Common Film Review Cliches to be Avoided

I read a lot of other reviews and there are common tropes that I want to avoid.
I previously set out a few rules in my first post. Having given more thought about the direction of this blog, I wanted to add a few more things:
  • I will not list out the entire plot or anything that will give preceding knowledge to the experience unless it’s absolutely necessary. i.e. It was necessary for my Warrior of the Rainbow: Seediq Bale post, because the reader needs to know what’s going on in the scenes in its historical context to understand why they were powerful scenes. If I have critical thoughts that will spoil plot points or lead the reader on a path that puts two and two together, I omit it.
  • I will not set out to be bitter or insulting to anybody or anything unless something really enrages me. Even with that, I do not intend to use creative insults or flowery roundabout language. Bitterness is not criticism. There’s enough film criticism out there than overuses sarcasm and wit out there already. I’m not a punitive guy. I aim to describe what I think is wrong in the mechanism of what’s being presented.
  • Noting that a film is influenced by another film has nothing to do with its quality. It’s an easy trap to supplant unfair feelings or critical thoughts from one film to another just because it was influenced.
  • Research or no research? There are exceptions but I prefer having context for my own viewing pleasure.  I don’t expect readers to know what I’m talking about so I handle the delivery of context carefully. I’m not an avid reader as I’d ideally want to be, so usually the cases with movie adaptations of novels or short stories.
  • Comparing two very similar films, usually in terms of its plot or theme. I do believe in the social unconscious and often ideas come in pairs. Examples such as Deep Impact and Armageddon or Dante’s Peak and Volcano. How do I handle it? Like the case with The Raid: Redemption and Dredd, I will try my best not to write them off and view both films within their own context as singular pieces.
  • The negative connotation of the word “melodrama” or “melodramatic”. Melodrama is defined as a genre where it emphasizes and exaggerates characters or the plot, making the story more emotional. It usually involves just a handful of stock characters, including a hero, heroine, villain and one or two sidekicks, and the overall concept is always that good triumphs over evil. I will not use the word “melodrama” with its modern negative connotation, nor do I disregard melodrama as an inferior genre of storytelling. Superhero movies, Disney cartoons, Hiyao Miyazaki, even Casabalanca are all melodramas.
  • No number or star ratings. While I don’t classify this as a cliche, you simply cannot quantify an experience for someone else. So for my own purposes, I am just avoiding this entirely.

I will update more as they come up.

One response to “Common Film Review Cliches to be Avoided

  1. Pingback: Hitchcock by Sacha Gervasi and The Girl by Julian Jarrold | hk auteur

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