Calling all Critics
There are three ways to review a film.
Perhaps more, but there are three ways between which I think I would need to choose, were I to review a film. Simplest is a quick summary, with scant observation or enlightenment. Just the facts. The director, stars, plot, perhaps the piece's origins or maybe its buzz. And then, "Liked it", "Hated it", "I laughed, I cried". This isn't even a review actually - strike it off the list.
There are two ways to review a film.
First, there is the professional critical review in the thumbs-up or 3-stars sense, where the reviewer attempts to comment on the successes and failures of a particular piece without actual blowing the story. The reader of the review is still expected to SEE the film at some point. So the reviewer and the reviewee enter into a spy-game dance, where the information is delivered on a need-to-know basis. Just enough meat need be torn from the beast for the reviewer to sculpt a ghost, as it were. The reader needs to recognize enough of the latent spirit to either feel an attraction or to dismiss the candidate along with the rag he's reading.
Now, I'm sorry but this is a tad like betting a horse from the morning form at the track. Maybe it's me but it smacks a little of a blind-date get up. This is why so many reviewers have to qualify their last couple sentences with "If you're looking for a movie that...." Or they'll tell you that this particular film has all the elements of some other previous release, and more, or less, plus sex, minus chimps. Ultimately, you just go watch the trailer and shoot from the hip. You just want to know, with such a preview, of your possible relative desire to see this film over another at this moment. It's all about resources, time, money, buttered or plain, you know. OK.
Then there's the critical analysis. It's a true review - it's after the fact. When you have to develop an expository piece about a subject film or a piece of literature, or a comparitive between two or more, you do so expecting that your audience has also in fact seen or read the piece(s). It's great fun, you're reading between the lines, you're critiquing the sound editing, etc, and you're not only spilling the story, you're swimming around in the creator's brain.
I love to delve into the literary schema, the filmic structure, the formal presentation, the cultural assumptions, the intellectual agreements that the director and the screenwriter make with the viewer. I love to just taste the visceral, roll it over for a day or a week or more and see how it effects the piece. I want to solve it. I want to elucidate. And therein lies the rub. That's all for the book club. It's for class, for a grade. You can't do that here. Not without ticking off half of next weekend's viewing public.
So, I don't want to write a review that's merely a wink wink preview.
And I really can't just write a full blown analytical treatise.
No, really, I mean I can't. This isn't school, dammit, it's me banging away at the computer on my free time. When I should be watching a film, for example. After the kids are asleep.
So here's all I'm going to do. I'm reviewing in reverse. You tell me.
I'm listing the next 20 DVD's I have on my Netflix Queue, and you can just go ahead and chime in with any damn comment you want. Sound like fun? Calling all Critics.
Surely, it won't make me remove something from the list but perhaps it'll climb or slip based on what I hear. Maybe. Besides, we all know I'll probably never even get to # 20 without throwing piles of other films ahead of it first. By the way, does anyone know the limit on the length of a Netflix queue? Mine's longer than a list of parts necessary to build a car.
So here's what I've got on the way, in order:
1. Jesus' Son
2. The Station Agent
3. Ghost World
5. Donnie Darko
6. The Saddest Music In The World (Thanks, Luke)
7. Kill Bill 1 and 2
8. All About My Mother
9. Amores Perros
11. Buffalo Soldiers
12. 25th Hour
13. Igby Goes Down
14. Waking Life
15. Facing Windows
16. The Triplets of Belleville
17. Baise Moi
18. Scotland PA
19. Sexy Beast
Remember, do not spoil anything for me dear friend, or I'll,,, well, , I'll slap a blind date on ya. You really don't want that.