Here’s something appreciators and students of film history will want to catch this week: For the Love of Movies: The Story of American Film Criticism, playing Thursday, February 18 at 8pm, with director Gerald Peary in attendance.
As the art of film criticism continues to disappear from the pages of our daily newspapers, Boston Phoenix critic Gerald Peary decided to document the history of the craft in For the Love of Movies. The result is an insider’s view of the critics’ profession, with commentary from America’s best-regarded reviewers, including Roger Ebert (Chicago Sun-Times), A.O. Scott (New York Times), Lisa Schwarzbaum (Entertainment Weekly) and Kenneth Turan (Los Angeles Times). We also hear from young, articulate, internet voices, including Harry Knowles (Aintitcool.com) and Karina Longworth (Spout.com). From the raw beginnings of criticism before The Birth of a Nation to the incendiary Pauline Kael-Andrew Sarris debates of the 1960s and 70s, to the battle today between youthful on-liners and the print establishment, For the Love of Movies motivates audiences to consider reviews by the best American critics as a key component in watching movies in a deeper, more thoughtful way. Narrated by Academy Award nominee Patricia Clarkson (Pieces of April).
Bill White’s entire review at Seattle PostGlobe is worth reading (especially for the bit about how good reviews can’t be cut into pull quotes for advertising…cough), but here’s a snippet: “Gerald Peary crunches a century of film criticism into 81 minutes, capturing the essence of the curve that began as a scheme to induce studios to advertise their movies in the newspapers and ended in the cacophony of uninformed opinion. … it exceeded all expectations…. the film is bursting with facts that will be new to many.”