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Film Critics ?

Discussion in 'Movie Forum' started by raduv1, Feb 15, 2012.

  1. raduv1

    raduv1 Active Member

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    Do you read articles from papers Internet etc before you watch a Movies at cinema or blu ray ? And why ?
  2. Todd Tomorrow

    Todd Tomorrow Well-Known Member

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    Yes I do. The main reason is that I'm mostly interested in smaller independent and foreign films which don't get a lot of advertisement. Without keeping up with reviews I would never find out about the many smaller films that don't have the Hollywood hype machine behind them to promote them. I read Sight & Sound and several online reviewers who I like and I listen to film podcasts like Film Spotting, Mondo Movie and Sound on Sight. The trick is to find critics and publications whose judgement you trust.

    The common misconception on forums seems to be that reviews "tell you what to think". This is complete nonsense and is something mostly parroted by people who don't read reviews and only go and see the most highly promoted mainstream films.

    A good review can point out things you may have missed and give you a different angle on things. I quite enjoy reading reviews by a decent film writer or critic after I've seen a film. If done right film criticism can be an art form in itself, though this is getting diluted by the many poor online critics who can't even string a proper sentence together and who are often clueless about film.
    Last edited: Feb 15, 2012
  3. MarkusThatch

    MarkusThatch Active Member

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    Cinema - no. I tend to read reviews afterwards to see what people thought and see whether it rings true with my own interpretation of what I've seen.

    Blu-rays - yes, here and via DVD basen. But also the regular AV Forum contributors who seem so clued up about which versions of films to buy. I rarely make a purchase without checking on here first.
  4. denzyl

    denzyl Active Member

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    I dont give a stuff about so called professional critics if I,m unsure about buying a blu-ray/dvd I,ll look at the general reviews online by normal everyday people they always seem to be honest down to earth reviews
  5. jalaldevil

    jalaldevil Active Member

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    Sure reviews are fun, I read them. Same goes for gaming, blu ray reviews too. They give you a very good insight to the film like trailers do. Take them for what it is, Opinion!
  6. BAN5HEE

    BAN5HEE Active Member

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    I will read most of them but still go and see a movie if I innitially had any interest in it. Critics are just as biased as us. I don't like love movies. I had was a critic and reviewed a love movie It would never get a good score from me.
  7. IL Cattivo

    IL Cattivo Active Member

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    Ultimately the best film critic is yourself.

    As a youngster I used to read Empire & Total Film, once I started to get older it gets easier to identify that the people who write in these magazines are diluting their reviews with their own biased opinions whether it be the subject matter or their dislike to a particular film maker or their style of directing etc etc... :boring:

    Don't read such material any more, nor do I watch or listen to the drivel that comes out of Claudia Winkleman & her co-presenters traps!
  8. Todd Tomorrow

    Todd Tomorrow Well-Known Member

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    I don't see what's wrong with a "biased opinion" as long as the bias is down to a critics personal taste and not one that serves an industry agenda. Critics are only human and they don't pretend to be anything else. Reading reviews doesn't mean you adopt another person's opinion, it means engaging with an opinion other than your own. A good critic can alert you to things you may have missed or another interpretation and for me an ongoing engagement with a film after watching it adds to my enjoyment.

    That said, I'm not sure I would even call Winkleman a critic and Empire and Total Film are in the pockets of the industry, flogging the most mainstream stuff. No better than advertisement and hardly a source for challenging or insightful views. I grew up with critics like Pauline Kael who were great writers and thinkers. She was considered an artist in their own right to a degree that now a biography has been written about her. I doubt that will ever happen to Claudia Winkleman.
    Last edited: Feb 16, 2012
  9. Metalhead Pete

    Metalhead Pete Member

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    You've actually heard her co-presenter get a word in? :eek:
  10. bosque

    bosque Active Member

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    What we appear to have in our dumbed-down culture is lot of people assuming they are being "told what to think" by a review, when all a good reviewer is doing is commenting on the film - as has been done for other forms of entertainment (theatre, music etc) for many years (100s of years in fact). It's just that those other art-forms don't have so many dunces getting bolshy about the comments, and who have zero knowledge of a critic/reviewer's function.
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    Last edited: Feb 16, 2012
  11. GloryHornet

    GloryHornet Member

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    I tend to read reviews once I've watched a film. That way I'm not influenced in anyway. I used to listen to Kermode and Filmspotting but got out of the habit of listening to both.

