Best Film Magazines

Discuss films and filmmakers of the 20th century (and even a little of the 19th century). Threads may contain spoilers.
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psufootball07
Joined: Wed Apr 02, 2008 2:52 pm

Re: Best Film Magazines

#51 Post by psufootball07 » Sun May 10, 2009 10:26 am

filmyfan wrote:does anyone get Film Quarterly magazine
I don't personally receive Film Quarterly, however I often read the articles Online through my University's database of Journals/Magazines. They really have some insightful essays about films, as well as delving a little bit into the theory aspect. I would suggest examining some articles Online through a library database or if you can just read them all online before purchasing to make sure you know what you are spending your $$ on. For me it is perfect as I can save $ to purchase films, while reading anything I want.

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domino harvey
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Re: Best Film Magazines

#52 Post by domino harvey » Sat Jun 20, 2009 1:38 pm

Anyone else get that CinemaScope email with everyone's email addresses CCed instead of BCCed? Good work there

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bdsweeney
Joined: Mon Apr 07, 2008 7:09 pm

Re: Best Film Magazines

#53 Post by bdsweeney » Thu Sep 24, 2009 12:48 am

Is it just me, or is the BFI extremely late in releasing the new issue (October 2009)? Or is the website just late in updating?

Just asking.

Probably making a mountain out of a molehill, but I do know that magazines are dropping left, right and centre ...

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Dr Amicus
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Re: Best Film Magazines

#54 Post by Dr Amicus » Thu Sep 24, 2009 3:30 am

bdsweeney wrote:Is it just me, or is the BFI extremely late in releasing the new issue (October 2009)? Or is the website just late in updating?

Just asking.

Probably making a mountain out of a molehill, but I do know that magazines are dropping left, right and centre ...
Of Sight & Sound? It came out a couple of weeks back - I 'm looking at my copy right now!

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The Elegant Dandy Fop
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Re: Best Film Magazines

#55 Post by The Elegant Dandy Fop » Thu Sep 24, 2009 3:38 am

bdsweeney wrote:Is it just me, or is the BFI extremely late in releasing the new issue (October 2009)? Or is the website just late in updating?
I live in the USA and my issues always arrive around the third week of each month. I have the October issue as well. Great article about coal in cinema.

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MichaelB
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Re: Best Film Magazines

#56 Post by MichaelB » Thu Sep 24, 2009 9:58 am

No delays that I can recall - I got my copy in the first week of September, bang on schedule. The website usually isn't updated till the middle of the month, presumably to give subscribers/purchasers a brief period of exclusivity.

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antnield
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Re: Best Film Magazines

#57 Post by antnield » Wed Dec 16, 2009 8:46 am

Seems the most appropriate place to post a quick heads-up...

The latest issue of Vertigo magazine comes complete with a free copy of Ken McMullen's eclectically cast 1871 from 1990. To the best of my knowledge this has never previously been issued on disc (McMullen's features are solely represented by Ghost Dance, Zina and Partition, the latter courtesy of Second Run), making this all the more covetable. My copy arrived this morning and it comes attractively packaged in a slimline case and houses a number of extras, amongst them a handful of interviews and McMullen's companion short 1867. I've only had a chance for a quick flick through the disc and, to be honest, the picture quality is more serviceable than superb (note that the cinematographer was Elso Roque, who'd shot Pedro Costa's Blood the previous year), but it would be churlish to complain.

redbill
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Re: Read any good books lately?

#58 Post by redbill » Sat Jan 15, 2011 10:00 am

couldn't find a better place to ask this, but has anyone gotten their Jan/Feb Film Comment yet? I usually would have gotten it by now (in Massachusetts).

Ungeziefer

Re: Best Film Magazines

#59 Post by Ungeziefer » Wed Feb 16, 2011 7:44 pm

This might be a bit off topic, but I'm looking for an article from Sight & Sound #199 (Vol 48, #4, 1979). The article in question is Bernardo Bertolucci on La Luna by Richard Roud. Is anyone who own this issue willing to share this little piece of article?

Personally, I enjoy Sight & Sound (although, the later issues not as much as the earlier) and the Swedish mag FLM, which is described as following: "Initiated texts about motion pictures and everything belonging to it - scouting, reportage and criticism. On paper. Four times a year."

