I've just been to see House At The End Of The Street, the new horror film starring Jennifer Lawrence. It wasn't shown to the press before it opened - I wonder why?

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  • Comment number 37. Posted by information1st

    on 5 Oct 2012 15:26

    This is very informative on game reviews - backed up by data:

    http://penny-arcade.com/report/editorial-article/the-power-of-review-scores-why-critics-have-more-control-than-we-think1

    I'd imagine games are somewhat different from movies, but atst, I suspect some of the findings/trappings of reviews are likely very similar in both of these 2 different media.

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  • Comment number 36. Posted by KamiTheGamer

    on 5 Oct 2012 00:09

    As someone who loves the games Dr. Kermode, I'll let you in on a little secret - I loathe the Resident Evil movies with a passion that borders on the indecent. It isn't because they're badly made, because they are not. But it is jarring when we've had nearly two decades of a "story", only to see Paul W.S. Anderson peddle what can only be described as fetishistic fan-fiction. I think most people agree the movies aren't much cop, but despite the falling viewing numbers and the growing criticism (and the dwindling copies being pushed around), the movie franchise appears to be taking more and more at the box office. Try putting that to a bunch of Economics students!

    On the whole though I think there's a difference between paying for something and getting something for free. I've gotten many movies and games for free over the years as part of bundle deals, and generally I accept them as they are - free additions. Even if they're not so hot, I surmise that hey, I got a few hours of joy from them and I paid no extra money so therefore it's not much of a loss if I don't particularly enjoy them. I'd imagine movie criticism is much the same as reviewing games - you may be getting it for free, but you have to be conscious to the fact that these people want this product to make money. People will be paying £12 to £30 for it. Most of us if we see something for free would probably find something to like - or be at the worst rather indifferent. It's a different tale when money has to exchange hands.

    The problem with Resident Evil is that with the new game out, the movie will be even more prominent. And the game has hardly met with much critical approval, so the movie I expect will see a critical tongue-lashing that would make the Lickers blush with embarrassment. You can't really do much with that though - it's a blockbuster that we can all go to those who pay to see it "We told you so!".

    But it is smaller gems that need critics to praise them. To shine a light on them as they would otherwise be engulfed by the likes of Resident Evil. They need the attention in a world that is unkind to their ilk, and that's the greatest gift a Critic can have. We can all see and smell a stinker coming a mile off. It's the delicate blooms left in its wake that need the most care, as we'd otherwise not be looking their way at the time.

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  • Comment number 35. Posted by Alina

    on 4 Oct 2012 13:03

    I can't think of any movies that I have NOT watched due to Mark's derision. Often if a movie is derided I will watch it on DVD just to see whether it's as bad as people claim. Recently watched MIB3 and thought it wasn't actually as bad as Mark had lead me to expect.

    However I can think of many movies that I HAVE watched because Mark recommended them that I would not have otherwise watched without that recommendation (e.g. Moon, Of Gods and Men, Winter's Bone, Monsters, Let the Right one in, Four Lions, Disappearance of Alice Creed - looking forward to watching Trollhunter, Kill List, Tyrannosaur). Each of these films blew me away, one way or another.

    That, for me, is the absolute value of the critic - to sort the wheat from the chaff and alert me to the wheat they've found. I don't think critics can hurt a blockbusting stinker but they can certainly help an unknown indie.

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  • Comment number 34. Posted by davdope

    on 4 Oct 2012 07:59

    On another point, I don't necessarily agree with your view that all publicity is good publicity for films.

    To an extent, I understand how your hypothesis could be applied to big money blockbusters or heavily advertised films. A bad review, whilst not ideal obviously, could attract more pure publicity and add to the debate/hype surroundings films which have already penetrated the public consciousness.

    Surely for smaller film releases however, reliance on favourable reviews is far greater? On your show you review and discuss numerous films that are outside the mainstream. If you are enthused and offer positive reviews of a film I had never heard of there is chance I would investigate it further. If you gave it a negative review on the other hand, in the absence of any notable advertising or other forms of enticement I would just ignore it entirely.

