Film Criticism

Discuss films and filmmakers of the 20th century (and even a little of the 19th century). Threads may contain spoilers.
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Aunt Peg
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Re: Film Criticism

#1001 Post by Aunt Peg » Wed Jul 18, 2018 9:26 am

tenia wrote:
Wed Jul 18, 2018 4:37 am

I've seen tons of movies and with my age, I've seen most of them in a very retrospective way, but despite this additional step-back and knowledge, I still don't have a single woman-directed movie in my own Top 100.
I went back and had I look at my 'top film list', last updated in 2011 and do not have any films directed by a female director in my top 100 either. The first entry for a female directed film is 185: Jane Campion's The Piano.

I've been keeping my own best of each year from 1926 to date and nominate 5 candidates per category. I have nominated 17 directors for a total of 21 directoral placements. Way more than the Academy of course, given I draw my candidates from around the globe and don't pander to Academy 'for your considersation'. As far as winners go I have a four.

With the volume of films currently being produced its virtually impossible to see everything of note but I do try my hardest. The sex of the filmmaker never comes into the question for.

Whether more female critics would bring more attention to films directed by females or films directed by males with a primary female led narrative remains to be seen. However, I don't actually 'follow' any film critics these days and rely more on general comments that abound on the internet, hoping to avoid some of the lesser films and catch the hidden gems, once again regardless of gender.

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Re: Film Criticism

#1002 Post by Kirkinson » Wed Jul 18, 2018 3:19 pm

In what feels like more worrying news for the AV Club, Sean O'Neal has jumped ship after 12 years, publishing a conclusion to his long-running (though it was last updated five years ago) Dan in Real Life sequel gag that airs all his and presumably everyone else's grievances against Univision.

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Re: Film Criticism

#1003 Post by DeParis » Wed Jul 18, 2018 6:43 pm

The discussion upthread about gender representation and film criticism reminded me of a piece that ran in the Washington Post recently, which compares the average Rotten Tomato scores of films reviewed by male and female critics to see when there's a divergence in scores.

The article indicates that, for the most part, there's not much divergence for films that get either very positive or very negative reviews, but there is some divergence for films that get middling scores. The article lists the top ten films that were favored by each gender and pointed out some obvious patterns. It looks like female reviewers are more sympathetic to teen romances (Paper Heart and Everything, Everything) and female led films. Male reviewers are more forgiving of dumb action movies (Justice League and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles) and, arguably, films which feature misogynistic lead characters (Observe and Report and The Wolf of Wall Street).

Of course, male reviewers also apparently strongly preferred Step Up: Revolution, so it's probably best not to get too essentialist about the results. Still, I think it makes a decent argument that certain films might be disadvantaged (or, conversely, advantaged) by the gender imbalance in film criticism.

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Re: Film Criticism

#1004 Post by BenoitRouilly » Thu Jul 26, 2018 2:58 pm

DeParis wrote:
Wed Jul 18, 2018 6:43 pm
The discussion upthread about gender representation and film criticism reminded me of a piece that ran in the Washington Post recently, which compares the average Rotten Tomato scores of films reviewed by male and female critics to see when there's a divergence in scores.
Looking at the data (the last chart most notably), the discrepency is fairly within what we would expect of natural differences of opinion between human beings. The plotted dots are fairly aligned in a nice diagonal, and not all over the place, which indicates that men and women roughly agree about the values of films reviewed. Their widest discrepency scored is 11% when the rating is between 40 and 49 out of a 100. 11% is nothing.
We don't want to live in a world where everyone think alike, otherwise we would only need 1 critic in the world to set the ratings for every publications.
Miranda Bailey wrote:(from the article quoted) “Consumers are looking to buy things that people tell them are worth their money,” she says. “When it comes to film, those people are reviewers.”
I don't like the idea that film criticism is limited to the recommendation of a good night out, to be worth your money spent. And indeed this bears a distinct name : "movie reviewing", which is what Rotten Tomatoes aggregate and tally.
First people need to be adventurous and RISK the eventuality of a miss, or a misunderstanding. (Second viewing could redeem it). Cinema is an art and not an industrial flavour fit to accomodates all. It's like going to a restaurant, we can always dislike a 3 michelin stars menu, as a matter of taste and personal preferences. However it doesn't disqualify the inherent quality of the food, judged by objective standards.
Second film critics are meant to judge each film objectively, not solely from their own perspective, not for the best movie suited for their own taste, as if they were the only spectator of the movie, or if all readers were copycats of the reviewer. A critic ought to review beyond his/her own narrow subjectivity, or bubble. A critic ought to produce an informed "advice" that works for most readers, also for people who don't think, prefer, are biased like him/her. Not a prescription that only works for like-minded people, who already share a similar taste.

Criticism tends to be universal opinion, an educated one and should breaks through the barriers of language, gender, culture, generations...
A critique should be informative, i.e. giving solid arguments why a film is well made or not, whether it succeeds at the goal it sets out to achieve. And then, readers are free to interpretate whether it is made for them or not. I don't like reviewers who assume they know what is good for me, what is it I would want to watch.

