Category Archives: Criticism Chatter

criticism news roundup

Vadim Rizoz at The Independent Eye implores critics to “put the ‘I’ in film writing.”

Tom Dowling, who works on the craft side of Irish filmmaking, wonders whether Irish film critics are “too kind to Irish Films.”

A British script consultant complains that screenwriters “rely on film critics to inform [them] about what films [they] should and shouldn’t see – and how badly served [they] often are!”

Filmmaker and film historian Michael Neelsen explores “The Myth of Objective Film Criticism.”

OFCS member Scott Weinberg delves into the mystery of “Variety and the Case of the Vanishing Review.”

Norman Lebrecht in New Stateman discusses the future of arts criticism.

criticism news roundup

Chris Parry at The Vancouver Sun highlights the mysterious and repeated acts of plagiarism of junketeer Paul Fishcher, and laments the emergence of “a new kind of critic; one who is often accused of exchanging high praise for access.”…

…Vadim Rizov at IFC’s The Independent Eye parries to Parry: “Plagiarism, criticism: what’s the difference?”…

And Edward Champion at Reluctant Habits connects the Fischer debacle to “the crisis in American film criticism and that the need for trust has reached an unprecedented level.”

From the Guardian’s Film blog: “Why Warren Beatty’s attack on Pauline Kael failed: Warren Beatty’s disingenuous offer to employ the film critic Pauline Kael on his film Love and Money was motivated by neither love nor money – just spite for a powerful, critical woman.”

Robert Sietsema at the Columbia Journalism Review is a food critic, but what he has to say has a lot to do with the current state of film criticism, too.

Robert W. Butler at defends critics by noting that “you can’t really love a movie if you’ve never really hated one.”

OFCSer MaryAnn Johanson at explains that critics have nothing to do with voting on Oscar nominations or winners.

British film critic Mark Kermode, in a profile at, says, “I love being in a movie theatre and seeing a film with lots of other people, but I want them out of my line of vision and I don’t want to hear them.”

SmartMoney purports to reveal the “10 Things Movie Critics Won’t Tell You”

criticism news roundup

Urlesque compiles, YouTube style, the darker side of Siskel and Ebert’s review show, noting that these outtakes “reveal [that] these friends’ relationship was far from perfect.” (Ken Tucker at EW says, about the video, “the thing is, they also make some good points about movie criticism in the midst of all this. These clips make me like these men even more.”)

OFCS member Eric D. Snider is profiled at Deseret News on the occasion of his professional attendance at Sundance.

Freakanomics explores the notion of whether withholding a film from critics helps rescue, financially, a bad movie.

“My Life Is Film Criticism” goodies at CafePress? Yes: T-shirts, caps, etc.

criticism news roundup

Irin Carmon at Jezebel declares, “Roger Ebert Doesn’t Give A Shit, And I Love Him For It,” and praises how the new openness in the critic’s writing means “we’ve gotten the chance to know Ebert a little better, unleashed on every topic in film and beyond, full of righteous anger and thoughtfulness alike — and freaking hilarious.”

Leah Sandals at unedit my heart asks “A Plague of Bloggers? Really?” and pushes back against a detractor of online film criticism: “[A]ny argument that posits ‘bloggers’ vs ‘critics’ seems kind of old and tired, and frankly I’m surprised to see it even being tossed out as a helpful dividing line in 2010.”

criticism news roundup

Bennett Marcus at New York’s blog Vulture discovers that director James Toback’s is planning “revenge on nasty film critics.”

Graphic novel writer and critic Jamie S. Rich talks about the current state of film criticism at the blog Talking with Tim, and specifically takes year-end listmakers to task.

A selection of the tributes to critic and filmmaker Eric Rohmer, who died last week at 89:

Glenn Kenny in the Los Angeles Times praises Rohmer as an art-house intellectual to the end, whose “work is strewn with… gorgeously felicitous touches.”

Richard Corliss in Time hails Rohmer for revolutionizing criticism, deeming him “a master painter… of fond character studies.”

The obit writers of The Washington Post call Rohmer’s films “long, philosophical conversations” that adhered to his “personal vision: to make films portraying the inner lives of characters without adding extraneous drama.”

criticism news roundup

Lisa Schwarzbaum at EW reveals the advice movie critics give to friends when we’re not on duty, and sums it up: “I know the value of when to let go of my brilliant argument that Invictus is square and lazy filmmaking, and instead let the cousin who’s a big Matt Damon fan know that she’ll like him as a rugby player.”

Mick LaSalle at SGFate instructs us in “Movie Reviewing 101” and notes that “one of the mistakes movie critics often make is to start reviews by comparing a new movie to other movies.”

Patrick Goldstein at The Big Picture calls out Variety ex-editor Peter Bart on his disdain for critics, who has been “zinging critics for their top-10 list choices.”

criticism news roundup

David Chen wonders whether film criticism really is a dying art, and decides that “fragmentation is not death.”

David Kronke at Variety asks “Can critics push Oscar?”, and examines the films of 2009 that have been helped by critical love.

OFCSer Erik Childress runs down the quote whores of 2009, and despairs that “the rise of the quote whores and anonymous fanboy bloggers has gone ruefully under-reported.”

RTE News announces the death of Irish Times film critic Michael Dwyer, whom director Neil Jordan praised as someone who brought a “totally different energy” to criticism.

criticism news roundup

Stephen Saito at IFC runs down the most memorable critical dustups of 2009, with a look at “some of the most thought-provoking film writing of the year [which] hasn’t been done on film at all, but on how film writing is changing, where film journalists begin to consider themselves as film activists and critics engage in discussions that don’t end with the final period of their reviews.”

David Berry at Vue Weekly offers a critics guide to critics, wherein he examines “the thought process behind art criticism.”

Anna Robinson at Alt Film Guide notes the controversy over how the London Film Critics treat Irish talent.

criticism news roundup

New York Times critic Manohla Dargis rails against the endemic sexism of Hollywood, and discusses some of the issues that crop up for female film critics.

The New York Film Critics Circle gave a special award to Andrew Sarris for his contribution to film criticism.

Mark Lynch at The Wrap covers “The Last Gasp of the Film Critic,” and proposes that we “get back to writing about and promoting films [we] believe in rather than wasting column inches on a weekly reviewing routine.”

Rachel Abramowitz at The Envelope explains how review aggregators including Rotten Tomatoes can predict the Oscars.

OFCSer Erik Childress at Cinematical doesn’t like it “When Variety Gives Critics A Bad Name,” and ponders the true meaning of the term “critic-proof.”

David Hudson at The Auteurs collects the reaction from critics to the death of legendary Canadian critic Robin Wood.

criticism news roundup

Andy Webb at HubPages explores the difference between “movie reviewer” and “movie critic” — explains why he considers himself a reviewer.

Sharon Waxman at TheWrap reveals that “Laid-Off Movie Critics [Are] the New ‘In’ Focus Group” (though one nonparticipating critic worries about becoming “part of the merchandizing machine”)…

…and Anne Thompson on why critics being paid by marketers is a “slippery conflict of interest.”

Lynden Barber at Eyes Wired Open argues that “film critics should never give awards for editing because they’re not qualified to judge.”