The Return of VideoViews

June 03, 2006
A thought by James Berardinelli

The main issue associated with reviving VideoViews (the site's DVD-related review page) hasn't been setting it up (it's only one page, and that one page has been cloned from the main new reviews page), but the weekly commitment necessary to update it properly. With the exception of the weekend of September 9-10 (when I'm at the Toronto Film Festival), this page will be updated on a weekly basis. That requires that I carve out a niche of time in my weekly schedule to accomodate those updates. Updates will always be on a Saturday or Sunday (depending on which I day I have more free time).

So what does VideoViews offer? There are two pieces to the puzzle. The first is a listing of new movies on DVD with links to previously written reviews. This section is bare-bones. Only films that I have reviewed are listed. I considered providing a more comprehensive listing without review links for films I haven't written anything about, but decided against it. There are plenty of other sites that provide complete listings of what's new on DVD. (Obviously, I don't list TV shows either.)

The second piece is the "2006 'A to Z' Older Reviews." Each weekend (with a few exceptions), I plan to add a new review of an older movie. To spice things up, at least for the rest of 2006, I'll add one title for each letter of the alphabet (even "Q" and "X"). The order will not be alphabetical. I'm starting with "K" and the next letter will likely be "T" or "S," depending on a couple of factors. Some of the reviews will be of classics. Some will be of newer films that I missed along the way. All will be of recommended features - which means at least three stars. The idea is for this "A to Z" list to provide a repository of recommendations for those who would prefer not to browse the longer lists available through the archives.

The first of these "new old" reviews is of the newly released Kingdom of Heaven: Director's Cut. Most of the time, I don't review director's cuts or extended editions, but this version of the film is so different from the one that appeared in theaters last year that it warrants a new look. The review is new (although I did "steal" pieces of the synopsis from the original), and it represents my feelings about the 190+ minute version. (The review of the theatrical version can still be accessed. In fact, the review for the director's cut has a link to it.)

Will VideoViews evolve? Probably. In the near future, it's likely that an increasing number of films will be released direct-to-video, so I'll have to pay more attention to them once the level of quality increases. I may also toy with adding additional features. For now, however, this is what it is. Comments are welcome, of course, but please do not send requests for reviews.

For ReelThoughts, I'll be back in a few days to start a series I'm calling "Nostalgia 101."