From: ejmd (
Date: 12 Oct 2000

"Anthony Dauer" <> writ:

> My problem is I'm stuck with the Washington Post's brand who talk
> more like OpEd writers than critics ... I don't trust anyone, but me
> when it comes to entertainment.

You don't have to be ... try the UK's only decent daily paper, The Guardian, and the Sunday, The Observer at or got straight to the film section at


Here's what they had to say about the reissue of the 1971 Get Carter:

A Hard Act To Follow Peter Bradshaw The Guardian, Friday June 11, 1999

Get Carter is a re-release of the dour 1971 British thriller whose status has grown with repeated TV outings and ironic praise from lad magazines in the 90s. Cast against type in a really nasty role - no chirpy fun here - Michael Caine's looks were on the turn: the face is that little bit slacker and fleshier, the eyes harder and more hooded. He is the psychotic hard man Jack Carter, from London up in Newcastle to avenge his brother Frank's death. (Caine's character is himself actually supposed to hail from Newcastle, although if director Mike Hodges ever asked him to attempt a trace of a Geordie accent, there is no sign of it here.) With its brutality and its un-swinging, authentically working-class locations, together with its harshly prurient and cynical sex scenes, Get Carter is a sort of proto-Sweeney, combining the grittily provincial, kitchen-sink drama fashionable at the time.

There's no mistaking the chilling charisma and style of this movie; and my favourite moment is when Caine imperiously snaps his fingers at the Newcastle bar staff readying his pint: "In a thin glass, " he says. That's telling them.

Get Carter



Caine's still more than able Andrew Antony The Observer, Sunday June 13, 1999
They did things differently back in the Seventies. One of the most welcome re-releases in years is Get Carter, made in 1971, during that strange, heady period when films were frequently intelligent, atmospheric, powerful and funny and also managed to say something worth hearing about the world in which we lived. In recent times, Get Carter has been appropriated by lad culture as the definitive example of the British gangster film, and the party piece for many a tasty geezer is to recite Michael Caine's brutal dialogue - 'You're a big man but you're in bad shape. With me, it's a full-time job.' Bosh. But there if far more to Mike Hodges's superbly structured revenge thriller than its retro-chic and matter-of-fact violence.
Caine plays Jack Carter, a London-based criminal who returns to his native Newcastle to investigate the suspicious death of his brother. Away from the brash vibrancy of the capital, he encounters a country that is losing its past and is ill-prepared for its future, a situation that is ideal for unscrupulous villains to exploit. Not that Carter cares much about society. His sole moral principle is avenging his brother's murder. Caine has never been better; so good, in fact, that it seems needlessly pedantic to point out that his accent contains not even the merest hint of a Geordie history.
His relentless pursuit of his prey through the grubby backstreets is comparable to Lee Marvin's murderous journey through Los Angeles in Point Blank. And the final scene of the slag being dropped into a coal-grey sea is surely one of the most memorably pitiless closing images we'll ever see.
Although it has grown a fascinating documentary skin over time (just look at that sparkling new multistory car park), Get Carter hasn't aged, seeming in many ways more modern than the current series of urban decline movies that this country appears to have an unstinting ability to produce ------------------------
And here's the piece Marianne referred to:
Hollywood banishes the critics that bite But Get Carter gets panned as the studios' tactics backfire
Duncan Campbell in Los Angeles The Guardian, Wednesday October 11, 2000

Film reviewers in America have begun to complain bitterly that film studios are adopting a new tactic to avoid their worst movies receiving a mauling: they are releasing them without letting critics see them.
The latest example of the tactic was the release of the remake of Get Carter - originally a 1971 British gangster movie set in Newcastle and starring Michael Caine; now a violent thriller set in present-day Seattle, starring Sylvester Stallone.
The film was premiered in Los Angeles last week but critics were not given a screening which meant that the weekly entertainment guides around the US had no chance to warn cinemagoers how bad the movie is.
At the premiere in Westwood, Los Angeles, last week the audience was mainly made up of cast and crew who cheered every name in the credits and giggled every time Stallone punched someone to a pulp. Critics who caught up with it after it opened in cinemas have found it less entertaining.
Warner Brothers, at the request of the producers, Franchise Pictures, did not offer advance screenings as is normal.
Most critics were unable to review the film before it came out for its first weekend, the period which can make or break a picture. The studios hope that by maximising their advertising they can get round a potential drubbing.
In a review that appeared in the New York Times last Saturday, after the film had opened, Elvis Mitchell wrote: "It's so minimally plotted that not only does it lack context and subtext but it also may be the world's first movie without even a text." He reported audience members filing out within half an hour of the film starting.
It appears that this was repeated in other cinemas outside New York: the box office takings for Get Carter hovered around the $6.7m mark, less than a quarter of the other main film released this weekend, Meet The Parents, a comedy starring Ben Stiller and Robert De Niro. Variety rated Get Carter's takings an "unimpressive bow".
Earlier this year the films Autumn in New York, starring Winona Ryder and Richard Gere, and Highlander: Endgame were also not shown to critics. Another film, Bless the Child, featuring Kim Basinger, was only shown at the last moment and could not be reviewed by the monthly and weekly publications.
Scott Brown of Entertainment Weekly has called the trend "disturbing" and asks if "this critic-dissing phenom is reaching critical mass". He argues that studios cannot afford to alienate too many of the critics even although an increasing number of people are now taking their reviews from internet sites that make a speciality of passing on early warnings on duff films.
The prominent critic Roger Ebert says that it is clear why certain films are not given a critical screening: "The studio has concluded that the film is not good and will receive negative reviews. All other explanations are diplomatic lies."
But Mr Brown argues that shunning the press is a gamble as studios ultimately depend on the goodwill of people who are trusted by readers.
It is the third time a film has been made of the novel Jack's Return Home by Ted Lewis. The best-known version remains the 1971 film, directed by Mike Hodges. Its star, Michael Caine, appears in a smaller role in the latest film as a ruthless British criminal.

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