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March 21, 2008


Christopher Campbell

Obviously they should at least have a paragraph length preview, if they aren't going to bother to see it and review it. Many city papers like the Post should have something about every film that hits the city that week.

But still, I don't mind that a lot of critics don't review docs, because most just don't know how. Look at any doc on Rotten Tomatoes, and it likely has a great score, only because many critics think any doc that gives them some kind of info is a good doc. It's beneficial for docs, in that it showcases them, and in a way most professionally made docs are worthy of view to an extent, particularly if, yes, they supply some interesting information or story. But I'll take a critic who can actually look at a documentary critically any day, and that's a rarity. And I don't mean judge the politics or the message of the film. I mean discussing the structure, the success of the thesis, and/or any other such constructive review of the film's quality as a film.

AJ Schnack

Ah, Christopher, you're just saying that to make me happy.

You're entirely right, of course. But, I still find it to be shocking to see the lead film critic at a major NYC daily brush off the fact that his paper never reviewed an Oscar winning film. Granted, they'd probably have given it to Kyle Smith, who seems to pounce on anything that even has a whiff of trouble for the Bush administration, but still...

Christopher Campbell

Yeah, that's my least favorite thing about doc reviews. They're often only given a long review if a political doc. And then it's either favorable or negative depending on the politics of the critic. It is also upsetting that if I harshly criticize a left-leaning Iraq War doc, or especially a Michael Moore movie, then I'll receive comments saying I'm too right-wing. Or vice versa in the case of the opposite. So, even when you do the job correctly, readers don't always know.

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