"...[This] report ... is a lot like the films it scrutinizes. The visuals are captivating (you can't go wrong using clips from 'Titanic,' 'Shakespeare in Love,' 'Casablanca,' 'Jaws,' 'Men in Black' and 'Chinatown'), but the plot is oh-so-familiar. Hollywood has gone corporate. The blockbuster mentality rules. Movie projects are evaluated not for their artistic merit but for their ability to generate ancillary money from the sale of toys, video games, theme park rides -- and sequels.
It's no accident that most of 'Frontline's interviews are with print journalists, who've covered this story thoroughly for years. But for viewers who haven't paid attention to these accounts, 'Frontline' can serve as a primer on the current state of the movie business, explaining why, as critic Roger Ebert puts it tonight, 'if you're an intelligent adult, and you don't live in a big city that has an art cinema there's often no movie for you to go see.'
It's not terrorism, granted, but for movie lovers, that's pretty depressing."
"Frontline examines the Hollywood movie-making machine, which, not surprisingly, has precious little to do with worthwhile moviemaking these days....
...Spiced with clips from such films as 'Casablanca,' 'One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest' and 'Titanic,' it's a talky 60 minutes, featuring film critics, journalists, former studio biggies, and even actor Michael Douglas. It would have been nice, but perhaps too much to ask, for someone currently deep in the mix, like Spielberg or Harvey Weinstein of Miramax, to offer comment. Still, it's an intriguing program that mostly confirms moviegoers' worst fears about the hollowness of Hollywood."
"After we monster-eaters consume giant turkeys Thursday, we can devour Frontline's tasty meal 'The Monster That Ate Hollywood.'
It's a mostly delicious diversion, unless you are a practitioner of the movie business, in which case this hour may deliver you grave indigestion.
A co-production of Frontline and Riot Pictures, it's produced by Vince DiPersio and Adam Bardach and traces the large footsteps of the title monster, which is enormous 'spectacle' movies that studios constantly demand and that in turn chew up so much of the blockbuster budgets and hoped-for Jurassic profits...
...The reality is that studios need to 'protect' their investments with major stars and major marketing schemes, the cycle of life. So, points out one major producer, the companies care not about what the movie's about but where's the profits. (Again, say it louder, 'Where's the profits!')"
"...[I]t's a valuable program for succinctly explaining the forces behind the movies' overall decline. And by watching, you no longer have to feel like Ingrid Bergman in 'Gaslight,' being sent over the edge by her wicked husband.
Just say to yourself: 'It's not me. It's them...'
...The Frontline documentary has flashes of welcome wit, as when the narrator announces: 'Roger Ebert's thumb is arguably the most important piece of any movie critic's anatomy.'
The program contains one of the best explanations, courtesy of producer Peter Guber, for the movies' enduring appeal. 'There's something in the magic of the lights...the shaman, the storyteller in front of the flickering images of the campfire that forever in our species have wowed us.'
'The Monster That Ate Hollywood' may not make you feel better about the movies, but it can make you feel better about yourself. It isn't you. It's them."
"This edition of Frontline won't tell you much you don't already know, but it's a fine overview of where the movie business is now."
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