Reviewing the reviewers

Margaret and Graeme - the hosts of Screen, a new movie show on Foxtel.

Wednesday, 7.30pm, Foxtel Arts

For almost three decades Margaret Pomeranz and her on-screen reviewing partner David Stratton were the eyes, ears and mouths of Australian and world movie culture in this country.
They were household names – elevated to the status of other famous icons who didn’t need last names – everyone knew who David and Margaret were thanks to their shows.
So it is kind of strange and a bit discombobulating to see Margaret on screen with someone else – in this case actor and respected reviewer Graeme Blundell.
Sure this is not their first teaming – but this show feels so much like At The Movies with television reviews tacked on that it’s really hard not to miss David Stratton.
It has been four years since David and Margaret hung up their director’s chairs and yet the moment you see her sitting there opposite Blundell, talking about movies you are right back there.
Pomeranz takes the lead on the movies interviewing famous moviemakers, while Blundell is the TV man. But they still interact and review the shows and movies together and that’s where this show falls down.
David didn’t agree with Margaret – a lot – the views differed and that was part of the fun. But with Blundell and Pomeranz it feels like they are coming from the same place with similar ideas and opinions, so instead of David and Margaret you have two Margarets (both totally missed the point in their reviews of ABC’s Harrow).
It wasn’t helped in the first outing by the fact that Blundell looked nervous, like he realised he was stepping into shoes that were way too big which seemed both strange given his experience and justified given the love for At The Movies/The Movie Show.
But while Screen will probably never be At The Movies – once it stops trying – hopefully it will settle into its own niche.
– Tania Phillips

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