty_Burr: When you have the Village Voice dumping Jim Hoberman and running stuff by Luke Y. Thompson -- possibly the worst critic in the business -- you know we're in trouble.
murph__Guest_: You wrote an essay on a Linda Lovelace a few years ago for a book on sex and the movies. What was the name of that book?
Ty_Burr: The name of the book was "The X List: The National Society of Film Critics on Movies That Turn Us On" (or something).
Ty_Burr: I didn't write on Linda Lovelace but rather on Cinemax softcore movies like "Young Lady Chatterley".
Ty_Burr: Because, uh, my first job out of college was in Cinemax programming, picking out those movies.
Ty_Burr: Next topic, lol.
JediFonger__Guest_: hi ty, regarding movie review writing, when you throw analogies or references, how sure are you that the readers will know what you're talking about?
Ty_Burr: I cross my fingers, Jedi. I like to assume that my readers are fairly literate -- about movies, culture, etc -- and I also maybe like to lead them to check things out they may not know about. It's pretty easy in the Google age.
Ty_Burr: But I agree it can get obnoxious, and I get letters occasionally telling me to cut it out already. Some critics do it more than others. I just see the connections between various things and think they're worth pointing out.
madvibes__Guest_: so your new nickname is Ty "skinemax" Burr?
Ty_Burr: You wouldn't be the first.
Lewis__Guest_: Why does it seem like Boston is third rate when it comes to movie releases? How long until we see "Opening this weekend in New York, Los Angeles AND BOSTON?"
Ty_Burr: Won't happen, Lewis. The reason they open films in NYC and LA first is to get the reviews that will help sell a film to the rest of the country. Notice that the big studio films (where they don't care that much about the reviews but do care about piracy) open everywhere at once. The ones that need more care and handling or they think will be review driven, they'll open NYC/LA.
Lewis__Guest_: Hi Ty. I saw Stardust last night at the Brattle. I thought it was really bad, but the audience seemed to lap it up, although they could be just Gaiman junkies. Is Claire Daines the worst actress ever, or just of this generation?
Ty_Burr: Okay, Lewis hated it... and Daed liked it:
Daed__Guest_: (hey, sorry) Yeah, I saw Stardust last night at the Brattle. I hadn't read the book, but I read two others by Gaiman. The movie was great, any fears you have about DeNiro should be assuaged, he was fantastic, if he didn't ham it up a bit, but he was very funny. the whole movie was great
Ty_Burr: Hm.
Ty_Burr: You two fellas fight it out amongst yourself :)
Ty_Burr: This is the kind of movie you either love or hate, obviously.
par__Guest_: Hairspray, did anyone like it?
Ty_Burr: Yeah, I did, par. So did a lot of reviewers. Safe to say we were all pleasantly surprised. You?
Lewis__Guest_: DeNiro is just a pale parody of himself. It's embarassing to watch
Ty_Burr: Ouch.
madvibes__Guest_: I'm kinda surprised you liked HP5, to me, it seemed really rushed and assumed that you knew the book to fill in the gaps. and it was too short. (longest book, shortest flick = not cool).
Ty_Burr: Yes, but madvibes, I don't *read* the books. On purpose. Like I said in the review, I know people get really upset over what gets left out of the Potter movies and I don't want to be in the same boat. I'd rather focus on the film.
Ty_Burr: It's an arguable approach and I can see someone making a case that a critic *should* read the books (and I do read other books that become movies). Still, I'm sticking with it for the duration.
Ty_Burr: So, yes, HP5 was cogent to me. I even liked the fact that it seemed to compressed and urgent.
JediFonger__Guest_: is stardust the first SF movie DeNiro is in?
Ty_Burr: Do you call Brazil sci-fi? I do.
madvibes__Guest_: once the series of movies is over, you should go back and read the books, then let us know what you think :)
Ty_Burr: That's exactly what I'm going to do. Daughter #1 just finished Deathly Hallows, daughter #2 is almost done with #4.
murph__Guest_: Is it still possible to make a great movie in the US that is based on an original screenplay? Would something even like Star Wars get made considering there is not pre-built audience.
