Matt Taibbi's recent piece on Michele Bachmann is giving the City Pages (Twin Cities) staff a case of deja vu.
"Film critics and scholars have a tumultuous relationship with a system that is meant to help guide readers but may also encourage some to skip the review entirely," the Wall Street Journal reports in a story on the ubiquitous star system. Boston Phoenix critic Gerald Peary, who is also the director of an upcoming documentary on film criticism, tells the Journal that he's required to hand out stars -- but he doesn't like it. "The apple has been bitten by everybody, and it's a rotten apple," Peary says. But Las Vegas Weekly critic Mike D'Angelo says he likes the system, especially when approaching a film as a fan. "I prefer that critics use some sort of scale, personally, because I don't want to know much about a movie before seeing it," D'Angelo says.
Gerald Peary, who has been a critic for more 30 years, celebrated his career last night with a special screening of his three favorite films at a Cambridge theater. To mark that occasion, he spoke with BU Daily about how film criticism has changed over the years, his film-crit documentary For the Love of Movies: The Story of American Film Criticism, and the difference between reviewing and criticism. "Reviewing is the basic lunch bucket job that everybody does, which is consumer reporting," Peary says. "But what a critic does in addition is contextualize the movie in terms of history, politics, a filmmaker's career, and genre. A film critic sees the movie as just a starting point for a more general discussion."