“All art is at once surface and symbol.
Those who go beneath the surface do so at their peril.
Those who read the symbol do so at their peril.
It is the spectator, and not life, that art really mirrors.”
– Oscar Wilde
Welcome to GoneWithTheTwins.com!
Firstly, you’re probably asking yourself, “Who or what are the twins?” Well, they’re Mike and Joel Massie, a.k.a. “The Massie Twins,” a set of identical twin film critics who have been professionally reviewing movies full time since 2007, appearing on TV, radio, online, and in print. They are the authors of the book “The Movies that Time Forgot” and are members of the Phoenix Critics Circle, the Phoenix Film Critics Society, and the Internet Film Critic Society. And they’re here to bring you the very best film reviews this side of the 8th dimension.
In other dark recesses of the site, you can also find perceptive interviews, coverage of various film festivals and conventions, and the always debate-inducing Top 10 lists. Primarily, however, this is an easily searchable index of the thousands of movie reviews they’ve written, including critiques of films ranging from the early 1900s all the way to the present. You can browse by title, year, or genre with the menu on the left, or by simply using the search function to seek out something specific.
A Note About Our Writing Style
In the early days, we used to write in the first person grammatical category, speaking directly to our audience in that informal, conversational, internet-standard manner (like we’re doing right now). Over time, we’ve changed our angle to mimic a more professional style, following the arrangement of an analytical essay or the educational pieces you might find accompanying a Criterion Collection entry. We’ve always been captivated by the writings of film historians, scholars, and veteran filmmakers, as we believe the most knowledgeable, cultured sources provide superior insights and understandings of the medium. We hope you, too, appreciate reviews that aren’t forced to dumb things down for the typical newspaper skimmer. Additionally, these days, everyone is a critic – and with the ease of the web, anyone can get published. But that certainly doesn’t mean everyone with a blog has credentials, expertise, or something intelligent or worthwhile to say.
A Note About Our Reviewing Philosophies
One of our favorite interviews, conducted by film critic and Buñuel confidant Tomas Perez Turrent, appears in the compilation “Objects of Desire: Conversations with Luis Buñuel.” In it, Turrent asks about a particular scene in the film “The Milky Way” (1969).
Turrent: “Why does the devil sniff a flower?
Buñuel: “More than the devil, he is the Angel of Death. The fact that he is smelling a flower has no meaning whatsoever; or perhaps it did have and I no longer remember it now. But does everything have to have a meaning?”
This admission by one of the most celebrated surrealist filmmakers demonstrates the popular notion that film critics and even regular moviegoers read into certain imagery far too much. We’ve been guilty of it in the past and it’s something that plagues many classic and contemporary analyzations and critiques. Everything about cinema is subjective and can be interpreted on numerous levels (even completely wrong ones). So don’t feel bad the next time you don’t understand what others seem to grasp from a given production; perhaps there’s absolutely nothing there to get.
In general, we try to review films with an open mind and as little advance, manipulative information as possible. If we can avoid seeing a trailer, reading an early review, or watching an interview with a cast or crew member, it helps in being impartial when the movie is finally unveiled. Obviously, we’re only human, so preconceived ideas can’t be completely eradicated, but we do our best to be fair.
As such, our writing typically avoids behind-the-scenes commentary, making-of tidbits, and elements that could be categorized as trivia. Instead, we focus on the finished product and critique just what is exhibited before us – not too dissimilarly from the average moviegoer.* For us, the cinema is like a magic trick; it can lose its brilliance if the secrets are revealed, so we’d rather scrutinize only the concoction before our eyes and let the final product convince us of its merit. Concerning oneself over the person hobbling around in a lime green motion capture suit with all those silly white balls bobbing about spoils the fun!
* It should also be noted that what really separates us from the average moviegoer – and what therefore makes our reviews worth reading – is that we see hundreds of movies per year (oftentimes upwards of 300), so we really do have an advantage when it comes to comparing, contrasting, and critiquing.
If you’re one of those viewers who was blown away by “Chappie” (2015), just know that our low opinion of that film is influenced by the fact that we’ve seen countless other pictures with similar ideas and far better execution – including, “The Day the Earth Stood Still” (1951), “Tobor the Great” (1954), “Forbidden Planet” (1956), “2001: A Space Odyssey” (1968), “Colossus: The Forbin Project” (1970), “THX 1138” (1971), “Silent Running” (1972), “Westworld” (1973), “The Stepford Wives” (1975), “Star Wars” (1977), “The Black Hole” (1979), “Saturn 3” (1980), “Blade Runner” (1982), “The Terminator” (1984), “Aliens” (1986), “Space Camp” (1986), “Short Circuit” (1986), “Robocop” (1987), “Cyborg” (1989), “Hardware” (1990), “Toys” (1992), “Screamers” (1995), “Bicentennial Man” (1999), “The Iron Giant” (1999), “I, Robot” (2004), “Transformers” (2007), “WALL·E” (2008), “Surrogates” (2009), “Avatar” (2009), and too many others to keep track of. Nevertheless, just because there are better movies out there, that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy the largely unoriginal or the completely awful; everyone has been thoroughly entertained by their fair share of bad movies. And lighten up – movie reviews are subjective!
– The Massie Twins
And here’s another great quote that corresponds with our philosophies on movies:
“Film belongs to the masses. It was the newest art of the 20th century. There’s always that feeling that “commercial” or “box office” are dirty words. And it’s nothing to do with it. It’s to do with telling a story with the widest possible appeal – but still applying all the artistic techniques and manner of storytelling without degrading yourself at all to what is vulgarly called “the commercial.” I think it’s axiomatic that if you take into consideration the elements that interest wide audiences, then you can tell your story as imaginatively as you like. As long as you make it clear to them.”
– Alfred Hitchcock