Tag Archives: criticism

in praise of podcasts old and new

I’m not into the Secret, but this week the universe did oddly offer up something I’d been wishing for. I was recently talking to Chris about one of our favorite (and first) podcasts, Filmspotting, which just celebrated its 300th show with an amazing episode highlighting the top movies of the decade. I even thought of linking to it here because, off-the-cuff and on, it boasts some truly great writing. Continue reading


weekly reading — um, me

I’m totally cheating and doing some shameless self-promotion for this week’s recommended reading. In my defense, I’m currently on vacation and spent the 48 hours before I left furiously churning out copy, so I didn’t get much chance to peruse the Internets.

But also, this feature on rock musicals for M Music & Musicians was so damn much fun to report and write that I feel compelled to share it. Once upon a time, I wanted to be a theater critic — I even wrote Frank Rich, who very kindly invited me to have a cup of coffee sometime — and I got to live that dream just a little bit with this story.

ebert to the rescue — again

There’s been so much hand-wringing among journalists about the encroachment of social media, new media, etc., and what it means for our future. And trust me, I’ve done my fair share. I am an old-school print girl at heart. But once again, Roger Ebert shames us, explaining that he’s not discouraged by Wednesday’s cancellation of At the Movies. In fact, he’s eager to explore the new platforms available on the TV show he and wife Chaz are developing:

I can’t prove it, but I have the feeling that more different people are seeing more different movies than ever before. With the explosion of DVD, Netflix, Red Box, and many forms of Video on Demand, virtually all movies are easily available to virtually all North American moviegoers. This has created a huge potential audience. …. We also know we will have a strong web presence. We will go full-tilt New Media: Television, net streaming, cell phone apps, Facebook, Twitter, iPad, the whole enchilada. The disintegration of the old model creates an opening for us. I’m more excited than I would be if we were trying to do the same old same old.

Ebert’s relentless optimism is especially welcome in a month when we’ve heard that film critics aren’t necessary and neither are music reviewers. His confidence — and continued success —  inspires me to have faith in the resilience of good writing and critical thinking.

weekly reading: joanna newsom profile

I always enjoy Slate music critic Jody Rosen’s appearances on the Slate Culture Gabfest podcasts, and I especially liked this profile he wrote for the New York Times Magazine a few weeks ago on polarizing indie artist Joanna Newsom. As it happens, I reviewed her new, 3-disc album, Have One on Me, for the March/April issue of M, and found it very hard to wrap my head around. I appreciate Rosen’s critical analysis of both her music itself and the kind of shortcuts critics have taken in their own reads on her artistry. I’m glad I just stumbled on the story this week, as it likely would have colored my own analysis as someone new to her music (though I generally avoid reading other reviews of an album until I’ve finished my own). Nevertheless, the piece has really made me want to revisit the album.