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The Reeler Blog

Screening Gotham: Finicky Christians Whack New Line Over Nativity

Some of today's movie news of note from around New York:

--OK, so this isn't quite a New York story, but it's almost Christmas, so bear with me: A mere two days after proclaiming that "2006 has turned out to be another watershed year, the biggest yet" in a seven-year surge of Christian-themed cinema, God-fellating critic Ted Baehr told WorldNet Daily that New Line's mishandling of The Nativity Story is something of a crisis: "If one or two movies do well, the ship will continue on a positive course, otherwise it will turn back to whatever makes money." Wow -- even their reviewers exploit fear for profit. I love these guys. (Via WENN)

--Speaking of critical whack jobs, I'd better give Kyle Smith credit when credit is due; his We Are Marshall piece has the best lede of the day:

Penalties will beat you in football. Or in a football movie. We Are Marshall has the kind of soulful subject matter that will strike some as profoundly emotional, but it gets a flag for roughing the tear ducts. This isn't football - it's cornball.

Lest you think the guy saw the light, he's back to jabbing at Muslims in his Children of Men review. Thank God; I'd hate to think we were losing him.

--Meanwhile, it seems awfully early in the season to be losing David Carr. Last year the Father of The Reeler went the distance before his breathtaking crash-and-burn, but he looks to be flagging early in '06-'07, "rolling a ball of cultural lint around until it threatens to disappear." Hang in there, kiddo -- only two-and-a-half more months! And The Times needs the ad revenue.

--Last note on critics, I swear: Stephanie Zacharek spearheads the much-needed Letters From Iwo Jima backlash in her review at Salon. The only thing she leaves out is how lumberingly portentous and dull the film is. It's Clint Eastwood by way of Peter Jackson by way of Ron Howard, which is to say, watch out for the 3:1 furrowed brow-to-gun ratio.

--Finally, as though you haven't had enough Woodyana here this week, Gothamist's Karen Wilson runs through Film Forum's Essentially Woody program in a thoroughgoing interview with Allen scholar Bob Kapsis. Great stuff.

Posted at December 22, 2006 9:16 AM

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