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When everyone has an opinion, what's the point of a professional critic?

Mark Kermode (previously) discusses internet anonymity, the popularity of negative reviews, and 21st century film criticism in an excerpt from his new book.
posted by figurant on Sep 29, 2013 - 26 comments

A New Start

"Arrested Development's fourth season is triumphant when it's not completely falling apart." That seems to be the critical consensus, which sees the season as ambitious but flawed—a "hot mess", if you will. The American Prospectcompares Season 4 to the housing crisis; Daniel Fienberg simply calls the season's length "exhausting". But how has binge watching affected the critical response? Showrunner Mitch Hurwitz asked viewers not to watch the whole season in one glut: "[Y]ou can’t really laugh the whole time. You have to take a break. There’s so much material." Some critics agree with Hurwitz; others argue that this season is "essentially a 7-1/2 hour long episode" and that binge watching is the only way to appreciate the new show. (Sadly, Hurwitz's original plan—to have the new episodes be watchable in any order—fell through.)
posted by Rory Marinich on May 28, 2013 - 369 comments

"It’s like Kate Bush if she knew how to write a good song."

What makes the music critics at Collapse Board more interesting than the ones at Pitchfork or Rolling Stone or the AV Club? Well, for one thing, they have more fun: witness The Audacity of Barry Manilow, or their take on Kimbra's "Vows", written as a response to the outrage they received after a negative Gotye review. When they love something, they love it with relish – they think Micachu understands 2012 like no other musician, argue that Nirvana was the biggest thing since the Beatles, and think Lana Del Rey is more interesting than her lips. And when they dislike something, they make no qualms about disliking it – they rip into Titus Andronicus something good, describe a Matt & Kim album as "an excellent litmus test for weeding out fluff-eating imbeciles", and express more ambivalent opinions about My Bloody Valentine and The Mountain Goats. They also, predictably write frequent critiques of music criticism.
posted by Rory Marinich on Mar 21, 2013 - 87 comments

"The bookful blockhead ignorantly read" - Alexander Pope

A Short History Of Book Reviewing's Long Decline: 'By the time of the first quote “book-review,” criticism had been in circulation for centuries—long enough for writers to know how it can sting. Understandably, then, the critic’s skepticism of an artist's genius has invariably existed alongside the artist's doubt over the critic's judgment.' [more inside]
posted by the man of twists and turns on Sep 22, 2012 - 11 comments

I have read them all hoping against hope to hear the authentic call

The Baffler has returned. Again. [more inside]
posted by zenon on May 10, 2012 - 8 comments

"...the way of nature, and the way of grace."

For Roger Ebert, it's a prayer that made him "more alert to the awe of existence." For Rober Koehler, it's a kitschy New Age con. For Richard Brody, it perfectly captures the essence of a generation by depicting a character thinking "back to the musings and fantasies of childhood, which are the product of a wondrous and fantastic view of science formed by popular-science books for children and by the commercial artists whose illustrations adorned them." For Stephanie Zacharek, it's "a gargantuan work of pretension." For Ignatiy Vishnevetsky, it's "a creation myth in the guise of a crypto-autobiography" that invents a universe of its own only to destroy it. For J. Hoberman, it's lifeless and dull, "essentially a religious work and, as such, may please the director's devotees, cultists, and apologists." It spent thirty years in development, three in editing and, yes, it contains dinosaurs. The Tree of Life, written and directed by famously reclusive Zoolander fan and "JD Salinger of American movies" Terrence Malick , won the Palme d'Or at this year's Cannes Film Festival. Tomorrow, it comes out in the United States. [more inside]
posted by alexoscar on May 26, 2011 - 64 comments

Gigli Sucks!

Critics Gone Wild. Rarely do entertainment journalists have as fine an occasion to cut loose and shower their barbs as the opening of Gigli: "I fought the urge to punch someone once it finally ended." Not that anyone's surprised! Enjoy, if you get a kick out of scalding prose.
posted by scarabic on Aug 1, 2003 - 51 comments

*MichaelSavageFilter*

Hey everybody, it's Appropriate Michael Savage's name for your own purposes day! With contributions from Haypenny, über, Neal Pollack himself, and much, much, more, all in response to these threats.
posted by kickingtheground on Jun 26, 2003 - 19 comments

The rock-critic "community"

The rock-critic "community" Jack Saturn and Jack Saturn manqués, ahoy! A young fella runs an entire site, Popped, dedicated to the art of rock criticism. And despite being from Toronto, he's not so prissy as to pretend he isn't a fan. Because those are the worst rock critics. If rock even matters anymore.
posted by joeclark on Oct 19, 2000 - 8 comments

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