Shaun Huhn – Movie Critic Interviews

Friday, May 28, 2010 at 9:32 am

We love to interview film critics and bloggers, which is why the segment known as Critical Juncture was created. Not only will you get to read the thoughts of some of the brightest minds in the business, but you’ll also be exposed to motion pictures you’ve never heard of. This week’s guest is Shaun Huhn, the owner and operator of a relatively new site known as CineNiche. Here’s a little bit more about our guest in his own words:

CineNiche editor Shaun Huhn comes equipped with a useless film degree that landed him a job at a Chicago video store, where he begrudgingly rents out films like All About Steve and The Ugly Truth with a feigned smile. When not procrastinating on film projects, he writes film reviews with the passion of a cinephile awaiting his own turn in the director’s chair.

Recent reviews on the site include Harry Brown, The Burning, Religulous, and The Prowler. There’s even a quote from Voltair to add a touch of class to the proceedings. And for all our readers obsessed with astrological signs, Shaun’s a Virgo.

Shaun did include a picture, by the way, but for some reason my computer refused to allow me to post it. I tried a number of different methods, but no luck at all. Apologies to Shaun, and I can assure you that he bears a striking resemblance to a young Brad Pitt. If you don’t believe me, just head on over to his blog and take a look.

Now that the introductions have been made, let’s dive right into some questions about cinema…

Only Good Movies: What’s the first movie that you remember seeing?
Shaun Huhn: I remember my mom and I watching The Haunting (1963), and it was terrifying. I had just turned four and we saw it on TV together.

OGM: What’s the most recent movie you’ve seen?
SH: Just saw Kick-Ass, which, as we all know, lives up to its title.

OGM: Is there a particular film that you feel is criminally underrated?
SH: Alexander Aja’s High Tension was not as well received as it should have been, because, as far as slasher films go, this is one of the best. Also, I don’t feel Vanishing Point got its just rewards when it was released.

OGM: Which director do you feel has turned out the best overall body of work?
SH: You know, I could say Kubrick and be fine with that answer, or Tarantino, or Eric Rohmer, or Wes Anderson, but a less obvious choice would have to be David Fincher, because even Alien 3 deserves a certain merit for creative plotting, and while Panic Room wasn’t his best the cinematography was perfect.

OGM: From an artistic standpoint, which film do you think is most important?
SH: This one’s a tie–of course, Citizen Kane, but a close second would be Dario Argento’s Suspiria.

OGM: All artsy considerations aside, which movie is your personal favorite?
SH: I’m going to reclassify this question as favorite guilty pleasure. A decade ago, I would have told you Pump Up the Volume with Christian Slater, but Rules of Attraction has taken its place. No matter what is going on in the world, I can put on some Roger Avary and just feel comforted by the nihilism and apathy.

OGM: In your opinion, which film is entirely overrated?
SH: Most recently, Avatar was a terribly overrated version of Dances with Wolves. On a broader scale, Gladiator, Titanic, Ben-Hur, and most big budget blockbusters except for Dark Knight, of course.

OGM: Have you ever walked out of the theatre during a film? If so, what movie was playing?
SH: When I was younger, I walked out of Screwed. Not even Danny DeVito and Norm Macdonald could save that one.

OGM: In your mind, what’s the ultimate goal of a movie critic?
SH: Since everyone’s tastes are different, I believe a critic should be able to not only be able to tell the reader if the film is good or bad, but be able to tell the reader what kind of audience would find it enjoyable and what kind of audience would hate it. A critic can praise 8 ½ for ten paragraphs, but the guy renting Rambo III may not find it interesting. So I think a critic should be able to give their opinion while keeping in mind it’s only an opinion.

OGM: Time to look into the future. Do you predict any major changes for the movie industry over the next 25 years?
SH: The biggest change I hope for is the economy gets better and studios allow for more creativity again. The signs of the new DIY filmmakers or the mumblecore crowd (to which I hate both terms) are proving that true originality is out there and doesn’t need a huge budget to persevere. So I see the fringe creators being incorporated into the studios, which, in turn, a new rebellion will take place and the cycle will never end. The technology will change, and maybe in seventy-five years we’ll be able to hook our brains to machines and record the images directly as the creators see them, but in a mere 25 years I just see less actors and more computers.

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.
SH: Keir Gilchrist–Marshall from United States of Tara. Being an out of the closet teenager dealing responsibly with his mother’s multiple personalities while under the duress of normal adolescence shows depth. He’ll either make it or become another drop-out druggy former child star.

OGM: Who’s your favorite movie critic to read?
SH: Joe Bob Briggs hands down. He’s a redneck Texan film scholar and his old shows on TNT were great. He can connect the most obscure actor or director to something current, and even though his show was canceled, he still works in print and online.

Well, that’s it for another episode of Critical Juncture. I’d like to once again thank Shaun Huhn for taking part, and be sure to show your appreciation by visiting his website. You’ll be glad you did. Until next week, here are a few older interviews to keep you busy:

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