For the Love of Movies: The Story of American Film Criticism Reviews
(Full review coming soon)
It's a bit of a downer as it more or less leaves you with the notion that film criticism is only something you can break into accidentally, so why try? On the other hand, with blogging and online magazines so popular now, who the hell can't watch a movie and write their opinion of it on the internet? You just may never get paid for that opinion.
I really liked the look into the history of film criticism. The doc highlights the earliest players, the major players, and the major events tied to people who wrote about movies through the twentieth century. At the advent of the computer, the doc falters in seeing the real diversity of people writing about movies online, or foreseeing a bit more of social networking's effect on how audiences choose what movie to see. This documentary originally screened at festivals early in 2009 and the director said it was nine years in the making. As most people are aware, the rate of change in technology is fast and accelerating, so I really can't hold it against Mr. Peary that he could not see the popularity of sites like Flixster, Facebook, and Twitter affecting how friends recommend movies to other friends. It simply is the case that the last chapter of the movie on the apparent end of print journalism and the explosion of online reviews with anyone thinking they can be a film critic has already become quite dated.
I enjoyed the interviews with several famous film critics. I appreciated being able to put a face and voice with many of the names. I would have liked to see the interviews structured better with the through line of the doc's story. The graphics could have been better and the editing lagged especially between chapters. Overall it was a worthwhile picture about a topic I love.
Criticism does not exist on its own. It is a by-product of film, the beginning of a discussion. Without film critiques and reporting, it would be harder to track down important films, but that's a service film writing provides -- just as you can't have criticism without the primary source, there needs to be a response and continuation of the criticism by the masses. It can't exist in a vacuum.