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(Applause Books). "I find John's critical writing immensely entertaining even when I'm not in agreement… He has the gift, such a rare one, of being able to analyze the work in question, to be able to say why it is that it's so powerful, so touching; or, on the other hand, so trite, so meretricious, or so banal… I find his reviews full of insights and perceptions that make reading a collection of this sort as exciting as reading a gripping novel. John's wit is dazzling and is never displayed for its own sake, but to drive home an aspect of the review… It was exciting for me to read through this collection and see such warm praise for so many films that I feel have been unjustly ignored." Bruce Beresford
I am biased, I suppose, as I wrote the introduction for this book. I consider John Simon to be an outstanding writer, not just about film but also theatre and classical music. He is not fooled by the merely fashionable although his enthusiasms often endorse the popular, no matter what his detractors say to the contrary. Above all, he writes with wit and insight.
The tintinnabulation of the words
24 people found this helpful.
on August 26, 2005
John Simon is a maddening individual. He is the premier example on what William Goldman called the “Supercritic”. This is one who seems to always find merit in works the majority of his/her colleagues dismiss, and grandly dismisses works most others praise. It would seem, therefore, that he should be likewise easy to dismiss… except for two things.
Trenchant critical acumen; a heart that loves even the most emotional film, if it is done well. A genius of a Critic
10 people found this helpful.
on October 24, 2005
By J. Clemons
Publishing so many of Simon’s reviews is great. Hats off to the publisher. Its too bad it didn’t include a few more of Simon’s “bad” reviews, because I feel strongly that you learn more about the cinema when he is rebuking or castigating a film. Also, if it is a bad review, I can read the entire review, with the good ones that I haven’t seen I must skip much of the review of a film because Simon gives away so much of the plot. I skim lightly a Simon review to see if it’s negative or positive and if it’s positive, I don’t read it until I see the film.
When a Word Is Worth a Thousand Pictures
One person found this helpful.
on August 22, 2016
By R. Schultz
It is a bit odd to be reviewing a book of reviews. Assuming someone might eventually comment on my review, we’d be in danger of falling into an infinite regress – a review of a review of reviews… But there is a lot to say about and in favor of this book.
John Simon, Unplugged and Mellowed.
11 people found this helpful.
on December 24, 2006
By R. J. Maxwell
Yes, he’s calmed down. His last collection of reviews, “Reverse Angle,” appeared in 1982. I remember the NY Times critic saying that by his reckoning, out of the two hundred or so films, Simon could bring himself to recommend only about fifteen.
I’ve waited 20 years for this book!!!!!!!!
12 people found this helpful.
on August 26, 2005
By Kevin R. Brogan
John Simon is my all time favorite film critic and Reverse Angle was my favorite book of film criticism….until this one. 20 years of some of the best movies ever. Who better than Simon to disect them? Year after year I’ve waited for all these reviews to be put into a compilation and finally it happened. Thank you, Mr. Simon for your all the years of great reviews and for this very early, wonderful Christmas present.
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