The Power of Cinema

I love movies.

I know. That seems like an all too obvious statement for a film critic to make, but I still feel like it needs to be said. People can like movies, or people can love A movie, but less people just love movies.

Smart ones, dumb ones, big ones, small ones, ones that make you think, ones you can turn your brain off while watching. I’m down with them all. Yes, I sound like Dr. Seuss when I write like that, but it’s just coincidental.

Typically, when I review films, I do my best to leave the words I or me out of the conversation, because at the end of the day, this isn’t really about me or who I am; it’s about the movies. I also don’t subscribe to the argument many film critics will make that they are journalists and have to write about movies as such.

But it’s important for you, the reader, to know where I’m coming from, since Cinematic Considerations isn’t going to be like any other movie review you ever read. So this is me and my cinematic journey.

I liked movies as a kid – even owned and re-watched more than your average child probably should – but I couldn’t really say I LOVED movies.

It wasn’t until college and those long lonely nights in an otherwise empty dorm room where I truly found the allure of film, falling asleep to the same two or three movies on rotate (with or without the commentary track).

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I’d fall asleep to Bill Murray sort of romancing Scarlett Johansson in Sofia Coppola’s 2003 dramedy Lost in Translation, or watching Jim Carrey pine over the fading memory of Kate Winslet in 2004’s Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. My irrational obsession over the career of Matt Damon thanks to the Jason Bourne trilogy also happened over this period of time.

I learned then something I find to be completely true still to this day. The right movie seen at the right time in the right frame of mind can work wonders for the soul.

Now I’m not talking about watching Pineapple Express or Zombieland while hung over on a Saturday morning eating cold pizza, though that does happen from time to time in people’s lives and both are excellent choices on such occasions.

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I’m talking about how watching The Devil Wears Prada when you’ve had yet another rough day at the office and you just can’t stand another second working for a terrible boss can give you some perspective. Or how watching It’s A Wonderful Life can put you in the holiday spirit. (I really mean Die Hard, but that’s a topic for another time.)

As a film critic, my goal isn’t to get you to race out to the theaters to catch a new release or save you the time and trouble of sitting through something terrible (as much as I may want to).

Cinematic Considerations is about starting a conversation and getting your interest piqued in a movie or genre you hadn’t considered before, but in the end, you’re going to be the one to decide whether or not you should go see whatever film I happen to be reviewing.

Be a smart moviegoer. Watch the trailer before you go see a movie, read my review and head on out to the theaters. Know what you’re getting into in advance. Don’t be the person who walks into a movie hoping to see Meryl Streep, wait two hours for her to appear and then bitch when she isn’t even in the film you saw.

I read a lot of movie reviews – typically after I watch a movie, but sometimes to pique my interest as well. Even us critics don’t want to watch EVERYTHING Hollywood tries to cram down the throats of the general public.

Nine out of ten reviews will spend an inordinate amount of time telling you what happens in the movie, and with the word counts prevalent in print media across the country, all too often you’re getting 80 percent plot synopsis and 20 percent actual review of the film. That’s ridiculous.

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You didn’t check out a review of American Sniper to have the writer spend most of his space telling you who Chris Kyle is or what he was doing in Iraq that made him so famous. You want to know if the movie’s any good or not (Spoiler alert: it’s amazing) and what the deal with that fake baby is.

I refuse to dumb things down in my reviews because I believe you, the reader, aren’t dumb. (You’re reading Cinematic Considerations, so that makes you pretty damn smart in my book.)

As a result, I’m not going to waste time writing about what happens in a movie you’ve either already seen and remember what happens, or haven’t seen the film yet and don’t want to be spoiled. Enjoy the movie on your terms, not based on what a critic thinks or doesn’t think is important for you to know before you see a movie. That’s what trailers are for.

I’m going to give it to you straight with no frills and no apologizes. If a movie sucked, I’m not going to say it wasn’t that great. That movie sucked.

What I will offer you, readers of Cinematic Considerations, is unfiltered analysis and opinions on today’s newest releases with hopefully some conversation starters, classic movie reviews and independent film highlights along the way.

You’ll usually get references to other movies in my reviews, which are mainly there to spark a dialogue, get people thinking about other films in the context of the one I’m reviewing and to possibly give you something else to watch on Netflix or the like when you get home from the theaters.

The power of cinema is something unrivaled by other mass media these days. Good movies can give you just what you need, bad movies can put you on the wrong track and great movies can inspire beyond anything you might have dreamed possible.

Thanks for letting me help guide you along the way.

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