Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Shout Outs

On A.I. - Artificial Intelligence:

The amount of critical acclaim Haley would receive was some of the best ever bestowed on any young actor. One example of far too many to list, was written by John Demetry. . . -- Fair, The Legacy Of A.I.: The 5th Anniversary Tribute

Spielberg's masterwork was unacclaimed and misunderstood upon its initial release, except by the Spielberg-sensitized, such as the host of this blog, whose writing on A.I.'s much-maligned conclusion remains definitive. Since, however, it has demonstrated astonishing forward resonance, scattering its seriousness into souls as removed from Spielberg's personal circumstances as Gael Morel (Three Dancing Slaves) and Wayne Kramer (Running Scared). This cross-cultural exchange of philosophies and perspectives is quintessentially Spielbergian, amounting to a shift in world consciousness that trumps anything in the hearts and platforms of Democratic or Republican politicians. -- Ben Kessler

On All The Lovers (Joseph Kahn):

Like Spencer Tunick, who photographs mass public undressings, Kahn and Kylie emcee a multiracial party; as critic John Demetry points out, restricting participants to the young, pretty, physically fit is part of their idealization.--Armond White, The New York Press

On Apocalypto:

'The gnostic genesis of genocide'? Jeanious! -- Ben Kessler

On Frank Borzage:

Hill's postmodern B-movie triumph gave depth to pop fantasy. Johnny's spiritual awakening through his re-defined selfimage was one of the most beautiful moments of Rourke's career--worthy of how critic John Demetry described Frank Borzage heroes as "photographed to look like angels." -- Armond White, The New York Press

On Elephant:

Out of misguided feminism and B-movie taste, Monster gets mistaken for serious filmmaking. Its canonization of a serial killer is as irresponsible as Gus Van Sant’s Elephant turning the Columbine tragedy into a high-art slasher movie. (In First of the Month, John Demetry writes, 'Van Sant replaces people’s confusion and sublimates contemporary pain...with the safety and comfort of the Age’s sophistication.') -- Armond White, The New York Press

On "Flicker":

All over Iraq, formerly terrorized, poliant populations would soon be walking -- or crawling like those Shi'a! -- on a new "wild road." To lift a phrase from a pop song ['Flicker'] soundtracking Saddam that John Demetry recalls in this issue. Demetry was a First reader before he was a contributor -- the kind of reader whose negative capability inspires us to cross "correct" lines. Last year, Demetry proved you could be responsive to both O'Brien and Amiri Baraka. He emailed First a compassionate reading of the COINTEL-probing movement of mind -- "who who who" -- in Baraka's controversial poem about 9/11. Demetry heard the ghosts of an ugly American past tapping into Baraka's brain, but he also allowed that his own efforts to make sense of our time have been informed by O'Brien's clarity about the world produced by 9/11: 'What's so great about [O'Brien's] articles -- whatever you think about his pro- or anti-war rationales -- is that he establishes the values for political action. That is, to fight: 1. racism 2. genocide 3. fascism.' -- Benj DeMott, First of the Month

On High School Musical:

A brilliant 2006 analysis on the Revelation to Revolution website described how
"the desire that brings young viewers to High School Musical is rewarded
with-provides access to-deeper understanding." -- Armond White, West Side Spirit

On Walter Hill:

Hace 30 años Walter Hill era un director a descubrir, hoy en día, escritores interesantes como Armond White y también John Demetry han comenzado a celebrar la obra de Hill, discutiendo sus valores intensamente.
[30 years ago was a director Walter Hill to discover today interesting writers as Armond White and John Demetry also have begun to celebrate the work of Hill, discussing their values deeply.] -- A Bogetto Diego, Gabriel Lorenzen and Mario Massa, friends and hillianos, Cult Movie: Streets of Fire

On Keep Moving: The Michael Jackson Chronicles:

