Christopher Smith – Movie Critic Interviews

Thursday, July 15, 2010 at 2:10 am

Christopher Smith is this week’s guest on Critical Juncture, our weekly segment devoted to discussing cinema with film critics and movie bloggers. Before we dive into the questions and answers, let’s take a moment and examine Christopher Smith’s bio, courtesy of the man himself:

“Christopher Smith is the owner, editor and primary writer of the popular Web site, which is one of the few independently owned entertainment sites on the Web. He has been the film critic for 13 years at the Bangor Daily News, reviewed eight years for regional NBC outlets and also two years nationally on E! Entertainment Daily. He is a member of the Broadcast Film Critics Association. In his 13 years as a critic for print, television and Web, he has produced nearly 4,000 reviews.”

I can’t say enough good things about Week in Rewind. In addition to movie reviews for all the latest releases, the site features the hottest movie trailers, movie news, giveaways, and info on music and television. It’s truly the ultimate fix for pop culture junkies.

Now that I’m through singing his praises, let’s see what Christopher Smith has to say about movies…

Only Good Movies: What’s the first movie that you remember seeing?
Christopher Smith: It was with my father. Disney’s The Black Hole. I remember it because that’s the only movie we’ve seen together. Surely, there were others, but that comes to mind first.

OGM: What’s the most recent movie you’ve seen?
CS: Shrek Forever After. (OGM Note: It took me several weeks to get this interview posted, so Christopher has no doubt seen a number of films since then.)

OGM: Is there a particular film that you feel is criminally underrated?
CS: Well, it isn’t Showgirls.

OGM: Which director do you feel has turned out the best overall body of work?
CS: That’s tough. Eastwood has had this incredible run for years, but before you turn to him, you have to look to Hitchcock and Truffaut, Wyler and Whale and Spielberg and Lee. Cukor and Coppola and Berkeley. Godard and Scorsese and Allen. I could go on and on. I was especially happy to see Kathryn Bigelow win for The Hurt Locker, and I’m looking forward to seeing how that win enhances her work.

OGM: From an artistic standpoint, which film do you think is most important?
CS: Fritz Lang’s Metropolis. It set the tone and influenced so much that came after it. And its new restoration is fantastic.

OGM: All artsy considerations aside, which movie is your personal favorite?
CS: All About Eve. Don’t ask me who I side with. But the writing in that film and the performances are enough to stop me cold whenever I walk past my television and see it playing on TCM.

OGM: In your opinion, which film is entirely overrated?
CS: Crash. I hated that movie. It was designed to feed into white guilt, and it manipulated the audience the entire way. There isn’t an honest moment in that movie, though there remains a necessary truth that needed to be pulled from its wreckage. What a disappointment and a lost opportunity to really get to the core of race relations in this country.

OGM: Have you ever walked out of the theatre during a film? If so, what movie was playing?
CS: Sure, but not while working. I’m pretty sure I walked out of Friday Night Lights. Drivel. And anything by Rob Zombie generally makes me want to bolt because I can’t stand how inept he is.

OGM: In your mind, what’s the ultimate goal of a movie critic?
CS: To offer a sane, intelligent voice that can push through the hype and inform a public that’s swindled too often by advertising dollars.

OGM: Time to look into the future. Do you predict any major changes for the movie industry over the next 25 years?
CS: 3D will die away, just as it did a few times before, and then it will find new life in new technology in about 25 years.

OGM: Here’s another chance to predict the future. Name a relatively unknown actor or actress who’ll be a huge star within five years.
CS: You mean, who will bring the box office? For the most part, stars are dead. But box office? Probably Sam Worthington. Some will argue that he already is a big “star,” but Avatar was big because of its director and the expectations behind the film itself. Clash of the Titans was big because of its subject. Worthington was not trotted out as a selling point for either film. But it will come. There’s something there.

OGM: Who’s your favorite movie critic to read?
CS: Anthony Lane–he makes me laugh, which can’t be underrated. Pauline Kael (I return to her insight often). Roger Ebert. Vincent Canby. Christy Lemire–I really love her work.

Before we turn out the lights on this edition of Critical Juncture, I’d like to thank Christopher Smith for taking part. Be sure to check out his site, WeekinRewind, as well as his reviews for the Bangor Daily News. Until next time, here are a few more interviews to tide you over:

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