8. Manohla Dargis
Publications: Los Angeles Times, LA Weekly, The Village Voice, Film Comment, Sight and Sound, The New York Times
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You have to respect Manohla Dargis' anonymous gangster. Whereas every other movie critic on this countdown will gladly take pictures and go on camera to voice their opinions, the 50-something Dargis has enjoyed a respected, fruitful career without needing to put a widely-seen face to her byline.
Week in and week out, her learned, gorgeously written work enhances The New York Times Arts section, giving equal attention and excitement to films as diverse as Silver Linings Playbook and divisive as French writer-director Gaspar Noe's dizzying Enter the Void. Unlike most high-end critics, Dargis' name above a review of a genre film doesn't guarantee a wrongly slanted, probably disinterested point-of-view. For her, weirdo cinema has just as much potential as Oscar fare.