    IMDB.com is useful for getting a wider range of reviews, as they link to critics reviews. I'm partial to the thoughts of Roger Ebert; we tend to like the same films, although a few times I've been surprised. For example 'Harold & Maude' which I really liked, whereas he was quite scathing in his review.

    I read Sight & Sound now and again but often think it's a bit to high brow for me.
  12. PoochJD

    PoochJD Active Member

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    Hi,

    Like many of the replies, I do read some reviews, but I tend to stick with either my own personal interest in the film, rather than going by what everyone else says. With that in mind, like Todd Tomorrow, I am more interested in niche, independant, and foreign works, which - as he rightly points out - don't generally get much press (or praise). As such, I do listen to what other people say, but if I want to go and see a film, then I will - positive press or not.

    Lastly, unless you are willing to step away from the mainstream, you will never see some of the best films that are being made.

    Particularly in the horror genre and foreign-language arena, there's some real gems out there, that don't get the reputation and critical praise they deserve, and they only get noticed through intial word-of-mouth, and other people having "dipped their toes in", so-to-speak. Some of the best films I've seen, have been ones I've taken a chance on, and where I didn't know much about them beforehand.

    As such, every film fan who cares about cinema, and cares passionately about truly good cinema, should be willing to take more risks, and try films/DVD's/Blu-ray's that haven't been discussed on TV, or had endless promotion in film magazines and with the mainstream press.

    If you only stick to the mass-produced, mass-publicised material, you will only see what Hollywood and the big film companies want you to see. And in my view, that's a horrible option for all film-fans!


    Pooch
  13. Todd Tomorrow

    Todd Tomorrow Well-Known Member

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    Where do you get the initial 'word of mouth' from then ? I hear about some of the more obscure films because they do get critical praise in niche podcast like Sight on Sound or Mondo Movie (especially during their festival round-ups) or websites like Slant Magazine. Their critics are the first people who get to see films. Then people go to see films on behalf of their recommendations and word of mouth spreads. I also hear about lots of smaller films that get released through Sight and Sound. They review films more populist magazines like Empire don't review. It very rare that I hear about a film on a forum though word of mouth that I haven't already heard about a long time before from one of those sources. I see only very few marginal films getting talked about on forums.
    Last edited: Feb 16, 2012
  14. IL Cattivo

    IL Cattivo Active Member

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    Quite true Pooch... For example, such recent gems like Cache, The Secret In Their Eyes & Life is Beautiful would deffo be missed if we were to stick only to what is perceived as the mainstream. Forums like this and in particular the 'What are you watching/Watched last night' threads definitely highlight some of the lesser known charms in the movie industry that can be so easily overseen or missed. These kinds of threads are definitely ones to keep an eye on while it's also useful to see the different views on these films both before and after a viewing.
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  15. Kebabhead

    Kebabhead Active Member

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    Still miss old prune face
  16. IL Cattivo

    IL Cattivo Active Member

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    Barry Norman? :laugh:
  17. Garrett

    Garrett Moderator

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    And why not:rolleyes:
  18. Todd Tomorrow

    Todd Tomorrow Well-Known Member

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    You've just mentioned three of the most famous and most successful foreign language films of the last decade, the few that get plenty of mainstream recognition. Hardly films that are hidden gems or difficult to find out about, especially as two of them are Oscar winners for best Foreign Language Film and therefore got lots of publicity.
    Last edited: Feb 16, 2012
  19. IL Cattivo

    IL Cattivo Active Member

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    Funny that when I mention and recommend them to my Hollywood driven friends and family, they've never heard of them! Film Awards & their often circus ceremonies including their associated publicity is not everyone's cup of tea, especially again as they can tend to be a tad biased. I for one haven't taken hardly any notice of them for many a year... Bit of a bore-fest if you ask me. So for people like myself & Pooch maybe I think finding out about such films via discussion across forums is a bonus.
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  20. barnaby jones

    barnaby jones Active Member

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    I tend to read the summary of reviews or just check the overall percentage on RT before shelling out to go to the cinema.
    :thumbsup:
  21. Todd Tomorrow

    Todd Tomorrow Well-Known Member

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    As someone who has more than a passing interest in film I'm talking about that ten to twenty films get released in the UK every week and that most people will only ever hear of one or two of these. If I wouldn't read or listen to reviews, I would never find out about all the worthwhile films that get released, many of them far more interesting to me than the gazillionth superhero film or remake/prequel/re-booth/whatever.