That's why I only support gender equality in movie reviewing as a social improvement, not an artistic requirement.
Ben Zauzmer wrote:(from the article quoted) Part of the debate over critics’ demographics is to what extent the critic’s traits should match those of the movie’s main characters and/or its intended audience.
"It doesn't take a horse to review horse racing."

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Re: Film Criticism

#1005 Post by BenoitRouilly » Thu Jul 26, 2018 4:10 pm

(from the article quoted) Perhaps the best option for film lovers, who now have so many options at their disposal in order to form an impression of a film’s quality – from unbelievably long and plot-revealing trailers to tweets and vlogs – would be simply to accept that the best film criticism is an art that can help to unfold beauty. Like the best teacher, can reveal new facets of a film to you and cause your thinking to depart on a new tack
If only the reviewers's school was teaching that.

tenia wrote:
Wed Jun 20, 2018 3:01 pm
I also strongly believe that there shouldn't be the idea of people being put in "silos" like this, but only people with a higher willingness to dig and be curious about what they're going to write about, and I don't believe that, say, being Asian automatically makes you a better reviewer for some Asian movie (the reverse being true too).
That the reason why cinema is a universal language, and not only Hollywood can meet audiences across the globe (because they appeal to the lowest common denominator), but a small film from The Philippines can touch cinephiles from Europe or the USA or Africa.
If we are able to appreciate and understand great films from any country, everybody could review them for the readership of their country/community as well as for people that are outsiders of their comfort zone, provided these reviewers have been trained in the universal language of film and film criticism.

But there is a caveat :
knives wrote:
Wed Jun 20, 2018 6:36 pm
We both seem to be against just adding more bubbles, but I think that the additional bubbles, if used correctly, can externally pierce the hegemonic bubble while it seems to me that you are giving more primacy to an internal bubble bursting through an expansion of knowledge, experience, methods of thinking, and all the other things that would make for a good critical thinker.
A good critical thinker requires an open minded view of the world, some knowledge and experiences from cultures that are not his/her own.
But the caveat is that the "training" itself, the "methods of thinking" are what put blinders on a European analysis of Africa, or an American survey of Asia. Students in first-world schools (most prominently) have a bias toward third-world countries, and their educators, their method of teaching as well. Only in post-grad universities do the humanities strive to teach differences of viewpoints and cultural bias, and even then they are always biased in fostering a self-imposed "bias-free outlook" (that is full of cultural misconceptions and judgmental opinions).

This is not to say that a global sharing of universal takes on diverse cinema is impossible, or we should be wary of.
I believe in criticism open to good thinkers, provided they are aware of their own biases and limitations (even if they aren't able to overcome them, they can always recuse themsleves) and make their readership privvy of them.

Like it has been said in the previous pages, a good outsider perspective could be more important than a bad insider insight. Thus the futility of the battle of the genders.

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Re: Film Criticism

#1006 Post by DarkImbecile » Fri Aug 10, 2018 11:25 pm

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Re: Film Criticism

#1007 Post by mfunk9786 » Sat Aug 11, 2018 1:04 am

"Deskmate" is grim. I've been entirely too spoiled by having my own office for 5+ years and at least my own cubicle for my entire professional career, I certainly can't imagine sharing a desk with someone. White collar humblebrag, etc

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Re: Film Criticism

#1008 Post by hearthesilence » Sat Aug 11, 2018 12:33 pm

Pretty dire. Remember when their former staff went off and formed the Dissolve, which didn't last very long? What seemed like a risk now comes off as a no-loss gambit. It wasn't easy making a living in criticism before, but Jesus...

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domino harvey
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Re: Film Criticism

#1009 Post by domino harvey » Sat Aug 11, 2018 1:20 pm

Blame amateur writers willing to undercut acceptable rates for articles. I've already seen this with editing for some time, which is impossible to make any money doing unless you already have a connection willing to pay you above the ludicrous market rate

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Re: Film Criticism

#1010 Post by dadaistnun » Fri Aug 31, 2018 2:15 pm

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Re: Film Criticism

#1011 Post by bearcuborg » Sat Sep 01, 2018 6:59 pm

dadaistnun wrote:
Fri Aug 31, 2018 2:15 pm
R.I.P the Village Voice.
I would have thought this would have gotten more play here, considering this was so vital for keeping up with all NY had to offer. Much like my hometown Chicago Reader, this was probably a bit more crucial when J. Hoberman was still there, just as it was when Rosenbaum still wrote for the Reader.

Some of our older members may remember when this thing was 11x17! I don’t, but I’ve seen older copies in book stores.

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Re: Film Criticism

#1013 Post by diamonds » Sun Nov 11, 2018 3:56 pm

Three volume collection of André Bazin's complete writings released this week. Press kit here. How I wish I knew French.

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Re: Film Criticism

#1014 Post by BenoitRouilly » Sun Nov 11, 2018 4:56 pm

10 years in the making... They (Hervé Joubert-Laurencin, Cahiers and the Bazin estate) talk about publishing a complete oeuvre of Bazin since at least 2008 (see my blog)
And David Bordwell has a post on his blog about this release.
Finally access to the full version of Qu'est-ce que le cinéma ? / What is Cinema? originally in 3 volumes in 1958 (out of print), and abridged in 1 volume since 1985...

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