Book Review: Five Stars! (2005)

As some know, I was on the board of the Sioux Falls Film Society back when it actually sponsored an honest-to-god film series. I always felt somewhat insecure about my knowledge of film and wanted to find a good introduction to and groundwork for the subject. I think I found it in Christopher Null’s Five Stars! How to Become a Film Critic, The World’s Greatest Job, released today.

Null, the founder of, mixes the basics of film history and theory, film making, writing reviews, analyzing films, and marketing. He even talks about the pros and cons of rating systems, from thumbs up or down to four or five starts to letter grades. And if you’re truly serious about becoming a film critic, there’s an indispensable compilation of contacts and distributors. This truly is an all-in-one guide to film criticism.

Even if you have only a casual interest in film and no desire to be a published critic, you will learn something from Five Stars! In fact, Null’s discussion of film theory and styles and his personal list of 300 “Must-See Films for the Aspiring Critic” are alone worth the price of admission. Frankly, I could care less if I ever have a film review published. I know that I now watch movies with a different – and more informed – perspective. You will, too.

When a snotty rich kid from Ann Arbor makes a movie about the decay of society, it makes a very weak point.

Christopher Null, Five Stars!

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