By Anne Thompson | Thompson on Hollywood April 30, 2010 at 2:02AM
Ex-Variety critic Todd McCarthy is joining the indieWIRE blog network. His first post goes up on Todd McCarthy’s Deep Focus Thursday night, and he'll file his first review out of the gate at the Cannes Film Festival, of Ridley Scott's Robin Hood.
After a hailstorm reaction to Variety's shocking dismissal of McCarthy after 30 years of stalwart service as their chief film critic, Variety editor Tim Gray did approach him to write for the trade--as did a number a number of other outlets. "Once I was shown the door at Variety," McCarthy says, "it was gratifying and embarrassing how much attention I got. But it was time for me to move forward, and not look back, to look at new things." Variety critics David Rooney and Derek Elley also chose not to return to their former home.
IndieWiRE offered the best fit, McCarthy says, because he can continue to do what he has always done: "to write full-length, serious reviews of new pictures and get them out right away." But he also looks forward to the new challenge of writing a blog from his own, first-person perspective. "It's an opportunity to do something fresh and new and not the same thing anymore." (He's even learning how to use a Mac, indieWIRE's computer of choice.)
At Cannes, it will be different for McCarthy to no longer corral a gaggle of global critics. He'll be picking and choosing which films demand long or shorter treatment. He'll be writing not just about the films he sees, but who he runs into on the Croisette, what he learned over dinner, and will share his life on the blog.
"It is important to the film world to continue to have access to the insight Todd brings from more than three decades’ experience reviewing the world’s top films," says Rick Allen, CEO of indieWIRE owner Snagfilms. "We are also excited about Todd extending his journalistic palette – he moves in the most rarified of environments in our business, and our audience is going to love to have a window into that world."
Going forward, McCarthy will be covering not only Cannes but the major world festivals, including Telluride, Toronto and Sundance. He'll work from home. "I make better coffee than Starbucks," he says. While McCarthy will house his new Todd McCarthy Reviews blog at indieWIRE, he will also pursue his other avocations as a book author (Howard Hawks: The Grey Fox of Hollywood) and documentary filmmaker (Visions of Light).
“Changes in the media business have hit the critical community especially hard, threatening the reach of some of the strongest voices in film,” says indieWIRE editor-in-chief and co-founder Eugene Hernandez. “Yet we are committed to making it an incredibly vibrant moment for film criticism, harnessing the power of the web to link leading writers with a broader audience. We are thrilled to be working with Todd to build an even bigger readership for his reviews and other film writing starting this year in Cannes and continuing year round."
IndieWIRE is providing a haven inside its blog network not only for me and Leonard Maltin, but now McCarthy as well, continuing a strategy, adds Allen, "of creating the perfect online home for respected entertainment industry journalists. Seismic shifts in the media business have opened up new opportunities at the same time that those shifts destabilized the traditional trades."