Hello to anyone who may be reading this. If you are doing so, I’m already doing better than I thought I would, so that’s good.
Anyway, this blog will compose almost entirely of reviews and essays of films both old and new, American and foreign, Hollywood and independent, and, inevitably, good and bad. That’s where I come in: Differentiating the good from the bad.
The reviews I write will, hopefully, be a tad more critical and a bit longer than your average newspaper review, perhaps resembling essays more than reviews, but not being so long that you won’t want to take the time to read it when there are people smarter and more eloquent than I doing exactly this. With that said, there’s a chance that an entry will have sizable spoilers if they help me analyze the film, but I will always mark them for you.
So, what qualifies me to put my thoughts on a movie out there for everyone to read? At the time of writing, I’m a rising sophomore studying film at New York University (NYU), and I have a pretty large appetite for films (I do what I can to average between 2 and 3 a day). Really though, it’s 2012, so one need not be qualified to talk on the internet! Read a bit of what I have to say, hopefully it’ll be worth your time.
Ideally, I’ll have something new up every day, but I know that I’m never going to do that, so I’ll say every couple days I hope to have up some words on another movie. In addition, every month or so (and adjusted as I see fit once this gets going), I’ll have a longer feature up. By that, I mean a longer essay on a film or director, some kind of countdown ranking my favorite films of some decade, year, director, country, movement, genre, etc. Something to that effect.
All that said, at the end of the day, you, my loyal, intellectually curious reader want to know how “good” the movie is. I don’t like the 4 star system, as it has only three ratings for quality movies. I don’t like a 1-10 scale, either, as school has taught many of us that anything less than a 7 is terrible, so we again have a small number of ratings for good movies and too many for a bad movie. As I see it, if a movie is bad, it matters less how bad it is than how good a good movie is. So I’ll take my system from IndieWire and go back to school. Here’s each rating, and what it means for the film.
A+: A film that is triumphantly cinematic, an affirmation of everything that is great about the art form. It is endlessly satisfying thematically, aesthetically, and is always thrilling to watch. It is endlessly ambitious and as such rewards multiple viewings and indeed, the films seems to grow greater with each one. One of the very best of all time.
A: A film that is remarkably ambitious and almost perfectly executed. It is a work of art from the standpoint of entertainment, aestheticism, and/or theme. It may be slightly short of revolutionary aesthetically, may be have a small stretch that fails to match up but is a film you should not at all miss. One of the best of its decade.
A-: A great film, but one with definable flaws. The film may occasionally be heavy-handed, or be “merely” great job at something we have seen before instead of a startlingly original work. One of the best of the year.
B+: A very good film, but one whose flaws you can pinpoint. Some element of the film is not working as well as the others, or too many fall a bit short of greatness. Watch it.
B: A good film, but probably lacking anything that will make it really stand out, or else has a big flaw. Barring resistance to that director, you should enjoy it.
B-: A pretty good film, but one that leaves you wanting more. Such a film probably lost a degree of control in its strive, or didn’t make its point either as well as it could have, or else didn’t have anything terribly interesting to say but was still well-made.
C+: A decent film, but barring a love of that director or completionist desires regarding a filmography, there are better films to spend your time with. Such a film is perhaps mildly entertaining, but ideologically incoherent. Alternately, it could be quite boring in a quest to say something you probably already knew. It may have had a hard time deciding what exactly it wanted to be.
C: An average film. It had problems in a couple elements of the film, be it script, acting, directing, etc. that greatly hindered enjoyability. If you’re curious, it won’t be a waste of time, but don’t expect much.
C-: A very “meh” film. At this point, you should start to stay away. A C- film is messy in several elements of its look or feel, has very little, if anything to say, likely had tonal problems, and didn’t know exactly how it wanted to play.
D+: A poor film, and one you really shouldn’t watch. It’s messy, perhaps questionable in what little it has to say, and its strengths are either few or minor compared to its weaknesses.
D: A bad film. It is probably offensive in the way it treats the audience or in what it has to say about the world. Additionally, the film is, because of acting, writing, or something else, hard to watch.
D-: I can’t fathom why a film like this would ever be made. If there’s a virtue, it’s very hard to find.
F: An embarrassment and total failure of a work of art. Absolutely nothing about the film is good, and that is immediately apparent.
Lastly, now that all that is over, feel free to comment on my grade, review, thoughts, or anything else. Recommendations are always welcome, questions will be answered to the best of my ability. Thanks for reading!