Friday movie roundup – Dec. 3

Weep with sorrow, ye denizens of the multiplex, for Hollywood has forsaken you! Only one new film opens in wide release this week, and it wasn’t screened for critics, and it’s about ninjas and cowboys. It’s called “The Warrior’s Way.” Review to come.

In limited release, however, there is “Black Swan” (review at Cinematical), an insane psychological thriller starring Natalie Portman as a ballerina. Seeing this was the highlight of my first Telluride Film Festival a few months ago. Seeing it again last week confirmed that it wasn’t just the thin mountain air that made me love it the first time.

In other news, “Movie B.S. with Bayer and Snider” has been nominated for the Podcast Awards! We assume this is very prestigious. We’re calling them the Poddies. You can vote for us “American Idol”-style (i.e., multiple times), but only once per day. Please do so! Even if you don’t listen to our show! Bayer and I thank you for your support.

Over at, “What’s the Big Deal?” is about “Dr. Zhivago,” a very long movie about the Russian Revolution and the romances found therein. “Eric’s Bad Movies” covers the 1998 version of “Godzilla.” Not only is the movie bad, but so is my original review of it. Bad as in poorly written, I mean. Good critics don’t start a review by telling you what they were expecting when they walked into the movie. For one thing, it’s a lazy way to start an article. For another thing, it doesn’t MATTER what you were expecting. What matters is what you actually saw. Can you imagine how dull it would be if a critic regularly started out with, “When I went to see this movie, I was expecting this…”? Bleh.

Good critics also don’t use the audience’s reaction to bolster their own opinion. “See? It wasn’t just me who didn’t like it! Neither did the people I saw it with!!” That’s desperate and insecure. It suggests that you’re terrified of being the only person with that opinion. So take my original “Godzilla” piece as an example of how not to write a review, and take my “Eric’s Bad Movies” treatment as an example of how to exact revenge on a bad movie 12 years later.

Subscribe to “In the Dark,” a weekly e-mail with the latest movie reviews, DVD releases, and other pertinent info.

Listen to “Movie B.S. with Bayer and Snider,” a weekly Internet radio show featuring Jeff Bayer and Eric D. Snider, at It’s live at 11 a.m. (Pacific) every Friday, then downloadable as a podcast. Ignore the iTunes “explicit” tag; we always keep it PG.