    If you rely only on forum 'word of mouth' or Hollywood publicity, then you will only ever get exposed to a tiny minority films. That may be fine for you, but I love discovering genuine hidden gems, not the mainstream art house hits everybody with even a superficial interest in film is talking about anyway.

    I can't speak for your friends, but many of my friends did hear of Cache, Life is Beautiful, etc. They really were difficult to miss at the time, unless you only look out for the really big blockbusters.
    Last edited: Feb 16, 2012
  22. Mark_a

    Mark_a Member

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    I think, like a lot of things, the internet had made mainstream publications, and their included critical reviews of whatever, largely irrelevant as a source of information. They're more like an old pair of slippers, something you go to for ease, comfort and availability, assuming you happen to like what they have to say on something.

    Regards

    Mark
  23. Todd Tomorrow

    Todd Tomorrow Well-Known Member

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    That's how all journalism is going. Doesn't mean you can't find good film criticism online. I've especially started to enjoy film podcasts in recent years. And is the internet not "mainstream" by now ?
  24. IL Cattivo

    IL Cattivo Active Member

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    As someone who considers there more to life and has many different & diverse interests other than just film, including sport, fitness and raising a family (all of which take up much of my daily existence), why should I waste my valuable time trawling the media, publications and listening to podcasts when I can use people such as yourself and many of the good folk on this and other forums to do that job of finding said hidden gems for me. :D Of which I am very grateful for by the way.... :)
  25. Todd Tomorrow

    Todd Tomorrow Well-Known Member

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    I don't spend all day reading reviews, it takes up relatively little of my time and podcasts can be listened to while at the gym or on public transport and in my case at work. Just saying...
  26. raduv1

    raduv1 Active Member

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    Very good informative post Todd I do agree if your looking for small independent films then you need a critic you can trust to get those hidden gems you seek out to you . But if your interested in "Mainstream" films which have a place in modern popular culture for good or bad then for me I prefer the ordinary guy review of forums like these . Even if you wouldn't discuss these "Mainstream" films at dinner party's with friends .
    Last edited: Feb 16, 2012
  27. Todd Tomorrow

    Todd Tomorrow Well-Known Member

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    Why would you not discuss mainstream films at dinner party with friends ? Is there some sort of ban at the dinner parties you attend ?

    If I wouldn't read reviews then I would have never gone to see the very mainstream Rise of the Planet of the Apes. The trailer and concept looked rubbish to me but then it got surprisingly good reviews which peaked my interest. Loved the film.
    Last edited: Feb 16, 2012
  28. raduv1

    raduv1 Active Member

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    I did not say I wouldn't discuss "mainstream" films at dinner party's It was just a general rationalisation.And yes rise was a highlight for me in a rather dull 2011 and got my reviews from here.
  29. captainarchive

    captainarchive Active Member

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    I can pretty much tell if I'm going to like a mainstream film from the trailer and if I decide I'm going to watch a mainstream film, I'll only not do so if the variety of reviewers I tend to follow give it an overwhelmingly negative review. As for non mainstream films they'd have to generate a lot of buzz in a variety of forum and media before I'll bite. This method has led to my buying the likes of Let the Right One In, Girl with the Dragon Tattoo and Drive, films that I've enjoyed immensley. It's an approach that works well for me.
  30. Lancia34

    Lancia34 Active Member

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    I tend to read user reviews on the internet now and again and sometimes checkout the critics scores but rarely trust them.
    I do watch Mark Kermode's online videos, he's about the only critic I tend to trust and at least he tends to know what he's talking about :)

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