Recently discharged Variety senior critic Todd McCarthy has announced he’ll be authoring a new online column — Deep Focus — at Indiewire starting on May 12th, or the first day of the Cannes Film Festival. He was probably coaxed into this deal by Indiewire columnist and old pally Anne Thompson, and the benefits are clearly mutual — Indiewire lands a a major brand-name critic and McCarthy gets to play it a bit differently as a pick-and-choose sharpshooter (instead of leading and coordinating a team of Variety critics) while adopting a new bloggy-blog fluidity in his prose.

“With this new site, I will continue writing formal reviews of important new pictures,” he explained on Thursday night, “but the blog aspect will permit me to write about so many other things, from Hollywood personalities I encounter as a matter of course to observations about my son’s progress as a blossoming film buff. In this welcoming column alone, I’m able to write in the first person as I rarely could at Variety, and the possibility to expand the way I write about films and the film world is enormously energizing.”

Aahh, but will McCarthy truly break out into a new personalized mode and — this is one way of putting it — follow in the footsteps of Hollywood Elsewhere, passing along true-life tales and observations with his own versions of encounters with emotionally vivid cowboy hats and Hispanic party elephants? Will he delve into the world of personality itself, into curious admirations and fickle annoyances? Will he not only tell stories about his inner world but pass along opinions about morals and culture and mothers who bring their two-year-old daughters to showings of Hostel II? Or politics, for that matter? Or will he just stick to movies while maintaining that famously disciplined posture that has spelled “Todd McCarthy” all these years, offering that patented blend of shrewd perception and wit and historical insight?

I’m obviously half-kidding, but it’ll be interesting to see where McCarthy decides to take this.