30 posts categorized "News"

February 12, 2020

WIRED MAGAZINE CAN’T HANDLE THE TRUTH — WHEN CORPORATE MEDIA PUNCHES DOWN ON A FILM CRITIC

WIRED

I was surprised to discover my name popping up in a Wired Magazine article online.

Wired Magazine said, “A couple of years ago, an approved critic named Cole Smithey, who writes for Colesmithey.com, bragged about intentionally tanking Lady Bird's then-100 percent rating with a negative review.”

That sentence is a lie.

What I tweeted in my public response to all of the social media hullabaloo over my film review of "Lady Bird" was,

“Context is everything. I had to consider whether to cast “Lady Bird” as Fresh or Rotten in the context of a perfect score that people were using to trumpet “Lady Bird” as the all-time best reviewed movie on RT. A "B-" does not an "A+" make.”

Brutal honesty, check.

BAD ANIMAL

Why is corporate media so happy to punch down on a film critic? They certainly aren't interested in taking the time to read my film review of "Lady Bird."

It's not called "film praise;" it's called Film Criticism. I know my job even if not many others do. 

I lived in San Francisco from 1985 to 1997, so I was hip to Wired Magazine from its launch in 1993 when I decided to become a professional film critic after watching Abel Ferrara's "Dangerous Game" — starring a then red-hot Madonna.

Condé Montrose Nast

Wired is a Condé Nast publication, and it just so happens that I take tourists by the Park Avenue building where Condé Montrose Nast lived for decades. Hilarious, I know. But not so funny is the lie that Wired editor-in-chief, and eternal frat, boy Nicholas Thompson endorsed when his fact-checkers found nothing wrong with his editorial malfeasance after I brought it to their attention, and to his after I left him a phone message about the situation.

NicholasThompson

Nicholas Thompson, a face of corporate malfeasance at Condé Nast. 

So, I sent Nicholas Thompson the following letter to the editor. Nick saw fit not to respond to me. Bon Appétit.

Hi Nick,

Until now I thought Wired was a good publication with responsible editorial oversight. But my opinion has changed since dealing with your fact checker over problems with the following graf in Simon Van Zulen-Wood’s Wired article, "Behind the Scenes at Rotten Tomatoes."

Simon says, “These changes took place in tandem with a parallel overhaul of its critics' criteria, designed to make its Tomato­meter more representative. Prior to August 2018, Tomatometer-approved critics were almost exclusively staff writers from existing publications, who tended to be whiter, maler, and crustier. Since the site changed its policies, it's added roughly 600 new critics—the majority of whom are freelancers and women. But that also means there are now a stunning 4,500 critics, some of whom inevitably will be terrible. A couple of years ago, an approved critic named Cole Smithey, who writes for Colesmithey.com, bragged about intentionally tanking Lady Bird's then-100 percent rating with a negative review.”

In response to people making a big deal out of coincidence over substance, I made one tweet at the time in which I stated, “Context is everything. I had to consider whether to cast “Lady Bird” as Fresh or Rotten in the context of a perfect score that people were using to trumpet “Lady Bird” as the all-time best reviewed movie on RT. A "B-" does not an "A+" make.”

How my honest description of my critical process gets twisted into “bragging” is gilding the lily, to say the least. Simon isn’t even paraphrasing what I said. The least Simon could do is use my quote. I don’t say anything about affecting Lady Bird’s score on RottenTomatoes. Simon's sentence is fiction — “bragged about intentionally tanking Lady Bird's then-100 percent rating with a negative review.” On that I hope we can agree. BS is BS.

Simon ignores the fact that I wrote an editorial follow-up to my initial review, The Millennial Conformist Or How To Learn To Love a Karen Without Really Trying which might have informed Simon more as to my detailed analysis of a Trumpian, openly racist, female character bereft of loyalty, honesty, or social regard for a humanist vision. All Cinema should be humanist. Sadly, it is not so anymore.

Simon infers, in the context of the graf, that I was one of 600 new critics added to RT in 2018. In fact, I have contributed to Rotten Tomatoes since 2005. I began reviewing film in 1997 for alt weekly The Independent in Raleigh Durham, North Carolina.

Screen Shot 2020-02-12 at 1.38.33 AMSince then I have been responsible for writing weekly film reviews and entertainment features for the national alternative newsweekly market and regional and international magazine market — including such print outlets as Arkansas Times, Arriviste Press, Bellingham Weekly, Boise Weekly, Boston’s Weekly Dig, CT Slant (Hartford, CT), C-Ville Weekly (Charlottesville, VA), Charleston City Paper, Chico News & Review, Cineman Syndicate, CityBeat (Cincinnati, OH), Colorado Springs Independent, City View (Des Moines, IA), Drill Magazine, Eugene Weekly, Flagpole Magazine (Athens, GA), Folioweekly (Jacksonville, FL), Illinois Times, The Improper Magazine, The Independent Weekly (Durham, NC), Jest Magazine (Manhattan, NY), The Jewish Magazine (Toronto, CA), L.A. Weekly, Las Vegas Weekly, Maui Time, Metro [Manhattan daily edition], MetroActive (San Jose, CA), Monterey County Weekly, North of the James (Richmond, VA), Northern Express (Traverse City, MI), Nuvo (Indianapolis, IN), New York Press, Oklahoma Gazette, Orlando Weekly, Pacific Northwest Inlander (Spokane, WA), Seven Days (Burlington VT), Style Weekly (Richmond VA), Tacoma Reporter, Toledo City Paper, Unleashed Magazine, Upscale Magazine, Valley Scene (Los Angeles). I have contributed to such online outlets as DailyRadar, Forbes, and aNewDomain, for whom I covered the 2015 Cannes Film Festival.

