I love great movies. I believe they can powerful empathy generators and great vehicles for big ideas and challenging concepts. Of course, the majority of movies are not great, and I have long believed most of them could be half as long and twice as good. Ultimately, a movie’s worth is determined by each individual viewer and, like any art, they are highly subjective. What one sees in a movie isn’t always what was intended by its makers.
I tend toward science-fiction and fantasy because I like to see things I can’t in real life, but a good story with good actors capably directed is really what I desire most if I’m going to spend a couple of hours staring at a screen. I need to care about what’s happening and who it’s happening to. Production design and the cinematography matter a lot to me, too, and I appreciate a score that supports the emotional tone. What I love above all is brevity: keep it as short and simple as possible.
Movies that I enjoy most are the ones I prefer to spend my time thinking about and talking about. I like to be intellectually engaged with a film at least as much as I want my emotional buttons pushed. Film can convey so much with so little that I need more than cheap thrills. I won’t waste my time writing a review for something I don’t like (the most I’ll spend on it is reworking the title in some rude fashion), but I can’t ignore a film’s faults, either. It’s rare for a movie to be totally irredeemable just as it is rare for it to be perfect, but I think the simpler a film’s ambitions the more likely it is to succeed.
To me, the perfect kind of movie is simple, kinetic and spectacular. Star Wars, Alien, Gravity and Mad Max: Fury Road are great examples, in my opinion. They are dead-basic concepts on paper brought to amazing life by many talented artists. That being said, I admire ambition and many of my favourite movies, such as The Prestige, are highly complex, but it can lead to overreach at best, or preaching at worst.
The following is an archive of reviews I’ve written since 2017.