That’s why news media commentators were stopped in their bloodhound tracks by the undeniable outpouring of public affection and mourning. Standard media demeaning of a Black male icon was no longer acceptable; Jackson’s art roused deep affection. Even P. Diddy told a CNN reporter: “We not go let y’all do this to him.” Not just Black Americans but people around the world felt the same way—protective and loving. Those attributes are what inspired Teofilo Colon Jr and John Demetry, two of the sharpest and most passionate pop purveyors it’s been my privilege to know, to encourage this compendium. -- Armond White, Keep Moving: The Michael Jackson Chronicles

On Lady Gaga:
Critic John Demetry has observed: "Lady Gaga takes the meaning out of everything," which is certainly true of her "performance art" scam. -- Armond White, The New York Press

On The Lady and The Duke:

On the other hand John Demetry, in an article which carefully analyses the film's effects. . . -- Nick, EighteenthCenturyWorlds

On Minority Report:

Chicago critic John Demetry read [Minority Report's} moral issues through its artistic innovations –- another example of estimable criticism occurring only outside the corrupted mainstream. -- Armond White, The New York Press

On Moulin Rouge:

Wither the musical? That's the question -- and the lament -- after Baz Luhrmann's atrocious Moulin Rouge. (Critic John Demetry rightly labeled Moulin Rouge 'the worst movie to happen to pop culture since Pulp Fiction.') -- Armond White, The New York Press

On Private Fears In Public Places:

Alain Resnais’ Private Fears in Public Places, a graceful consideration of the sexual and spiritual tensions of modern urbanites; its diaphanous snowfall motif recalled McCabe & Mrs. Miller but only critic John Demetry recognized Resnais and Altman’s allusion to Joyce’s “The Dead.” -- Armond White, The New York Press

On Queer As Folk:

I found bits and pieces of this online article about the UK Queer As Folkfrom Gay Today to be quite interesting as well as beautifully written. -- Envoi,

On Ringleader of The Tormentors:

Two young pop critics John Demetry and Ben Kessler had trouble finding the ideal in the awkward programming of Morrissey’s recent album Ringleader of the Tormentors. Individually, they pointed out the enervating, out-of-joint bulge of two tracks: [“In the Future When All’s Well” and “I’ll Never Be Anybody’s Hero Now"]. Both good songs, but they distended the album’s narrative and slowed-down its gestalt. Or so Demetry and Kessler argued. They were being finicky pop listeners, glimpsing an ideal, fastidiously demanding to please, please, please get the perfection they wanted. -- Armond White, First of the Month

On Running Scared:

Interesting review! -- Peter T Chattaway, filmchatblog

Thank you, John, for offering the finest writing yet on Running Scared. . . Thank you for deepening the experience of this film for me. -- Christopher Shinn

On Sorry and War of the Worlds:

(whistling out loud) wheeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeew! -- Teofilo

On The Terminal:

Critic John Demetry cites how [The Terminal] restores 'the unifying potential of symbols, the validity of signs, the faith in gestures.' And he asks Michael Moore and his idolaters: 'How can we achieve and practice, organize and institutionalize compassion without imagination?' Accusing Moore of (mis)using facts to put up a 'wall in the cultural process,' he notes that 'Spielberg and The Terminal know no boundaries. -- Armond White, First of the Month

On Tommy:

Qualche anno dopo Ken Russel trasformò la storia in un film che definire visionario è riduttivo (oltre che banale). In questo film viene reso evidente qualcosa che nel disco non era affatto chiaro: Tommy è uno psicopatico. Per guarire i suoi adepti dal logorio della vita moderna, vuole renderli sordi, muti e ciechi, com’era lui. È guarito dalla sordità e dalla cecità soltanto per regalarla agli altri. Come dice questo critico, John Demetry: 'Tommy's liberation becomes a means of mass exploitation.' [Some years after Ken Russell turned the story [of Tommy] into a movie define visionary is reductive (other than trivial). This film is made clear something that the disc was not clear: Tommy is a psychopath. To heal his followers from wear of modern life, to make them deaf, dumb and blind, it was him. It is cured of deafness and blindness only regalarla to others. As this critic, John Demetry: "Tommy's liberation becomes a means of mass exploitation.'] -- Leonardo