I hope you will have the journalistic integrity to correct these errors that mischaracterize me, my career, and my sense of journalistic integrity.

I should also add that Tim Ryan is my colleague; we hung out in Cannes together. Should you desire a character reference, you can vet me through Tim.

On a brighter note, I’d like to take this opportunity to invite you on my film and fiction walking tour of Carnegie Hill, “5th & Park.” I’m happy to comp you and yours on this film and fiction adventure that meets in front of the Guggenheim Museum, and ends at the steps to the Metropolitan Museum of Art — a great excuse to visit the Met. The tour is available daily at 3 p.m. Just let me know a week in advance so I can reserve the tour for you.

Thanks much for all.

—Cole

-end letter-

 

Don’t believe me? Watch “Lady Bird” twice and you will see everything I’ve expressed here. If I had it to do all over again, I’d give “Lady Bird” a D minus. 

LADY BIRD: BAD ANIMAL — THE SUPERCUT 

If you didn't think Lady Bird was the most Trumpian character in the history of Cinema, you will certainly be convinced after watching this video.

May 26, 2019

CANNES 2019 AWARDS COMPLETE

COMPETITION

Palme d’Or: “Parasite,” Bong Joon-ho

PALME D'OR PARASITE

Grand Prix: “Atlantics,” Mati Diop

Atlantique

Director: Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne, “Young Ahmed”

Actor: Antonio Banderas, “Pain and Glory”

Antonio Banderas in Pain and Glory

Actress: Emily Beecham, “Little Joe”

EMILY BEECHAM

Jury Prize — TIE: “Les Misérables,” Ladj Ly; “Bacurau,” Kleber Mendonça Filho and Juliano Dornelles

BACURAU

Screenplay: Céline Sciamma, “Portrait of a Lady on Fire”

PORTRAIT DE LA JEUNE FILLE IN FEU

Special Mention: “It Must Be Heaven,” Elia Suleiman

OTHER PRIZES

Camera d’Or: “Our Mothers,” Cesar Diaz

Short Films Palme d’Or: “The Distance Between the Sky and Us,” Vasilis Kekatos

Short Films Special Mention: “Monster God,” Agustina San Martin

Golden Eye Documentary Prize: “For Sama”

For_sama

Ecumenical Jury Prize: “Hidden Life,” Terrence Malick

Queer Palm: “Portrait of a Lady on Fire,”  Céline Sciamma

UN CERTAIN REGARD

Un Certain Regard Award: “The Invisible Life of Eurídice Gusmão,” Karim Aïnouz

Jury Prize: “Fire Will Come,” Oliver Laxe

Fire WIll Come

Best Director: Kantemir Balagov, “Beanpole”

Best Performance: Chiara Mastroianni, “On a Magical Night”

Chiara Mastroianni

Special Jury Prize: Albert Serra, “Liberté”

Special Jury Mention “Joan of Arc,” Bruno Dumont

Joan-of-Arc-Bruno-Dumont

Coup de Coeur Award: “A Brother’s Love,” Monia Chokri; “The Climb,” Michael Angelo Covino

DIRECTORS’ FORTNIGHT

Society of Dramatic Authors and Composers Prize: “An Easy Girl,” Rebecca Zlotowski

Une Fille Facile

Europa Cinemas Label: “Alice and the Mayor,” Nicolas Parisier

Illy Short Film Award: “Stay Awake, Be Ready,” An Pham Thien

CRITICS’ WEEK

Nespresso Grand Prize: “I Lost My Body,” Jérémy Clapin

I Lost My Body

Society of Dramatic Authors and Composers Prize: César Díaz, “Our Mothers”

GAN Foundation Award for Distribution: The Jokers Films, French distributor for “Vivarium” by Lorcan Finnegan

Louis Roederer Foundation Rising Star Award: Ingvar E. Sigurðsson, “A White, White Day”

Ingvar Sigurdsson

FDC green

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Cole Smithey on Patreon

May 25, 2019

FOCUS ON CANNES 2019: THE INVISIBLE LIFE OF EURIDICE GUSMAO —Karim Aïnouz

Invisible-life

"The Invisible Life of Eurídice Gusmão" is director/co-writer Karim Aïnouz's adaptation of Martha Batalha's novel, about two loyal sisters divided by social forces in '50s era Jro de Janeiro.

Karim-ainouz

Brazillian filmmaker Karim Aïnouz returns to Cannes; his 2002 debut film "Madame Sata" also screened in Un Certain Regard. Fortune shone on "The Invisible Life of Eurídice Gusmão" yesterday when Aïnouz's seventh film won Cannes Un Certain Regard award. 

Get cool rewards when you click on the button to pledge your support through Patreon. Thanks a bunch pal!

Cole Smithey on Patreon

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