{film + random} queries

on

I was thinking I should sit down and finally write that review of Rise of the Planet of the Apes (2011). It was earlier today between thinking about and doing homework. It has been a few weeks since I’ve seen it, so surely I would have a nice short post. After The Descendants (2011) are you relieved? I found myself running through a checklist of things I would probably address/highlight.

When we read books, and then if we sit down to write about them, we have things we look for and address. The daughter (nearly 12) and I had a rousing discussion about writing and genre expectations yesterday. She is a huge fan of Agatha Christie and opined on Mysteries, the formulaic (then and now), and how to use expectation against her audience. We began to see how N prioritized her approach, immediate experience at the risk of apparent flaws, think Alfred Hitchcock. She is conscious of what she is looking for in a Mystery read.–as am I. And she and I differ on a few points. Knowing her, I can assess the potential of my own response to her reads (and writings).

With film, I know if H loves a film, I will never watch it–I refuse. I S, I ferret out what genre and or the cast. If M, I will see it.

All this to inquire what you look for in you film reviews (reading them or writing them)?  There is the pacing, length, animation, action, the characterization, the casting, producers, distributor, the sound, the cinematography, the mood, the narrative whole, special effects, genre, visit expectations of marketing or genre, re-boot/make comparisons, the setting, costuming, lighting, blocking, the director’s mise en scene, tropes, adaptations, rating, sexuality, language, violence, etc.

While I suppose it is reflexive to reply to whatever is exemplified or failed in a film, there are still the preoccupations, elements always addressed, always looked for. (1) What are those for you?

While we’re talking about this: (2) What could I include that you would find helpful or interesting? a star-rating system, the art directors, links to actors or production members mentioned, dividing the post into general and a reading, age appropriateness, ‘reminds me of’, etc.

And lastly: (3) Is there a film you would like me to see? I may refuse. I venture into books upon request fairly easily, but film is another beast. I would try though, and it might be interesting.

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{image: 1930s, “Queue Here Board” via The Cinema Museum (.org.uk)}

2 Comments Add yours

  1. The most important thing I look for in a film review, or book, or practically anything else, is the reviewer. I need to know how a reviewer thinks before I put much weight with their words. There are exceptions, but generally, a trusted review is worth more than an Amazon anonymous review. That said…

    I like reactionary reviews, what a Viewer as horrifying or bizarre or something. Pacing isn’t important to me, and I’ve always found it odd that so many reviewers discuss the pacing. I do appreciate it when the cast and crew are discussed and criticized. SFX are appreciated if the movie warrants it, but otherwise pointless. Comparisons are helpful, too, as are most of the things that you’ve listed. However, I by no means expect or want all that info in a review, as it would be too long to read!

    Improvements? Suggestions? None that I can think of. A rating system is usually arbitrary, I think, and doesn’t serve much of a purpose to me.

    Suggestion to watch? Uh, not sure why it came to mind, but have you & Sean watched Primer? (I may have brought this up here before. I apologize if so.) I think Sean would like it, and you may, too. It’s a very indie sci-fi, low budget film about love & time travel that blows my mind just thinking about it.

    1. L says:

      true, true Logan. I find, too, the more you become familiar the more confidently you could recommend a watch too, not just take recommendations (I speak to blogs though; I don’t feel I can email A.O.Scott a rec).

      you compliment me with your suggestion to see ‘Primer’. I have seen it. Sean has seen it a couple times (Richardson, where it is filmed, isn’t too far from where Sean grew up). It is a crazy film! I remember reading once, that a guy sat down and diagrammed it all out. which I can see where visual aides would help. anyway, I know I will never look at storage places the same again, or time-travel for that matter. There is a film that is trying to come to mind with Primer, but I’ll have to consult the better “memory” portion of my brain (Sean).

      it is true, when the reaction is full of verve in any direction, it is immediately engaging.

thoughts? would love to hear them...

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