SheriffAmbrose
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Re: Best Film Magazines

#60 Post by SheriffAmbrose » Thu Feb 17, 2011 10:44 am

Ungeziefer wrote:This might be a bit off topic, but I'm looking for an article from Sight & Sound #199 (Vol 48, #4, 1979). The article in question is Bernardo Bertolucci on La Luna by Richard Roud. Is anyone who own this issue willing to share this little piece of article?
I'm not at home right now but I'm pretty certain I have this. PM me with your email address and I'll scan it for you and get it to you before the end of the weekend.

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Andre Jurieu
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Re: Read any good books lately?

#61 Post by Andre Jurieu » Thu Mar 10, 2011 12:16 pm

redbill wrote:couldn't find a better place to ask this, but has anyone gotten their Jan/Feb Film Comment yet? I usually would have gotten it by now (in Massachusetts).
Was that the issue devoted to an appreciation of Reese Witherspoon? If so, maybe it was delayed by a deep sense of shame. (I kid, I kid... kind of).

j99
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Re:

#62 Post by j99 » Wed Mar 16, 2011 6:14 pm

Kenji wrote:Sight and Sound has always covered world cinema and has many intelligent writers but it still covers too much Anglo-American trash for my liking
That is the big drawback on an otherwise fine magazine. The film review section spoils it; they insist on covering every film which is released that month, including those dreadful American comedies and romcoms which, I suspect, hardly anyone reading this magazine would be interested in. There was a letter complaining about this a few months ago but S&S insist there will be no changes to the format. I think they are mistaken, it needs to change.

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MichaelB
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Re: Re:

#63 Post by MichaelB » Wed Mar 16, 2011 6:52 pm

j99 wrote:That is the big drawback on an otherwise fine magazine. The film review section spoils it; they insist on covering every film which is released that month, including those dreadful American comedies and romcoms which, I suspect, hardly anyone reading this magazine would be interested in. There was a letter complaining about this a few months ago but S&S insist there will be no changes to the format. I think they are mistaken, it needs to change.
There's an important historical reason for covering all theatrical releases - which is that the old Monthly Film Bulletin, which was absorbed into the formerly quarterly Sight & Sound in 1991, was effectively the official British journal of record of everything that was playing in British cinemas. This is why there are comprehensive credits and synopses alongside reviews: it's a tradition that dates back nearly 80 years.

And speaking from a historian's perspective (I make use of old Sight & Sounds and Monthly Film Bulletins on a more or less daily basis), this coverage is often incredibly useful - not just for acknowledging the existence of long-forgotten films but discussing them in sufficient depth to give a fair impression of what they were like. In this respect, the MFB has been an absolute goldmine when researching things like the BFI's Flipside strand, of which a 1960/70s equivalent of your good self could very easily have complained that "hardly anyone reading this magazine would be interested in [them]".

Unlike most monthly magazines, S&S plays a long game - in fact, contributors are explicitly told in the style manual to bear in mind that their work may well be consulted and cited decades later.

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zedz
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Re: Best Film Magazines

#64 Post by zedz » Wed Mar 16, 2011 6:58 pm

I'll second that. The MFB 'journal of record' holdover policy is incredibly useful when researching old films. If a film was released in the UK, there will be at least something written about it (often the only commentary of substance that's accessible), and there will be reliable credits available. When you get into more obscure territory, finding reliable credits can be damnably difficult and it's a godsend if you can track them down to Sight and Sound or the MFB.

j99
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Re: Best Film Magazines

#65 Post by j99 » Wed Mar 16, 2011 7:57 pm

MichaelB wrote: And speaking from a historian's perspective (I make use of old Sight & Sounds and Monthly Film Bulletins on a more or less daily basis), this coverage is often incredibly useful - not just for acknowledging the existence of long-forgotten films but discussing them in sufficient depth to give a fair impression of what they were like. In this respect, the MFB has been an absolute goldmine when researching things like the BFI's Flipside strand, of which a 1960/70s equivalent of your good self could very easily have complained that "hardly anyone reading this magazine would be interested in [them]".

