Who are the best film critics?

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  • Daniel Montgomery
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    #192018

    It’s been a while since I’ve read film criticism regularly. I try to avoid reviews before I see a movie. I’ll check the MetaCritic score for a general idea of the critical consensus, but if I read or listen to too many ahead of time I end up seeing a movie through that filter.

    The death of Roger Ebert took me out of the habit of reading reviews, though I do enjoy audio and video criticism like The Guardian Film Show and NPR’s Pop Culture Happy Hour (not quite as formal, but always thoughtful on both film and TV, and represents broad points of view). There’s a YouTuber called Rantasmo who does great, pithy, witty queer criticism of everything from the serious to the silly.

    There’s also Honest Movie Trailer, which is mainly for laughs, but with their parodies is often quite a sturdy formal, visual, stylistic analysis.

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    ETPhoneHome
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    #192020

    I like A.O. Scott, even when I don’t agree with him. It’s not at the Roger Ebert level of course, where I liked his reviews ESPECIALLY when I disagreed with them, because it offered an alternate perspective I may not have considered. But he’s articulate, and I genuinely enjoy reading his reviews.

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    M H
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    #192021

    I am a big fan of Wesley Morris. He won a Pulitzer a few years ago at the Boston Globe and is now at Grantland.

    Anthony Lane, at The New Yorker, is certainly among the best.  

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    Tye-Grr
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    #192022

    Chris Stuckmann on YouTube is someone I watch regularly because his opinions very often lineup with my own and I really like the passion with which he talks about movies (and he also sometimes does really long videos where he analyzes a film he really likes or finds fascinating, such as ‘Drive’, ‘Signs’, and  ‘Enemy’, and he gets really in-depth). 

    Jeremy Jahns is another (more popular) YouTube video critic, and I watch his videos too, but his skew more towards fun and are less in-depth than what Stuckmann offers. He prides himself on being the “everyday guy” critic who doesn’t take it super seriously and just gives his honest opinion, and I find that to be a refreshing counter-point.   

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    Daniel Montgomery
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    #192023

    I like A.O. Scott, even when I don’t agree with him. It’s not at the Roger Ebert level of course, where I liked his reviews ESPECIALLY when I disagreed with them, because it offered an alternate perspective I may not have considered. But he’s articulate, and I genuinely enjoy reading his reviews.

    I loved Scott and Michael Phillips doing “At the Movies” at the end of its run. That was my second favorite combo on the show, after Siskel & Ebert of course. But I’m guessing their style was too sober and civil to make good TV. The irony is that’s what made them good TV for me. It’s nice to hear people discuss things you care about without it feeling like a knock-down drag-out fight.

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    FilmGuy619
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    #192024

    I like Grace Randolph from the web show Beyond The Trailer. Even whenever I disagree with her on certain areas, like for reviews of movies I liked but she didn’t, she is very on point. 

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    Halo_Insider
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    #192025

    I loved just about everyone involved with The Dissolve, a chicago-based film site which sadly was shut down just a month or two ago. Keith Phipps, Scott Tobias, Tasha Robinson, Genevieve Koski, Charles Bramseco, Noel Murray, and especially Nathan Rabin were all stand-out writers. I wish them well.

    There’s also Mike D’Angelo, who was a contributor there and who runs his own website. He can be a cranky guy who is often strict about grades, but he’s also so precise with what pleases and displeases him about films that it can be refreshing to read him.

    After The Dissolve shut down, I decided to dive into the Filmspotting podcast, starring two guys named Adam Kempenaar and Josh Larsen. They’re two very affable guys who give very detailed analysis on film, and have been a blast to listen to. Also, since they’re also based in Chicago, they tend to get monthly visits from Michael Phillips, which is often a treat. Scott Tobias also tends to show up with Phillips for their year-end Best of the Year shows. Some of the Dissolve writers guest-hosted the last few episodes to talk about their experience running the site, too.

