An Introduction

Welcome to my new film review blog!  I encourage your comments, and am hoping to build this blog into a place that can spawn some film discussion.

I definitely consider myself a cinephile, and try to see as many films released each year theatrically as possible.  Even though in this digital era the selection of films available in the home is wider than ever, and there are certainly plenty of home theater options to make the viewing experience as pleasant as possible, there’s still something magical about seeing a film in the theater as intended.  There’s a loss of control the audience has when they go see a film in a public venue which contributes to the experience that anything can happen; and it’s my opinion that it’s this very experience that helps a film to work properly on the audience and have an effect on our subconscious.  We can study a movie all we want in the comfort of our home and its hermetic environment, but we can also lose that experience of being part of the journey of the film; I’d liken it to the difference between observing or studying something, and participating in it so that is has a more profound and visceral effect.  This experience is heightened by knowing as little about a film as possible going into it, which is why I try to keep my general reviews plot-free and focus more on the effectiveness of a film’s various elements.

I live in Los Angeles, CA, so I’m lucky to have access to almost all theatrically released films, be it a large or small scale release.  I also have a wide variety of taste, from foreign to indie to the classics to Hollywood blockbusters.  I really have a love for all film, and my main criteria is simply high quality and the hope of witnessing something that hasn’t quite been done in the same way before, and in very special circumstances advances its genre or even film in general in some way.

It’s my belief that storytelling, when done well, can be a means to transform the audience.  We’re all here in this world on our individual journeys, and a good film gives us the opportunity to take a glimpse at humanity from a fresh perspective and apply the experiences of the characters up on the screen to our own personal struggles.  It can be cathartic and make us laugh and take comfort in a larger shared commonality; or it can take us to a stark, dark underbelly where we may find something to inspire us with the most difficult of our struggles.

I use a 1-10 rating scale, and for those used to a five star system, I’d equate it like this:
Five stars = 10, a classic and a must-see
Four stars = 8-9, highly recommended, would be worth owning the film
Three stars = 6-7, moderate recommendation to an audience with a predisposition to it
Two stars = 3-5, some audiences may get something out of it, but unless you have a vested interest in it, likely not worth your time
One star = 1-2, likely not worth anyone’s time

I try to avoid seeing anything I think I’d end up rating 1-2; and because I’m a fan of certain genres I may occasionally see something I think I’d rate a 3-5 and still enjoy it on some level.  But in general, even though I do see a large number of films, I do still try to target those I think are worth my time and I will really appreciate (I say appreciate because there are great films that you don’t always like in the sense that you find them enjoyable to watch, such as Michael Haneke’s Funny Games).

Other than hoping to inspire a discussion on film while sharing my opinions, my goal with this blog is two-fold, and is in part intended for the more casual filmgoer who doesn’t get a chance in today’s busy world to go out and see a lot of films.  The first is to bring to their attention films that they really should not miss, which is everything in the 8-10 category.  And the second is to provide an opinion on those middle-of-the road films that they may be considering spending a night out to go see.  If I rate a film 6-7, it probably won’t wow anyone, but it’s also likely you won’t consider it a waste of your time.  If I rate a film 3-5, I consider that falling below the line of something most moviegoers will want to waste their time with, unless of course there’s something about the film that has you itching to see it come hell or high water, in which case you’re probably not really seeking anyone’s opinion about it in the first place.

I can’t promise I will review every film I see.  Does anyone really need to read yet another review of some Hollywood blockbuster that they already know is a must-see, or a bomb to be avoided at all costs?  Instead, I’ll be prioritizing the films that I feel mainstream audiences may be overlooking entirely, or those that, while performing successfully, are so good that they deserve another voice championing them.

