Sunday, February 1, 2009

An Introduction

Herein lies my first post on my latest blog. In this post I will do my best to adequately outline my priorities and discipline, and perhaps even offer some initial insight.

I am a 21 year old with a great and recently discovered adoration for cinema. Not long ago I decided that in order to make my experience with films as I watch them a more aggressive and substantial one that I would write critiques and/or reviews of them, which I would then post here. I've been employing this watching then writing technique for roughly a week and a half now and for the most part it is going extremely well. I limit my criticism to roughly a few paragraphs or one page in the name of brevity and (hopefully) good taste. My goal is to offer insight into said films and create some kind of a merger between film criticism (Roger Ebert, Peter Travers, etc.) and film theory (Jean-Luc Godard and Cahiers du Cinema), to make something that is enlightening but not too overly academic. Needless to say I don't always succeed but its important to me that my intent be known.

I will be reviewing films mostly as I see them. This will lead to some moments of "I can't believe he hadn't seen that movie!" (see: The Royal Tenenbaums, City Lights, Sideways, etc. etc.), to which my only response is that I haven't always been and probably never will be completely on top of this thing called cinema. Still, I will try to provide fair and honest criticism. As much as I hate to use a colloquialism to justify poor academic rigor, I must admit that most of the films reviewed here will only have been viewed once: "First impressions are often correct." If I do find that upon a second, third, tenth or twelfth viewing that my original judgment was questionable, inscrutable or worse of all, painfully naive, then I will do my best to replace it with a timely reinterpretation. The motivation behind this strategy though, I believe, is an innocent one: I wish to see as many movies as I possibly can while I still have the time to do so. You may find yourself wondering how I have time to cover the amount of territory that I do and my answer is that I am still young, carefree and capable of throwing myself with boundless passion behind whatever interests I may have (yes, like John Laroche in Adaptation, except with two front teeth).

In addition to my criticism I will also offer up a rating for the films I have watched. As with most rating systems this one is entirely negligible and is likely to impress upon anyone who sees it my more than occasional partiality towards certain types of films/directors. Still, in an effort to counteract this effect there are films for which I will not offer any kind of a numerical appraisal. These films will likely be found on any critic's top 100 Best Films list, and have already been subjected to enough critical praise that slapping them with a 10.0 and the obnoxious title of "masterpiece" would be nothing more than redundancy at it's finest. Still, they will be reviewed as I am concerned that neglecting to write critically about one film may set off a chain reaction of apathy and passive viewing that will cause the end of yet another promising (read: latent) blog.

A few resources are worth mentioning here only because they comprise most of my still very narrow understanding of cinema. TheyShootPictures has put together a stifling and brilliantly straightforward top 1000 films of all time list, as well as an equally impressive list of the top 250 best films of the 21st century, both of which I will draw from obsessively. Both The American Film Institute and The British Film Institute will supply me with ideas as to those films that have been engraved in the respective English and American film goer's subconscious as being 'worthwhile' and 'good'. Finally I will probe the depths of the internet savvy population through The Internet Movie Database, so that I can understand what's popular. This will be helpful as it will become increasingly apparent to anyone who reads this blog that I almost never leave my room. Metacritic and TinyMixtapes get a nod as well for helping me with indie flicks that don't find their way to the web or a theater near me. Above all I'll be utilizing various print resources too including David A. Cook's "A History of Narrative Film" which came highly recommended to me and which I am embarrassed to say I have yet to crack open. Any and all recommendations for cinema resources will be accepted and greatly appreciated.

Lastly, despite a tendency towards pretension and verbosity in my writing, I will try to be what I really am: a film enthusiast. While I've certainly considered many times not posting in this blog or even not writing about film at all in the modest fear that my ideas lack the fundamental understanding of cinema as a whole that's needed to best evaluate the worth of an individual film, I have to believe that in order to move forward as both a writer and a cinema lover I must use the tools I have at my disposal. I could always choose to wait until I've seen every highly recommended, critically appraised, or otherwise "great" movie ever made, but by that point I probably wouldn't even know where to begin. Through this blog I will attempt to move forward in my understanding of that peculiar art form known as cinema and perhaps even learn something about myself. Perhaps. Until then...


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