ABOUT film reviews
Reading film reviews is like joining a busy conversation. Most of the talk is about plot descriptions, casting, acting and production details. However, the reviews here are more interested in a film’s context, theme, genre, originality, and how cinematic techniques help or hinder the film’s message.
Film criticism contributes to film literacy and to enjoyment of the artform. There are many different ways to review a film, and none are inherently right or wrong. Reading a variety of reviews expands our understanding and enhances the visual pleasures of cinema.
If you are interested in the history, roles, and forms of film criticism you might enjoy my paper titled THE ORIGIN, PURPOSE AND FUTURE OF FILM CRITICISM
My love of film spans several decades during which time I’ve had many careers and helped raise three much-loved children. I’ve had military and public service, and have been a senior policy advisor, an academic and a professional photographer. I have three Bachelor degrees, three Master degrees and a Doctorate (in sociology, psychology, education, media and communications). Please forgive me if I sometimes sound a bit academic; I try not to. Of course, these degrees mean little when it comes to sharing thoughts about film; we are all critics. I’m telling you this because our background shapes how we see films and it might help to know where I’m coming from.
ABOUT my blogs
With so many movie eras, niches and waves out there, why does this blog emphasise current movies? Film is one of the most hyper-linked artforms on the planet; every film is connected in some way to every other film through technology, culture, theme or history. You can jump into the vast ocean of film anywhere you like and there is a label for every taste: the silent era, Hollywood classics, the post-modern, European avant-garde, and so on. I enjoy watching the crest of new waves coming onto the shore, pushed by everything behind them. They are the current films.
I publish weekly with reviews of about 450 words. I use a five-star rating system that is based on both textual and contextual criteria. Textual criteria include a film’s narrative coherance, emotional impact, cinematography, and acting. The contextual criteria take into account the film’s significance as a cultural artefact and its relevance to contemporary issues. The ratings are relative to other similar films in the same genre; it makes little sense, for example, to compare a sci-fi with an historical bio-pic. My reviews pull no punches and do no favours. They are my opinions and mine alone. All feedback is welcome and thank you for visiting.
Richard Alaba, PhD
Member of the Australian Film Critics Association
Also author of eBikers Diary, a blogsite with information on eBike tours for senior riders.