Why re:Views and not Reviews
I know what you’re thinking.
“Another film review blog.”
I suppose I can’t stop you from moving on to reddit or pornhub or amazon, but for these precious seconds I have your readership, let me explain a little of my perspective. Consider this my mission statement if you will.
Movies are more than just entertainment to me. Blockbusters, indie films, prestige pictures, foreign imports, cult classics, all of it. Stay around the world of film study or film criticism long enough, and you’ll hear terms like “elitism”, “pretension”, or “backlash." I feel these terms shrink the conversation and restrict the in depth discussion every (yes, every) film deserves. For me movies go beyond: “Is it good or is it bad?”
Regardless of whether a movie has a million CGI explosions or one Pashto conversation between two people, each movie has a DNA. For current movies: what are the filmmakers' intentions? Do they deliver? What does the film "say" about us as a society and as human beings?What are the unexpected discoveries? How do studios and marketing departments see the audience? And how does the critical mass shape the conversation around a film?
Take a film like Cameron Crowe’s Aloha (2015). A binary thumbs up, thumbs down review is less interesting to me than say:
- Aloha as the archetypical Cameron Crowe auteur piece.
- The politics of outrage, political-correctness, forgiveness, and a film’s marketing lifespan.
- The history of Asian-Americans (not foreign born Asians) in Hollywood.
- What happens when a passion project goes wrong.
- The elusive alchemy and magical recipe in what makes up a studio film and what takes that film from standard to great.
- What the financial performance and critical outcry of Aloha means for both mid-budget original stories in Hollywood and future Cameron Crowe projects.
That’s why I’m calling this section re:Views. The posts are meant to be think pieces “regarding" my views rather than an endorsement of a film’s "quality." I hope you’ll see in my writing I’m a fairly relativist individual, so even judging a works “quality” is something I’m loath to do. I’m just as likely to enjoy San Andreas (2015) as I am Force Majeure (2014).
I also have a deep love of Classic Hollywood Films and the history of American cinema, so I’ll be writing about the connections between those films and today. How were those movies changing the audience's perceptions? How did those films lay the ground work for contemporary films? What ideas were Hollywood movies smuggling?
If you’re looking for snarky commentary, I don’t think I’m your guy. Hopefully my off-beat takes and sincerity, buttressed by my brother's fantastic artwork will keep you coming back for more thoughts.
Favorite movies: Once Upon a Time in the West, Paprika, Bande aPart, The Wages of Fear, My Fair Lady, The Conversation, Casablanca, Elevator to the Gallows, 2001: A Space Odyssey, There Will Be Blood, White Dog, The Stunt Man, Robocop, Soylent Green, Do the Right Thing, The Bad and the Beautiful, Death Becomes Her, Harlan County USA, His Girl Friday, Amadeus, Ikiru, Once Upon a Time in America, Jaws, Superstar: The Karen Carpenter Story, Stalag 17, The Hill, Diabolique, Sid and Nancy, Spring Breakers, Marjoe, Doubt, Branded to Kill, Oldboy, The Treasure of the Sierra Madre, I’m Not There, Bamboozled, Minority Report, Drive, Pulse, 127 Hours, Singin' in the Rain, The Thing, Office Space
Favorite storytellers: Martin Scorsese, Sergio Leone, Sam Fuller, Stanley Kubrick, Robert Mitchum, Kirk Douglas, Audrey Hepburn, Katherine Hepburn, William Holden, Akira Kurosawa, Peter O’Toole, Sidney Lumet, Jonathan Demme, Myrna Loy, P.T. Anderson, James Woods, Michelle Pfeiffer, Jodie Foster, Todd Haynes, David Fincher, The Coen Bros., Tilda Swinton, Brit Marling, Joe Wright, Spike Lee, Ida Lupino, Quentin Tarantino, Rod Serling, Meryl Streep