Since we’re already well into 2010 as I’m starting this blog, I’m going to do a quick list here of everything I’ve seen theatrically this year to-date.  Things are rated within their genre, so keep in mind that if I give a 6-7 to something in a genre that you generally HATE, you’re still probably not going to like it and, in such a case, might want to wait until I give something in that genre a 9-10 to check it out. And there’s always the case that my opinion is, at the end of the day, still just an opinion; there may occasionally be a film that I fell in love with which someone else may loathe. But disclaimers aside, anything in bold comes highly recommended!

The White Ribbon, Michael Haneke, 10/10
Daybreakers, the Spierig Brothers, 6/10
Youth in Revolt, Miguel Arteta, 6/10
The Book of Eli, the Hughes Brothers, 7/10
Fish Tank, Andrea Arnold, 6/10
Legion, Scott Stewart, 6/10
Creation, Jon Amiel, 8/10
The Girl on the Train, Andre Techine, 7/10
Edge of Darkness, Martin Campbell, 7/10
Terribly Happy, Henrik Ruben Genz, 6/10
From Paris With Love, Pierre Morel, 4/10
Frozen, Adam Green, 7/10
Red Riding Trilogy: 1974, Julian Jarrold, 8/10
Red Riding Trilogy: 1980, James Marsh, 7/10
Red Riding Trilogy: 1983, Anand Tucker, 8/10
The Wolfman, Joe Johnston, 2/10
Percy Jackson & The Olympians: The Lightning Thief, Chris Columbus, 5/10
Shutter Island, Martin Scorsese, 9/10
The Ghost Writer, Roman Polanski, 7/10
The Crazies, Breck Eisner, 8/10
Easier With Practice, Kyle Patrick Alvarez, 10/10
Cop Out, Kevin Smith, 1/10
The Yellow Handkerchief, Udayan Prasad, 10/10
A Prophet, Jacques Adiard, 8/10
Alice in Wonderland, Tim Burton, 4/10
Brooklyn’s Finest, Antoine Fuqua, 8/10
The Secret of Kells, Tom Moore & Nora Twomey, 3/10
Green Zone, Paul Greengrass, 7/10
Remember Me, Allen Coulter, 5/10
She’s Out of My League, Jim Field Smith, 7/10
Mother, Joon-ho Bong, 6/10
The Bounty Hunter, Andy Tennant, 6/10
The Runaways, Floria Sigismondi, 7/10
Repo Men, Miguel Sapochnik, 5/10
The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo, Niels Arden Oplev, 8/10
How to Train Your Dragon, Dean DeBlois & Chris Sanders, 7/10
Greenberg, Noah Baumbach, 8/10
Chloe, Atom Egoyan, 9/10

Hot Tub Time Machine, Steve Pink, 7/10
The Eclipse, Conor McPherson, 8/10
Clash of the Titans, Louis Leterrier, 5/10
Date Night, Shawn Levy, 4/10
The Square, Nash Edgerton, 7/10
Kick-Ass, Matthew Vaughn, 8/10
The Secret in Their Eyes, Juan Jose Campanella, 8/10

The Joneses, Derrick Borte, 7/10
A Nightmare on Elm Street, Samuel Bayer, 7/10
Harry Brown, Daniel Barber, 7/10
Iron Man 2, Jon Favreau 6/10
Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time, Mike Newell, 6/10
Splice, Vicenzo Natali, 7/10
The A-Team, Joe Carnahan, 7/10
Toy Story 3, Lee Unkrich, 8/10
Cyrus, the Duplass Brothers, 7/10
Knight & Day, James Mangold, 7/10
Predators, Nimrod Antal, 7/10
The Kids Are All Right, Lisa Cholodenko, 9/10
The Girl Who Played With Fire, Daniel Alfredson, 6/10
Rec 2, Jaume Balaguero & Paco Plaza, 7/10
Inception, Christopher Nolan, 9/10
Salt, Phillip Noyce, 6/10
Dinner for Schmucks, Jay Roach, 8/10
Middle Men, George Gallo, 8/10

Animal Kingdom, David Michod, 8/10

Want to be my Netflix friend?

Published in: on August 16, 2010 at 7:24 pm  Leave a Comment  

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