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American Movie Critics: From Silents Until Now

4.2  ·  Rating Details ·  127 Ratings  ·  15 Reviews
An anthology of unparalleled scope, American Movie Critics charts the rise of movies as art, industry, and mass entertainment. Here are the great movie critics who forged a forceful new vernacular idiom for talking about the new art,?Otis Ferguson, James Agee, Richard Schickel, Pauline Kael, Andrew Sarris, and Molly Haskell, among them. Here too are notable American writer ...more
Paperback, 760 pages
Published January 10th 2008 by Library of America (first published March 2nd 2006)
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Jul 04, 2014 Ryan rated it it was amazing
Shelves: nonfiction, film, 2016
For anyone interested, I've been discussing this book chapter-by-chapter with fellow film lover Jandy Hardesty, and our discussions can be read here .
Excellent anthology. An essential component of any cinephile's library, I'd say.

The last section of this book is maybe the one I appreciated the most, because it creates a canon out of the mess and mass of recent movie criticism, gathering great, relatively recent pieces like Hoberman on Bad Movies, Schickel on Blue Velvet, bell hooks on Pulp Fiction, Rosenbaum on Eyes Wide Shut, A.O. Scott on The Passion of the Christ, Manhola Dargis on The Royal Tenenbaums and A History of Violence, Nathan Le
Sep 22, 2011 Tony rated it it was amazing
Shelves: film
Lopate, Phillip (ed.). AMERICAN MOVIE CRITICS: An Anthology From the Silents Until Now. (2008; Expanded Edition). *****.
The only mistake in buying this book to add to my Library of America collection was in buying the paperback edition. It is a massive book. I thought that it would be an easily handled volume that I could dip into now and then and that the paperback format would be OK. It’s not. If you’re going to buy this book – and if you are a movie addict like I am you must – than you will
Apr 25, 2008 dave rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I haven't read all of them, of course, but I love film writing. All of them seem very passionate about their craft, and what comes of that is some of the most "alive" writing out there.
Michael McFarland
May 22, 2017 Michael McFarland rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

Actually, three and a half stars...

Lots of insightful reviews, but in a book this size there are some long-winded dissections and individuals styles that made me give up and bump to the next.

Plenty of recommendations to fill my upcoming movie nights!
Jan 05, 2016 Mark rated it liked it
This book serves as an essential phoropter that cycles through a multiplicity of varying lenses to look at a wide cross-sections of films, sometimes cross-examining the same films to give a perspective on critical shifts and sometimes even doubling back to cross-examine criticism which has appeared in the same anthology, in the delightfully self-absorbed tendency common to film criticism. The carefully selected parts of the whole sum to a serious engagement with a form still thought to be more u ...more
Christopher Sutch
Editor Lopate has really done a fantastic job of collecting critical American writings on film, including some very early and obscure pieces of interest to those curious about the history of film reception and the film industry. What he could have included more of were representatives of daily reviews from the decades of work covered in this volume (there are several such reviews, but they tend to disappear once the chronology of the book reaches the 1970s; thus there are no essays discussing th ...more
Christopher McQuain
A very diverse, mostly chronologically-ordered sampling of American film criticism, this collection is inspiring and informative even when the critic whose approach and style you're being introduced to can only serve as a negative example (from my POV, this means John Simon and Vincent Canby). As much as I enjoyed being introduced to Manny Farber, Parker Tyler, William S. Pechter James Harvey--and revisiting J. Hoberman, Sigfried Kracauer, and Molly Haskell--the unexpected revelation here is the ...more
Katharine Holden
Includes tiny amount of interesting early movie criticism; remainder is rehash of oft-reprinted/quoted essay-length paeons to Citizen Kane, Keaton, and the sex movies of Andy Warhol. This tome is not worth the effort of carrying it home.
A great book by Phillip Lopate. You can get an overall view of FILM criticism history and critics in U.S.A. The critics who shaped the knowledge and understanding of cultivated moviegoers. I have translated it all, still looking for a publisher!
Aug 09, 2007 Anna-Lisa rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
an ongoing project...
Riley Haas
Jan 03, 2017 Riley Haas rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
"This is an excellent survey. It makes me want to read many of these critics in far greater depth."
Sep 04, 2008 Masokist rated it liked it
Good jump off point for learning about movie reviews, not purely academic hoo ha.
Clare Nina
Jul 21, 2008 Clare Nina rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: film, theory, 2008
Great collection of reviews and writings on film from the cinema's inception or rather, consideration as a serious art form, to the present day.
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Jul 16, 2011
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Dec 23, 2013
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Nov 20, 2008
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May 23, 2008
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Mar 27, 2011
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Feb 11, 2014
Sep 04, 2013 Elisabeth rated it it was amazing
Shelves: reference
I either engage enthusiastic film discussion or ruin movies because of this book.
M.R rated it it was amazing
May 27, 2016
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Feb 06, 2014
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Phillip Lopate is the author of three personal essay collections, two novels, two poetry collections, a memoir of his teaching experiences, and a collection of his movie criticism. He has edited the following anthologies, and his essays, fiction, poetry, film and architectural criticism have appeared in The Best American Short Stories, The Best American Essays, The Paris Review, Harper's, Vogue, E ...more
More about Phillip Lopate...

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