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I just saw it and boy does it...
318

What are the best film magazines out there?
Topic by: ahogue
Posted: September 13, 2005 - 11:11 AM PDT
Last Reply: September 19, 2005 - 10:48 AM PDT

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author topic: What are the best film magazines out there?
ahogue
post #1  on September 13, 2005 - 11:11 AM PDT  
There are people on this board who really keep an eye on what's going on in cinema now. I've come to feel that someone with opinions as strong as mine probably should follow suit, but I don't really know what the best resources are. And I'm lazy, too.

Of course I've thumbed through the usual journals at the bookstore from time to time, but none of them have honestly struck me as very useful. After reading in one of the big journals a jargon-laden article arguing that Pulp Fiction was a bad film because it didn't tell the audience that violence was bad (but with a lot of completely unnecessary obfuscations to make the point seem interesting and the author smart), I just threw up my hands and decided I didn't need to know.

But now I'm thinking maybe there is a film magazine or website out there for me. And so, for the big time cineastes around here:

If you had to choose one film-related print periodical, what would it be?

If you had to choose, say, three websites, what would they be?

Who has the best film reviews (this one can include newpapers if you so desire)?

For that matter, who do you consider the most reliable critics to be?

And, for all of the above, why?
Eoliano
post #2  on September 13, 2005 - 12:44 PM PDT  
> If you had to choose one film-related print periodical, what would it be?

The problem with finding one film magazine that suits your tastes and intellectual needs is that it probably doesn't exist. What I usually do is read what interests me from various sources, be it Cineaste, Sight and Sound, Film Comment, or Film Quarterly. Unfortunately, Cahiers du cinéma, as far as I've been able to tell, no longer publishes in English, although some of their archived articles are available online, it was, once upon a time, one of the great film publications.

> If you had to choose, say, three websites, what would they be?

Here is an huge list of online and print film magazines, journals and general film sites covering just about every possible angle, although I noticed that it has several blind spots, and is missing some excellent online resources that I enjoy reading like Midnight Eye, Senses of Cinema and Images, among others.

> Who has the best film reviews (this one can include newpapers if you so desire)?

> For that matter, who do you consider the most reliable critics to be?

J. Hoberman, Derek Malcolm, Jonathan Rosenbaum, Andrew Sarris, Amy Taubin and David Thompson, are some of the critics I enjoy reading, although I don't always agree with them any more than I agreed with the likes of Manny Farber or the late Pauline Kael.
underdog
post #3  on September 13, 2005 - 1:11 PM PDT  
I can't really add much to Eoliano's list above, except to say if I had to choose, and I usually do for budgetary reasons, I'd pick Sight and Sound and then Film Comment in that order. S&S has a Euro-Brit slant to it but not in a real snobby way, and I really like their commentary, reviews and interviews. Film Comment gets a little too pretentious for me sometimes, but it's still a very valuable resource.

I also read: Filmmaker Magazine, the Independent Film and Video Monthly, and, I'm not ashamed to admit, Premiere Magazine - which as the more mainstream mags go is pretty solid, with some good writers and editors aboard. Sometimes they get too commercial and fluffy, but mostly it's an enjoyable read.
ahogue
post #4  on September 13, 2005 - 1:19 PM PDT  
Thanks, Eo. I have thought about subscribing to Sight and Sound because their writers seem to keep their heads fairly well screwed on without being banal. But a subscription costs 100 american smackers! That's pretty steep.

How would you say the magazines on your list differ from each other in general? Or is any accurate generalization hopeless?
ahogue
post #5  on September 13, 2005 - 1:23 PM PDT  
> On September 13, 2005 - 1:11 PM PDT underdog wrote:
> ---------------------------------
> S&S has a Euro-Brit slant to it but not in a real snobby way, and I really like their commentary, reviews and interviews. Film Comment gets a little too pretentious for me sometimes, but it's still a very valuable resource.

