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September 27 2005

Preview blurb for "Serenity" on Roger Ebert's Website. Nice to see the film finally mentioned, and the blurb itself is fine, but read the caption under the photo.

"Dancing on the ceiling: The less-than-serene Serenity (Summer Glau) finds she's not in Sunnydale anymore (if she ever was), in Joss Whedon's feature film, based on his TV series 'Firefly.'"

I dislike errors. Grr. Argh. But stay tuned for the full review on Friday.

As long as he enjoys the film I don't care :p
I hope he does. But I don't get Ebert sometimes, as in, I can never tell what he's going to like. He liked "Harold and Kumar Go to White Castle," which surprised the hell out of me, and he seems to like EVERY movie Disney puts out. Which is scary.

ETA: Oh, and yay! My first news posting! Woo and a hoo.

[ edited by pat32082 on 2005-09-27 14:13 ]
He may not think Serenity is the next Citizen Kane but if he laughed at all the jokes and got sad when he was supposed to then it will be very encouraging.
Yes, and the ship is named "Summer" and is captained by Rupert Giles, who used to work out of Wolfram and Hart's Cleveland office.

Can't they get anything right?
I actually believe that Ebert will like this film... and I haven't even seen it. Just based on my opnion on his tastes.

I do however find it quite funny that the caption has an error the main texte didn't make.
To echo Mal: How come she's all of a sudden the ship?
Damn. Wish I'd thought of that, Rogue Slayer. Nuts. ;-)
Roger Ebert is an asshat. He made NUMEROUS errors in his vicious review of my cousin's movie "Cabin Fever," and he clearly hadn't seen the entire film (or his little elves hadn't). His day has come and gone; he should have retired when Gene died. I doubt he will appreciate the humor, pathos and intelligence of "Serenity."

NOW let me tell you what I *really* think. ;-)
Please remember that one of our golden rules is criticise the review and NOT the reviewer.
Lol, so I know that River claimed to be Serenity in the last episode of Firefly when she was fooling Jubal Early...but when did she legally change her name?
hey, Harold and Kumar is pretty good. I wouldn't give it the time of day until I read a really positive review of it in salon.com by Stephanie Zacharek, a critic who's been a huge BtVS fan for years, and gave the movie a chance. It's funny, it's dumb, it has some appealing actors and -- most importantly for a crude comedy like that -- nothing offended me. So, er, not rocket science, but appealing and funny.

I actually think Ebert will like the movie for the same reasons I think most traditional critics will like the movie: it's a good and intelligent action-SF movie that doesn't rely entirely on action scenes and has Important Themes wittily expanded upon. Compared to most of the other action movies they're exposed to, this is gonna be manna from the heavens. I think the geek-cred critics on the 'net are gonna be the harshest critics, actually.
Oh, no, dottikin, I liked Harold and Kumar. I'm just surprised Ebert did.
Well let's assume that Ebert does not write these captrions himself and that some extremely incompetent subordinate can't tell the difference between a ship and a young girl. (On a 'wow-how-badly-can-you-not-get-something'-level it reminds me of that CHUD review where the guy actually says that he still doesn't know WHY the Alliance wants River so badly. Did you actually watch the movie??)

That said, I too can be very surprised by what Ebert writes sometimes, and while he's written some decent reviews, he's also written things that...well still make me wonder why in a country as big as the US he and his sidekick are still the only reviewers of note.

Still, since he *is*, it should certainly help if he likes it, so here's hoping...
Not the reviewer of note, and his partner is forgettable. Although I don't follow film criticism a lot, I will certainly be looking forward to A. O. Scott's and David Edelstein's reviews.

Along a parallel dimension, I'm looking forward to the end-of-year best-10 lists. Not the pop-culture ones from CNN etc., but the "serious" critics who tend to make their top-10 lists out of indy and foreign films. Serenity is such a contrast to the typical action fare that I think a lot of critics will want to point to it to say, see, look what can be done if someone just cares enough to do it.

Like Ken Tucker's line about being the best sequel to Raiders of the Lost Ark that Spielberg never made.
EdDantes said:
Well let's assume that Ebert does not write these captrions himself and that some extremely incompetent subordinate can't tell the difference between a ship and a young girl.


I doubt he does. Unless things have changed, there is usually someone on a paper who does nothing but write headlines and photo descriptions for stories. Which can explain a lot.

Like others, as long as the review is good, I don't care if he thinks River is the ship, or made of chocolate for that matter.
He has a website guy that does all of the blurbs and all of the captions. The rule for his site is that nothing is written by him unless it has a Roger Ebert byline on it. Ebert's actual Serenity review will be up probably Friday. They we can see if HE makes any mistakes, as opposed to over-worked web guy.
Having just looked up his Cabin Fever review, I also didn't see anything terribly wrong with that. He didn't call any of the people involved ass hats or anything; he simply didn't like the film and gave his reasons why. Surely that's a film critic's right...?
I have a great respect for Roger Ebert and have been looking forward to his review for months. I'm crossing my fingers that he'll like it, but his tastes can sometimes be unpredictable. I thought he'd love Team America for it's brilliant take on summer blockbusters and American politics, but that only got one star.

