2020-01-06 17:37:13 UTC
Most reader will well recall Siskel & Ebert. On half the films examined the two had wildly different views. That alone shows the shortcomings of film essays.
At the top end of problems is the intellectual long - winded approach which quickly strays from the content of the film to a world POV and how well the piece represents the writer's values. Some of these can be fun to read but have little value in an objective reader's wish to know if he or she might like the product.
Then there's the all to common, especially in the last thirty year's or so, practice of writing down to the readers' tastes. That is be aware of what a mass audience wants and praise works the give them what they want.
I remeber reading the N Y Times reviews of horror films in the 60's. They were written by Howard Thompson. He got this beat because he liked the genre. I read them , not to find out if he liked them, but to have a general sense of what was on screen.
The heart and soul of a film is dialogue and performance if you want a story. Many other factors can e seen on screen but without good characters it's unlikely to draw in any one of intellgence.
My general I Q is fairly high but my ability to apreciate and understand abstact thinking is very high. Hence my focus on the ideas contained in a story and the particulars and style in which they are transmitted.
I'm watching His Dark Materials for a second tme and am surprised how many quality areas got by me before : a turn of phrase, quick change of camera POV, suble character reactions and even plot points. Recognition of these qualities make the viewing experience a considerably richer one.
One of thehorror
/sci - fi magazines I looked at in the 70's had a simple but effective way to rate horror/fantasy/sci - fi films : Break it down into what's good and what's bad about it along with a synopsis of the story.
My recollection is that I agreed 100% with the " subjective " opinions.
On theother end of the spectrum are the reviews of the N. Y . Times . Just looked at one of them a few years ago. A teen horror film .
The review was elegantly written but worthless. Typical liberal smoke screen of not dumping on the characters in the film as being offensive portrayals of the kind of people admired by the no brow target audience but instead bull shit sociological understanding of their actions and characters.
Film reviews can be worthless for these primary reasons : the authors do not/ can not distinguish what works and what doesn't and why, what's really important or missing from the finished product, a prejudiced POV or a crud who writes down to the ( especially nowadays ) dumb ass audience.
I can tell if a film has the goods or not almost within thirty seconds or less of a clip.
I ignore reviews of any kind . Even the ones that are written by someone with a good eye and ear for detail will stumble on points of analysis. Not interested in reviewing the reviewer's shortcomings and I would never read any analysis of a film I have not seen but intend to see sometime. Can't imagine why many people want to know what's up with a film they will be watching soon.