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 film “Beasts of the Southern Wild” presents a dizzying picture of a child learning to be brave in crisis. Colorado Public Radio film critic Howie Movshovitz says the film rests on the astonishing performance of a seven-year-old and a promising young director. Click here for more film reviews.
  • The latest “Batman” film, “The Dark Knight Rises,” arrived here with horror and grief. Colorado Public Radio film critic Howie Movshovitz wonders if film can be separated from events. Click here for more film reviews.
  • Counting a couple of short films, Woody Allen has now directed 48 movies. Colorado Public Radio film critic Howie Movshovitz says that Allen’s latest, “To Rome with Love” is, as always, skillful, but the penetrating voice is gone. Click here for more film reviews.
  • Aside from the weather, the arrival of another “Spiderman” movie is a sure sign of summer. But Colorado Public Radio film critic Howie Movshovitz says “The Amazing Spiderman” offers more than an adult might expect. Click here for more film reviews.
  • The films of writer/director Wes Anderson include “Bottle Rocket,” Rushmore” and “The Royal Tenenbaums.” He’s been praised for his off-center quirkiness, which for Colorado Public Radio film critic Howie Movshovitz, is perhaps not quite enough. Click here for more film reviews.
  • The new Canadian movie, “Monsieur Lazhar” has won a ton of awards at festivals around the world, including a nomination for an Oscar for Best Foreign Language Picture. For Colorado Public Radio film critic Howie Movshovitz, it’s a pleasure to see a film that takes its time. Click here for more film reviews.
  • British filmmaker Ridley Scott is the director of “Alien,” Blade Runner” and “Gladiator.” He has a reputation for lavish, imaginative visions, but Colorado Public Radio film critic Howie Movshovitz says that Scott’s “Prometheus” doesn’t meet those standards. Click here for more film reviews.
  • In the new movie “I Wish,” two brothers work out an elaborate scheme to bring their divorced parents back together. For Colorado Public Radio film critic Howie Movshovitz, the film is a gem. Click here for more film reviews.
  • In the new movie The Fairy, a man and a woman fall in love and have a baby. But Colorado Public Radio film critic Howie Movshovitz says that storyline will get you nowhere with this most eccentric and playful film.
  • “We Have a Pope” is the name of a new movie by Nanni Moretti which Colorado Public Radio film critic Howie Movshovitz, says is a movie with a strong start, but not enough finish. Click here for more film reviews.
  • Like such movies as “Enchanted April” of “Cocoon,” the new movie “The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel” takes a look at aging characters Colorado Public Radio film critic Howie Movshovitz says the old do not need this kind of notice.
  • Whit Stillman is the writer and director of “Metropolitan,” “Barcelona” and “The Last Days of Disco.” His new picture “Damsels in Distress” is his first since 1998, and to Colorado Public Radio film critic Howie Movshovitz, it looks like a step backward. Click here for more film reviews.
  • The new comedy “The Five-Year Engagement” describes a love affair that ebbs, then flows. Colorado Public Radio film critic Howie Movshovitz says the best thing about it is that it recalls better films. Click here for more film reviews.
  • “The Kid with a Bike” is a new film from Belgium that won the Grand Jury Prize at last year’s Cannes Film Festival. For Colorado Public Radio film critic Howie Movshovitz, the movie’s about much more than the title suggests. Click here for more film reviews.
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  • A well-publicized new movie with the word “hunger” in its title has recently opened. But Colorado Public Radio film critic Howie Movshovitz says another new movie suggests a remedy for hunger. Click here for more film reviews.
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  • The new movie “Natural Selection” tells a complicated story about a religious woman trying to rescue a young man. The film is mostly a farce, but Colorado Public Radio film critic Howie Movshovitz says maybe not enough of one. Click here for more film reviews.
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