Sunday, September 30, 2007

Film ratings

After that really interesting debate over Tarantino I'm going to start including a rating whenever I comment on a film. In ascending order:

One star: a film which fails on several levels (acting, directing, cinematography, screenplay, music etc) and which otherwise has no signs of intelligent life.
Two star: a film which is essentially a let-down and doesn't work, but where there are some elements of interest.
Three star: a film which achieves what it sets out to achieve; most blockbusters will fall into this category. Competent direction and acting, "high production values".
Four star: a film which is at least competent in all the different areas of cinematic endeavour but which is lifted above the run of the mill by some particular touch of greatness, either a tremendous acting performance, epic visuals, interesting plot etc.
Five star: a film which is excellent in the different areas but which also achieves a resonance with profound spiritual values; the equivalent of an orchestra all working to the same end; "filmic".

Make sense? I will use half-marks occasionally.

Some examples:
I will hardly ever watch a one...
Deathproof gets a 2. As did Ocean's Twelve which was the last really bad film I endured. Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow is a classic 2 - didn't really work, but there were interesting elements in it, so I didn't regret watching it.
Elizabethtown gets a 3. Most Tom Cruise films get a 3 (but see below)!
Devil's Advocate gets a 4 - a very competent film that has some startling shocks in it and a good solid message. Phone Booth is another - something which was a step up from the usual blockbuster. Shaun of the Dead; Crash (not the Cronenberg); lots of Coen Brothers films.
Top of the range? Magnolia; Blade Runner; American Beauty; Babette's Feast; The Matrix; Eternal Sunshine; City of God; anything by Tarkovsky.... In each of these the elements all come together and make a wonderfully coherent and satisfying whole.

Of course: De gustibus non est disputandum


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