Russell probably could not have achieved such unruly, non-stop perfection without the misstep of The Boy Friend. Critic John Demetry’s definitive Tommy essay notes: “When Russell really cranks up the hysteria, he’s actually raising his postmodern agenda to ecstasy.” It truly is the most protean rock ‘n’ roll movie (until Prince’s 1997 Sign O the Times). Each song sequence (whether Tina Turner’s quivering Acid Queen, Ann-Margret’s bawdy-then-scatalogical Champagne delirium or the trenchant Sally Simpson short story) shows Russell is at new peaks of outrageous inventiveness. He commands rhythm and scale as Fritz Lang might have done had Hollywood ever let him loose on a musical. (Ignorant moviegoers fascinated by Baz Luhrmann’s messy Moulin Rouge were unfamiliar with Russell’s masterly extravagance. See Tommy: It’s not a ’70s Moulin Rouge, it’s a musical Metropolis.) [...]
Whore’s vividness and simplicity suggests an at-long-last resolution of Russell’s rampaging aesthetics. (“His cinema encourages spectator perception and response,” Demetry wrote.) The film’s concept is plain, almost Beckett-like in its abstraction, yet the boldly confronted issues of social hypocrisy remain turbulent—and hilariously cinematic, as when an All-American Boy type hits on Liz and then upchucks at the audience. It’s brilliant sexual/social satire. Ken Russell was a genuinely gifted, essentially cinematic filmmaker who, in spite of his excesses, displayed a vision that now is especially appreciable after the gaudy abominations of a director like Baz Luhrmann. -- Armond White, The New York Press

On Urbania:

I haven't responded to anything written about either me, my play or the film I wrote based on my play, for a few specific reasons -- not the least of which I thought the analyses was mostly banal. But I felt compelled to here, because I think, more than anything else I've ever read, you captured much of the essence of what I was going for. Thanks for your words, your intelligence and insight. I appreciate it. I'm glad this was sent to me. I got a lot of email regarding Urbania and this was the first time I enjoyed what I read. -- Daniel Reitz

On Todd Haynes and Gus Van Sant:

Critic John Demetry noted that Haynes and Van Sant both avoid using their subjects’ actual names [in, respectively, I'm Not There & Velvet Goldmine; Elephant & Last Days]. It disguises their deadly intentions. -- Armond White, The New York Press

On Vera Drake:

Leigh's ultra-humanist approach —- his most intensified filmmaking since Naked —- goes straight down the middle of the controversy. And yet its truth (Vera=truth, critic John Demetry pointed out) moves all sides. -- Armond White, The New York Press

On World Trade Center:

A film as uncompelling as Army of Shadows could only become a hit in an era where elite audiences are afraid of their most urgent feelings—afraid of the shadow cast by 9/11. After all, as critic John Demetry noted, no pundits whined “It’s Too Soon” about Michael Moore’s Fahrenheit 911. The exploitation of 9/11 footage and the conning of soldiers and soldier’s families in Moore’s anti-Bush propaganda was ok’d by most journalists. But when they didn’t get the expected Moore-rebuttal from Stone, some even complained that World Trade Center wasn’t political. -- Armond White, First Of The Month

On You, The Living:

That cartoonish Mothership image suggests the high-concept inanity featured in Children of Men and Cloverfield: It's apocalyptic silliness. Not ominously beautiful like the civilization-in-peril tableau that caps Roy Andersson's You, the Living (critic John Demetry described that climax as a "revelation out of [Morrissey's] 'Everyday Is Like Sunday'"). Rather, the immanence in District 9 suggests a meager, insensitive imagination. It's a nonsensical political metaphor. -- Armond White, The New York Press


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