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Greg Wright

Print Critics Dying

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"Any one may mouth out a passage with a theatrical cadence or get upon stilts to tell his thoughts. But to write or speak with propriety and simplicity is a more difficult task." William Hazlitt

Of course, Bill is hardly one to call the stylistic kettle black.


I've posted a couple hundred of my Soul Food Movies write-ups at letterboxd

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I just came across a recent David Bordwell post on film criticism. Here's his definition:

I


"What matters are movies, not awards; experiences, not celebrations; the subjective power of individual critical points of view, not the declamatory compromises of consensus." - Richard Brody, "Godard's Surprise Win Is a Victory for Independent Cinema," The New Yorker

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Another excellent Bordwell post on film criticism. It got passed around the Web recently, so you may already have seen it.


"What matters are movies, not awards; experiences, not celebrations; the subjective power of individual critical points of view, not the declamatory compromises of consensus." - Richard Brody, "Godard's Surprise Win Is a Victory for Independent Cinema," The New Yorker

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Links to threads on 'Online Critics Flourishing' (Apr 2008) and 'Variety drops critics (theater, film)' (Mar 2010).

- - -

More (whingy) songs about film critics and paying work, and a dirty little secret

And here we come to the dirty little secret. It's not that the film critic scene in New York is as cliqueish, incestuous, and insular as it ever was. It's that the increasing dearth of permanent perches, combined with the putative rise of internet "criticism," has made it more hierarchical and mercurial. Instead of Sarris and Kael marshaling their disciples and polemicizing from relatively secure battlements, or what have you, it's dozens upon dozens of small, mobile, putatively intelligent units jockeying for advantage, following each others' Twitter feeds, getting drunk with each other at open bars, social-climbing with indie filmmakers (it's as if the slightest consideration of journalistic ethics concerning fraternizing is just a joke, even while the resultant loss of integrity is utterly transparent) and talking the nastiest shit about each other behind backs. It's an environment where a wrong remark to the wrong person, or taking a public stand against some egregious stupidity or another, can literally mean money out of your pocket.

How any kind of critical thought, let alone process, can take root in such an environment is, frankly, beyond me.

Glenn Kenny, National Arts Journalism Program, March 15


"Sympathy must precede belligerence. First I must understand the other, as it were, from the inside; then I can critique it from the outside. So many people skip right to the latter." -- Steven D. Greydanus
Now blogging at Patheos.com. I can also still be found at Facebook, Twitter and Flickr. See also my film journal.

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I know J. Hoberman's release from The Village Voice was mentioned on another thread, but I thought I paste this obituary from parallax-view.org

Obituary

The Village Voice finally succumbed to complete irrelevance this week when they fired (or “laid off,” as they insist) J. Hoberman, one of the most respected film critics in America. The responses have lit up Twitter feeds and Facebook posts and fellow critics have responded with tirades and tributes, but we leave the last word to Hoberman himself: “(N)othing lasts forever, and I’ve had a pretty good run in what, for me, was the greatest job imaginable,” writes Hoberman in his farewell to the Voice, first E-mailed to his friends and then posted on his new blog. “It’s safe to say that I’ll never love an institution as much as I first loved the Voice because there is unlikely to ever be an institution like that Voice again—unfortunately.” RIP, Village Voice.


Formerly Baal_T'shuvah

"Everyone has the right to make an ass out of themselves. You just can't let the world judge you too much." - Maude 
Harold and Maude
 

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Today Justin Chang wrote a wonderful tribute to Kenny Turan who is retiring from the job of film critic at the LA Times. I think I heard that A. O. Scott is also transitioning to a critic at large position.

I've met Turan a few times. He's always kind and gracious. He got recruited one time to do a lecture at Whitehead Film Festival at Claremont School of Theology, and managed to get them the chance to see Of Gods and Men before the theatrical release. A few years later before a screening I reminded him of that. He pulled Leonard Matlin over for a discussion of why that movie didn't even get nominated for an Oscar. Neither of them seemed to have a idea of why.


A foreign movie can't be stupid.

-from the film
Armin

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