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Guides, Handbooks & Bibliographies Film Reviews, Critics & Annual Review Guides Journals Indexes & Databases

Film Reviews, Critics & Annual Review Guides

Critics not only influence audiences on which films to attend, they also affect scholarly opinion. The critical reviews of Kael, Canby and Maslin are often taught in conjunction with the theories of Derrida, Metz and Hugo. The following sources are intended to direct the reader to some of the "greats" as well as providing them with more commercial and up-to-date reviews and reviewers.

Thelma & Louise

Kael, Pauline. 5001 Nights at the Movies. New York : Henry Holt, c 1991.
Davis: PN1995 .K19 1991
     Widely considered one of the foremost film critics of our time, Pauline Kael's reviews are continually referred to and called upon by film professors and other critics alike. Now retired from her post at the NewYorker, review collections like this one are essential. Arranged in alphabetical order with original language movie titles included, this source lists the release date, language, and any cross references (to other films & review collections) in addition to the original review of the film.

Film Review Annual [serial]. Published: Englewood, NJ : J.S. Ozer, c1982-
Davis Reference Row 17: PN1995 .F465
     This annual provides an exhaustive collection of film reviews for any full-length feature film released in a major market in the US from 1981 to 1995. Arranged alphabetically by film title, each entry contains a complete production citation including running time and MPAA rating. The reviews themselves are arranged alphabetically by publication. This source has an amazing collection of indices (10 for older editions, 8 currently) including ones for directors, screenwriters, cinematographers, editors, music and production crew. An indispensable source, extremely handy in that several reviews are centrally located for a film.

The New York Times Film Reviews [serial]. Published: New York, New York Times.
Davis Reference Row 17: PN1995 .N4
Another key source for film reviews, contemporary and classic. Particularly valuable for its original reviews dating back to 1913 (covering 16,000 film reviews from 1913-1968). Listed in chronological order, it is easy to use and includes a title index & personal name index. Important source for some of the foremost contemporary critics; Janet Maslin, Caryn James, and Vincent Canby.

Variety international Film Guide [serial].  London : Andre Deutsch ; Hollywood : Samuel French, c1989-
Davis: PN1993.3 .I544
     Entries are arranged in alphabetical order by country, this source reports on filmmaking around the world. Provides current filmographies (recent and forthcoming films) for each country annually, most include full plot descriptions and production information. This source is very straightforward and easy to use. The critical essays that accompany each country/section are well-written and informative, giving a brief overview of the current film situation in that particular country.

Internet Movie Database. 1990-1998 Internet Movie Database Limited (part of the group of companies).
Available online at this location --
     Very helpful, this site is extremely easy to navigate, providing the user with up to date reviews, articles and links to contemporary (although primarily commercial) films. Updated continuously, it is hyperlinked within the database, as well as to numerous external sites. Its stated objective is to provide useful and up to date movie information freely available on-line, across as many systems and platforms as possible. It currently covers over 170,479 titles with over 2,462,516 filmography entries and is expanding continuously.

Leslie Halliwell. Halliwell's Film Guide (U.S. ed.). New York : Scribner's, 1998.
Davis Reference Desk: PN1993.45 .H27
     Entries are arranged in alphabetical order. Reviews and star ratings for 20,000 films, together with technical and creative production credits and critic's comments. Also provides an index to four star films. Very useful guide, annotations are succinct and clever.

Leonard Maltin. Leonard Maltin's Movie and Video Guide. New York, N.Y. : Plume, 1995
UL: PN1993 .L46
     Provides reviews and star rating for over 20,000 films. Includes details of directors and cast with an index of leading directors and stars. Entries are arranged in alphabetical order making it extremely easy to use. Although descriptive and concise, this reviewer's style leans more to the pedestrian rather than academic. A good starting tool.