8 July 2009: the weekly roundup of film criticism news

Anne Midgete at The Washington Post ponders the difference between critics and “user” reviews.

Stendhal at The Unpersons defends the art and craft of film criticism… even in the face of the box-office juggernaut of the critically reviled Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen: “A reviewer’s job is inherently narcissistic (just like, dare I say, a blogger’s). A reviewer watches a film, then writes down her observations on that film, using the experiences (both film-based and otherwise) that she has accumulated over the years. Her job is not to agree with the audience, because the audience is not her…. What we need in criticism is not a reinforcement of our existing values, but a challenge against the tastes we have developed and a demand for a different perspective on looking at a film…. [A] critic’s job is to serve her audience — through providing alternative perspectives, analytical acumen, and as Anton Ego would say, “the defense of the new”…

Keanu Reeves tells Contactmusic.com that he loves his critics: “I want to see what they write, for sure. You know it’s going to be whatever it’s going to be and you have to take a review as it is. I mean, whatever they write is whatever they write, and I’m not going to be able to change it. The review is part of why you want to entertain. You want to know what your audience thinks about the film and the performance. I’m interested in what people think, even if it’s just one person.”

Sean at Film Junk wonders about “the sudden wave of criticism coming from moviegoers who now automatically assume that all handheld camera work is a sign of bad filmmaking”…

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