Friday, April 24, 2009

[TGIF] Spotlight On: Reviews

Every reviewer has their own approach. Some like to break a movie down, scene by scene, while others offer bare bones op-ed pieces that barely tell you anything and then there's the reviews that read more like ad copy. As those who've read the reviews here at Cosmic Cinema and at Mise-en-scene Crypt know my style is to try to present facts and a overview of the movie without giving too much away, when possible. But have you ever wondered what a reviewer looks for in a review?

To answer that question, and find out if the reviewers read reviews that reflect their own reviewing style, I'd like to start with a recent review I read A Spaghetti-Flavored Road Warrior —- “2019 : After The Fall Of New York” (word of warning that review may contain spoilers) from the Trash Film Guru blog. Here's a movie I've been intending to review but, for whatever reason, never got around to it. Sure I've started a review a few times but I've always felt my review style couldn't do this sort of movie justice. I mean where to begin? Well, if you're the Trash Film Guru you start with a simple question:

"Anybody else besides me miss the days when any reasonably successful — and reasonably cheap — movie genre birthed scores of Italian knock-offs? Yes, whether it was westerns, crime flicks, zombie movies, or Hitckcockian-style thrillers, there was always an Italian who figured he could do it quicker, cheaper, and—most importantly—bloodier."

As a matter of fact, yes, yes I do miss the era of quickie knock-offs. And not just those produced by Italians! Roger Corman was the king of knock-offs. When Hollywood released ALIEN Mr. Corman gave us GALAXY OF TERROR. When CONAN hit the big screen Mr. Corman gave us DEATHSTALKER. Of course the Italians were also quick to cash in on the sword-and-sorcery craze with movies like CONQUEST

The following line from Trash Film Guru's above review applies to most films produced during this golden age of knock-offs: "The special effects for this film are so mind-numbingly stupid they’ve got to be seen to be believed."

Amen brother!

However one thing missing from that review are screen caps. If you're like me screen caps make good reviews better and bad reviews tolerable. And you know what blog I book marked because the reviewer makes ample use of screen caps, Movies About Girls (formerly Boobs!). Just check out any of the following recent reviews to see why (warning may be NSFW): Cheerleaders Wild Weekend, Evil Toons, and Cougar Club. The reviews are informative, let you know availability of the movies, and, for those not on dial-up, there's even some trailers. There's even a nice tang of acerbic wit. For instance take this from the opening paragraph of the Cougar Club review:

"First off, I should point out the obvious: if you use the word "cougar" when describing older women who prefer the company of younger men, then please, stop reading. Just get the f#ck out of here. This "cougar" business is so obnoxious that it can really only appeal to college-age power-pukers, so how this film managed to get produced - and with an actual budget, and with actual actors - is seriously beyond me."

It gets worse, dear friends, much worse. I caught this movie on satellite. And, while I can't repeat the summary given for the movie here (lots of naughty curse words that we don't want the kiddies to read) I do mostly agree with it. This is an obnoxiously lame movie that could have been so much better, alas it never quite delivers in the titillation department and, well, read the review.

Of course there's far more than just blogs out there. One of the sites in the links sidebar is Tars Tarkas. A nice site with reviews of the interesting, not so interesting, and totally unexpected. Reviews of things like Star Wreck: In the Pirkinning. You'll just have to click the link on that one. Articles like this will make you wish for a direct downlink into your brain. However when I want to look for informative reviews I have two sites book marked Bad Movies dot org and Eccentric Cinema. Also worth a look, though the host seems to be on a short hiatus, is Million Monkey Theatre.

I've way more links in my bookmarks than that but, well, it's Friday and I figure that if you're still reading you must really be bored. So, to close this out, here's a few more sites that should be interesting (and probably NSFW) that should help you pass the time: Nunsploitation and Encyclopedia of WIP Films. Both sites offer reviews and (some) screen caps.

Enjoy the sites and try to stay out of trouble over the weekend film fans!

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