Howie Movshovitz

Education:
Bachelor's degree in English literature, University of Pennsylvania; Master's degree and Ph.D. in English literature, University of Colorado-Boulder.

Professional background:
Howie's formal training came through his study of literature. He began watching, then making films in graduate school, which led to teaching and writing critique pieces. Howie is now the director of film education in the College of Arts & Media at the University of Colorado Denver. He helped start the Starz FilmCenter and has programmed a number of individual programs and series there – including weekends of “banned films,” and retrospectives (sometimes with filmmakers appearing in person) of Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger, editor Dede Allen, Charles Burnett, screenwriter Larry Gross, producer Frank Marshall, Japanese director Yasujiro Ozu and others. Howie also curates and presents the monthly Tattered Cover/Colorado Public Radio Film Series at the Starz FilmCenter and is one of the two teachers in The Telluride Film Festival’s Student Symposium. He also makes features on film subjects for NPR.

Awards:
1997 Governor’s Award for Excellence in the Arts and several awards for films made with co-writer, director and editor Linda Williams.

Q & AHow I became a film critic:
In graduate school, while working hard in medieval literature, my closest friend was working in film, and, by chance I met a young guy who was a film critic in Chicago. He grew up to be Roger Ebert, and between these two friends, I veered toward film. Friends in my “Beowulf“ seminar knew that something was changing when I wrote about “Beowulf” using Soviet filmmaker Sergei Eisenstein’s theory of montage. About 10 years after I began at KCFR, I asked CPR President Max Wycisk why he took me on as film critic. He said that lots of people wanted to “be” the film critic, but I was the only one who wanted to do the work.

My greatest success as a film critic:
Here are two: First, an unknown film called “Strangers in Good Company,” made by Canadian filmmaker Cynthia Scott in 1990, was scheduled to play for four days at Denver’s Mayan Theater. My review kept it in town for a month. Second, an overlooked film, “Maborosi,” by the great Japanese director Kore-Eda, came to the area for one night. My review (there were no others) filled the house with people who seemed much satisfied afterward.

Favorite films and filmmakers:
There are many. Anything and everything by Jean Renoir, Agnes Varda, Ernst Lubitsch and Robert M. Young. “The Godfather;” Chaplin’s “City Lights.” “The Gold Rush,” “The Immigrant,” “Easy Street” and “Modern Times.” “Tokyo Story” and “The Flavor of Green Tea Over Rice” by Yasujiro Ozu; Stan Brakhage’s handpainted films; Charles Burnett’s “Killer of Sheep,” “Meet Me in St. Louis,” Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers, ‘30s screwball comedy, Preston Sturges, Ingmar Bergman, Cary Grant, Irene Dunne, F.W. Murnau’s “Sunrise,” “Chunhyang” by Im Kwon Taek, Hou Hsiao Hsien’s “The Puppetmaster,” Buster Keaton, Buster Keaton and Buster Keaton. And lots more.

  • The new movie “Waiting for Superman” is a documentary about education in America. It’s directed and co-written by Davis Guggenheim, the maker of “An Inconvenient Truth.” Colorado Public Radio film critic Howie Movshovitz says that one remarkable thing about the movie is that it’s playing in mainstream theaters. Another is its closing scenes.
  • The new movie “Secretariat” tells about the great racehorse who won the triple crown in 1973.
  • Even before the new movie “The Social Network” came out, radio, magazines, newspapers and TV were flooded by articles and discussions about what are now called “social media.” But Colorado Public Radio film critic Howie Movshovitz says that “The Social Network” understands these phenomena better than anyone.
  • Actor Philip Seymour Hoffman made his mark playing writer Truman Capote, and he’s been celebrated for his work in “Doubt,” “The Savages” and “Synechdoche, N.Y” Now he’s directed his first film, which Colorado Public Radio film critic says looks like the work of an actor turned director.
  • Colorado has plenty of adventurers. But back in the 1920s there was one group that decided to have an adventure half way around the world.  The Colorado African Expedition completed a 14-thousand mile journey to Africa and they filmed the entire  trip.
  • The new movie “The Town” directed by movie star Ben Affleck is being celebrated all over the news media, from TV talk shows to Terry Gross. Colorado Public Radio film critic Howie Movshovitz says that if you can cut through the hype surrounding “The Town” there’s still a solid picture there.
  • The new movie “Mesrine (may-REEN): Killer Instinct” is about a man once called Public Enemy Number 1 in France. The film picked up ten nominations and three winners at the French version of the Oscars, and Colorado Public Radio film critic Howie Movshovitz says the picture comes off the screen like a freight train.
  • The 37th Telluride Film Festival is this Labor Day weekend. The event has a storied history, a unique personality, and festival-goers from around the world love to tell about how hard it is to get there. Colorado Public Radio film critic Howie Movshovitz, at his 33rd festval says he never gets tired of it.
  • Colorado Public Radio film critic Howie Movshovitz speaks with director Ang Lee about his latest film, Brokeback Mountain.
  • KCFR’s film critic Howie Movshovitz provides background on the festival, and gives a preview of some of this year’s movies.
  • Colorado Public Radio film critic Howie Movshovitz talks about the work and influence of Colorado filmmaker Stan Brakhage, who died in March.
  • Howie Movshovitz, Colorado Public Radio film critic and director of education at the new Starz Film Center in downtown Denver, talks about the new venue.