Gone are the days when film critics swayed the culture and sparked serious debate, Anne Thompson laments in Variety. None of her college film students can name a critic besides Roger Ebert, though all are intense cinematic aficionados. Instead, most turn to review roundup sites, or “get their movie info straight from the studio marketing departments.”
Major publications have kept critics on board, but local newspapers are handing out pink slips. “Papers are managing contraction right now,” says a Philadelphia Inquirer reviewer. “When you can't fully cover a presidential campaign, a movie critic might seem like a luxury.” All of which bodes poorly for indie and specialty films, which need local critics “as explainer, interpreter and champion," Thompson writes.