Unlike most monthly magazines, S&S plays a long game - in fact, contributors are explicitly told in the style manual to bear in mind that their work may well be consulted and cited decades later.
I would never have excluded the Flipside strand for a start. No, what I was referring to, and what I believe the letter writer was referring to, was films like Big Mommas Like Father, Like Son which is reviewed in this month's (April) edition. I do wonder about the value of including a film like this in the magazine, especially since it could go on an online database instead to continue the 80 year tradition as you point out. S&S' argument, and it is a fair one, was where would be the cut off point, for example Gnomeo and Juliet is reviewed in the same issue, and it's an inclusion I would probably agree with, and you could equally argue about the readership's lack of interest. I think it's specifically to do with a genre of American films like the one I mentioned above, but S&S agree with you, and are not making changes. Maybe Film Comment will offer me an alternative, although despite my objection, I'll never give up on S&S.

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MichaelB
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Re: Best Film Magazines

#66 Post by MichaelB » Thu Mar 17, 2011 2:32 am

j99 wrote:I would never have excluded the Flipside strand for a start.
Sorry, I obviously wasn't making myself clear. What I meant was titles that were selected for the Flipside line-up many decades after they were originally reviewed as possibly slightly disreputable, wholly commercial releases which might well have been ignored had the MFB operated a more selective reviewing policy along the lines that you're calling for. The MFB reviews are sometimes a vital ingredient in the initial selection process, given the difficulty of tracking down viewing materials - and bearing in mind that the Flipside team will research far more titles than actually get released.
No, what I was referring to, and what I believe the letter writer was referring to, was films like Big Mommas Like Father, Like Son which is reviewed in this month's (April) edition. I do wonder about the value of including a film like this in the magazine, especially since it could go on an online database instead to continue the 80 year tradition as you point out.
It could, but S&S doesn't have much of an online presence yet. I'm sure this will change at some point, but until it does the "journal of record" argument is a pretty powerful one.
S&S' argument, and it is a fair one, was where would be the cut off point, for example Gnomeo and Juliet is reviewed in the same issue, and it's an inclusion I would probably agree with, and you could equally argue about the readership's lack of interest.
I have to say I'm a bit uneasy about arguments referring to "the readership's lack of interest". How can you argue this point without actually knowing what "the readership" thinks*? Have you conducted your own independent survey? Speaking as a long-term member of "the readership" myself (I haven't missed an issue of either S&S or the MFB since the early 1980s), I love reading intelligent and detailed reviews of films that I have absolutely no intention of actually seeing - they offer many of the same pleasures as a travel guide to parts of the globe that I'd also prefer not to visit.

And yes - where do you draw the line? In the late 1940s, the MFB briefly pursued a horribly misguided policy of one-line reviews of films that were judged at the time to be worthless. These included The Cure For Love (1949), Robert Donat's only film as director and a clearly deeply personal project that I found surprisingly intriguing on a great many levels after I dug it out of the archive when researching a Donat centenary tribute - yet the MFB's entire review was "Antediluvian regional farce". Thankfully, the magazine quickly realised the error of its ways and reverted to proper reviews across the board.

The other problem with drawing the line concerns who makes that decision and on what grounds. Granted, it's a pretty safe bet that Big Mommas Like Father Like Son will be Not Very Good, but you won't know for sure until you've actually sent someone out to review it. Even if it's opened in the US, reviews over there aren't necessarily a reliable guide, as demonstrated by the sharp Transatlantic division of opinion over Woody Allen's British films, especially Match Point. Which is why I'd defend the all-inclusive policy to the hilt.
I think it's specifically to do with a genre of American films like the one I mentioned above.
Sorry, but the idea of deliberately excluding films for belonging to the "wrong" genre is appallingly snobbish to me. And why specifically American films? Should Sight & Sound have also ignored a batch of wholly commercial Polish romantic comedies that opened in 2007-08 in a short-lived distribution experiment to cash in on the UK's rapidly-expanding Polish population? Most British media outlets did indeed ignore them, as they bypassed conventional distribution channels in favour of playing in regional cinemas near large Polish populations - which is why Sight & Sound's decision to cover them to the usual level of detail, and from a specifically British perspective, will be so valuable to future historians.

(*Just to be clear, I'm arguing from a strictly personal point of view as a long-term reader and regular freelance contributor - I'm absolutely not claiming to represent editorial policy, and I have no idea what future plans are.)

