"He offers point-of-view images that are imbued with no actual point of view. The movie, with its near-absolute absence of inner life, presents a material fantasy that flatters the studious humanism of critics who honor the attention to so-called reality—which they define in terms of physical phenomena and everyday people—as an aesthetic endowed with a quasi-political virtue." — Richard Brody, The New Yorker.“Imitation is praise," said John Updike, "Description expresses love." So what film is being so lovingly evoked here? You get three guesses.
Let's see. Point-of-view images. But no inner life. Hmm. Kind of 'I-am-a-camera' deadpan? It's not that Bret Easton Ellis film about pornos is it? A material fantasy. What does that mean? Not Girl in the Red Dress, not Pillow Talk — not that kind of material, dummy. He means "material" as in "material world" and "material girl." Doesn't that rather contradict "fantasy" ? A fantasy about the material world. Hmm.
Ooh, Ooh, Mr Peabody, I got it Mr Peabody! It's One of those afterlife comedies with Ed Burns! Sorry, I mean George Burns. That's it. George Burns in Oh God!
Or do I mean Warren Beatty in Heaven Can Wait?
No? Dagnabit. Okay two more guesses. Flatters the studious humanism of critics who honor the attention to so-called reality. Wow. We're picking a fight with "reality"? Not only that but "so-called reality"? That doesn't exactly narrow things down, fella. Can you help a brother out? studious humanism, studious humanism... Ghandi? Richard Attenborough? Schindler's List? No?
Fuck. This is hard.
I'm going to get it though. One more guess.
Let's go back to the "reality" thing. He does give us a definition: physical phenomena and everyday people. Oh for crying out loud. You cannot be serious. Really? Physical phenomena and everyday people. What does that mean when it's not frying kippers in the morning. I mean if you set aside the obvious: people and things. He can't mean that. I mean you can't hold that against a movie, can you? People and things? 'I liked your script enormously, thought your cinematography spectacular but ultimately I'm afraid to say it boiled down to just another flick about people and things.' Those old bores. I wouldn't know what to guess in that case. Lawrence of Arabia? The Bachelor and the Bobby Soxer? Desperately Seeking Susan?
Okay I give up. What is it. It's what? Gravity? Wow. Well, at least I wouldn't have got that. Not in a million years. And to think that everyone else thought "George Clooney's dialogue sucked" and left it at that. The next time a friend says they want to see a quasi-political material fantasy which flatters the studious humanism of critics hot for pictures about people and things, though, I will know exactly where to turn.