Film Criticism?

This post is pretty much off-the-cuff, though it’s definitely something that I’ve been thinking about for a while now, and partially because of a recent discussion at Film Junk. I’m curious what everyone thinks about the subject.

Anyways, film criticism. Lately I’ve been wondering what the “job” of a film critic is to the majority of people. Is it…

a) To inform people what films they should watch or avoid
b) To expound in detail on a particular film
c) A combination of the two

I think, for the most part, that my film reviews have fallen into the last category. Along with that, toss in the factor of how much information (spoilers) should be included in the review. With option a) there would typically not be many, because most people haven’t seen the film yet, with option b) people have seen the film and want to discuss it further.

So I was thinking it might make more sense to end up writing two seperate reviews of the film. The first would be reduced to the bare essentials (synopsis, personal take, initial reaction, etc.) and the second would be a more indepth discussion about the film including spoilers.

What do you look for in reviews typically?

2 Responses

  1. In many of my reviews, I will occasionally give away spoilers, because it is hard to explain a film without giving away necessary plot details. If you really want a review, you should be prepared to read spoilers. Unless if you can throw words around like Roger Ebert and sound smart, it’s pretty hard to criticize anything without giving spoilers away. I like to let people know my opinion of a film but still want people to tell of their opinions. I hate it when critics side with each other so occasionally I’ll be the one to jump off of the bandwagon and look at why the films are actually good (I think I’m the only film reviewer that likes “Strange Wilderness.”)

  2. I find the reviews in general tend to have mild to really big spoilers, so I don’t usually read reviews until after I have seen a film.

    Spoilers drive me crazy, which is one of the reasons I started writing about film, and my reviews are always spoiler free and that isn’t easy.

    There are such different level of spoilers as well, but I think things other than twist endings are spoiler. For example, if someone dies – you usually aren’t expecting that. If one of the characters lies, two times, etc that would be a spoiler too. I think a lot of trailers give away way to much of a film. It’s a fine line to walk which is enough info and which is too much. But, I think it comes down to context, no content.

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