Category Archives: Critical Ethics

is ‘The Girlfriend Experience’ a commentary on film critics?

Walt Gilbert in the Louisville Conservative Examiner thinks maybe it is. Some highlights:

There’s been some debate as to the central point of the film, with some critics feeling a bit lectured by Soderbergh’s use of a particularly distasteful character portrayed by film critic/blogger, Glenn Kenny. The vehicle for the perceived lecture is a self-appointed reviewer of Manhattan’s sex industry who attempts to use his power as a “respected” critic to extort the services of Grey’s character for free in exchange for favorable coverage and, in failing, unleashes an excoriating critique of the services he never employed. Soderbergh denies that this is an allegory on film critics in general. Not having seen the film, I won’t deign to make the call.

Still, the director’s sentiments and motivations notwithstanding, there’s certainly something to be learned about the industry and its critics based on the coverage this film has received heading into release. While the mainstreaming of porn is not exactly a new phenomenon, the publicity this film has received in respected media outlets is revealing and instructive in ways that perhaps neither Soderbergh nor film critics fully realize.

In essence, Soderbergh has announced to the media that he is manipulating them into covering his latest work by appealing to their basest, most prurient impulses, and the media are not only complying, but congratulating him on his ability to manipulate them.

Whether Soderbergh’s Manhattan sex industry critic is an intentionally drawn composite of its mainstream film counterparts is something only he will ever know. But, in creating this film and placing Sasha Grey in its lead role, he has given his Hollywood critics their own Girlfriend Experience.

[F]or the rest of his life, Steven Soderbergh gets to pretend that he made a film about the intersection of high finance, high-priced hookers, and the law of supply and demand rather than a clever indictment of his critics in which they become just another one of Sasha Grey’s johns.

Please read the whole piece — it’s fascinating, whether you agree with it or not.

Perez Hilton will blog about movies in exchange for studio $$$

Reported at SFGate:

Later this summer, a major movie studio will pay celebrity blogger Perez Hilton to tweet – comment on the micro-blogging service Twitter – for a week about a forthcoming movie (which Hilton’s ad seller declined to name). This month on his popular, Hilton appeared as himself in a video advertisement chatting up a fictional character in the new film “Ghosts of Girlfriends Past.”

Such an arrangement could be worth “six figures,” said Henry Copeland, president and founder of, which sells advertising for 2,000 blogs, including top sites like and

Perez Hilton is not a member of the Online Film Critics Society.

pirate reviewer Roger Friedman to join The Hollywood Reporter

The Hollywood Reporter announced yesterday:

Veteran entertainment reporter and columnist Roger Friedman is joining The Hollywood Reporter as a senior correspondent.

Based in New York, Friedman brings with him more than two decades of experience — including access to stars and the people who make them. He will continue his online 24/7 ShowBiz411 blog — which will now move to THR’s stable of blogs including The Live Feed, Risky Business and THR, Esq. In addition, he’ll provide breaking news for and occasional longer pieces for the daily newspaper as well as appear in THR video products and at THR-branded events. He also will play a key role in THR’s multiplatform coverage of the Oscars, the Emmys, the Tonys and the Grammys.

“To have such an experienced and respected journalist as part of our entertainment team will be a major asset for Nielsen Business Media,” THR publisher Eric Mika said.

Added THR editor Elizabeth Guider: “For some time, THR has wanted to beef up its coverage of the celebrity world and how it intersects with and influences the business of showbusiness. Bringing Roger on board gives us a great leg up in that effort and will help extend our audience reach.”

Friedman created and wrote the daily Fox411 column at beginning in 1999….

The THR piece omits all mention of Friedman’s reviewing of a pirated, unfinished copy of Wolverine last month at Fox411 and his subsequent firing from Fox for doing so.

The OFCS has a firm anti-piracy stance for its membership, and is disappointed to see that a major industry newspaper appears to be promoting piracy by hiring Friedman.