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The hub of film criticism?

A peek into the  Phoenix archives
By CHRIS FARAONE  |  September 2, 2009

THE WAY WE WERE: Stephen Schiff wrote for the Phoenix in the late ’70s and early ’80s.

Review: For the Love of Movies. By Chris Faraone.
In his deep survey, Gerald Peary hardly conceals his opinion that Boston is the epicenter of film criticism. It's not such a far-fetched notion: more than a dozen nationally renowned film reviewers cut their quills at the Phoenix (and at its old rival, the Real Paper). In For the Love of Movies, Owen Gleiberman — who sprouted here and now writes for Entertainment Weekly — calls Boston "an unofficial post-graduate program" for reviewers. Many would agree; the Beantown alt-weekly pedigree is shared by such notables as David Ansen of Newsweek, Ty Burr of the Boston Globe, David Edelstein of NPR and New York magazine, original writer Joyce Millman, and New Yorker kingpin David Denby. So we reached into our archives for a sample of the wit and wisdom of Phoenix alumni.

Janet Maslin
New York Times, Rolling Stone
THE GODFATHER | 1972 | "[Francis Ford] Coppola is essentially ambivalent about the Mafia, and non-committal about [Mario] Puzo's implied parallel between the underworld route of Vito corleone's rise to power and the careers of railroad and oil-well magnates of the previous century. . . . "

Stephen Schiff
Vanity Fair, New Yorker, NPR, CBS
ALIEN | 1979 | "Be forewarned: sleep won't come easily the night you see Alien. There hasn't been a monster movie this scary since Jaws, and nothing else in the science-fiction genre can touch it; it turns your muscles into coleslaw. It's also kind of dumb. In the last few years, film technology has caught up with the demands of science fiction, and the result has been a kind of mindless cinematic magic."

Michael Sragow
New York Times, Baltimore Sun, New Yorker, Atlantic
FIRST NAME CARMEN | 1984 | "Godard wants to use the collage techniques that revolutionized the movies to explore the enduring mystery of the ultimate femme fatale. But the film winds up looking like an underground comic strip with crippling aspirations to High Art. It's intelligent and provocative, full of tragicomic sex and violence, but it's also cold and sour — a failure of sympathy, and possibly a failure of nerve."

Owen Gleiberman
Film Comment, NPR, Entertainment Weekly
REVENGE OF THE NERDS | 1984 | "At first, Revenge of the Nerds looks like one of those over-deliberate, Mad-magazine lampoons in which every gag is a variation on the same theme — in this case, guys with high-water trousers, plastic pen holders, and abominably ugly glasses making spasmodic fools of themselves. . . . Instead, they've come up with a half a dozen diverse social misfits, a variety pack of dorks who, taken together, offer a more accurate portrait of post-adolescent behavior than 100 Bachelor Partys."

Related: Love letter, Review: Septien, Review: Terri, More more >
  Topics: Features , Entertainment, Media, National Public Radio Inc.,  More more >
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