Before you read any of my reviews, you should know these things:
First, I make no claims on having a mainstream opinion about movies. Contrarily, I have a decidedly alternative opinion on most cultural and social phenomena. If you are trying to decide whether you should watch one of these movies with your wife and kids or with your girlfriend at the local megaplex after shopping at the mall, these reviews probably will not help you. Unless, of course, you take the exact opposite meaning of all of my reviews, in which case these critiques could probably form quite the useful guide.
Second, my primary criterion in considering a film is how good it is. This does not mean how entertaining, or how scary, or how funny, or how sad it is. I consider film to be very much like art, therefore I usually look at how well-made or technically competent it is, how consistent, and how true to its aim, among other factors.
Third and following on the last point, I have good taste in films. Most people have shit taste in films, which is why Michael Bay is one of the highest-paid directors in the world. I know this comes off as massively arrogant, but it’s also true. Trust me, Michael Bay really sucks, not only as a director but most likely as a human being. When I watch a film I look at the acting, editing, script/direction and cinematography, and probably more. I look at how much I believe it. I have seen a lot of movies, which means I have refined my taste significantly. I generally like intelligent films that make you think, but I can appreciate stupid comedies as well, as long as they’re well-made. I like all genres except for romantic comedies, which are not only useless but actually harmful in that they poison our societal notion of love.
Penultimately, I generally don’t provide complete synopses in my reviews. The reason I got into reviewing wasn’t because I thought it would be super-awesome to waste my time. I got into it for two reasons: 1) a writer/director friend of mine told me I should do it after I sent him an email about how much “No Country for Old Men” actually sucked, even though all these people loved it (which was really only because they didn’t want to seem stupid by admitting they had no idea what was going on throughout the entire film). 2) I was sitting on my rocker, jacked up on instant coffee, after viewing “Reservoir Dogs,” “Munich,” and the original “Solaris” in a two-day span, and I thought, Man I have some great opinions on these movies, the world really deserves to get in on this shit. But back to the point: if you want to know what a movie is about, go to imdb.com or wikipedia and come back here afterwards. Or don’t.
Last, I by no means claim that all of my reviews are right. I have not studied film, except for one not-that-great class in college. I am not the smartest guy in the world, which means I might sometimes hate a movie simply because I didn’t “get” it. I don’t have the most patience in the world, which means that I am inherently biased against movies that exceed two hours in running time. If a flick runs that long, it better have a damn good artistic, stylistic, or visceral reason for doing so.
Final caveat: you may not hold me to any of my above points. I will make exceptions to all of the rules I have laid out, perhaps often. I do not grant you permission to rant at me about how big of a hypocrite I am for not following my own guidelines. They are general. If my hypocrisy bothers you so much, you need to lighten up. Or better yet, stop reading and don’t come back. I’m not holding a gun to your head or anything.
p.s. I rate all of my films on a 0-10 scale. After the rating, in parentheses, is my main reason for marking off.
Update 8/31/2013: All of these words now apply to my book reviews, which I am beginning to include here. These are actually the only reviews I am now continuously adding (I watch too many movies and have too many children — one — to be able to keep up with all the reviews anymore).