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Forum staff reports, Published March 06 2014

Nationally known film critic got his start reviewing movies in ND

Each week, Roger Moore (not THAT Roger Moore) gives Forum readers – and newspapers subscribers across the country – an early peek at movies coming to theaters.

But he got his start close to home.

After nearly 16 years away, the Florida resident is making a return to the Red River Valley for the Fargo Film Festival this weekend.

Moore, a former freelance movie critic for the Grand Forks Herald, came into the business during its prime, as far as critics go. He grew up watching Gene Shalit and Joel Siegel.

“I thought you had to be from New York and Jewish,” he said.

Moore spent four years at the Herald from 1984-88, while working in public radio and getting his graduate degree at UND, before moving onto greener pastures in Tennessee, the Orlando Sentinel and now the McClatchy-Tribune News Service.

“(Film critics are) a luxury that newspapers can’t afford anymore. It’s much easier for them to pay a wire service,” Moore said of his job as a syndicated reviewer for McClatchy.

Moore began his lifelong love of movies while growing up in rural Virginia. Film gave him a connection to the “real world.”

Now a veteran in the field, his reviews and profiles appear in newspapers and websites such as the Washington Post, The Los Angeles Times, Rotten Tomatoes and The Orlando Sentinel.

Moore says his as critic is often critiqued by the public, but most in the profession try to be fair.

“(Critics) are a prickly bunch. I think most critics can go into a film with an open mind,” Moore said.

On Friday, Moore will headline a Fargo Film Festival discussion on film criticism. Then on Saturday, fans can attend a workshop he’ll lead on the same subject.

“The difference between us and the general public is the public is choosing to see a movie that they think they’re going to like based on the ads, what genres they like or the actors they like in it. A critic goes and sees everything, so not everything is going to be of some genre you like or have some star you like. Because you’re going with a blank slate like that, you’re much more likely to say, ‘This is not that great.’ ”


What: Fargo Film Festival discussion on film criticism with Roger Moore

When: Noon today

Where: 102 Broadway, Fargo

Info: Admission $8, includes lunch


What: Roger Moore’s workshop on film criticism

When: 2 p.m. Saturday

Where: 102 Broadway, Fargo

Info: Admission $5

Tim Albrecht of the Forum News Service contributed to this report