Thoughtful reviews, the Boulder film scene

" Nobody goes into the valley of death. That’s why they call it the valley of death. "
— Grant Heslov, The Scorpion King

MRQE Top Critic

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Why do certain critics love trash and trash the movies you love? Maybe it’s because they were dropped on their heads as infants. Maybe it’s their upbringing. Or maybe it’s purely a matter of bad genes.

We’ve invited our writers to introduce themselves so that perhaps you can get a better insight into their unfathomable minds.

Who are you?

Robert Denerstein writes about new movies
Robert Denerstein writes about new movies

Robert Denerstein, former film critic of the now-defunct Rocky Mountain News. Before the News reached the end of the line and after 27 years of reviewing, I took a buyout and used the time to find new challenges. The most important of these is filmmaking. Thus far, a partner and I have made a variety of short films and public service announcements for non-profit organizations. We’re in the process of looking for funding for a major documentary. I still like writing about film. I continue to do so for various Web sites, as well as on my own blog, Denerstein Unleashed.

What are your writing credentials?

I’ve earned by living as a writer all my adult life, and hold a Masters Degree in Communications from Syracuse University. In addition to the Rocky Mountain News, I’ve written for The Chicago Sun Times, The Hollywood Reporter and Variety. I’m also a member of the Broadcast Film Critics Association.

What are your movie credentials?

I used a stint working at Columbia University to audit as many film courses as I possible. I’ve read extensively about film and have been involved in the film production process. As a critic for a daily newspaper, I regularly attended such major festivals the Sundance Film Festival, The Toronto International Film Festival, The Telluride Film Festival and the Starz Denver Film Festival. I’ve always looked at movies in my spare time, attempting to fill in blanks in my viewing experience.

Why should anyone listen to your opinion?

No critic should answer this question for him or herself. I tend to learn from critics who are exceptionally good writers, who know something about film history and who have a point of view I find engaging.

Movie pet peeves?

Critics who use pens with lights. People who eat theater nachos. Anyone who disrespects history of film and has no regard for the quality of presentation. Hollywood’s insistence on judging everything according to box office. People who think film reviewing is only about “yes” or “no.”

Do you have any non-movie habits?

Too many to list, but I read, enjoy sports and music and will travel ungodly distances for good Chinese food.

Give us some movie recommendations.

I’m big on having a solid movie foundation, but am particularly partial to Francis Ford Coppola’s “The Godfather,” almost anything by Jean Renoir, Max Ophuls, or Francois Truffaut. I watch “2001: A Space Odyssey” at least once every two years. If “Treasure of the Sierra Madre” is on television, I’ll always get hooked. The same might be said about anything with Humphrey Bogart. Ah hell, there are just too many to list here, besides I hate lists. If you’re looking for current recommendations, visit Denerstein Unleashed.

What are some of your guilty pleasures?

“Booty Call.” “The Good Earth.” “Motel Hell.” Now that “B” movies have moved into “A” positions — films based on comic-book characters, etc. — it’s more difficult to find guilty pleasures, but I still have a soft spot for most disaster movies. The world can’t end enough times to suit me.

  • Mike: Hi Robert,

    My name is Mike Stahl, writer and director of Capps Crossing, an indie horror about a group of 6 geocachers that find body parts and death after they desecrate a memorial. We shot the film in just 8 days with a limited theatrical release after a premiere in Hollywood June 9th.

    If you're interested in doing a review I'd be happy to provide you with a screener. I can provide clips or screengrabs if desired.

    Here's a link to the trailer:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GVfBlUVczHk

    Thanks for your time,

    Mike July 2, 2017 reply