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artisanal film reviews | by maryann johanson

many changes going on here…

…mostly behind the scenes for the moment, as I think about reinventing myself and this site for the criticism-is-dead era.

One of the things to happen immediately: I’m dropping the “my week at the movies” posts. They never really garnered much interest, as far as I can determine. I suspect that some readers may be interested in hearing about the day-to-day work that is inherent in being a film critic, but I don’t think that post was accomplishing that end. I’m working on coming up with another way to let you know what’s on my radar at the moment. But let me know what — if anything — else you may like to be hearing about me and my work that you’re not already getting. Maybe I should relay more details — not all of them, but some — of screening experiences, distinct from the films I’m seeing?



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  • funWithHeadlines

    Behind the scenes info on screenings would be of interest, sure, but I mostly enjoy reading your reviews. You are the person who convinced me to finally check out Doctor Who, for instance, so your enthusiasm carries. For that, I am thankful.

    Criticism isn’t dead any more than well-written books are dead. They just find their audiences outside the mainstream’s view, while the mass market feeds at the glittery junk trough.

  • I like seeing which movies are coming up for you to screen, but that info was never much worth commenting on besides “oh great, I’m looking forward to your review on such and such” or whatever.

    How about put that info in a sidebar? Just beneath “recent screenings and hot movies” you could have “upcoming screenings” with a list of the films you’re planning to see and an approximate date for the review. Etc…

  • Cori Ann

    I also think the idea of info on some of the behind-the-scenes goings on would be very interesting!

  • Oh, and: hearing bits of info about the screenings themselves, such as where it was, who was there, how -many- people were ther… that stuff might be kinda interesting.

  • MaryAnn

    How about put that info in a sidebar? Just beneath “recent screenings and hot movies” you could have “upcoming screenings” with a list of the films you’re planning to see and an approximate date for the review. Etc…

    Yeah, something like that occurred to me, too.

  • markyd

    I really don’t think we need a list of upcoming screenings. Isn’t it safe to ASSume that you’ll be seeing most new releases? Especially those of any significance? The only thing that may be helpful there is if your going to see something obscure/foreign/indie.
    Although, even those I really don’t care to know about ahead of time. When you post it, I’ll read it.
    I also really don’t have any interest in the process of movie screenings and such. I come hear for your reviews first. I also like your other postings, but they are not the draw for me.
    That being said(Call me Harry now), as long as they contain the usual MaryAnn snarkiness, I suppose behind the scenes stuff could be interesting.

  • Magess

    FWIW, I read your reviews, recaps/commentary on TV shows, and interesting geek news bits. Sometimes I’ll take a look at the question of the day. Very rarely do I look at the trailers.

    I have started looking at the link collections to see if there’s anything I haven’t picked up from either twitter or io9.

    I don’t know if that’s helpful information.

  • Sarah

    Hmm. You are planning a revamp of your site just as I am launching my own, so I’ve been thinking of stuff like this for a while.

    Have you ever thought of inviting other people to work under your banner?

    The reason I ask is not that I don’t like your writing and criticism; far from it. But you do a LOT. You see a few first run movies a week, a number of things on DVD, and you recap quite a number of TV shows; the only one I follow is Doctor Who, but I know you do Lost and some others as well.

    Obviously, that’s all valuable, because it gives you a point of entry into readers who are into different things. Adding more writers would allow you to do that for other shows, which you don’t watch, and probably also help you get more movie saturation as well – I’m sure I’m not alone in having seen some odd art film and thinking, “I wonder what MaryAnn thinks of this.”

    This isn’t, by the way, an endorsement of myself – I’m not an entertainment writer, don’t want to be an entertainment writer. It’s just an observation.

  • MaryAnn

    Adding more writers would allow you to do that for other shows, which you don’t watch, and probably also help you get more movie saturation as well – I’m sure I’m not alone in having seen some odd art film and thinking, “I wonder what MaryAnn thinks of this.”

    I can’t afford to pay anyone, and I would never ask a writer to work for free — and I would advise any writer who volunteered to work for free to smarten up and stop offering to work for nothing.

    Plus, having other writers here would dilute the whole point of “I wonder what MaryAnn thinks of this.” :->

  • Ryan H

    I’d love to see your stuff get cross-posted to some of the big media and blogging sites. I think the discussions you could generate somewhere like io9 or Slate would be fantastic. I know it would dilute this a little bit as being your personal corner of the internet, but perhaps some sort of syndication would give more time to write and mean less time doing maintenance or chasing advertisers. And expose more people to the wonder that is MaryAnn! I suspect that even two weeks doing guest-blog style cross-posts somewhere big would pay off in new traffic.

    You have probably thought of this yourself. But with the exception of sites that are easily monetized through merchandise or the like I don’t see many solo-operators making a serious go on the internet these days. I’d much rather follow you to a bigger site that has advertising and editorial people than see you leave for something else.

    Hey, io9 doesn’t seem to be doing re-caps or reviews of the current Who season. Perhaps they would take yours.

  • JoshDM

    I read the weekly to know what you’re going to review for us. It’s like a preview.

  • Dokeo

    It seems like there’s a lot of love in the audience for the Dr.Who blogging, but in general I find the tv-show blogging a bit out of place on a site called flickfilosopher.com. I come for the flicks (trailers, reviews) and the filosophy (discussions of gender/race/body type cultural issues and the spirited arguments for atheism, etc.).

    I’d love to see your reviews on Slate (as suggested above); their film critic – Dana Stevens (a woman) – frequently comes out with reviews that are the opposite of yours. I think it would be great for everyone to have side-by-side reviews on Slate. Look! Women aren’t a monolithic entity! Women are individual thinking persons with individual tastes and opinions! OMG!!

    So how does MAJ get on Slate? Anyone out there have any ideas?

  • I’ll miss it; like Newbs, I didn’t find much to comment about.

    Living in Maine, it also helped me know what movies are close to coming out.

  • MaryAnn

    I’ll miss it

    Perhaps I’ll reconsider…

    I’d love to see your stuff get cross-posted to some of the big media and blogging sites.

    You need to tell the people in charge of those other sites! Though my posts on Film.com don’t seem to generate many comments (no posts on Film.com seem to generate many comments, in fact).

    in general I find the tv-show blogging a bit out of place on a site called flickfilosopher.com

    I find TV and film to occupy much the same space in pop culture, and to have equally important things to say about us as a culture. But surely it’s easy enough to pass over those posts here that you’re not interested in. (I think it’ll be easier still once I finish the redesign of the site.)

  • Jenna

    I’m not really loving the “uh oh DVD of the week.” Or any DVD reviews. I’m sure, because their written by MaryAnn, that they’ll be funny but I usually skip them. As to the changes, as long as you don’t get rid of Question of the Days and your film reviews, I’ll live.

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