The Catnip of Critics

  1. Write a lead-actor-heavy script, allotting plenty of time for said actor to glower and bluster and generally dominate every frame he’s in. Must run at least two hours long; close to three is best.

  2. Set the story in a long-ago era and photogenic locale, with ample opportunities to make period sets and charming costumes.

  3. Hire a top-notch, bombastic lead actor and a well-respected director.

And you will have a movie, hailed by critics as a masterpiece, that’s interesting for maybe an hour before you start checking the clock, wondering where this is going and when the main character — every character, really — will start acting like a real-life human instead of Oscar-bait, and now it’s two hours in and you’re trading one-liners with the others on the couch and laughing at how seriously the director is taking these preposterous scenes before there’s a flash of violence and the end of There Will Be Blood finally, finally comes.

Aug. 29, 2011 movies reviews