Ty_Burr: Harder and harder to do, murph. The studios look to a selling point, and originality isn't one of them.
Ty_Burr: Still: "Knocked Up," "Ratatouille," both big hits, both original scripts. And wait til "Superbad" opens.
Ty_Burr: Still, your larger point -- original scripts for *grown-ups* -- taken.
Lewis__Guest_: What's Terry Gilliam up to these days? Am I the only person who liked Tideland?
Ty_Burr: Yes, Lewis, I'm afraid you are... Sorry.
JediFonger__Guest_: have you dared to venture into filmmaking 2.0 like, etc.?
Ty_Burr: You mean have I *made* something for Youtube? No. Do I surf it? Yes, though not as much as I'd like. In general I'm so busy watching movies I don't get much time for TV or extended online movie watching.
Ty_Burr: Anyone else want to rise to the defense?
Ty_Burr: That last comment pertained to Tideland -- anyone with lewis on that one?
Ty_Burr: And re YouTube, I do think it's a whole new medium, and one that frees moviegoers to be moviemakers. I'm fascinated by it.
Lewis__Guest_: Yeah, I like leaving the movies feeling disturbed...
Ty_Burr: Go see the new Lindsay Lohan movie then, Lewis...
JediFonger__Guest_: How do you feel about this 3D-izing live action films like certain sequences of Superman Returns, HP5, etc. Lucas, Zemeckis, Cameron, Jackson all seem bent taking cinema towards this. I've seen Superman Returns in 3D (certain sequences) and it's OK, but not "totally awesome" that it should be done to every single film.
Ty_Burr: I think 3D is an unstoppable wave of the future, now that it's so easy to do with the new digital projectors and not-as-annoying glasses. I think we'll be seeing every blockbuster movie coming out in 3D within 5-10 years, with some artsy types starting to experiment with the form. Smaller films will stay 2D for much longer.
JediFonger__Guest_: What would you recommend for August (usually a slow month)? I know I'll be watching our Bostonian Matt Damon in Bourne Ultimatum.
Ty_Burr: I saw it yesterday, Jedi -- it's excellent. Paul Greengrass is back as director and there are some action sequences that feel really fresh. Damon is great, too, even if he goes through the film with one facial expression (works for him as Jason Bourne, didn't work in The Good Shepherd).
Ty_Burr: It's a thinking person's action movie, really solid, propulsive stuff.
Lewis__Guest_: Speaking of 2d and 3d, boy did Disney pull a fast one on me the other day. First they had me thinking Enchanted was their foray back into 2d animation, then they went live-action and my soul died just a little
Ty_Burr: Yes, but it has Amy Adams in it, in a lead role. About time for the "Junebug" actress. I think Disney has given over their animation spirit to Pixar -- Lasseter's running the show. Which is great, actually.
Ty_Burr: But a 2D animation movie will be like someone making a black-and-white movie in the present -- a style statement.
madvibes__Guest_: so what's your home movie watching rig consisting of these days? i'm assuming HD / Blu-ray / surround sound?
Ty_Burr: Ha! Tell the Globe to pay for it! Nope, Samsung widescreen TV and a Sony DVD player. My home office isn't big enough to put a decent surround sound system in, but maybe someday. This is why I still like to go to the movies.
Dengler__Guest_: Ty, will there be any Oscar buzz for Rescue Dawn? Pretty amazing performances by Christian Bale ans Stephen Zahn;)
Ty_Burr: Hey Dengler -- I wouldn't be at all surprised if Zahn picks up a nomination. It all depends on what the post-Labor Day Oscar onslaught looks like.
Ty_Burr: Personally, I think Herzog should geet an honorary Oscar. He probably could care less, though.
movielover__Guest_: joining late, sorry if this has been asked - your thoughts on the Simpsons movie? :-)
Ty_Burr: Hey movielover. My thoughts? Meh. Loved the first half house, was left cold once the plot kicked in. It's fine, it's fine, but not nearly special enough to differentiate it from the TV show.
