Monday, January 18, 2010

Movie Index - Introduction - Reviews and Ratings

Movie Index
The following movies do not fall into one of the featured sections:

The following sections contain links to their corresponding reviews:

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I decided to create a new blog that was devoted strictly to movie reviews and movie related topics. This was mostly because my current blog, Storytelling in All it’s Forms allows me to only examine movies from a limited scope – mostly from the writing end of things. Sure I can discuss how director or actor decisions affect the storytelling powers of the film – but I don’t’ really get to break down the elements of a movie as much as I like to. So I find that my blogs about movies turn into mini reviews, and I usually end up editing them down to the essential storytelling components.

This revealed that I still enjoy reviewing movies, even if I haven’t really done it officially in several years. My original idea was to create a Author website where I could house movie reviews I felt compelled to tackle, but my skills in web mastering are limited to 90’s tech, not something to be proud of. So I decided to basically make a blog of reviews until I get to a point where I can build (or have built) a site I feel comfortable with.

But the blog will have some downsides that I’m aware of. Mostly the lack of an easy search function. But at the same time it will allow me to write about movies and not feel so constricted by the parameters of my storytelling blog.

And the storytelling blog isn’t going anywhere. I’ll still be writing it, but it will focus more on my writing as well as the books I’m reading. I’ll still tackle movies on there, and may do so in conjunction with this movie reviews blog. So you’ll get a movie review here and a more in depth discussion on the storytelling angle of the movie.

Now most of the reviews will cover films that are already available on DVD. I don’t got to the theaters so much any more and when I do it’s usually for something special. So this will limit the types of movies I’ll cover here, but I’ll try to keep things interesting. I intend on putting up reviews for all the James Bond films, Mystery Science Theater 3000 episodes, Japanese Animation, and little known flicks from 30’s and 40’s. All this in addition to better known films. I’ll also use this space for my thoughts on movie music, director’s styles, and movie series. Sure it seems a bit broad, but I know I’ll have fun writing it, and I hope you have fun reading it.

Feel free to send me suggestions on what you’d like to see me tackle and review. I’m always up to checking out new stuff. If I can find a place to rent it, I will.

So I hope you enjoy my writings and ravings about movies. I look forward to any feedback you provide!

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Reviews and Ratings

I wanted to take a moment and explain my review writing style and my ratings system. My reviews will essentially be split into two parts. The first part will be a quick breakdown of the basics of the review. So if you are curious about what I think about the film but not willing to read the full blown review, you can get your taste here.

I start with a paragraph Introduction covering my experience with the film, or maybe it’s place in the larger scheme of things. I continue with a Summary that is spoiler free and covers the basic plot of the film and actors involved. I try to keep this to one paragraph as well. Next comes the Short Review section that breaks the movie into it’s Good Points, Bad Points, and Overall judgment. Again I keep these points short and sweet. I then follow it up with my Score broken down into numerical ratings, which I’ll cover in a minute.

The second half of the review is an in depth coverage of the film. I usually spend a paragraph or so covering each of the following points: Visual Aspects, Sound Aspects, Acting, Music, Script, Direction, and Entertainment. This gives you at least six paragraphs of review – but usually more because I tend to spend about a paragraph on each key performance in the film. This section is meant for readers who have seen the film or don’t mind spoilers. This is the real meat of the review, and I try to be really thorough but to the point in my reviews.

At times I’ll include a addendum. This might cover specifics of the DVD release of the movie or maybe some other point about the film that I want to discuss. For example, when I tackle “Diamonds Are Forever” or “Man With the Golden Gun” (not sure where I want to put this one yet), I may include an addendum about the 70’s era or James Bond films. Or I just might make it into a separate blog entry. But I think that DVD details should be included in the review and I’ll do so in the Addendum.

Finally I’ll talk a little about my numerical ratings and what they mean. I use a five point scale. 1 is the lowest score and 5 is the highest. 3 is an average score. So, a film that I find perfectly average will get a rating of 3. In the end, I take all six categories and come up with an average grade and will round up or down, depending on how I feel about the film. So if a movie comes up with a 3.7 and I enjoyed it, I’ll give it a 4. If something gets a 2.6 and I feel it was below average I’ll give it a 2.

Most of the categories are fairly self explanatory, but I’ll go into them a bit. Visual Aspects includes the overall look of the film. This is where I’ll talk about sets, costumes, visual effects and overall look of the film. Sound Aspects covers the sound effects use in the film. Acting is where I talk about the performances. Music is where I’ll talk about the songs or score used in the film. Script is where I talk about the dialogue and story construction of the film. Direction is where I talk about the editing, camera angles and shot set up, as well as the overall mood and themes of the film. Entertainment is where I talk about my gut reaction to the film. A movie can be technically excellent, but I may find it dull or annoying. This is where the grade gets leveled.

Looking over this makes it sound like I take movies too seriously, and I do. I love watching them and then taking them apart and seeing why they work or why they don’t (its something that comes up as a writer). Sometimes its amazing what turns out to be the make or break element of the film and writing about them can really bring that out. Maybe you agree with my review, maybe you don’t, but I want to hear from you either way.

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