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Matt
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Re: Best Film Magazines

#67 Post by Matt » Thu Mar 17, 2011 2:49 pm

Why must everything in this day and age be tailored to such narrow specifications for everyone, and if something is of no value to one person then it's perceived to be of value to no one? If you don't like the reviews of mainstream films, don't read them. It's as simple as that. Many others (especially researchers) find the complete reviews (and credits listings) incredibly valuable, and it's not as if the cover price of the magazine would necessarily go down if they stopped reviewing Martin Lawrence comedies.

j99
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Re: Best Film Magazines

#68 Post by j99 » Thu Mar 17, 2011 7:37 pm

MichaelB wrote: I have to say I'm a bit uneasy about arguments referring to "the readership's lack of interest". How can you argue this point without actually knowing what "the readership" thinks*? Have you conducted your own independent survey? Speaking as a long-term member of "the readership" myself (I haven't missed an issue of either S&S or the MFB since the early 1980s), I love reading intelligent and detailed reviews of films that I have absolutely no intention of actually seeing - they offer many of the same pleasures as a travel guide to parts of the globe that I'd also prefer not to visit.
No, but it's fairly obvious reading the news and features sections that the magazine caters for the "arthouse" end of the market. Naturally there are exceptions and crossovers, but I would be astonished if the "average" reader was picking up the magazine to read about the latest Jennifer Anniston vehicle.
And yes - where do you draw the line? In the late 1940s, the MFB briefly pursued a horribly misguided policy of one-line reviews of films that were judged at the time to be worthless. These included The Cure For Love (1949), Robert Donat's only film as director and a clearly deeply personal project that I found surprisingly intriguing on a great many levels after I dug it out of the archive when researching a Donat centenary tribute - yet the MFB's entire review was "Antediluvian regional farce". Thankfully, the magazine quickly realised the error of its ways and reverted to proper reviews across the board.
That is the main problem and I do accept your argument here, but cinema is up for constant re-evaluation. Did Charles Laughton really think his film Night Of The Hunter would be revered fifty odd years after the fact? Remember, I'm not arguing there should be no reviews of certain films, I'm suggesting there could be ways of presenting those reviews other than the magazine itself.
Sorry, but the idea of deliberately excluding films for belonging to the "wrong" genre is appallingly snobbish to me. And why specifically American films?
I'm not necessarily saying they are the wrong genre. My complaint is the amount of review space they take up to the exclusion of other articles. I have noticed that some articles in the features section are continued online. I know it happens rarely but my argument is instead of editing these why not, instead of publishing every review of every film released in the calender month without question, choose to move some of these reviews online instead? You have mentioned above the S&S database is limited and I accept this, but I don't think the policy of publishing every review in the magazine should remain sacrosanct and unconditional in the future. Personally, it is a change I would like to see made. And as for the snob charge, and my "readership's lack of interest" comment, if there really is interest, why are these films confined to the reviews section? Why are there no features articles on them?
Should Sight & Sound have also ignored a batch of wholly commercial Polish romantic comedies that opened in 2007-08 in a short-lived distribution experiment to cash in on the UK's rapidly-expanding Polish population? Most British media outlets did indeed ignore them, as they bypassed conventional distribution channels in favour of playing in regional cinemas near large Polish populations - which is why Sight & Sound's decision to cover them to the usual level of detail, and from a specifically British perspective, will be so valuable to future historians.
No, because I think you've made a strong case for their inclusion.
Matt wrote:Why must everything in this day and age be tailored to such narrow specifications for everyone, and if something is of no value to one person then it's perceived to be of value to no one? If you don't like the reviews of mainstream films, don't read them. It's as simple as that. Many others (especially researchers) find the complete reviews (and credits listings) incredibly valuable, and it's not as if the cover price of the magazine would necessarily go down if they stopped reviewing Martin Lawrence comedies.
I don't think it's a narrowing of specifications as such, it's just a blanket policy of reviewing every film I'm not so keen on. I'm certainly not arguing for the removal of mainstream films from the review section, and I fully support the space given to credit listings. A particular bugbear of mine is the reduction of credit listings reduced to "postage stamp" size on television.