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  • Comment number 33. Posted by davdope

    on 4 Oct 2012 07:39

    I have never really considered it before but when you think about it, you critics are a god send to promoters. All the studios have to do is present a film to a room full of journalists and afterwards they get their film written about in a wide range of media for free virtually. It is a ridiculously cost effective ploy in comparison to other forms of promotion usually employed by studios.

    It would be very brave for any promoter to pass up the easy coverage that press screenings offer. In this case, the only plausible reason I can suggest for the snub is that maybe the suits believed poor reviews were inevitable and surmised they could endanger their extensive advertising campaign.

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  • Comment number 32. Posted by aviddiva

    on 2 Oct 2012 08:07

    I see Phud's point about nepotism running rife in the movie industry. If Lily Collins hadn't been Phil Collins's daughter, she wouldn't have got a chance to play the part of Snow White in 'Mirror Mirror' and maybe one of the other 199 auditionees for the part might have got a chance!

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  • Comment number 31. Posted by waerdnotte

    on 1 Oct 2012 20:03

    There are many kinds of critics who offer differing opinions on what constitutes a good film. The BBC Film Show now plumbs the depths of mediocrity as far as film reviewing goes but it plays to younger, hipper, less film-history-savvy audience. Even Mr Kermode attracts a specific kind of audience with his reviews (more aware of the wider cultural and historical aspects of the movie industry maybe!).

    So often the critic is playing to the stalls, an already converted audience. Also films are constructed in such a way these days to appeal to its chosen demographic. "Good or bad" is rarely the reason for seeing the movie - these days, if you're watching it with an audience of quietly ruminating grey hairs, or scores of noisy, eating, facebooking teens, the movie has often been made for that kind of audience in mind.

    Its just good that mavericks such as Jim Jarmusch, Leos Carax, David Cronenberg and Apichatpong Weerasethakul, can make movies and get them distributed, all of whom would have received decidedly mixed reviews for their recent works, but most probably due to the new technology small cinemas are introducing (many thanks to the old Film Council who funded a lot of the digital projector installations in small cinemas) we get to see these film makers work.

    A case in point would be Berberian Sound Studio. A film that received mixed reviews and was not widely distributed, but as word got round that it was a great little film small cinema chains bought it in at short notice, in our case for a couple of screenings.

    Increasingly film criticism is done by the audience and small web-based "journalists" and posted on sites like IMDB ans Rotten Tomatoes, Professional critics increasingly have to bring something different to the game, which is why your own particulalr brand of movie infotainment is enjoyed by so many. We may not agree with your views on films but we enjoy the banter, conjured up by your forthright, but often misguided views on particular films!

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  • Comment number 30. Posted by locohero

    on 1 Oct 2012 19:36

    @ no.9 Leglet: your comment is proof that a fool and his money are, indeed, easily parted.

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  • Comment number 29. Posted by Lanny

    on 1 Oct 2012 06:42

    @Heather Martin - Good point, that with the Internet there are many more sources now for film reviews and opinions. In addition to hearing/reading what Dr. Kermode has to say, I generally look at film trailers on YouTube and read comments there from viewers who seem knowledgeable. On the question -- "Can critics sink a film?" A really bad film will fail on its own accord, no matter what the critics say. Audiences will stay away if their friends warn them that a film is a stinker. But no career worries Dr. K -- we will always need good film critics!

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  • Comment number 28. Posted by Helen W

    on 1 Oct 2012 06:32

    i think you underestimate the influence of critics a little. Whilst i am perfectly capable of choosing the films i want to see, i can think of instances where your reviews have swayed me one way or another. - of Gods and Men was a film that i wouldnt have seen but for your glowing review and when i saw the trailer for Dark Shadows i was keen to watch it but after hearing what a mess it was, i decided to leave the good memory of the trailer intact and not bother with the film. However, leaving aside the technical and professional aspects of filmmaking, there is a large subjective element and so while i appreciated the quality and depth of the afore mentioned of Gods and Men, it didnt touch me in the way it did you, and i wouldnt have put it in my top ten of the year. In the same way i am sure there are films out there that you panned that i have enjoyed greatly. In the end i guess we have to see the movies that spark our interest regardless of reviews and make our own judgements, and then enjoy debating them afterwards!!

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