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Movie magazines March 13, 2005

Posted by ayasawada in Uncategorized.

I have this conversation with my friend Nimer every month. What UK movie magazine to buy? Both of us were avid Empire readers for years, but he dropped it as it gradually became more and more commercial over the years. It’s taken me a bit longer but I’ve eventually given up on it too. The trouble is, what’s better?

My friend is a subscriber to the BFI’s Sight and Sound and a regular Premiere reader. However, this doesn’t really do the job. His point is that Sight and Sound is, quite frankly, up it’s own arse. The features are excellent and the news is well-written, but he has the same problem with the reviewers as he has with The Guardian’s Peter Bradshaw – they never seem to like anything because, as a critic, you generally find fault in everything. Myself, I love Peter Bradshaw’s reviews, though I have to agree somewhat. Then again, he does award the odd incongrous 5* to stuff like Dodgeball and Kill Bill (both of which I agree with, though he seemed less than bowled over by Garden State – sacrilege!).

Anyway, having given up Empire I have started on Sight and Sound, which is a more interesting but a denser read. The point is, Empire used to occupy that niche that most normal non-obsessive, non-industry involved film fans live in – the unpompous, enthusiastic crowd in it for the movies. Empire can still be funny, but that’s a poor substitute for real discussion when faced with loud but dull eight-page blockbuster spreads, bland interviews, half-naked chicks (though that’s difficult to argue against) and increased advertising. Now that Empire is wholly an EMAP drone it sits indistinguishable from Total Film and Hotdog on the newsagent’s shelf.

So what to buy? As Nimer points out, why buy at all when web publishing is rife? There’s more than enough stuff on anything you want to read. Heck, even if you wanted to stick with Empire, the online site is pretty comprehensive. But don’t you miss the smell of the month’s new movie mag in your hands?



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