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Saturday, 20 May 2017

How I Review Movies

When I watch and review a film for the purpose of this blog, there are certain things that come to mind which I take into consideration when evaluating and in deciding if this is actually worth owning on DVD. Movies, like TV shows, video games and other mass entertainment mediums, exist solely for our enjoyment and pleasure. But they also generate a range of different feelings, emotions and reactions from us: some make you laugh, cry, angry perhaps, others make you fall in love with the film and its characters, others contain performances by the actors/actresses themselves that really make the movie worth seeing, alone. 

As you can tell, I use numerical ratings from 1 to 10 to rate films: the reason why I chose the 1 to 10 scale, as opposed to say 1 to 5 or any other rating system, is for me, I think 1 to 10 is much broader and easier for me to allocate a score for that film. 1 to 5 is too narrow for my tastes and simply having just great, very good, good, okay, bad, doesn't work for me. 

Review scores are always subjective and not indicative of the movie's quality itself (well, in general anyway) and whilst I cannot convince, or be it won't convince anyone to agree with the score and my views towards that film, what I am aware of is that my comments represent how I perceive this movie. We all watch movies but we also read movies differently and also we see and notice things, other people do not see in them; be it in the characters, the stories, plot twists or whatever. And so, it's always a good thing to have one's opinion on it, be it good or bad. If bad, at least it has to be constructive, as to why it is not so good. 

I don't consider myself a pro critic - I am just someone who enjoys watching '80s and '90s films, with some 2000 and post-2000 efforts thrown in also. I'm more into the films that came out as a child and a teenager, more than the current stuff that is out today in the cinema.

As for what criteria do I use that determines whether or not I love it, like it, enjoy it - or dislike it, loathe it, the aspects I focus on when reviewing a film, and deciding if I like it or not are:

- The main casting - Is it good, remarkable, noteworthy, on paper do the names sound promising? And their performances on screen

- Dialogue and the script: does it leap in front of me, make me excited, giddy, put a smile on my face, or does it practically bore me to sleep? More importantly, is it well-written and does it make sense?

- Directing/the direction: how were the scenes and dialogue conveyed and guided by the director? Is their direction for the story a good one to take?

- Special effects, visuals, sets, the score all help further advance the movie and the story

- The performance/s has/have to be good or special for me to say they were excellent, magnificent etc. 

- The believability of the performance and whether or not the actor/actress sold me on their performance. If the answer is yes, then from an acting point of view, they succeeded

- Likability, relatability of the main protagonist: is the portrayal by the actor/actress deemed likeable for me in wanting them to get their happy ending in the end? Dislikeable protagonist characters put me off from enjoying the movie, and so this is important that their depiction is a positive one in many respects

- For martial arts and action movies, the stunts, fight scenes have to be extraordinary to blow my mind, as well as well choreographed. 

- For romantic comedies and dramas, it's the chemistry of the male and female leads as the protagonist and love interest, how good they look together as a pairing and whether or not I buy into their relationship.

- With dramas, the story has to be strong, but also not too overly complicated for me to follow. It has to be easier to understand and follow. If a story can make the type of impact that touches audiences on an emotional level, far more so than special effects, then the writer/s have achieved in their task.

- For comedy films, the major factor is that it has to be funny; it has to be highly amusing and almost side-splittingly funny. The sight gags, funny one-liners, pratfalls, physical and verbal comedy has to hit the spot

- The longer I sit through this film, is it going to get better as it continues, or going to gradually get worse until it ends?

- How the film makes me feel whilst I sit through it? Is it of happiness, excitement, content, sadness, frustration, or anger? What is its tone or mood? 

- How do I feel about the film now it has ended? Relief, sadness, disappointment or happiness?

- Making comparisons with other films that have similar plots, or actors/actresses who star in similar movies as them and how they contrast and compare

- Have to weigh both the pros and cons of the film

- The music: is it tolerable enough to listen to, does it suit the theme of the movie? does it evoke the right tone in a particular situation or scene?

- The love, sex and kissing scenes: are they tastefully done? Are they badly acted? Bad sex and kissing scenes that make me squirm are ones that do not evoke or generate sexual chemistry or passion.

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