> ---------------------------------

Thanks, Underdog, this confirms my impressions. I am pretty sure that the terrible article on Pulp Fiction came from Film Comment, so it may not be right for me.
underdog
post #6  on September 13, 2005 - 1:30 PM PDT  
> On September 13, 2005 - 1:23 PM PDT ahogue wrote:
> ---------------------------------
>
> Thanks, Underdog, this confirms my impressions. I am pretty sure that the terrible article on Pulp Fiction came from Film Comment, so it may not be right for me.
> ---------------------------------

Come to think of it, I think that was indeed Film Comment. I read that, too, and didn't read the magazine again for a year. Still, worth an occasional read.

And yeah, S&S is expensive. I just buy it a couple of times a year. Sometimes they give out free gifts in the newsstand editions - a screenplay or something.
Eoliano
post #7  on September 13, 2005 - 1:34 PM PDT  
> Sound because their writers seem to keep their heads fairly well screwed on without being banal. But a subscription costs 100 american smackers! That's pretty steep.

My subscription days are over, so my work-around is to go to Borders, grab a stack of mags, just read what interests me, and that's that, though unlike most browsers, I return them to the bin.

> How would you say the magazines on your list differ from each other in general? Or is any accurate generalization hopeless?

The latter, some stuff, as underdog stated, is fluff, while some are either didactic or overly political for my taste, but I usually find a few worthwhile articles, and of course, I always scan the reviews.
ahogue
post #8  on September 13, 2005 - 4:08 PM PDT  
> On September 13, 2005 - 1:30 PM PDT underdog wrote:
> ---------------------------------
> Come to think of it, I think that was indeed Film Comment. I read that, too, and didn't read the magazine again for a year. Still, worth an occasional read.
> ---------------------------------

Ah-ha! So it wasn't just me. I was starting to think I was crazy.

dpowers
post #9  on September 14, 2005 - 8:50 AM PDT  
i read film comment and skim the greencine daily blog (which i watched grow up). following links and references from those two is enough extra. i like both of them because they give (from different perspectives) pretty good overviews of the hills and valleys in both film and film crit. yes i've read atrociously pompous articles in FC, and i've liked them, because i'm sadistic, and watching my language get tortured is very satisfying.
ahogue
post #10  on September 14, 2005 - 9:17 AM PDT  
> On September 14, 2005 - 8:50 AM PDT dpowers wrote:
> ---------------------------------
> i read film comment and skim the greencine daily blog (which i watched grow up). following links and references from those two is enough extra.
> ---------------------------------

I have found the blog to be a little hard to follow sometimes. Just so many links.

I took another look, though, and that made my day: Slavoj Zizek has his own documentary coming out. How about that! Guess he's up there with Chomsky and Jung now.

Anyway, how many theorists (and I mean that in the humanities sense) have snagged their own feature documentaries? I know there must be some I'm forgetting right now.

I'd say my favorite critic is Anthony Lane. Apart from being a good writer, I almost always agree with him.
ahogue
post #11  on September 14, 2005 - 9:24 AM PDT  
> On September 13, 2005 - 1:34 PM PDT Eoliano wrote:
> ---------------------------------

> My subscription days are over, so my work-around is to go to Borders, grab a stack of mags, just read what interests me, and that's that, though unlike most browsers, I return them to the bin.

> ---------------------------------

Hey, periodical piracy is not cool.
Eoliano
post #12  on September 14, 2005 - 9:53 AM PDT  
> yes i've read atrociously pompous articles in FC, and i've liked them, because i'm sadistic, and watching my language get tortured is very satisfying.

The same goes for Cineaste, as well.

> I have found the blog to be a little hard to follow sometimes. Just so many links.

The trick is to avoid the GreenCine actor/director/writer links, but I do sympathize, there are just so many links that the eye can tolerate on one page, so just snip a few and everything will be fine.

> Slavoj Zizek has his own documentary coming out. How about that! Guess he's up there with Chomsky and Jung now.

Are Zizek and Chomsky really up there with Jung?

> I'd say my favorite critic is Anthony Lane. Apart from being a good writer, I almost always agree with him.

I enjoy reading Lane too, but couldn't possibly agree with him all the time, however, I frequently disagree with David Denby though I'd rather be disagreeing with Pauline Kael.

> Hey, periodical piracy is not cool.