    And then there’s the Fighting in the War Room podcast with David Ehrlich, Matt Patches, Katey Rich, and Da7e Gonzalez, which can be a lot of fun when Ehrlich isn’t acting too prickly around superhero films.

    I used to listen to Spill.com all the time when it was up and running. Before I started reading The Dissolve, it was my favorite place for criticism. Unfortunately, it was also shut down in 2013. Most of the contributors have gone their separate ways to create other websites (Korey Martin and Martin Thomas on Double Toasted; Chris Cox on oneofus.net), but I haven’t kept up with them quite as much (though I do venture to the former here or there).

     

    Oh, and yes, yes, yes to Pop Culture Happy Hour.

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    CanadianFan
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    #192026

    ^^ 100%.

    Thedissolve was my go-to (RIP). I have been listening to Filmspotting for a few years now, and it is quite excellent, even if they are apathetic about the Oscars. 

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    ATadPolish
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    #192027

    Mark Kermode who’s the chief film critic for The Observer and co-hosts the film review show on BBC Radio 5, his reviews are insightful whilst entertaining. Peter Bradshaw of The Guardian is also quite good but his reviews are less entertaining than Kermode’s so in term’s of the UK i’d say Kermode is the best film critic.  

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    AMG
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    #192028

    Peter Bradshaw (The Guardian)
    Danny Leigh (The BBC’s Film Programme)
    Claudia Winkleman (The BBC’s Film Programme) 
    Robbie Collin (The Telegraph)
    Kate Muir (The Times) 

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    Aunt Peg
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    #192029

    I have most of the writers for Film Comment & Sight and Sound, the only two film magazines I read now.

    Most of the critics I grew up with reading are now dead, some of them having written for those two magazines, along with Films & Filming, American Film & Films Illustrated.

    I also like the reviewers who write for Variety & The Hollywood Reporter – they are good value with reliable assessments. 

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    Evergreen
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    #192030

    I like Tony Macklin because he is hardass and I tend to agree with him a quite a bit but not all the time. For instance here’s some of his ratings

    Inside Out 3/5
    Twelve Years A Slave 2.5/5 
    Imitation Game 2.0/5
    Birdman 2.0/5
    Whiplash 4.0/5
    Gone girl 2.0/5
    Boyhood 2.0/5
    Wolf of Wall Street 3.5/5
    Captain Phillips 3.5/5
    Her 2.0/5 ( I don’t agree)
    Inside Llewyn Davis 4.0/5
    Argo 2.5/5 
    The King’s Speech 3.5/5
     

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    drenja
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    #192031

    I watch Chriss Stucmann, Schmoes and Jeremy Jahns on regular basis and i sometimes read Peter Travers. I prefer Sucmann though.

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    KyleBailey
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    #192032

    I have so many. I find myself agreeing with Richard Roeper the most. I think he is the most fair when it comes to reviewing popcorn movies. I love Peter Travers, I think he is very stern when it comes to loving/hating a movie and I enjoy his webseries on Rolling Stone’s website. Christy Lemire is a great one on What the Flick?! on youtube and the last At the Movies host for the PBS show in 2011. I liked A.O. on At the Movies but I never find myself really enjoying his written reviews. I still love to hear what Leonard Maltin thinks about a movie. As much as I had issues with his placement on At the Movies, Ben Mankiewicz has really improved on What the Flick?! I think he has found the right people to review movies with and he also is great when not under the fear of a network and uncensored. There are a lot of non critics that I enjoy either listening or reading their reviews like Rotten Tomatoes’ Matt Atchity and Grae Drake from Rotten Tomatoes and I love hearing what pundits like Anne Thompson and Sasha Stone thought on their podcasts 

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    Evergreen
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    #192033

    besides Macklin, I like plenty of other critics such as Schmoes, Stuckmann, Jahns, Whattheflick, Tom chatalbash, Neumaier, Lumenick, Travers, Roeper, Rodriguez, Berardinelli, Puig, Pais, Robbie Collin, Dennis Schwartz, etc.
     

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