I just can't imagine that six minutes of gore removed makes that much of a difference. Certainly not enough to drastically change one's opinion of the movie. Just because Gibson tossed it back into theaters a year after its release, critics should have to see it again? I don't think so.
Posted by: Stella's Boy | March 15, 2005 07:08 PM
the recut wasn't screened for critics.
Posted by: bicycle bob | March 16, 2005 07:02 AM
"the critics have an unbreakable obligation to show up, plant their asses in their seats, and then give us their professional assessments."
Chester! Now, after so many thoughtful posts on your part, that's something I have to disagree with. ;-)
Whether it's a "Film Comment" critic who doesn't bother to see every trashy Pauly Shore film or "USA Today" which doesn't send Mike Clark to a seven hour Bela Tarr film, NO critic can see ALL the films that open. There are just too many of them. Pauline Kael didn't review Ozu films. She admitted in an interview that she just didn't "get" Ozu. Admitting that, why should she bother watching them and giving her limited assessment? I think you are right that it's a bit odd that NOBODY reviewed the new version of "The Legal Execution of the Christ". Point taken. But frankly, if a critic had to choose between seeing the recut "Passion" and the latest Ming-liang Tsai film, I'd rather have him see the latter and report on it.
Posted by: L.J. | March 16, 2005 07:34 AM
I do not know where you are looking but the film has been reviewed and not well. It has taken away the one thing it brought. The gore and violence of Jesus' death.
Posted by: Terence D | March 16, 2005 10:32 AM
L.J., my key point (which I admit could have been presented better) has been that this re-release is newsworthy, and therefore arts editors should have ASSIGNED this film to their critics. Trust me, none of the critics at any publication, whether it's USA Today or The N.Y. Times, are able to refuse assignments from their editors. You can't compare Pauline Kael and some of the Film Comment crowd to other critics; they fall under the category of essayists who get to pick and choose, a privilege other film critics do not share. Even Roger Ebert, arguably the most powerful movie critic of all time, seems to review every single film that gets released.
Terence, as of yesterday, I hadn't seen a single review anywhere and there were none posted on Rotten Tomatoes. Today, Rotten Tomatoes posted a single review from Philadelphia Weekly (=thumbs down).
Posted by: Chester | March 16, 2005 11:41 AM
Apparently most people (including editors) simply do not feel that it is newsworthy.
Posted by: Stella's Boy | March 16, 2005 01:15 PM
I completely agree that that's the case, Stella. And that's precisely what I (and apparently I alone) think stinks. Does anyone doubt that if Scorsese were to suddenly release a personally recut version of "The Aviator" that was six minutes shorter, revised to address the criticisms of the original, that every major newspaper would have been all over it?
BTW, Stella, you might want to take a look at the Philadelphia Weekly review, because the critic addresses your "they only cut six minutes" argument. He says that while six minutes may not sound like much, the cuts are extremely noticeable and throw off whatever merit he found in the original version. The review is at http://www.rottentomatoes.com/click/movie-10005055/reviews.php?critic=all&sortby=default&page=1&rid=1369821.
Posted by: Chester | March 16, 2005 01:48 PM
I don't think that's a logical comparison, nor do I think every major newspaper would be all over something like that. Not so soon after the release of the original version. I'll check out that review, but other articles have stated that the cuts don't amount to anything significant. I really don't care. I hated the movie with a passion and will never, ever watch it again.
Posted by: Stella's Boy | March 16, 2005 02:01 PM
Stella, how is it not a logical comparison? Where is the flaw in my logic?
Posted by: Chester | March 16, 2005 02:19 PM
I think that critic is on crack. The movie's message is the power of love in the face of barbarism? Lefties will never admit to nor see its strong direction? Are you fucking with me? I'd hate to read his original review. I assume it's even more full of shit than his review of the new cut. Maybe my choice of words was poor. I just don't see something like that ever being a remote possibility, re-releasing The Aviator a year after its original release with six minutes cut. And if it did ever happen, I don't think that every major newspaper would make sure that it was reviewed.
Posted by: Stella's Boy | March 16, 2005 02:25 PM
I wholeheartedly agree with you, Stella, that "the power of love in the face of barbarism" is not the message I took from the original film. But I think it's fair to say that it is the prevailing view of those who supported it.
As far as our ongoing debate about the newsworthiness of the recut ... hey, where's Joe Leydon when we need him?
Posted by: Chester | March 16, 2005 02:35 PM
Excellent question. Where is Joe? Did he all of a sudden get busy or something?
Posted by: Stella's Boy | March 16, 2005 02:40 PM