Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Critique the Critic

Peter Hartlaub's review of the horror comedy Teeth has the makings of a great critique. It isn't too long (around 530 words) and it hooks the reader from the beginning. Hartlaub notes that this is an "independent film that chooses the vagina dentata myth as a main theme and rides it for all the severed genitalia it's worth". Oh my. Let's just say that he had me at "vagina dentata". I enjoy that he adds humor to his brief statement of what Teeth is about. Hartlaub seems to understand that everyone knows that "severed genitalia" always gets a laugh. I respect that Hartlaub can have a lighthearted tone when critiquing this movie, when some critics would proabably rip it apart and become offended with this movie's subject.

As the critique goes on, Hartlaub warns the reader about the gore of this movie, and I thank him for doing so.
"Teeth" is extremely funny, very clever and still packs some cover-your-face bloody thrills that top any "Saw" or "Hostel" movie.
I am always thankful when a critic tells me straight up that "yes, there will be blood" or anything else that might serve as traumatic. I also like how he acknowledges that though this is a bloody movie, it is also a hilarious dark comedy. He doesn't have one trait of the movie overshadow the other, and alltogether, it serves as wonderful bait to get the reader excited and intrigued.

I also enjoy that Hartlaub gives two sides to his critique, even though he liked it, there were some things that he didn't enjoy about it.
Unfortunately, the original concept loses its bloom quickly, even at a brief 88 minutes. Once the premise is laid out, there's not much to do except wait for the next victim, and the quasi-feminist themes are never really developed. Dawn (main character) will no doubt be seen as a heroic figure to many, but she doesn't explore her condition as much as she keeps falling into bad situations with bloody results. And too much of the last half of the movie is slow and overly predictable.
I think that is a good trait of a film critic when they can praise a film when it deserves praise, and they can also point out the flaws of a film when it is necessary.

I enjoyed reading Peter Hartlaub's critique of the upcoming film Teeth, and it has persuaded me to coax a few friends to go and watch a man-eating vagina.

SORRY FORGOT THE LINK!!!: http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2008/01/25/DDL7UL0RM.DTL


Mr. Klobuchar said...


"Let's just say that he had me at 'vagina dentata'" is one of the funniest (intentionally funny, anyway) lines I've read from a student in awhile. Very strong voice and a reasoned critique. Only thing you forgot was the link to the review.

claire said...

Amelia, this review is why we are friends. I will definately go see some "man eating vagina" with you! Let's just kill two birds with one stone and hit up "The Hottie and the Nottie" while we're at it! Very, very good Amelia, I throughly enjoyed it.

wesleybLoggs said...

I enjoy your reviews. I do the same thing on my blog, which no one ever reads either. Your reviews are insightful and clever and I'll spend some time reading your Planes, Trains, and Automobiles reviews as soon as I find a picture of Del Griffith as the devil for MY blog review of P,T,and A. If you can, check out my blog and follow it so I can look thru yours sometimes. I'd appreciate your input, you and I seem to be on the same page (possibly since I'm from Minnesota also).