The Encyclopedia of Film Criticism: Neil Young

Neil Young
I know Cosmopolis rubbed a lot of people up the wrong way and left many cold — which is part of why I like it.
Known for: The website Jigsaw Lounge, Odds calculating.

Noted champion of: Project X, Stray Dogs, James Benning, Dude, Where's My Car?, Alexey Balabanov, Stray Dogs, Dennis Iliadis.

Contributed to: The Hollywood Reporter, Time Out London, The Independent, Jigsaw Lounge, A Love Supreme, Tribune, IndieWire, Sight & Sound, Mubi Notebook, BBC Radio, City Life, KINO!

Influences: An avid film-watcher from a very early age, with a particular youthful fondness for the horror films shown at weekends on British television, Young cites as key formative influences Alan Frank (Horror Films), Danny Peary (Guide for the Film Fanatic) and the collections by Pauline Kael. Other writers he points to as particularly inspiring examples include James Agee, Graham Greene and Manny Farber. Among current critics he singles out Mike D'Angelo, Michael Sicinski, Michael Pattison and Seattle's enigmatic 'Vern'. 

Easington-born, Sunderland-based Neil Young (March 5, 1971-) boasts an unorthodox background for a professional film-critic, having been employed as an official Handicapper in British flat horse-racing for 15 seasons from 1996 to 2011. Originally trained as a news reporter, he was, however, constantly writing throughout this period, initially on soccer for fan-magazine A Love Supreme and then somewhat belatedly turning his hand to film-reviews. In 2000 at the age of 29 he wrote his first reviews for the website Jigsaw Lounge (which he co-founded with Adam Maxwell), then on a paid basis for City Life in Manchester, The Independent and Time Out, both in London.

After occasional visits to British film festivals, starting in 1993, he discovered their overseas equivalents in 2001 thanks to a trip to the Black Nights Film Festival in Tallinn, Estonia, and has since then attended well over 100 "foreign" festivals. In 2005, he started contributing on a weekly basis to the long-running British political magazine Tribune and since 2008 has been a regular reviewer for The Hollywood Reporter, often covering relatively marginal or esoteric fare for the Los Angeles-based trade magazine and contributing to the "dailies" from Berlin and Cannes.

In addition to his cinema-related journalism, he has directed a pair of mid-length experimental documentaries (Rostropovich at Tsukiji and Superflex November, both 2008) and works as a programmer and consultant for several European festivals including the Viennale. Since 2011 he has been Co-Director of the Bradford International Film Festival at the UK's National Media Museum. In 2013, he served on the jury of the Semaine de la Critique at Cannes. In 2013, he served on the jury of the Semaine de la Critique at Cannes. For the major European festivals - in a hark-back to his former métier - he provides informative betting-odds on Jigsaw Lounge for the major categories, and usually has the prize-winners among the first two or three contenders in their category.

A semi-regular contributor to BBC radio in Newcastle, he has written articles and festival reports for IndieWire, Sight & Sound, and Ljubljana periodical KINO!, and has long been particularly noted as a vociferous champion of American experimental director James Benning. His defence of such apparently "maudit" mainstream-oriented fare as Jeepers Creepers, Dude, Where's My Car? and Project X has, however, often proved more controversial among colleagues.

On The Last House On The Left:

By my reckoning, this is not only the best horror-film from any country since Satan (aka Sheitan, Kim Chapiron's berserk stew of diabolism and multi-ethnic banlieue horniness, shown at a single London cinema for a fleeting handful of screenings back in 2007) but is, as of the mid-summer mid-point of 2009, the most impressive new feature to obtain distribution in this country. 
Despite mixed-to-negative reviews in the mainstream Stateside press, several reliable observers did give advance warning that this new Last House was a pleasant surprise in terms of its merit. Though the subject-matter (rape, murder, homicidal revenge) is, as with the Craven antecedent, decidedly, relentlessly and harrowingly unpleasant.

source: Nicholas Arcane

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