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Ask a critic...

Original post made by Tyler Hanley, digital editor of Palo Alto Online, on Mar 10, 2008

OK, I don't like to refer to myself as "a critic" (I prefer "reviewer" -- doesn't sound as stuffy), but I thought I'd start this thread for anyone who has questions about movies (past, present and future). Wondering which new DVDs to watch? Which films are best for families? What about the "best movie of all time"? I'll be happy to answer any and all questions throughout the week -- nothing too quirky or controversial is off limits.

Ask your questions (or leave your comments) here and I'll respond as quickly as possible.

Comments (6)

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Posted by R Wray
a resident of Palo Verde
on Mar 10, 2008 at 11:02 am

Was "No Country for Old Men" the best movie of 2007? I didn't like it. The movie industry is sick.

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Posted by Tyler Hanley
digital editor of Palo Alto Online
on Mar 10, 2008 at 11:13 am

Tyler Hanley is a registered user.

R Wray-

I'd say no, it wasn't. 2007 was a bleak year for films (likely a reflection of the current political discord in the U.S.). Nearly every one of the Best Picture nominees was about dark subject matter and often left the viewer feeling more drained than uplifted (Jon Stewart even joked about it at this year's Oscar presentation).

Looking back, out of all the Best Picture nominees, only "Juno" proved to be very uplifting. Even though I listed "3:10 to Yuma" as my top film of the year, I think I'd have to say "Ratatouille" was probably my sentimental favorite.

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Posted by Amy
a resident of another community
on Mar 10, 2008 at 12:12 pm

Have you seen "The Band's Visit"? If so, what did you think of it?

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Posted by Tyler Hanley
digital editor of Palo Alto Online
on Mar 10, 2008 at 12:21 pm

Tyler Hanley is a registered user.


I'm afraid I haven't seen it yet, though it's on my list. My colleague, Jeanne Aufmuth, really enjoyed it though, giving it 3 1/2 stars in her review. Jeanne and I often (though not always) agree on films, so my guess is that it's well worth going to the theater for.

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Posted by Movie goer
a resident of Atherton
on Mar 13, 2008 at 5:30 pm

Jeanne Aufmuth likes movies with a lot of sex and violence. I don't, so I take her reviews with a grain of salt. I prefer stories about people and life's complexities not just adrenaline pumpers.

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Posted by Tyler Hanley
digital editor of Palo Alto Online
on Mar 14, 2008 at 10:50 am

Tyler Hanley is a registered user.

Actually, Jeanne's appreciation for film stretches far beyond simply movies with sex and violence. She disliked (as did many other critics) Martin Scorsese's "Gangs of New York," which was filled with violence. On the other hand, one of her top movies last year was "Into the Wild," which had no sex or violence whatsoever. In fact, I have more respect for Jeanne's views on film over almost any other (save for my brother, who is a filmmaker) because she appreciates and has expansive knowledge on a wide variety of films.

I will agree, Movie goer, that stories about people and life's complexities have more of an impact and are often more effective than simple adrenaline rides. I recently finished watching a personal favorite -- "Kramer vs. Kramer" -- which is an excellent example of that point.

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