"Which media outlets do you turn to for movie/tv reviews?"
The Ebert post about his biographical doc had me thinking about film reviews.
For a long while, most of the film reviews that I read are from this board or the L&L show.
I really liked Ebert's reviews as he seemed to really enjoy the act of watching movies and didn't seem as professionally upset if a movie wasn't well-made or had a sophisticated intent. Like ZooTown said in the Ebert doc post, he was populist or middle-class while having a respect for art or independent films but presented his ideas in a relateable way, at least for me.
I kind of fell out of movie review reading because I thought I needed to take a film class to really make out what the reviews were trying to convey. Not that it's in a writers best interest to 'dumb down' their message or even for a fan of films, but I got tired of feeling I wasn't in on the joke, so to speak.
Obviously there are other sites that offer reviews, but which are your favorite or review sites that you look for to offer effective criticism for a movie or tv show? Do you read reviews which offer competing views of movies to better judge if you'll watch a movie on your own?
1. "RE: Which media outlets do you turn to for movie/tv reviews?" In response to Reply # 0
i listen to a local news radio station every day at various points throughout the day, and so i often end up hearing reviews, usually from the washington post but sometimes from the local station staff or tv guide.
i get the sunday paper (wapo) so i at least see the headlines about a new movie or show, and likewise at work i keep google news open all day so i see the entertainment headlines.
once in a while i check metacritic (not rotten tomatoes) for a consensus impression of critical favor. i'm much more inclined to check IMDB for the current user rating (if there is one) and to skim the top rated user review and at least the top post titles on the board if not clicking and reading them. i used to enjoy reading user reviews on netflix, but now it's just people saying please bring this to streaming or saying they turned it off after 5 minutes because it wasn't family friendly, etc.
once in a great while i'll be surfing the web and wind up on a cool blog that covers old movies.
as far as reading an actual review of a new movie, i cannot think of the last time i did that. for a show, i googled for http://www.avclub.com/review/foxs-backstrom-boorish-detective-youll-hate-hate-213946 and decided after reading it not to watch. new tv probably lends itself more to finding a review because otherwise i would end up committing to something that could be mediocre because i find it difficult to stop watching.
3. "I don't follow outlets-- I follow particular critics." In response to Reply # 0
Bilge Ebiri, Odie Henderson, Matt Zoller Seitz. I don't always agree with them, but they're good writers and generally fair-minded.
Glenn Kenny, Mike D'Angelo, and David Ehrlich are exceptional writers-- less fair-minded (I occasionally vehemently disagree, especially with Ehrlich, who hates most popular stuff, but who usually gives good reasons for his hatred), but good reads.
Other guys I like: Vadim Rizov, James Rocchi, A.A. Dowd, Stephanie Zacharek, Guy Lodge, and my buddy Sam Fragoso. Nathan Rabin and Eric D. Snider are often quite funny and insightful in their reviews.
When it comes to action movies, I usually trust Matt Lynch more than anyone. He loves gleefully batshit action, but he's pretty discerning when it comes to the fine line between style and slop.
There's never anyone I always agree with-- but really, at this point, I rarely use critical response to determine whether I'll see a film. Though if one of these guys writes a full-blown rave, I'll bump a certain film up my priority list.
5. "I think of English class." In response to Reply # 4
A really good teacher can perfectly articulate why you loved a book, can encourage you to dig deeper, can talk about the influences of that author and point you toward other literature you may enjoy, etc.
I feel the same about movie critics. The good ones encourage you to really *think* about film-- even the action flicks, the superhero adventures, the slasher pics, etc. The more I read, the more articulate I become regarding my own opinions in the future.
And I don't really do criticism much anymore, but they definitely encouraged me to step up my critical game-- to not simply say "the performances were good, the action scenes were good, the cinematography was good" etc. Plenty of movies have good elements; most all of them do. It forced me to dig deeper into my feelings about film and my feelings about life in general.
7. "I generally try to read AV Club TV reviews after watching" In response to Reply # 0
an episode, though sometimes it's more for the batshit insane depth of the comments section.
otherwise, when I had a job that allowed for a lot of podcast listening I got movie thoughts from Tony Kornheiser and Ann Hornaday every Friday on his radio show, though that was mostly just for entertainment and I didn't take much of it seriously. I primarily get my movie 'reviews' from this board.
8. "I like Matt Zoller Seitz (rogerebert.com)" In response to Reply # 0
and Ignatiy Vishnevetsky (AV Club) currently. the former has an Ebert-esque critical eye with a populist attitude, while the latter is an espresso sipping (real coffee drinkers don't drink lattes) snob to the highest order, but entertaining and incredibly knowledgeable.
I don't really seek out reviews anymore since Ebert passed (Friday ritual was reading all his reviews of new releases, even ones I know I'd never see). I know which movies I want to see in theaters at this point...although I do check PTP reviews more than anything else. bwood has the most concise, spoiler-free first looks ever, and our leader Longo sees everything (while I disagree with both a lot, I know where they're coming from and it helps).
13. "Zoller Sietz is a great critic, and a great follow on Twitter too..." In response to Reply # 0
I also read a lot of A.O. Scott (New York Times) and Wesley Morris (Grantland, formerly Boston Globe). Being from the Boston area, I used to read Morris regularly when he was with the Globe. (He won a Pulitzer during that stretch.) He seems to have more freedom now at Grantland, so most of his "reviews" are like long essays. Even when I disagree with him, he's almost always a great read.
I'm a casual reader of The Dissolve and generally find them to have pretty solid output, but I don't visit their site very regularly.
As far as actual publications go, FilmComment is by far the best around IMO. There are only 6 issues a year, but almost every one is packed with interesting stuff and really good writing. It skews to somewhat high-brow shit, but not exclusively (this month Bertrand Bonello's 'Saint Laurent' is on the cover and the month before was 'What We Do in the Shadows', but the three before that were for Interstellar, Gone Girl, and Boyhood.)