That's not piracy, it's frugal, besides, it's no different than browsing magazines at my local library, although periodically, I am a pirate, but that's another story.
ahogue
post #13  on September 14, 2005 - 12:15 PM PDT  
> On September 14, 2005 - 9:53 AM PDT Eoliano wrote:
> ---------------------------------
> > Slavoj Zizek has his own documentary coming out. How about that! Guess he's up there with Chomsky and Jung now.
>
> Are Zizek and Chomsky really up there with Jung?

Now that depends who you ask. I'd say Chomsky certainly is for his work in linguistics, although of course he never would have got his own movies if he weren't also an outspoken anarchist.

Zizek, I don't know. I think he's a good writer and I kind of like him, but I don't think much of the field he works in.


> > I'd say my favorite critic is Anthony Lane. Apart from being a good writer, I almost always agree with him.
>
> I enjoy reading Lane too, but couldn't possibly agree with him all the time, however, I frequently disagree with David Denby though I'd rather be disagreeing with Pauline Kael.

Yeah, I feel the same way. Denby really irritates me when I disagree with him, which is not the case with many other good critics. I think he has a whiff of elitism which gets to me sometimes.
vexkitten
post #14  on September 14, 2005 - 1:42 PM PDT  
> On September 14, 2005 - 9:53 AM PDT Eoliano wrote:
> ---------------------------------
> > yes i've read atrociously pompous articles in FC, and i've liked them, because i'm sadistic, and watching my language get tortured is very satisfying.
>
That's why I more-or-less gave up on heavy academic film criticism.

Red-flag words include: mise-en-scene, heuristic, post-structuralist, ontological...recherche was very popular a few years back.

Does anyone else find the writers for the alternative weeklies unreadable? Do they all seem to be the same person, regardless of geographic location? And when are they going to retire those cringeworthy punning titles? (The editors may be to blame here.)

This post has made me realize how seldom I now read these publications, probably because I'm online so often. I do pick them up if they catch my eye at the library, though.

As for critics, Lane is funny. Occasionally too glib and clever; but then again, the movies often deserve it. He recently wrote a piece on vansihed writer Wheldon Keyes that surprised me. I agree with Edelstein fairly often. Stephanie Zacharech is an obvious Paulette (which is not to disparage the original) and tends to be contrarian.
And I look forward to Slate's annual Movie Club , if only to watch the fur fly. Suicide-bomber Armond White participated last year and it was fun to see, though he nearly derailed the whole thing by trying to brawl.


dpowers
post #15  on September 14, 2005 - 4:07 PM PDT  
after reading jonathan rosenbaum for a couple years, what i expected from movies - being up there on screen with the characters - sort of stopped. i got into a speculative thing. or maybe everything got a little surreal. once that started, it seemed other critics were usually right about things that didn't have a lot to do with the movie as i was going to experience it. so i basically said, as far as what i watch, if somebody says, "it's pretty good" and there isn't a lot of exploitative killing, i'll see it.

of course, as far as reading criticism, i'm not really trying to understand film. i'm trying to understand people through the stories we tell ourselves. reading film journals that service a fairly small % of humanity doesn't tell me as much as i want. it seems like most film critics need to get out more, anyway. the world is bigger than they usually imply in their writing.
pooja
post #16  on September 14, 2005 - 4:34 PM PDT  
> On September 13, 2005 - 11:11 AM PDT ahogue wrote:
> ---------------------------------
> What are the best film magazines out there?

Thanks to advances in video and digital technology, film magazines of all types are rapidly going the way of the phonograph... by the way, that guy should be using a changing bag...
Eoliano
post #17  on September 14, 2005 - 6:18 PM PDT  
Without my mise-en-place there wouldn't be any mise-en-scene!
pooja
post #18  on September 14, 2005 - 6:26 PM PDT  
Oh, you're just a cranky old mise-en-thrope, Uncle!
;-)
Eoliano
post #19  on September 14, 2005 - 6:42 PM PDT  
> Oh, you're just a cranky old mise-en-thrope, Uncle!

That's because I take a post-structuralist, heuristic approach to ontology...
pooja
post #20  on September 14, 2005 - 6:51 PM PDT  
You have to tell me again how your ontogeny recapitulates phyllo-dough-geny!
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