Category Archives: Ask Forrest

Ask Forrest: The end of an era

There are many things I enjoy about my job with the Reno Gazette-Journal, but the greatest by far is the opportunity to interact with readers.

Since 2005, my Ask Forrest column has given me the opportunity to strike up conversations with people of all sorts. Sometimes our interactions have been as simple as me finding the title of a long-forgotten film. Other times, they’ve led to heated debates. I will forever remember, for instance, when a passionate ABBA fan called me out for lobbing an offhand insult at the group. I responded, of course, with a more thorough condemnation of the Swedish pop act.

But enough reminiscing. It’s time I get to the point of this column, lest my editor accuse me of burying the lead.

Most Gazette-Journal readers know the paper has gone through significant changes in the past year, and one of those changes resulted in a redefining of my job. In 2009, I will continue to serve as Gazette-Journal arts editor, but I will not continue as the Gazette-Journal’s film critic.

My DVD column, which runs in several markets (including Reno) will continue, but my other film writing will be reduced significantly. All the more reason to stop by this site frequently, as I do promise content here that you can’t find in the RGJ.

Click here for full column: http://www.rgj.com/article/20090102/COL14/901020395/1117

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Ask Forrest: How ’bout Eckhart?

Aaron Eckhart in "the Dark Knight."

Aaron Eckhart in "The Dark Knight."

Question: About a week and a half ago, you reviewed “The Dark Knight” DVD release and gave it its deserved due. But you, as everybody has, elevated Heath Ledger to acting-sainthood, while the performance that I found most fascinating in the film has been mostly ignored by all media. Of course, I’m referring to Aaron Eckhart’s turn as Harvey Dent/Two-Face, perhaps the most tragic figure ever in the Batman Rogues Gallery.

In the course of the film, while the Joker appears already fully formed, Dent gets to transform. I never once connected with the Joker, while Two-Face stirred my feelings up for weeks after I witnessed Eckhart’s performance. If you ask an actor or an acting teacher what makes a good performance, they will usually tell you that the broader emotional arc a character has to pursue makes for a more remarkable experience. The Joker makes virtually no emotional journey during “The Dark Knight,” while Two-Face goes almost literally from Heaven to Hell. Where is the press for Eckhart?

Answer: You just succeeded in creating at least a little press, so I hope Eckhart appreciates your efforts.

As for your question …

Click here to read full column: http://www.rgj.com/article/20081226/COL14/812260363/1117/ENT

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Ask Forrest: Is Will Smith a good actor?

Question: When you contrast the beginning of Will Smith’s career against what he’s doing now, it’s startling. What do you think of him as an actor?

Answer: It’s true that Smith’s early acting work — think “The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air” — wasn’t exactly Oscar material. But, with maturity, he’s become one of the most exciting performers of his generation.

Click here for complete column: http://www.rgj.com/article/20081219/COL14/812190464/1117/ENT

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Ask Forrest: Do you like any remakes?

Question: The new version of “The Day the Earth Stood Still” made me think about how many remakes we see in theaters. I know you sometimes criticize remakes for a lack of originality, but now and then we get a good one. What are some remakes you do like?

Answer: You’re right that I don’t generally favor remakes. Not because they’re always bad but because I don’t see the point. There is some validity, I suppose, to taking a really good story and applying all the benefits that modern special effects and filmmaking equipment can offer, but I still prefer to see an original idea.

That said, here are five remakes I thoroughly enjoy.

Click here for full column: http://www.rgj.com/article/20081212/COL14/812120506/1117/ENT

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Ask Forrest: What makes a Bond girl?

Question: Regarding a recent column you wrote about James Bond movies, I just want to confirm that you believe that Madonna was a Bond girl in “Die Another Day” with Halle Berry? Really? And you call yourself a film writer? Anybody could easily go to Google to confirm the facts. There you clearly will see that Madonna’s tie-in with this film was that she did a music video for the theme song. I am sure that does not constitute her as a Bond girl.

Answer: Google and the Internet are both incredible resources, but there is no substitute for actually watching the movie. I’m assuming, from the content of your question, that you have not seen “Die Another Day.” If you had, you likely would remember that Madonna not only recorded the theme song but made an appearance as a fencing instructor.

Does she qualify as a Bond girl? Now that’s a question that holds more interest.

Click here for entire column: http://www.rgj.com/article/20081205/COL14/812050418/1117/ENT

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Ask Forrest: The art of criticism

Question: I am the movie reviewer for the entertainment supplement KUDOS of the Verde Independent newspaper in Arizona. A friend in Reno sent me a copy of your column (where you stated that you are not influenced by the opinions of other film critics). I want to tell you that I totally agree, and I frequently say to people, “It’s only a matter of opinion — AND everyone is entitled to MY opinion!”

I also make a point of saying why my reviews often differ from the major critics. They seem to be concerned with the art of filmmaking while I focus on the pleasure of watching a movie. — David Kanowsky, Cottonwood, Ariz.

Answer: While your comment isn’t a question, it launches an interesting discussion on the art of film criticism.

Click here for full column: http://www.rgj.com/article/20081128/COL14/811280474/1117/ENT01

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Ask Forrest: How ’bout ‘The Terminator’?

Question: I have seen all the Terminator movies. I think “The Terminator” and “Terminator 2: Judgment Day” are awesome. “Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines” is good but doesn’t live up to the previous two. I would like your opinion.

Answer: You’ve got a future as a film critic “» at least one who thinks like I do. As movie trilogies go, the Terminator series isn’t at the top — I reserve that spot for “The Godfather” films — but it fares well. That’s because the first two movies are not only good, but genre-defining.

Click here for full column: http://clarkkent81.wordpress.com/wp-admin/post-new.php

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