Review of the Reviewers

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Not that sympathetic to the opinions of Palatinate’s own film critics? If so, cast your eyes on our very ‘meta’ run-down that puts in the spotlight some of the movie industry’s most discerning professional pundits. Of course, there is no such thing as a ‘correct’ review or reviewer. Neither, to be honest, are any of our choices as pre-eminent as the late, great Roger Ebert. However, all the commentators given below, in their own unique ways, always provoke an opinion from even the most casual observer of the ‘silver screen’.

Mark Kermode

You’ve seen him on BBC News. You’ve heard him on Radio Five. You might have even read his evaluations in the Observer. Mark Kermode is undoubtedly the UK press’ foremost figure in film. Is he the best? That’s obviously for you to decide. ‘The Movie Doctor’, as he is sometimes known, has a somewhat unhealthy infatuation with The Exorcist – ‘the best film ever made’. He nearly self-combusted when arguing about Mamma Mia – so bad it’s good, apparently. Nevertheless, the rapport he has with his co-presenter on Radio Five, Simon Mayo, makes for some brilliantly insightful discussions. He is also very firm in his opinions (last week he got into a typically tenacious twitter spat with Danny Dyer) and is able to attract the highest calibre of guests to his shows, even when they’re not plugging their latest flick. Kevin Spacey, might have jokily complained that Kermode overuses the term ‘masterpiece’ on one such occasion, but it is clear the critic has earnt the respect, albeit not love, of many people.

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Manohla Dargis

Despite not being a household name in the UK, this writer has huge standing in the US. Her CV speaks for itself. She was a former film editor at the LA Weekly, before becoming chief film critic for the LA Times. Now, as co-chief critic of the New York Times, she has been described as the ‘Movie Killer’. Former colleague Patrick Goldstein has even suggested ‘it’s an open secret’ that no one in Hollywood wants her to review their films. This is not a surprising revelation when she has often displayed a fervent distaste for any picture that could be described as ‘Oscar bait’. Usually revered titles such as The Reader and The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas have both been, to put it mildly, given the thumbs down. Regularly concocting scathing witticisms that have earnt her a nomination for the Pulitzer Prize for Criticism, Dargis is a film critic whose fearsome reputation is second to none.

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Chris Stuckmann

To put it simply, many millennials can’t be bothered to pick up the latest Empire or Total Film magazines. So, many will ask, where does everyone go once the press embargos eventually lift? An increasingly common answer is YouTube and one man who has made the most of the social media revolution is Jeremy Jahns. With one million YouTube subscribers to his channel, he is undoubtedly a very influential figure and it is obvious why the individual has amassed such high numbers. Not constrained by the niceties of print media and able to employ some slick video editing, Jahns has the opportunity to eviscerate any film that comes his way in a highly destructive manner. His attack on the latest skew of Fantastic Four was filled with such cutting rhetoric that it was quickly trending on Twitter. Having just partnered with another YouTube channel named Screen Junkies (the team that creates those scarily astute ‘Honest Trailers’) Jahns is on the up and a person to watch for the future.

All images courtesy of YouTube.

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