Jack Sack – Movie Critic Interviews

Wednesday, December 23, 2009 at 5:57 pm

Jack Sack (aka Adam Cohen) is our guest for Critical Juncture this week. What’s a Jack Sack, you may be asking? Well, just scroll down and take a look at the picture for your answer. I’ll wait. Go ahead.

Okay, as you now realize, a Jack Sack is “the world’s deadliest manpurse.” It accompanies Jack Bauer (of 24 fame) on some of his deadlist missions, whether he’s gunning down terrorists, defusing bombs, or maybe even torturing a few non-combatants.

And in those rare moments that Jack Bauer sleeps, the Jack Sack enjoys logging online and discussing movies and the latest season of 24. Join us now for a Q&A with one of the most dangerous male accessories to ever swing from a shoulder.


Only Good Movies: What’s the first movie that you remember seeing?
Jack Sack: The first movie I remember seeing was Star Wars– it was the 1980 re-release, and I was 3 years old. I recall feeling completely overwhelmed- like my entire world had just become much larger.

OGM: What’s the most recent movie you’ve seen?
JS: I just watched Pontypool– a very original take on the zombie genre. It’s a Canadian film that hasn’t received a large release, but it’s one I recommend finding on home video.

OGM: Is there a particular film which you feel is criminally underrated?
JS: It’s a tie between Artificial Intelligence and Children of Men. Both films deal with humanity’s future in their own way- and they are very much philosophically ahead of their time. I get why audiences have not embraced these films, but I remain hopeful and confident that in the next 10-20 years they will both be viewed as landmark, visionary cinema.

OGM: Which director do you feel has turned out the best overall body of work?
JS: In terms of sheer “quality” measured over a prolific career, John Ford is probably my choice. Stagecoach, The Searchers and The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance are all very different movies despite being within the Western genre. That, to me, is a sign of Ford’s talent- that he could repeatedly go back to a setting and create independently original works. And his entire career spans the life of film- from the silent era all the way to the modern production. He helped define film (and redefine it repeatedly).

OGM: From an artistic standpoint, which film do you think is most important?
JS: Like many, I’ll say that without Citizen Kane films would be different today. But I do believe that The Godfather needs to be mentioned here- not so much as an innovative work, but as a film that represents the entire movement of 1970s American film- an era I believe is the most important for the art.

OGM: All artsy considerations aside, which movie is your personal favorite?
JS: My personal favorite film is probably Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan. I’m a fan of the old series, so that alone is my bias.

OGM: In your opinion, which film is entirely overrated?
JS: Without any hesitation, I’m calling out Crash. I am still wondering how on Earth that movie won the Best Picture Oscar. Crash is a sanctimonious, unrealistic work. I bought the DVD, watched it and afterwards gave it away to someone and warned them that they might want to use it as a drink coaster.

OGM: Have you ever walked out of the theatre during a film? If so, what movie was playing?
JS: Honestly, I walked out of the Guy Pearce film Two Brothers. It wasn’t a terrible film, it was just consistently violent towards animals (which I understand was the point of the story). I have little patience for that sort of thing and became too uncomfortable to stay in the theater.

OGM: In your mind, what’s the ultimate goal of a movie critic?
JS: A movie critic should provide the reader with useful information about the film being considered. Some critics like to include their personal experiences when reviewing a film, others like to place the film into a broader, academic context. Whatever the approach, a critic should try make the reader think – to think about the movie or other related subjects. This doesn’t mean a review should be a dry treatise (some of the best reviews are those which are absurd and profane) but if a critic is asking for a reader to take time to read his or her work, that critic better make it worthwhile.

OGM: Time to look into the future. Do you predict any major changes for the movie industry over the next 25 years?
JS: I think the business side of the industry is headed for major changes- the way films are financed is changing already, given the current banking crisis. I think the traditional studio model may become less reliable, particularly when a large degree of risk is at stake. I’ll be very interested to see how James Cameron’s Avatar performs and what that means for Fox. But aside from the big budget films, there’s this new wave of independent productions that are interesting- films like District 9 and Paranormal Activity. Eventually all filmmakers are trying to get gigs with a major studio, but I’m rooting for a new system to emerge that doesn’t require the old model’s support.

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.
JS: While by no means unknown, I am a huge fan of Rashida Jones. She has very good comic timing (go onto YouTube and watch her interview with The Late Show’s host, Colin Ferguson). She has a project in development called Frenemy of the State which is based on a comic book. Jones is not only going to star in it, she’s also adapting the project’s screenplay. In five years’ time, I predict Jones will be a household name.

OGM: Besides yourself, who’s your favorite movie critic to read?
JS: I tend to disagree with him often, but I do like reading Roger Ebert’s reviews. I enjoy his writing style a great deal- a blend of the academic mixed with the cranky.

Thanks to Jack Sack for that wonderful review. Who knew a manpurse could be so articulate? In case you’re interested in more, don’t miss the opportunity to also read the following:

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December 23, 2009

The Jack Sack

Thanks again for the chance to discuss my favorite subject other than food- good ‘ol movies!


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