Monday, January 8, 2007

Looking Ahead

Now that I've established in broad terms what you can expect from the content of this blog, I will now provide the structure through which I will present it. Being that this is not my profession and that I attend graduate classes in the evening, it's incredibly hard to keep up with all of the new releases (especially this time of year!) the way many critics and other bloggers do. However, my hope is that this blog will actually keep me motivated to see films in a timely fashion.

In the midst of my writings about the medium of cinema, as well as commenting on critics/historians and evaluating how they have shaped currents ideologies about image production and viewing, I intend to provide capsule reviews for the films that I view. For the most part, these capsule will be for recent theatrical releases, which I will have seeb either in the theater or on DVD. Sometimes I will review older films, though. Like I said, interspersed with these reviews, I will be writing about the movie industry, film theory, social trends in the cinema, and other topics regarding film and communication. Some things that lie ahead include a look back at recent award winners and some brief pieces about filmmakers and critics/philosophers that have influenced the cinema and my experience with it. Also, within the month, I will recap the films of 2006 as seen through the prism of my critical perspective, after which I have seen more of the so-called "cream of the crop," the big award contenders such as Pan's Labyrinth, Letters from Iwo Jima, and Flags of Our Fathers, and various others. Many of these are films that I have to see as a self-respecting critic, even though my own view of these films is informed by the rest of the critical community by way of the huge number of "Top Ten" and "Best of" lists. In a later entry, I would like to explore this notion further, but I will wait until I unveil my own personal list before I spout off about the functions of lists. For now, check out Jim Emerson's and Andy Horbal's views on lists at their respective blogs. They sum up the problem with the very concept of Best Of lists rather nicely, but each offer a unique perspective concerning how we as critics must deal with that problem, since, after all, it is inevitable whether we choose to form these lists or not. But I digress. With any luck, I will contribute my own perspective to that discussion, but, back to the issue at hand...

In terms of what films I see, I try to keep a balance between mainstream efforts, independent productions, and foreign films. It all really depends on distribution, but I try to keep a balance as there are worthwhile films in all shapes and sizes. Typically, I see between 80 and 100 theatrical releases per year. That includes films viewed in the theater and on DVD. I try to get to as many opening weekend releases that I can, but sometimes my schedule doesn't always allow that. Whatever slips through the cracks I try to see on DVD upon release. So, I'm usually about a half a year behind most critics when it comes assessing each calendar year's list of cinematic offerings. I won't be caught up on most 2006 films until sometime in May or June. As it stands now, I have seen 41 theatrical releases from 2006, which is somewhat low for me. 2006 was an incredibly very busy year in my life, but in coming months I will be trying to catch up on many of the films that I missed. Hopefully 2007 will allow me the time to see more films, but for now, I anticipate seeing somewhere between 75 and 90 films from last year. That leaves me much work to do this winter. But I look forward to getting back in the swing of things. There are still so many films I have yet to see, and so many that pique my interests based on what I've read on other blogs. Right now is as relevant a time as any for the medium. That has shown in films of recent years, which is why it amazes me how there are some amongst us who think that the cinema is dying. But that's a whole other post.

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