Ty_Burr: house? I meant hour.
Ty_Burr: Weird.
JediFonger__Guest_: Will Bladerunner: the final cut grace Boston? I know it's going to make a run in the NYC+LA circuit. Oh and why does NYC+LA get 50x more limited run? Boston is the one city that will actually watch those films.
Ty_Burr: No idea if Blade Runner will get here -- I bet it does, though. One problem is that the multiplexes won't play the limited engagement films and the arthouses are booked solid with their own pipeline and/or don't have the screen to do it justice.
Ty_Burr: Both NYC and LA are big enough to have the available screens *and* an audience to sustain a re-release for more than a week. Not sure Boston does -- though I'd love to be proven wrong.
madvibes__Guest_: favorite animated movie of all time:
Ty_Burr: Hm. Probably Miyazaki. I love everything he's done, but I do think My Neighbor Totoro is actually that rare thing, a perfect film.
Ty_Burr: Grave of the Fireflies is also a killer.
Ty_Burr: As for Disney, have you seen Pinocchio lately? That thing is *dark*.
JediFonger__Guest_: What's the % of films are based on existing work in other mediums like print, TV, radio, even articles from publications vs. 100% wholly original works?
Ty_Burr: I don't know offhand, Jedi, but the original work is small and getting smaller. Although maybe "originality" is a quality that's getting outsourced to YouTube these days.
Ty_Burr: The movies are becoming balkanized and fractilzed like pop music has in the past two decades. Something for every group but few things for everybody as a whole.
JediFonger__Guest_: Are you or Wesley writing the fall movie preview? When will that piece debut?
Ty_Burr: We divvy it up; he does half, I do half (and we each write the blurbs for movies that the other guy will be reviewing). If there's a date set, my editor hasn't told me yet, but it'll be right around Labor Day.
Lewis__Guest_: I think a country should be renamed Herzog
Ty_Burr: Bosnia-Herzogovina -- close enough!
mimi__Guest_: Hi Ty - have you heard of Jose Saramago's novel Blindness? It's being made into a movie w/Julianne Moore & Mark Ruffalo, I think...wondering if you know anything about how it's being treated.
Ty_Burr: Hi Mimi... Fernando Meirelles is directing, which is a good sign. He made "City of God" and "The Constant Gardener"
Ty_Burr: And Don McKellar is adapting the book for the film. Very talented writer/actor/director himself.
Ty_Burr: Expectations are high.
igotmylunchbox__Guest_: what do you think about the new movie "Across the Universe?"
Ty_Burr: Haven't screend it yet and am dreading the prospect of an entire movie based entirely on titles and lyrics of Beatles songs. Could work, could be monumentally silly. Anyone remember "Sgt. Pepper" the movie? With Peter Frampton??
Ty_Burr: Ah, Hollywood: Those that do not remember the past are condemned to repeat it. And we have to watch the results.
madvibes__Guest_: anybody ever tell you that you kinda look like "dwight" from the Office?
Ty_Burr: In that picture I do (the one announcing the chat). Hate that shot; I look like I ate a bad clam. In reality, I look exactly like Aaron Eckhart on a good day.
JediFonger__Guest_: Are there revival theatres outside of Harvard, MFA, Brattle, Coolidge, Arlington, Kendall, BPL? Love to see silent films. I wish "revivals" became more permanent, I already have a 100" front projection screen, but nothing beats a 50FT screen! =P.
Ty_Burr: Heck, I'm coming over to your house, Jedi. You've listed the main screens for revival fare -- but it's still not like in the good old days of the Orson Welles and the Park Square and the Kenmore...
Ty_Burr: The 70s, before the video era, were a golden era for old movies on the big screen. Ironically, the prints were terrible -- the restoration boom has benefited DVD mostly.
Ty_Burr: Guys, so many questions, and I'm out of time -- have to write up the Lindsay Lohan movie review, my editor's pacing. Send me an email if you want a follow-up answer.
Ty_Burr: Thanks for coming by and have a great weekend!