What’s the purpose? Are they really necessary?
Disclaimer: I’m not trolling. My focus is not with electronic medium, but mainly concerned with print- the dying, crawling-on-its-last-leg newspaper media.
With all the budget cuts, staff layoffs and (literally) shrinking pages and readership, one would find it odd that there’s always a quarter page available for a review of Pirates of the Carribean IX, Kung Fu Panda 2 or Fast & The Furious Part VI. It’s not like there’s a shortage of films, or film topics for the staff critic to write about. If the paper prints a press release promo article, instead of a ‘review’, that would be considered more logical since adverts pay the bills. Sometimes I wondered if producers or theater chains pay newspapers to have reviews (no matter if it’s favorable or not) written on behalf of their new releases. I doubt a professional review of The Avengers, Die Hard or Batman Dark Knight will have any influence or would make any difference to the fan base of these blockbusters, or to any regular joes in general.
Perhaps editors and owners who call the shots are just trying to maintain artistic integrity of their entertainment section. Still, i.m.o. that space, and the readers would be better served with articles promoting other less commercial films, foreign releases, independent works or features on new talents. Yawn, wishful thinking…
Thoughts? Opinions? Defense?
“Critic-proof”, yeah. Samuel L. Jackson still managed to wax pretty catty on Twitter about some of the negative reviews The Avengers got, though.
^^Seriously? Even though the film has broken box office records almost everywhere?
Yup. In response to A.O. Scott’s review in the NY Times, he tweeted:
“#Avengers fans,NY Times critic AO Scott needs a new job! Let’s help him find one!”
“My hat and I demand to be taken seriously!”
Naw . . . he’s all Siri and v-neck sweaters and gazpacho now. ;)
I agree OP.
I do think that newspaper art/entertainment sections give a decent amount of press to less commercial films, foreign releases, independent works or features on new talents than before. At least in my area. They definitely have more in-depth articles about said works.
Not entirely redundant but yes, largely redundant. I’ve been writing reviews for these little sites for a while now, and over a year ago the policy changed – suddenly no guests were allowed to join me at screenings and all reviews could only be posted on the film’s release date in my respective city. My guess is that the film companies started to get pissed off at bad press being created by the, essentially, peons who just write about movies online. They redrafted the agreement so that our function could only be to act as a free press arm for their films. Most of the time this doesn’t bother me, because I only choose to review the films I’m interested in, and those are generally independent, or foreign, or auteur-centric. If I can help it. In the recent past I’ve had opportunities to review Mission Impossible 4 and Avengers, which was very strange, but I welcomed the opportunity since I never review big budget films. But even walking into that second review (Avengers), the novelty wore off and it became quite painful to realize that all I was doing was creating more free press.
Miasma, are you being discouraged from writing negative reviews?
^Not in any official capacity. But I did not cease to notice that the studios exerted a more total level of control over the press that circulated around their films.
did not *fail to notice
“Still, i.m.o. that space, and the readers would be better served with articles promoting other less commercial films, foreign releases, independent works or features on new talents.”
I have to disagree with this. And this is a tendency that I see a lot on Mubi – the idea of promoting lesser known works is paramount to anything else. While I agree that smaller films need a boost and any presence in the spotlight is helpful, that shouldn’t be the job of a newspaper (or film reviewers). I have no problem with newspapers advertising big films nor do I have problems with reviewers reviewing big films. I think I stated recently in another thread that I pay more attention to reviews of big movies than I do of smaller movies. This is because so many big movies are such crap that I’ll really only go see a giant blockbuster if the reviews are stellar. A recent example of this was last year’s Rise of the Planet of the Apes. I had no interest in seeing it but the reviews were surprisingly very positive and so I went and saw it. And I enjoyed it.
For smaller films, if they look interesting to me, I’ll go see it regardless of the reviews (however it really depends on the content of the reviews and why they like/don’t like a particular film – for instance I didn’t go see Elles not just because of the negative reviews but specifically what in the reviews they were saying).
My feeling is, if you question why a big film needs to be reviewed, you’re essentially saying all reviews are there only to be used as free press for the films. And while there is definitely a truth in that, I don’t believe that’s the sole function of a reviewer or critic.
Reviews of blockbusters help me decide whether it’s worth seeing them, even if they’re sequels, most sequels don’t have the same creative team.
I’ve done reviews online on my web site for the last ten years or so, but lately I’ve been disinclined to write much about the latest blockbusters – I found I was just saying the same thing over and over, because they’re so generic. These days I generally only do reviews of films that I think are noteworthy and deserve a recommendation – even though it can be a lot more fun trashing something you despise :)
Occasionally I’ll do a review of a film I disliked if it’s a big name film that’s getting what I feel is an inordinate amount of praise elsewhere, like The Artist.