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Saturday, March 29, 2008


Posted By on Sat, Mar 29, 2008 at 10:48 AM

Matt Zoller Seitz, a contributing critic for the New York Times (he reviewed "Shotgun Stories" this week in the Times) writes on his blog,

"It's clear that the newspaper business no longer considers it necessary or even desirable to employ enough critics to really cover a local big-city film scene, or even to provide a locally-anchored voice on movies. The thinking seems to be, "Well, movies are an international medium, so why do we need local critics? Let's just run wire copy." . . . One could argue, I suppose, that the explosion of web-based criticism will pick up the slack -- and speaking only for myself, I find these days that I'm more likely to find lively writing and original viewpoints on blogs than in print outlets.

"At the same time, though, it's important to acknowledge that the idea of criticism-as-profession (as opposed to vocation or hobby) has a lot of merit. There's no way that a blogger who isn't independently wealthy can cover the full spectrum of current releases as diligently as somebody who's getting paid to do it, much less be able to get newsworthy film people on the phone for thinkpieces, features, obituaries and the like, or cover local, regional, national or international film festivals, as film critics for large and even medium-sized papers have traditionally been encouraged to do (depending on the outlet).

"What we're seeing here is the passing of a notable and vibrant phase of movie writing. It'll be replaced by something else, yes, but something very different.  I think we're fast approaching the point where criticism will become, for the most part, a devotion rather than a job."



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