As self-ran blogs and online message boards continue to dominate pop culture conversations, one old adage seems more apt than ever: Everyone's a critic.
The days when new movies were reviewed exclusively by knowledgeable film scholars are gone. Anyone who knows how to navigate Wordpress can publish their written views about the latest art-house film, popcorn flick, or costume drama. And, chances are, somebody's going to read it.
The most frustrating thing about this online renaissance—aside from suffering ignorant comments from trolls—is the way it trivializes the grade-A essays and critiques penned by folks whose entire lives have been dedicated to cinema studies.
In our own humble ways, we operate this Pop Culture channel utilizing the fine examples left by the greatest women and men of film criticism, albeit without losing sight of the modern vibes of 21st century Internet methodologies. And by "the greatest," we're referring to The 25 Best Movie Critics of All Time. Anyone who takes cinema seriously is advised to read their work.
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Written by Matt Barone (@MBarone)
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25. David Edelstein
24. Kim Newman
23. Wesley Morris
22. Mike D'Angelo
21. Todd McCarthy
20. Glenn Kenny
19. Dana Stevens
18. Vincent Canby
17. Philip French
16. Dilys Powell
15. Lisa Schwarzbaum
14. Manny Farber
13. Janet Maslin
12. A.O. Scott
11. James Agee
10. Anthony Lane
9. François Truffaut
8. Manohla Dargis
Publications: Los Angeles Times, LA Weekly, The Village Voice, Film Comment, Sight and Sound, The New York Times
Read Reviews Here
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.