Sunday, 13 April 2008

Critical fraternity

Everybody's got their own favourite critic(s). I love reading Philip French in The Observer because you learn stuff, not just about the film in question but how it relates to art, culture, history, literature and, of course, cinema in general. French has been doing it for 31 years and yet he still retains his enthusiasm, passion and love for cinema, despite seeing every film on release week in week out, which, let's face it, isn't as good as it sounds. I used to love Anthony Lane when he wrote for the Independent Of Sunday and try to follow him in The New Yorker, but I know he's not everyone's cup of tea. He's a smart alec sure, more prone to stick the knife in than to praise, but there's no denying he's a hugely entertaining writer. I'm also fond of The New York Times' Manohla Dargis who's incredibly smart and immensely readable. And then there's Roger Ebert who's probably the most famous film critic in the world, not least because his syndicated TV show with its catchy "thumbs up" scoring method. Ebert's been battling cancer for a while now and had to dramatically cut back on his workload as a result. He's saying goodbye to TV but will continue to write. In a time when US critics are being laid off at an alarming rate, it's good to have him back.

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