Resources for the Beginning Movie Critic

I’ve only been at this film writing thing for about a year now, but even in so short of a time, I’ve learned a lot. I thought I’d share some of the resources I used over the year for inspiration and information.

  • Better Living Through Criticism by A.O. Scott — This fantastic book by the New York Times film critic is an excellent description of a critic’s role in modern society and what their purpose ought to be.
  • Nobody’s Perfect by Anthony Lane — This recommendation is a bit tricky, because I’m not necessarily saying you need to read this specific book.  I am however saying that you should follow a certain critic, and study the way they use their voice.  Seeing how someone else communicates their ideas will work wonders for helping you communicate your own.
  • DK’s The Movie Book — This is a book that gives a fascinating recount of the history of film and its shifting role from petty amusement to cultural touchstone.
  • Reading the Silver Screen by Thomas Foster: This is a fantastic book, especially for someone who wants to write about movies that covers basically every major aspect of the visual language.  Witty and entertaining at every turn, this book is a joy to read as well as informative.

If you’re someone who watches a lot of YouTube, the channels you frequent are just as important as what you read.

Some Fantastic Youtube Channels:

Chris Stuckmann: Stuckmann is one of the greatest video reviewers on youtube.  He always crafts an effective, well rounded review, and his experience with film production lends his reviewing a certain expertise unseen elsewhere.

ScreenJunkies/ScreenJunkies News: A fantastic team of writers, commentators, producers, etc… screen junkies is a movie channel that combines commercial professionalism with a signature amateur unpredictability.  Their features include all manner of things; from their infamous “Honest Trailers” to intense movie debates, to breaking news in the movie industry.

Lessons From the Screenplay: One of the most intelligent film examination channels i’ve ever encountered, Michael of LFTS breaks down story structure, and plot devices from a film’s original form in an extremely engaging manner.

Cinemawins: What may have started as a playful jab at Cinemasins has become something almost as popular.  Each week Cinemawins releases a video that highlights everything that is great about a movie.  While a good critic should be able to pick out a film’s failures, this overwhelmingly positive lens is never a bad way to see film.  Plus, these videos just make you feel good inside.

Well that’s it for now.  I hope these resources can be to your benefit.  Do you have any great resources that I missed?  Tell me about them in the comments?

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