The following is a blog (of sorts) where I discuss movie-related and site-related thoughts that I can't express within the confines of a normal review.  Some of them may be responses to e-mail I've received, trailers I've seen, or just an overall theme not specific to a movie.  Most of these writings are meant strictly for me, but I do consider them of potential interest to those of you that love movies or are just interested in the running of the site in general.  I welcome any feedback you might have on any of the subjects listed in this (or any other) section of my site.

6/1/2006 -- The Devil's in the details

I suppose anyone that has ever read my reviews long-term will know I don't generally provide exhaustive descriptions of particular scenes that worked or didn't work when assessing a film.  When I sit to write a review, I aim to discuss several basic things:  what the film is about, what worked for me, what didnít, and what potential audience is out there for it.  Pure and simple, I see my reviews merely as a means to put my thoughts down about a particular movie first and foremost, and then package it in a way to give a broader context to the film world as a whole and some basic meaning to the reader in general.
 
For reason of simplicity, I made a conscious decision early on in the site's development to not take notes as I watch a movie, as some other critics are known to do.  Some critics take notes during a film to help them to remember details or thoughts that might otherwise be forgotten at the time they write their reviews.  My position is that if I have forgotten some mental minutiae that occurred to me while watching a film a few hours later, they probably were thoughts that held little or no impact to my overall enjoyment (or lack thereof) about the film as a whole.  I also feel that while Iím writing things down so I donít forget one thing, I might actually miss another when not looking at the screen. 
 
When I sit to watch something, Iíd rather have the same experience that most everyone else has when also watching that same film.  I highly doubt that your average viewer gets a pad and paper out for jotting down thoughts and trivial asides while watching almost any particular movie.  Iíve actually tried it once, and found that I relied far more on the random, disjointed notes I wrote down and trusted those more than my general gut feeling afterward, and the review was a muddled, uninteresting mess.  I could write down all of the little things I notice, from scenery I enjoyed, to the way a particular scene is shot, to bits of dialogue that I found to be entertaining, or other such random thoughts, but even if I were to record all of this, I doubt Iíd bother using them in a review, simply because many of these observations are either of little significance in and of themselves to my enjoyment of the film, or just not interesting enough to expound upon except in a very general sense.
 
The real reason I donít tend to put minutely specific details in a review is because, quite frankly, I'd find it boring to do.  If I had to illustrate every statement or offhand opinion with detailed examples of what I mean, I would find Iíd have to watch and scrutinize at a level far too closely to see the big picture anymore, and might even have to end up seeing a movie again just to make sure I recorded things precisely so.  I would rather review films than re-view them, especially bad ones, and I believe that writing my general feeling about some things is sufficient for the purposes of a mere recommendation without the need to belabor each directorial decision or line of dialogue, parsing every moment into trivialities that only may have meaning to an infinitesimal percentage of readers out there.

The whole purpose of my site is for it to be a means to see and recommend a wide variety of films to a potential audience that enjoys movies as much as I do.  It is merely an avenue of self-expression about something I am passionate about and nothing more.  For those people out there that might be frustrated that I donít inject each review with specific examples of my criticisms, you have my apologies.  Since I find these sorts of things tedious to record and write about, my assumption is that reading about them would prove just as tedious.  However, not everyone will feel that way, and there are readers that require more than a flippant comment to feel I made a proper point.

One of my goals when writing any review is to be, as much as I can be, interesting and entertaining while getting my overall message across, without becoming overly clinical, verbose, or repetitive, if possible.  I, the writer, need to be entertained as well you, the reader, when I write a review.  If it gets to a point where I see writing these reviews as more of a chore than a pleasure, I will just stop doing them.

©2006 Vince Leo