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Camera Obscura
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Re: Best Film Magazines

#69 Post by Camera Obscura » Thu Mar 17, 2011 8:27 pm

j99 wrote:I'm not necessarily saying they are the wrong genre. My complaint is the amount of review space they take up to the exclusion of other articles. I have noticed that some articles in the features section are continued online. I know it happens rarely but my argument is instead of editing these why not, instead of publishing every review of every film released in the calender month without question, choose to move some of these reviews online instead? You have mentioned above the S&S database is limited and I accept this, but I don't think the policy of publishing every review in the magazine should remain sacrosanct and unconditional in the future. Personally, it is a change I would like to see made. And as for the snob charge, and my "readership's lack of interest" comment, if there really is interest, why are these films confined to the reviews section? Why are there no features articles on them?
Inclusion of every film shown on British soil in the paper version of S&S serves an archival purpose and potentially indispensable reference material for future generations. Simply giving it up after 80 years by moving reviews to the online section might be tricky for future reference material.

Websites or any given digital format tend to have short lifespans and unless everything is transferred back again in print, chances are you lose invaluable information for future generations. I'm not saying the information will be lost, but if continuous extensive coverage of all films shown on British soil is in any way still a viable option (supposing S&S is struggling with declining readership, like most printed film magazines), I wouldn't just give that up.

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colinr0380
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Re: Best Film Magazines

#70 Post by colinr0380 » Sat Apr 02, 2011 9:43 am

Sadly according to the Nick James editorial in this month's (May 2011) S&S apparently the printed credits for film reviews are going to be significantly pared back:
...from next month onwards we will be publishing a more limited credits list based on the creative heads of departments among the crew, and the headline cast of actors playing named parts (no more first or second policemen).
Apparently it is a combination of there being more than forty films a month released in the UK now, the easy availability of imbd combined with a wish to use the space taken up by the credits for other material, and the government cuts (i.e. the number of people managing the creation of the credit list is being reduced).

I have been noticing recently that there have been a lot more of "these credits were not available at time of going to press - they will be included in next month's issue" notes for certain films, so I suppose this adds another factor to wanting to cut them down.

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reaky
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Re: Best Film Magazines

#71 Post by reaky » Sat Apr 02, 2011 10:07 am

I assumed the deleted credits would be accessible on the BFI's online database (which I think in a world with wide internet access actually makes more sense than continuing with the printed record), but Nick James's editorial indicates that this will be the case only for British films:

"[On the] new, improved BFI database...you will in future find fuller credits for all British films released - but not, alas, for films from abroad."

I worry that the buck has been passed to the not-always-authoritative IMDb; but James makes it clear that this has been necessitated by cuts in the BFI's funding.

brunosh
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Re: Best Film Magazines

#72 Post by brunosh » Sun Apr 17, 2011 5:54 pm

I recently realised that I hadn't received a copy of Sight & Sound for a copy of months and, on enquiry, discovered that I had failed to renew my subscription on expiry in November 2010 and that back issues for Dec 2010 and Jan 2011 are sold out. Rats! Or, as my wife might put it, "Since you no longer have an unbroken sequence of S&S and Monthly Film Bulletin going back to when you were a teenager in the 70s, you no longer have a specious reason not to take that enormous pile of magazines you never look at to the recycling centre!"

j99
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Re: Best Film Magazines

#73 Post by j99 » Mon Apr 18, 2011 12:25 pm

brunosh wrote:I recently realised that I hadn't received a copy of Sight & Sound for a couple of months and, on enquiry, discovered that I had failed to renew my subscription on expiry in November 2010 and that back issues for Dec 2010 and Jan 2011 are sold out.
That happened to me a couple of issues ago. I usually get a reminder a couple of months in advance of expiry but didn't get one this time round. Glad I got a copy of the last one with the excellent Tindersticks/Claire Denis soundtrack cd.

Edit: I thought they had stopped sending them.
Last edited by j99 on Mon Apr 18, 2011 12:51 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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MichaelB
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Re: Best Film Magazines

#74 Post by MichaelB » Mon Apr 18, 2011 12:31 pm

j99 wrote:They used to send a reminder a couple of months in advance of expiry but don't do this anymore.
They certainly did between November and February - I received repeated renewal reminders.

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Sonmi451
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Re: The Films of 2012

#75 Post by Sonmi451 » Sat Dec 08, 2012 5:27 pm

Wasn't sure where to post this, so I figured I'd throw it in here. I'm looking to expand my cinematic horizons, and was wondering if you all might have some suggestions on good publications/sites to do so? Was thinking of possibly subscribing to a magazine such as Sight & Sound, or Film Comment; something along those lines. Is there much of a consensus on what is the best? Cheers

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