Friday, March 28, 2014

Week in review: 3/24 - 3/28

The great critic debate -- should critics write, or rather, write much more, about form? -- waged on in earnest this week. To briefly recap: Last week, music critic Ted Gioia published an invective against contemporary music journalism, decrying the lack of technological knowledge among writers more concerned with "lifestyle reporting" (nattering away about pop stars' salacious personal lives) than providing insight into or intelligently commenting upon the formal aspects of a song, how the thing is structured and actually made.

Gioia's screed resonanted with critics across multiple platforms, including film. A number of movie critics have chimed in, debating issues such as:

  • Is it important for a film critic to have a background in filmmaking?

  • How much of her review should a critic devote to a discussion of formal elements?

  • How relevant are a critic's emotional "feelings" about a film?

  • Even if a critic does believe she should devote more space in her review to an analysis of form, do readers want to read it?

It's a fascinating debate, and in particular, we thought Editor-in-Chief Matt Zoller Seitz's impassioned response was well worth the read. We've also got NYT's David Carr weighing in on the pressures journalists face to drive traffic to their sites, a relevant companion piece.

Below, you'll also find info on Disney President Anne Sweeney's successor (Sweeney is leaving to pursue her dream of TV directing; we're all for it.); a bittersweet obit on the late James Rebhorn, written by the deceased actor before he passed; the appointment of a pretty cool and eminently likable female director to Critics Week jury president; the first word on a beloved cartoon character's real-life, not fictionalized, origins story; a PR nightmare at the recently wrapped CinemaCon; and some great celebrity drawings that beg to be made into a line of T-shirts or displayed in ostentiously expensive frames.

Thoughts on our picks? Let us know what we missed in the comments below!

Please, Critics, Write about the Filmmaking,

Risks Abound as Reporters Play in Traffic, NYT

Disney Names Ben Sherwood as Anne Sweeney's Successor, The Hollywood Reporer

'Homeland' Actor James Rebhorn Wrote His Own Obituary, The Hollywood Reporter

Andrea Arnold Tapped Jury President of Critics Week's Grand Prize, Variety

Winnie the Pooh Origin Story Developing at RatPac, Variety

Theater Owners Chief: '12 Years a Slave' Was 'Too Intense' to Watch in Cinema, The Hollywood Reporter

 Agata Marszalek, Illustrator,

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