Has the Web killed movie criticism?
There’s an amusing article in Variety today marking the tenth (or so) anniversary of the rise to prominence of movie fanboy sites like Ain’t It Cool News and Dark Horizons, an article that notes the uneasy detente between the sites and the film industry. I’m not sure about the article’s historical accuracy (wasn’t Film Threat a magazine for years before it was a a supposedly grass-roots website?), but it raises an interesting suggestion: that these sites have all but supplanted traditional film criticism. That’s a questionable proposition even to AICN’s Harry Knowles, who quips: “I get a lot of letters from readers who say, ‘You’re the only filmcritic who has my voice.’ Which I assume means illiterate, uneducated,Southern, semi-virginal….” (Eww, I don’t even want to know what he means by “semi-virginal.”) On the other hand, Film Threat’s Chris Gore boasts, ”Film criticism is effectively dead. I would love totake credit for killing it with my badly written reviews, but it wasthe blogs and audiences that did it. Audiences really democratized filmreviewing on the Internet.”
What say you, PopWatchers? Is traditional film criticism dead? Do credentials matter anymore when it comes to reviewing movies? Are there Web-only film critics and fan-run sites you trust more than establishment movie critics and traditional outlets?