Tuesday, June 12, 2012

R3V13W3R$: Reviewers I Follow

Which professional reviewers do I listen to? Who gets me in or out of a theater? Well, the links on the right of my page will answer that question, but they don't tell you why. If I can back movie podcasts, I should have stumped for my faves by now. & if you want to know how today's post got this title, click to jump to the entry's end.

I've written about reviewing before. I've made a lot of art, and I'm going to keep at it. Sometimes it's just practically being a freaking performer (in public or private), or through photography, impromptu design or craft work, or (most often?) words. I find... inspiration more easily than most, and I use it without simply craving attention.

So I care and think a lot about aesthetics, individual and collective taste, artistic theses or goals... Having a sense of these things is important in art, and you'll see it most in my Movie Aspects posts. Everyone I've linked to has my respect as writers and/or web designers, but my favorite pros (in no particular order) are:

AV Club - They're not listed, but I link to them all the time. Though I seriously disagree with their take on several films, I often lower my expectations if they rank a pic as a D or C-. Their entries go up on Thursday, with more are added by Friday afternoon. The reviewers rotate, and I don't agree with each one, so your mileage should vary, too.

Alexandra DuPont - Wrote for DVD Journal and AICN, and covered a variety of films: the new Star Trek, Watchmen, Pirates of the Caribbean, The Dark Knight. I especially recommend her thoughts on the Star Wars Prequels - she picks apart the problems expertly. She's an exceptional essayist, but she never runs on. She seems to have retired, I've been slowly going through her beautiful body of work.

She's an extremely gifted, intelligent writer with a strong sense of style and wordcraft. It's easy to respect her opinions, since she's clearly an educated fan of film. Her complaints and comments are always fair and thoughtful. She's probably very cool, too. If anyone knows where she's writing now, please tell me. I'd read her on any subject. It could be... I dunno, My Little Pony Fan-fic and I'd read it.

Red Letter Media - must've been the best film school classmates ever. They're smart, skilled, and hard-working. Their reviews are thoughtful, but (thankfully) they can just sit back and turn off, too... Unlike most critics, their technical and aesthetic critiques come from experience. Their site hosts the dozens of videos they've made; these men (and women) clearly love film.

They're also dead-funny. Their comic timing is first-rate, and their inventiveness is astounding. They're sort of like the Broken Lizard of online content - but RLM has a better track record, and, usually, more restraint. They have good taste - and, at times, bad taste, yet in a good way. The Plinkett material can get really gross at times, but at least that's in keeping with the character.

I've written about multiple times by now because I look forward to every new review they make - whether it's their Half in the Bag reviews or their "old guy who's crazy like the lead in American Psycho" reviews. their films and shorts. I wish them so much success...

Their site is nicely-designed, so you can navigate it quickly. But be warned: the main page is full of embedded videos that semi-load (know what I mean?), so you might want to move off the main page quickly so your browser doesn't slow down. Go there now!

Kermode (left) and Mayo (right) show a little porn'stache solidarity for Jason Isaacs Day.
Mark Kermode has some bad habits - he might bang the table too hard or do incredibly loud impersonations, some of which get annoying after the 8th time and are overused far too often, like SNL skits. But he's smart, passionate, and really well-informed (a doctorate on the topic don't come easy) - and a lot of his jokes do land.

He's developed an "old-married-couple" bond with his co-host. Hell, Simon Mayo does some interviews solo because Mark strong criticism makes some industry people hate him - for example, he called the uneven blond brit actress, "Ikea Knightley." (hahahaha) Then again, Jason Isaacs like him, and gets a greeting in each broadcast. Jason Isaacs is never wrong.

Every Friday, I'd live-stream off the BBC at work (it's my only internet indulgence), or get home and download the podcast for his review show. I've disagreed with him often - even strongly, now and then - but I trust him enough to give him my precious time. I can skip him for months at a time, but I always catch up eventually.

Newspapers are not linked in the sidebar, of course. I'm not above opening a paper or checking their online site to see what NYT, TimeOut, etc, have to say. The problem is that you must take them with a grain of salt because you don't know them well enough; or it's the opposite: the opinions of A.O. Scott and Jami Bernard don't carry much weight for me. 

And, of course, it's hard to talk about US film reviews without mentioning Him: Roger Ebert. He's a weird case, as I'd read any of his old reviews. They were often very precise and witty - but his judgment has been... iffy for the last 15 or so years. Whenever I read his work now, I take him for what he complains about & praises, not his overall opinions.

* - Yes, the "R3V13W3R$" title was an intentional dick move on my part. I found it funny and wanted to mock stuff like 5nal Destination and... ahem! Now, I'm going to put it as the title for all my posts on reviewing, and I'll make it a new tag, too. I'm laughing as I type this.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Chime in!