Relied upon by some moviegoers and reviled by others, film critics for over 100 years have represented a form of journalism that sought to find and judge film as an art in a way others might want to heed. This film presents a comprehensive history of this form of writing as it developed with the film medium itself. With historical profiles on major contributors like Pauline Kael along with interview with contemporary figures like Roger Ebert, the nature of the profession is explored both for its illustrious past and its uncertain future.Written by
Kenneth Chisholm (firstname.lastname@example.org)
"What qualifies you as a professional film critic is that someone will pay you to do it..."
Witty, long-overdue documentary narrated by Patricia Clarkson chronicling the colorful history of movie criticism, from the silent-era days of Frank E. Woods (who wound up collaborating with D.W. Griffith on the screenplay for his "Birth of a Nation") and Vachel Lindsay to the prolific internet bloggers of today. Most enjoyable and enlightening are the comments from newspaper and magazine critics still employed in the 21st century (apparently a rare lot, as professional film criticism has becomes less essential due to the internet, thereby leaving seasoned and even promising cinephiles without paying jobs). There are some stray but no less intriguing details dropped here (Robert Sherwood became the first celebrity critic, while Kate Cameron of the 1930s was the first newspaper writer to use the star-rating system), though the juicier stories--such as the Andrew Sarris-Pauline Kael grudge-match which raged throughout the 1970s--are the ones most likely to interest non-rabid movie buffs. Certainly the core audience for this material won't be vast, yet it is an entertaining assemblage of journalistic talents and film clips, well-assembled by Gerald Peary and with plenty of humorous commentary. *** from ****
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