A lot of people are going to be checking out his thoughts, and if he gives Serenity a thumbs up, it could very well sway more people to see it.

[ edited by MindPieces on 2005-09-27 20:28 ]
It's almost impressive how many errors you can fit in a text piece this short. But atleast it's positive.
Speaking of reviews, this probably doesn't justify a new thread, but the most hilarious review ever of "Serenity" just appeared on rottentomatoes... From FilmsInReview.com *OBVIOUS SPOILERS - MAJOR ONES* (not in this comment, but in the review itself).

"Fillion, an obvious alterego for Wheldon [sic], is given all the sexy close-ups."

"Obvious alterego"? Huh?

"The ship’s doctor, Simon (Sean Maher), needs help freeing his creepy, catatonic, but powerfully psychic, 17-year-old sister River Tam."

Catatonic? A "90-pound" catatonic "killing machine"? Wow.

Yes... A world of wrongness... The funny thing is, the review gets most of "what happens plotwise" essentially right (which is almost a first among bad reviews). The behind the scenes stuff and basic everyday knowledge, however... not so much. =) Does score a few points by having the most wonderful headline ever... "Horrible".

Supposedly, the writer is "emotionally prepared for the wrath of Firefly/Serenity fans". Don't give it to her - the review seems to be written for that purpose alone... But if all bad reviews of Serenity will also be as badly written as this, there's nothing to fear. =) Still, it does make me wonder how rottentomatoes really pick the reviews they post...

EDIT: I take back the bit about getting the plot right, and also have to say I'm looking forward to Ebert's review. Even if I don't agree, he tends to make it worthwhile to read/watch/listen to.

[ edited by Serge on 2005-09-27 21:15 ]
You're totally right, and I apologize for calling Ebert an asshat; it was really uncalled for. I do remember some significant factual errors in his review of Eli's movie, but that is blood...er, water under the bridge now so I'll let it be. :-)

I will, however, not waver from my opinion that Ebert and many other reviewers seem to make up their minds about movies before they see them, write their plot synopses from the press releases rather than what they see on the screen and compose what amount to fairly shabby reviews when all is said and done. They're reviewers and therefore entitled to their opinions, of course, but when the reviews (see Simon? Criticizing the reviews not the reviewers! She can be taught! :-D) then lead to people not seeing the films or going in with erroneous, preconceived notions it does the reviewer AND the film a grave disservice.

Just my $0.02. :-)
Months ago I suggested someone should send Ebert a Firefly DVD set to enjoy over the summer. It sounds like he never received it and went in to see Serenity with a clean slate. Should make for an interesting review.
If anything, Ebert is pre-disposed to like movies. He just likes movies and admits that at times he's a bit of a soft-touch. Of course, on individual films, personal mileages ALWAYS varies and probably should be charitable.

Lots of critics like "Cabin Fever" for example, and it did very well at festival. Ebert really likes horror films. If anything, perhaps he had built-up expectation and the movie suffered by comparison. (I haven't seen it -- I'm a bit of a pussy when it comes to gore.)

Now, I'm a critic myself of sorts and I'm a big fan of Ebert (by far the best writer on movies out there, syllable for syllable), so maybe I'm mistaken. And there are certain critics who are out to earn a certain type of cred by knocking all but a quirkily and seemingly randomly chosen collection of movies (they're usually Pauline Kael wannabes) and others who are kissing some majorly serious studio booty, but the majority are merely film fans who are a little more criticial and quirky in their tastes simply because they've seen SO many movies.
If anything, Ebert is pre-disposed to like movies. He just likes movies and admits that at times he's a bit of a soft-touch. Of course, on individual films, personal mileages ALWAYS varies. I can think of many movies he disliked that I really liked or even loved, and vice versa. That's life.

Lots of critics who saw "Cabin Fever" at festivals, liked it and Ebert really likes horror films. If anything, perhaps he had built-up expectations and the movie suffered by comparison. (I haven't seen it -- I'm a bit of a pussy when it comes to gore.)

Now, I'm a critic myself of sorts and I'm a big fan of Ebert (by far the best writer on movies out there, syllable for syllable), so maybe I'm mistaken. And there are certain critics who are out to earn a certain type of cred by knocking all but a quirkily and seemingly randomly chosen collection of movies (they're usually Pauline Kael wannabes) and others who are kissing some majorly serious studio booty, but the majority are merely film fans who are a little more criticial and quirky in their tastes simply because they've seen SO many movies.
I wrote to Jim Emerson at Ebert's Website and brought the error to his attention. He noted that the mistake was his, and that Roger actually had gotten it right in his own work-up; Jim also noted that the caption should have been corrected by now. So let us give them some credit for handling the error correctly and promptly.
I have always enjoyed Ebert's review, which I only infrequently disagree with. I strongly believe that he writes all his own reviews and does not review any film he did not actually watch. He does not need to; he is the best known critic in the world, and he brings a wealth of knowledge to what he does.
Roger Ebert is a brilliant writer, and by far my favorite film critic. I disagree with him quite a bit at times (okay...Reservoir Dogs gets **1/2, but Ella Enchanted gets ***1/2?! What?!), but the man knows how to write, and he loves movies with a so-awesome-it's-scary-but-in-a-good-way passion.

I aspire to be as great a critic as he.

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