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Shallow claims about faith (“A benevolent God would not ask such things!”) get lumped in with garbage grandiosity (a greasy fog is “like a veil before my eyes”) and then piled on top of boring stop-start camera work that renders the various fight scenes unintelligible. The costumes, however, are lovely.

It didn’t have to be this way. If everyone onscreen were having as much fun as Perlman or exuding as much sincerity as Stephen Campbell Moore’s faithful priest, we might have been convinced to play along. As it is, Season of the Witch is noteworthy only because it’s not the only movie about the conflict between a knight and a woman accused of witchcraft during the plague years set to be released this year (Black Death is due in March).

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RoseladyHealer Jan. 12, 2011 @ 8:09 p.m.

Matt, two good reviews IMHO. I'd love to see you as the regular movie critic instead of Elliott.

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BenRandolph Jan. 13, 2011 @ 8:25 a.m.

I love how this reviewer starts out with what a professional reviewer would do (not use a personal opinion about an actress when reviewing a film) and does the opposite. "I know it's wrong but I'm not clever enough to review the film without taking the easy way out." Not only is it unprofessional but it is extremely sexist - why does it matter than Gwyneth does in her personal life? It almost never comes up for men. Review the film please - do not bring your own biased opinions into the article!

Please bring back Elliot!!!!! This guy has got to go!

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Matthew Lickona Jan. 13, 2011 @ 10:28 a.m.

Dear Mr. Randolph: Good news. Mr. Elliott will be back next week. For the record: I didn't say that a professional reviewer would not use a personal opinion about an actress when reviewing a film. I said that as a rule, considerations of an actor's personal life are not helpful. But to my mind, this case proved an exception: the personal life/public brand of Goop (as opposed to, say, the personal romantic life) helped to explain the character of the film. No mention of personal opinions. (An aside: it almost never comes up for men? Check the reviews of Mel Gibson's work post-meltdown.)

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BenRandolph Jan. 14, 2011 @ 11:07 a.m.

Ha! Spewing hate and beating a woman is hardly comparable to writing a lifestyle blog! One is illegal! And I guarantee he will be working steadily in the next few years - we are very forgiving of men in the media - Mike Tyson had a nice cameo in the very same film that didn't want Mel - just give it time. TO compare Mel and Gwyneth is truly idiotic. Unless blogging is now criminal - maybe we should arrest you? And with your logic actors should only be playing roles that they are similar to in real life. Sorry Anthony Hopkins - you are not at all like a serial killer in real life therefore you should never have been in Silence of the Lambs. Actors should just continually play themselves and not take any risks. Got it.

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Matthew Lickona Jan. 14, 2011 @ 11:16 a.m.

Um, there was no comparison of Gwyneth and Mel, but rather, an argument against your claim that male actors rarely have their personal lives mentioned in considerations of their work. And no, I never suggested that actors should never play against their own personas. What I wrote was that the Goop stuff helped to explain the character of the film, not Paltrow's own character. And I offered no opinion on whether or not that was a good thing. My biggest problem was with Hedlund's character, not Paltrow's.

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