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…. […]

how people see film critics

A commenter at the Internet Movie Database had this to say about the film The Stoning of Soraya M.: It may be too visceral for critics (also like United 93), but film lovers should definitely seek it out. What does it mean that a film might be “too visceral” for critics? Why does there exist the perception that critics are not lovers of film themselves? Of course, this is merely one commenter on a site not known for a high level of conversation among its users. But the attitudes expressed here are not at all unusual. What should — or […]

what’s criticism for?

Peter Suderman at The American Scene is glad he didn’t have to write a review of Up: That Pixar’s marvelous, moving, and altogether astounding Up deserves every one of its accolades, and perhaps more, should be obvious just a few minutes into the film. But I feel a least a little bit sorry for the critics who had to sing the film’s praises. Yes, I love writing about film, and that love is rooted in a passion for sharing — some of my friends might call it pushing — great cinema with others. But every now and then, a movie […]

Francis Ford Coppola on film critics

Aaron Hillis at The Village Voice talks to Francis Ford Coppola about his new film, Tetro, and gets some intriguing comments out of the director about film critics: For me, the role of the critic is to teach me how I can make the next one better. I realize what my flaws are. … There are obviously good critics and bad critics—who, just because the movie isn’t like anything they’ve seen, immediately call it a “muddled mess.” If you do a Google search for “muddled mess,” you’ll see that that’s the common phrase they use when they don’t want to […]