For the last five years, PopMatters has provided smart, literate film reviews, informative interviews, and insightful features that combine a knowledge of film history, cultural issues, and a sense of film as both an art form and an entertainment industry.
As a medium, film remains one of our most captivating avenues for storytelling. Whether the story is a flight of fantasy, a harrowing account of fictionalized tragedy, or a real life document of the human condition, the story presented on celluloid is a confluence of narrative elements � visual, auditory, scripted, performed � that combine in such a way that film can entertain, engage, and educate all in the same breath. Beloved by audiences the world over, film retains a special reverence after a century of cinematic endeavor. Actors are stars, filmmakers are celebrated as genius, and films become part of international consciousness; discussed, debated, quoted, and alluded to, highlighting the medium's central role in cultural discourse.
For these reasons, the availability of intelligent, informed film criticism is vital to understanding and analyzing the individual contributions new releases make in that discourse. And for the last five years, PopMatters has provided just that: smart, literate film reviews, informative interviews, and insightful features that combine a knowledge of film history, cultural issues, and a sense of film as both an art form and an entertainment industry. Under the sure-handed guidance of editor Cynthia Fuchs, the PopMatters film section has been a source of illuminating perspective for readers looking for more than a "thumbs up / thumbs down" approach. Early on, the film section was recognized by other media for its consistently high-quality writing, and much of PopMatters' reputation was initially built on sources like Yahoo and Movies.com picking up and linking our sharp film reviews. Since then, the section has expanded to include DVD and video releases as well, turning that same critical eye on home releases, while continuing to solidify its reputation for excellence.
The selections below highlight the variety of ways that film has been explored in the pages of PopMatters and confirm what our readers have already professed: PopMatters is one of the best sources around for informed and informative film analysis.
PopMatters Editors' Picks
Review by Cynthia Fuchs
This review conveys of how involved in all areas of media PopMatters writers are. Nothing goes unnoticed by Fuchs, and her critical eye on everything entertainment makes for good reading.
The Steamroller and the Violin
Review by Jocelyn Szczepaniak-Gillece
Szczepaniak-Gillece reviews a wide variety of films for PopMatters. The Steamroller and the Violin is an example of a movie outside of the mainstream, yet here it is, analyzed and explored in a dedicated and knowledgeable way.
"It's Customary for the Boy to Have His Father's Watch": Gregory Peck 1916-2003
Feature by Scott Thill
A Gregory Peck eulogy, focusing on the father metaphor. Thill ties Atticus Finch into his own life and the social context.
AI: Artificial Intelligence
Review by Cynthia Fuchs
Fuchs takes a rather problematic, and frankly mediocre movie, and says something interesting that isn't just derogatory. In her article, she discusses issues of narrative, character, form, and directorial philosophy, even while subtly getting across the message that, yes, this movie isn't very good. But even though she expresses her opinion, it is only in service of the topics her article addresses, rather than just knocking you over the head with a "2 Thumbs Down" or other simplistic expression.
The Emperor and the Gangster
Feature by Josh Jones
Jones's profile of Akira Kurosawa and his body of work is a fine example of the depth of knowledge our writers bring to PopMatters' readers.
Sundance Film Festival 2002
Feature by Shan Fowler
Going around the world to various festivals, PopMatters Film offers a look into both the industry and the art form by reporting on the upcoming movies to watch for and commenting on the major events of the festival circuit. Fowler's piece is an example of the insight such features offer readers.
Review by Mike Ward
Ward offers a thoughtful perspective on the casting of actors and the role archetypes they come to inhabit while commenting on this twisting, turning film. His prose is eloquent without being pretentious, giving readers a smart take that invites discussion.
Review by Todd R. Ramlow
Ramlow's analysis of this controversial film is both entertaining and academic, offering a complete review of both the film's elements and the socio-cultural implications of the film's themes.
Fate Wears a Fedora
Feature by David Sanjek
An excellent example of the background knowledge and experience that PopMatters writers bring to the table, Sanjek's piece on French director Jean Pierre Melville's film noir offers an outstanding historical perspective on a body of work.
Review by Cynthia Fuchs
Fuchs does a good job breaking down the strengths and weaknesses of the movie's plot, motifs, and politics. She mostly lays off the explicit politics to focus on the art of the film.