Saturday, April 11, 2015

Jonathan Rosenbaum: Interview with Matthew Asprey Gear

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Jonathan Rosenbaum, the most revered film critic among cinephiles everywhere mentioned my name in an interview as an example of when blog-journalism triumphs printed, more established journalism (New York Times, no less). I'm truly in shock to think that Rosenbaum knows who I am and reads my puny little blurbs. And he thinks I have a better grasp of the film than Jeanette Catsoulis of the NY Times is blowing my mind right now.

This external validation from the great trumps everything - not getting a single penny for my writing for years, trouble at my day-job... everything! I don't really care that his article created a sworn enemy and therefore I'll probably never get a job at NY Times as a film reviewer in my lifetime. I really don't.

ASPREY GEAR: David Cronenberg recently denounced the increasing importance of bloggers and other self-appointed film critics, and that this phenomenon has “diluted” the role of the “legitimate critic.” He speaks as a filmmaker. How do you respond to this comment as a professional critic?
ROSENBAUM: It all depends on what one means by “legitimate”. My own experience tells me that institutional power has little relation to what I regard as legitimacy. If Cronenberg is saying that being appointed by the New Yorker or the New York Times is more legitimate than being self-appointed, one has to ask, “Legitimate for whom and for what?” Of course there are lots of ill-informed bloggers around, but there are also arguably just as many ill-informed staff reviewers, even if they’re more apt to know how to compose a sentence. For instance, Jeannette Catsoulis’s irresponsible and ill-informed review of Chuck Workman’s Magician[2], probably the best documentary about Welles that I’ve seen, is in all respects inferior to Dustin Chang’s review of the same film  on Twitchfilm[3], and I’m not only referring to evaluation here but to some intelligent grasp of the issues posed by the film. This is just one more or less random example of what I mean, but it would be easy to find many others.
Full article here:

This means a lot to me. So I thank you sincerely Mr. Rosenbaum. Watching films and writing about cinema are my only true passion. I'll do my best to keep writing about films which gives me great pleasure. I'll try my darnedest to be a better critic with each review and interview.

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