Random Reader Suggestions and Website Changes

May 18, 2005
A thought by James Berardinelli

Given that Revenge of the Sith opens today, I'm sure some readers are expecting me to write about it. Sorry, but I'm all Star Wars-ed out. I think I have said just about everything I have to say about it. Some of you think I have said a little too much, but that's one of the things about making daily updates to this section - I have to come up with a new topic every day. Oh, and the review for Revenge of the Sith has just become my most-read review ever.

Today's topic isn't so much a topic as it is a collection of random subjects. I have been asked whether I will add an RSS feed for ReelViews and whether I'll add a reader response area for ReelThoughts. The answers are: yes and probably not, respectively. However, the RSS feed won't start until early next year. It will take a little studying for me to be able to create it, and the only month when I have the time for that sort of thing is January. With respect to the reader response idea - although I like it in principle, it requires too much work, since I would have to actively moderate it.

Eventually, ReelThoughts will be indexed by topics, but that's another enhancement that will have to wait until January. It requires re-coding of all the old ReelThoughts pages. Nothing difficult, but a lot of busy work.

Starting today, I am instituting a spoiler-sensitive approach to reviews for which I include spoiler warnings. The potentially offensive text will be highlighted in a brownish color that will allow people to peruse parts of the review without having the movie ruined. 3-Iron is a good starting place because the spoilers are all contained in one paragraph and are necessary to the review. The warning characterizes them fairly well. I will not be using so-called "inviso-text" (white text on a white background that shows up when "wiped over") because, as a reader, I find it to be annoying. Plus, it's not aesthetically pleasing to have large white spaces in the middle of a review. And it's too much work to develop separate spoiler and non-spoiler reviews, even when one is only a subset of the other. So this will have to do.

My last ReelThought of the month will be posted May 24. On that day, I will also post reviews for most of the films opening June 1 & 3. The May 27 release reviews will go up on May 22. There is an exception: The Longest Yard. This isn't screening until after I will have left, and I'm not planning to review it (nor will I likely see it) after I return. There's too much other stuff - like Layer Cake - to see.

Finally, I have to acknowledge that this has been an unusually good week for movies - 10 1/2 stars from only three films. It has been a while since things have been that sunny. Sadly, it doesn't look like there's another similar week on the horizon. Most of the summer movies, at least those that I have seen, scream mediocrity.