Reviews - Specialty Releases


Film Review: $ellebrity

Doc about celebrity obsession has plenty of access, not enough perspective.

Jan 9, 2013

-By John DeFore


filmjournal/photos/stylus/1370048-Sellebrity_Md.jpg

For movie details, please click here.

Is it too much to suggest that the topic of commercialized celebrity worship, one of the defining elements of contemporary American culture, might at some point be addressed by a filmmaker who isn't up to his neck in that industry?

$ellebrity, like the recent Teenage Paparazzo, is a documentary from the inside out. But actor Adrian Grenier, directing the latter film, seemed genuinely eager to understand the shutterbugs who stalk him. $ellebrity director Kevin Mazur, a veteran of the publicity establishment, often seems motivated solely by disdain for the unsanctioned photogs who sell candid pix of celebrities he's busy deifying.

Mazur's connections to the A-list world afford him a strong pool of interviewees, and the film's a good resource for those who want frank talk about life in the spotlight from Jennifer Aniston and Elton John, or to hear Jennifer Lopez and Marc Anthony describe a desperate, unsuccessful attempt to throw a DIY wedding so modest it wouldn't be ambushed.

Similarly, Mazur speaks with business-side players, from one of the paparazzo who inspired Fellini to the magazine editors who created a competitive marketplace for hit-and-run photography.

But the doc's first half, with its no-attention-span editing and flashbulb-pop imagery, is so similar in feel to vapid entertainment-news fluff it has a hard time critiquing it. (Occasional onscreen quotes from Susan Sontag and Richard Avedon do little to lend it highbrow cred.)

Things get more substantial later in the film, but the problem of perspective remains: Mazur is understandably critical of TMZ and its ilk (though he does let some shooters defend themselves), but as he recounts the early days of Hollywood image management, never sees much wrong with the world of artifice and outright lies crafted by people like himself. He's happy to blame civilians who buy gossip rags for creating demand for the photos, but reluctant to investigate why people care about seeing actors walk their dogs in the first place.
The Hollywood Reporter


Film Review: $ellebrity

Doc about celebrity obsession has plenty of access, not enough perspective.

Jan 9, 2013

-By John DeFore


filmjournal/photos/stylus/1370048-Sellebrity_Md.jpg

For movie details, please click here.

Is it too much to suggest that the topic of commercialized celebrity worship, one of the defining elements of contemporary American culture, might at some point be addressed by a filmmaker who isn't up to his neck in that industry?

$ellebrity, like the recent Teenage Paparazzo, is a documentary from the inside out. But actor Adrian Grenier, directing the latter film, seemed genuinely eager to understand the shutterbugs who stalk him. $ellebrity director Kevin Mazur, a veteran of the publicity establishment, often seems motivated solely by disdain for the unsanctioned photogs who sell candid pix of celebrities he's busy deifying.

Mazur's connections to the A-list world afford him a strong pool of interviewees, and the film's a good resource for those who want frank talk about life in the spotlight from Jennifer Aniston and Elton John, or to hear Jennifer Lopez and Marc Anthony describe a desperate, unsuccessful attempt to throw a DIY wedding so modest it wouldn't be ambushed.

Similarly, Mazur speaks with business-side players, from one of the paparazzo who inspired Fellini to the magazine editors who created a competitive marketplace for hit-and-run photography.

But the doc's first half, with its no-attention-span editing and flashbulb-pop imagery, is so similar in feel to vapid entertainment-news fluff it has a hard time critiquing it. (Occasional onscreen quotes from Susan Sontag and Richard Avedon do little to lend it highbrow cred.)

Things get more substantial later in the film, but the problem of perspective remains: Mazur is understandably critical of TMZ and its ilk (though he does let some shooters defend themselves), but as he recounts the early days of Hollywood image management, never sees much wrong with the world of artifice and outright lies crafted by people like himself. He's happy to blame civilians who buy gossip rags for creating demand for the photos, but reluctant to investigate why people care about seeing actors walk their dogs in the first place.
The Hollywood Reporter
Post a Comment
Asterisk (*) is a required field.
* Author: 
Rate This Article: (1=Bad, 5=Perfect)

*Comment:
 

More Specialty Releases

Kink
Film Review: Kink

James Franco and regular collaborator Christina Voros teach you everything you always wanted to know about fetish porn (but were afraid to ask). More »

14 Blades
Film Review: 14 Blades

Uneven martial-arts tale benefits from its flashy retro style. More »

Metro Manila
Film Review: Metro Manila

Less emotion and more action might have better served this near-thriller. More »

Salvo
Film Review: Salvo

Minimalist Mafioso movie features first-rate filmmaking, but shoots a few blanks in the plot department. More »

ADVERTISEMENT



REVIEWS

If I Stay
Film Review: If I Stay

Delivers as promised. More »

The Expendables 3
Film Review: The Expendables 3

Third go-round for the aging mercenaries, this time fighting a ruthless arms dealer. Sylvester Stallone's B-movie formula is wearing thin. More »

Player for the Film Journal International website.


ADVERTISEMENT



INDUSTRY GUIDES

» Blue Sheets
FJI's guide to upcoming movie releases, including films in production and development. Check back weekly for the latest additions.

» Distribution Guide
» Equipment Guide
» Exhibition Guide

ORDER A PRINT SUBSCRIPTION

Film Journal International

Subscribe to the monthly print edition of Film Journal International and get the full visual impact of this valuable resource for the cinema business.

» Click Here

SPONSORSHIP OPPORTUNITIES

Learn how to promote your company at the Film Expo Group events: ShowEast, CineEurope, and CineAsia.

» Click Here