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 Denver Jewish Film Festival opened several days ago and runs through February 17th. Colorado Public Radio film critic Howie Movshovitz recommends three films he thinks are particularly good. Click here for more film reviews.
  • It seems like an afterthought when Oscars are awarded for short animations and live-action films many people have never heard of. But the nominees are available in a package showing in the area right now. Colorado Public Radio film critic Howie Movshovitz says several are very good.
  • A man who likes bareknuckle fighting and a woman whose legs were eaten by a whale does not sound altogether promising.
  • Kathryn Bigelow’s new film “Zero Dark Thirty,” about the killing of Osama bin Laden, has drawn plenty of praise on the coasts. Colorado Public Radio film critic Howie Movshovitz says it might be good to think about why. Click here for more film reviews.
  • David O. Russell’s new movie “Silver Linings Playbook” brings together mental illness, football, gambling and family drama. Colorado Public Radio film critic Howie Movshovitz says it’s too much of a jumble.
  • Quentin Tarantino’s latest movie, “Django Unchained” is set in the time of American slavery. For Colorado Public Radio film critic Howie Movshovitz, the film is the work of a talented, but clueless filmmaker. Click here for more film reviews.
  • The latest Judd Apatow comedy, “This Is 40” takes on the glide from youth into middle age. But Colorado Public Radio film critic Howie Movshovitz says that what Apatow envisions misses the point, and it isn’t funny either. Click here for more film reviews.
  • The new documentary, “The Central Park Five,” is about a miscarriage of justice. For Colorado Public Radio film critic Howie Movshovitz, it’s fine work, but only part of what a documentary film can be. Click here for more film reviews.
  • The new movie “Anna Karenina” is at least the tenth film or TV version of the famous novel. Colorado Public Radio film critic Howie Movshovitz says the new movie has imagination, but that may not be enough. Click here for more film reviews.
  • If you’ve seen the trailers for the new movie “Flight,” you’ve seen the image of a jetliner flying upside down. Colorado Public Radio film critic Howie Movshovitz says this inversion is what the movie is about, but not for long enough. Click here for more film reviews.
  • It’s December. The big Hollywood movies are flexing their muscles. But Colorado Public Radio film critic Howie Movshovitz says that smaller films like “Starlet” shouldn’t get lost in the shuffle. Click here for more film reviews.
  • Steven Spielberg’s new movie “Lincoln” centers on the last four eventful months of Lincoln’s life. Colorado Public Radio film critic Howie Movshovitz says that Spielberg’s attempt to humanize Lincoln just makes him bigger.
  • The new James Bond picture “Skyfall” marks the 50th anniversary of this movie character. The film’s been publicized as if it were the second coming – but Colorado Public Radio film critic Howie Movshovitz says it lives up to its hype.
  • One way to describe the new movie “The Loneliest Planet” might be to say it’s about a couple that goes on a hike. Colorado Public Radio film critic Howie Movshovitz says that may be true, but it’s not the half of it. Click here for more film reviews.
  • The 35th Denver International Film Festival opened on Thursday night and runs through November 11. Last week Colorado Public Radio film critic Howie Movshovitz recommended three films, and now he suggests two others.
  • The Denver International Film Festival opens its 35th festival on November 1st.  Colorado Public Radio film critic Howie Movshovitz says that as usual there are more films and related programs than you can shake a stick at, but he has a few suggestions.