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Film criticism

Parent category: film - criticism

Publications: Cahiers du cinéma - Film Culture - Midi-Minuit Fantastique - Sight and Sound

Related: cultural criticism - recommendation - film theory

Film critics: Danny Peary - Andy Black - Jack Sargeant - Andrea Juno - Jeff Shannon - Pauline Kael - Roger Ebert - Garry Morris - Jeffrey Hoberman - Jonathan Rosenbaum - Donato Totaro - Parker Tyler - Adonis Kyrou - Raymond Durgnat - Jean-Pierre Bouyxou - Pete Tombs - Amos Vogel

The great Pauline Kael and the gay Parker Tyler are in my view the best modern film critics --Camille Paglia, Salon.com

Film critics should be distinguished from film reviewers. Most people who call themselves film critics and publish commentary on films in periodicals are actually film reviewers. A film criticism is actually more closely aligned with philosophy than it is commentary. The film critic tries to come to understand why film works, how it works, and what effects it has on people. --http://www.wikipedia.org/wiki/Film_criticism, Sept 2003, see also Film Theory

Film critics vs film reviewers

Film criticism is the analysis and evaluation of films. In general this can be divided into academic criticism by film scholars and journalistic film criticism that appears regularly in newspapers and other media. --http://www.wikipedia.org/wiki/Film_criticism [Oct 2004]

2003 notes

My interest in queer and offbeat movies was fueled by Danny Peary's wonderful book Cult Movie Stars. I went into my local fnac and told the saleslady that I wanted a book about movies, but not about "normal" movies and she handed me Cult Movie Stars. It made me discover many artists, but one name stuck out: Roger Corman.

A couple of years later, when I was visiting Miami Beach with my wife, I found V. Vale and Andrea Juno's Incredibly Strange Films. This was maybe a little bit on the gory side of the taste spectrum, but again it showed that there was room for more than the mainstream.

Once I had started listing on my year-pages, all the movies that I liked, I noticed that my favourite amazon reviewer for movies was Jeff Shannon

On the academical side, it took me a long time to find out what the Laura Mulvey's male gaze was about. This led me to other feminist film critics like Carol Clover

In my local library, I discovered these two wonderful authors: Andy Black of Necronomicon and Scott Bukatman, sci-fi academibuff.

I know not much about American mainstream filmwriting, but I do know that Pauline Kael ranks amongst the best and Roger Ebert amongst the worst.

Jack Sargeant is also an author to look out for, his area of expertise is underground cinema in general.

The surprise of 2003 (to me, anyway) are Garry Morris who runs Bright Lights Film Journal and Donato Totaro, a super-to-the-point writer from Italy.

Good movies

The area of expertise of Roger Ebert et all. Boring, with no attention given to the fringes or alternative themes and production methods.
  • http://directory.google.com/Top/Arts/Movies/Reviews/Top_Lists/Good_Films/ good films category on dmoz.org


    What does a rating at imdb.com mean to you?

    Midnight Movies (1983) - Jeffrey Hoberman

    1. Midnight Movies (1983) - Jeffrey Hoberman [Amazon US]

      Written by Jeffrey Hoberman (who writes for the Village Voice) and Jonathan Rosenbaum (who writes for the Chicago Reader)

      Documents the midnight movie circuit exist for films unfit for mainstream consumption

      Chapters on the early careers of Lynch, Alejandro Jodorowsky, John Waters and George Romero

      References to Emile Durkheim and Parker Tyler in the second chapter "Cults, Fetishes and Freaks: Sex and Salvation at the Movies

    Taxonomies of film critics

    Michael Smith of CultureSpace has an interesting piece on the film criticism of Susan Sontag in which he mentions an essay by Sontag on science fiction films The Imagination of Disaster.

    Girish has a piece on Manny Farber's Termite Art vs. White Elephant Art and a piece on the taxonomies of film critics, which may have been inspired by this senses of cinema piece by Jonathan Rosenbaum on the work of Raymond Durgnat.

    From the Rosenbaum piece:

    Many (if not all) critics tend to fall into two categories, which might be called the Big Game Hunters and the Explorers. The Big Game (read: masterpiece) Hunters are basically out for trophies to possess, stuff, and hang on their walls; the Explorers usually poke around simply to see what they find. The Hunters are a relatively Apollonian group – disciplined, academic and generally traditional in their aesthetic values: immediate examples that come to mind are Robin Wood, (2) James Agee, William Pechter, Stanley Kauffmann, Dwight Macdonald, John Simon, and historians like Georges Sadoul, Jean Mitry and Lewis Jacobs. The Explorers, a more Dionysian group, are relatively cranky, kinky and eclectic: Jean-Luc Godard, Manny Farber, Robert Warshow and Raymond Durgnat are four eminent examples. --http://www.sensesofcinema.com/contents/02/20/durgnat_rosenbaum.html [Jul 2006]

    See also: film criticism - taxonomy

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