The folding of the long-running film magazine Premiere, by its publisher (the aptly named) Hachette, has already been discussed quite a bit in the blogosphere since the announcement a couple of weeks ago. But I'm still thinking about its implications (and still trying to see if I can get my subscription money back, as I'd just renewed two months ago - good luck with that). On the one hand, the magazine will stay "alive" online in some incarnation, which is where a lot of us film geeks go to get their fixes these days anyway, and there are certainly other film magazines out there capable of handling the load. Still, while the magazine had undeniably become fluffier and fluffier over the past couple of years (though it had gotten a little better as of late), Premiere was one of the few film publications attempting to keep one toe in the mainstream Hollywoodish world and another in the more eclectic art house and international world (as well as, mostly through the help of its critic Glenn Kenny, keeping an eye on re-issues and blasts from the past on DVD). While trying to please all types all the time may have in some way lead to its undoing, I for one am still a bit sad at the print version's passing.
Think of the alternatives in the print world (again, I know a lot of us are now getting our fix online, but I still enjoy reading actual physical magazines now and then):
- Entertainment Weekly: Fun for a mindless read with some capable writing that raises it above trashy status, but still, it's not what I'd call anything more than a short attention span mag for the pop culture set.
- Movieline: Yawn. Sort of like Premiere, and it's definitely improved as far as readability and having stories of interest goes, but still there's something uninspiring about the whole enterprise.
- Empire: The brassier British version of Premiere, sister to the music mag Q, and not bad. Not all that good, either. Occasional fun interview.
- Sight and Sound: Great magazine for the cinephile, produced by the British Film Institute. Fine reviews, occasionally snobby (mostly in a good way) essays, fine articles and eclectic coverage. Only debit: Very expensive for those of us in the States, which is the only thing keeping me from subscribing. Worth a splurge now and again though.
- MovieMaker and Filmmaker: These are particularly valuable for, yes, filmmakers, and wannabe filmmakers and those in the industry; not as interesting, I'd imagine, for "just plain" filmgoers. Worth a buy once in awhile. The latter is published by IFP (Independent Feature Project).
- Ditto Cineaste, which is like a snootier version of the above. Some excellent writing, and yet there's something rather snoozeworthy about the magazine as a whole, sort of like reading the results of the Where Are They Now? for college film studies programs. Also, it seems more like a magazine for cinephiles, as Dave Kehr points out the word "cineaste" really means filmmaker, though this magazine seems intended for that netherwold in between the "'astes" and the "'philes."
- For this sort of take, I much prefer Film Comment, which continues to be one of the best of the more intellectual film magazines.
There are also independent magazines with both print and online presences that have deserved followings, such as FilmThreat.
But again, none of the above really take the place of Premiere. I know many of you are not lementing its passing, but I am. One less film magazine in print is not good news.
Still, Glenn Kenny will maintain his blog and the mag will, at least for now, have an online component, so there's a ghost-like presence out there for anyone missing it.
If I've forgotten any other good film mags that sort of fit the Premiere-ish mold, let me know.
I have some thoughts on screenwriting magazines separately from these, which I'll post here at some point soon.