So I was browsing the web when I stumbled upon some early reception of the new “At the Movies” program that debuted last week. Now featuring Ben Mankiewicz and Ben Lyons I was quite surprised to see that the show had already been fully retooled. My early opinion has been somewhat lukewarm and if you couldn’t of already guessed most critics have as well given a mild to negative reaction to the new show with it’s less than stellar duo.
It’s not that the two Bens are bad critics or anything, whatever that means, but they’re really not that interesting. Where Richard Roeper and his frequent guest host for most of last year, Michael Phillips could be pretty funny with their cynical comments, these two personalities just don’t click and sometimes make me feel like I’m watching Entertainment Tonight. This isn’t that surprising as co-host/pretty boy Ben Lyons is originally from the Entertainment Channel therefore I wasn’t feeling that his analysis’ were really that insightfull. I’d say the same goes for Mankiewicz as well, I don’t feel like they had anything that compelling to tell us, not to mention the lack of contrast between the two. They basically would agree on every movie, with the exception of Traitor where they still didn’t even argue much, that’s not how I like my At the Movies.
In all of this I wouldn’t solely place the blame on the two hosts, more so I think Disney-ABC Domestic Television are to blame for such a dramatic retooling. By giving the show a flashier and brighter look I think it actually comes off as kinda ugly and annoying, I mean it really does look like some stupid Hollywood gossip show. Where the original show was kept simplistic for basically it’s whole duration this is now just tacky and distracting. Another new feature is the “Critics Roundup” where Lyons and Mankiewicz are joined by three additional critics via satellite. Now I don’t see any point in this, it really doesn’t add anything and just makes the show feel more cluttered and gimmicky. Also the selection of films seemed way more mainstream, where the original program reviewed tons of indie films, I didn’t see much of that aside from Hamlet 2.
I think in time these guys could maybe devlop some chemstry and loosen up a little, but for now I’m not reall that interested. Personally I’ll keep an eye out for Richard Roeper’s new show whenever that may come out, Otteni out.
Here’s a link to the new site, which strangely seems kind of sluggish now.
At the Movies