I really find Variety‘s decision to fire their main movie critic, and to rely instead on freelancers, completely inexplicable. The great value added of movie critics is that they watch, digest, and analyze, hundreds and thousands of movies a year. They bring context. They spot patterns. You can learn their preferences, and biases, and the things they spot that other critics don’t. Freelancers provide none of those things. However fascinating they are individually, they don’t provide the consistent perspective that is the only reason I read Manohla Dargis, Roger Ebert, and Anthony Lane. Though I read that guy so much for the pleasure and nastiness of the prose. He is a wicked delight. Hope Variety’s former critic lands on his feet.