The Seemingly Daily Picture UpdateJanuary 07, 2004
I have now logged more than 200 votes in the "picture/no picture" tally, and the current results are within 5 of being an even split. Both sides have presented some compelling arguments. Thankfully, no one has threatened to boycott the site if I make an unpopular decision. One compromise under consideration is to tailor the number of photographs to the movie being reviewed. All reviews would contain a replica of the one-sheet (poster), when available. Photographs within the text would be restricted to smaller, foreign, and/or independent films, and possibly older movies. This idea has met with less resistance from those most strongly opposed to the idea of any graphics. Someone also suggested creating two versions of each review: one with graphics and one without. However, unless I can find a short-cut, that sounds too work intensive to be feasible.
Video Views 2004
I am frequently asked which older movies I intend to review in the near future (the request is often accompanied by a "helpful" suggestion or two). Although I don't do reviews by request (unless you want to commission one...), there has been such a preponderance of interest in my opinions of One Flew Over the Cuckoos Nest and Apocalypse Now that reviews of those films will almost certainly make an appearance on this site during the next 12 months. I will also be looking at a few Bogart films (starting with To Have and Have Not, the review of which should appear within the next week or two) and at least two by Kurosawa (see below for a hint on what these might be). Beyond those titles, I'm still picking and choosing. Unfortuantely, I have more than 100 solid possibilities for 25 slots, so some films are going to get pushed out.
There is a possibility that I'll end up in a chatroom on Oscar Night instead of doing a running commentary. Both approaches have their advantages. The latter gives me a little more freedom, while the former allows real-time interaction. No voting on this, please. I'll make the decision on my own. The pull of nostalgia and an unwillingness to be chained to a computer all night may keep me from transitioning to a fully interactive forum (at least this year).
Three of Kurosawa's films barely missed my Top 100: Red Beard, Ran, and Ikiru. Criterion, the king of DVD producers, has just released a spectacular special edition of Ikiru that would be worth seeing if only for the new digital transfer. In addition to the movie, the disc contains a pair of documentaries that promise a detailed look into the director, his approach, and Ikiru in particular. At $39.95 (list), it's a little expensive, but it's worth the money. Like the extended The Lord of the Rings versions and the remarkably deep Alien Quadrology, this is a must-have for anyone who likes a mix of film and background material. If only all so-called Special Editions could be this special.
The Case Against Theater Viewing
There are really two separate problems with seeing movies in theaters. The first has to do with the setting; the second has to do with other patrons. Many theaters have extremely poor quality control. They do not properly calibrate their sound ...
"I don't get no respect." That's how Rodney Dangerfield put it. And that's how Internet critics sometimes feel. I occasionally write about how slow Hollywood is to recognize cultural shifts and a failure to acknowledging the growing importance of ...
In the Gut of the Beholder
Whoever came up with the cliche "comedy is subjective" knew what he/she was talking about. Few things are more individual than humor. One person's Monty Python is another person's Freddy Got Fingered. This makes reviewing comedies especially hard...