Does anyone really go by reviews of films?

Chat about stuff other than Transformers.
User avatar
Cliffjumper
Posts: 32206
Joined: Wed Jan 31, 2001 5:00 am
Contact:

Does anyone really go by reviews of films?

Post by Cliffjumper » Wed Dec 05, 2012 10:29 am

Or anything else, for that matter.

With my recent DVD rampage (something like 200 films in three months and counting) I'm curious as to how typical my general film selection is. There's a slight caveat that I've seen 75% + of these before on video, but my selection process was always pretty much the same: -

Reviews and general critical status don't tend to govern what I watch, good or bad. I'm much more likely to get a film based on who's in it, who made it, if the plot sounds interesting and so on without reading any reviews in detail - so I'll be aware that a film doesn't have a great rep but buy it because it has Steve McQueen in it or because it was directed by Nic Roeg or whatever.

I then tend to read reviews in more depth afterwards and see whether I agree with them, whether they bring up anything that I hadn't thought of and so on.

I'm then likely to use the film in a sort-of Wikipedia way - if I'm watching a Sam Peckinpah film and James Coburn's great in it, for example, I'll look for more films with James Coburn in them. If I'm watching a David Hemmings film that's really well done I'll look for more from the same director, and so on.

So does anyone take actual advice from critics, or are they - like me - more likely to go for it anyway? I find recommendations from someone I know has good taste carry a lot more weight that the opinions of some pretentious ****er who probably liked Vanilla Sky.

User avatar
Summerhayes
Posts: 1384
Joined: Mon Dec 01, 2008 9:50 pm
Location: Nagano, Japan

Post by Summerhayes » Wed Dec 05, 2012 3:37 pm

With video games, I might trust a review because there are technical aspects that can be objectively bad.
But with films, books etc I'm much like yourself, though perhaps even more so. Sometimes if my friends insist something is crap, it just makes me want to like it more.
I like bears.

User avatar
Warcry
Posts: 13597
Joined: Fri Aug 23, 2002 4:10 am
Location: Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada

Post by Warcry » Wed Dec 05, 2012 4:48 pm

There have been times where I've given stuff a chance that I otherwise might not have because the general opinion of it has been so good. Usually that'll happen when the DVDs are selling for around $5 though...I'm not going to run out to the theatre and see a movie because of word of mouth, or buy it when it first comes out on DVD and they want $25 for it. I've found a few movies, TV shows and video games that I really like that way, but also a lot of overrated, boring crap.

Generally I'll choose movies the same way you do, though...either they've been made by or star someone I like, or they're part of a series I follow. TV shows I'm more likely to get into after randomly stumbling into them while flipping channels. And on the rare occasion when I do track down a show because it's been made by someone whose work I enjoyed in the past or because it stars an actor I like I'm usually disappointed.

I agree with Summerhayes about video games, too. Reviews will help me figure out if there are any hugely annoying glitches or (if it's a PC game) whether it'll run well on my system, because there's more of an objective facet to video game reviews than there is to movie ones.

User avatar
Cliffjumper
Posts: 32206
Joined: Wed Jan 31, 2001 5:00 am
Contact:

Post by Cliffjumper » Wed Dec 05, 2012 8:19 pm

Summerhayes wrote:With video games, I might trust a review because there are technical aspects that can be objectively bad.
That's a good call... I must say there have been a couple of times now that I've regretted not reading DVD reviews for similar reasons, i.e. bad transfer, heavy cuts and so on.

User avatar
Jaynz
Posts: 3643
Joined: Sat Jul 09, 2005 7:18 pm
Contact:

Post by Jaynz » Wed Dec 05, 2012 9:29 pm

If I'm iffy on a film, I might read a few reviews to see what issues a reviewer may have had, and how serious those issues were. These days, though, it's so easy to see a film cheaply eventually that it's not as important.

User avatar
Thunderwave
Protoform
Posts: 771
Joined: Thu Oct 15, 2009 8:48 pm
Location: Upstate, NY

Post by Thunderwave » Wed Dec 05, 2012 10:50 pm

I'm more like Cliffy. I tend to read reviews afterward and just go see what I want based on what I've seen before, even if it's just to see how an actor/actress does in a movie. There is one caveat though.

I love bad movies.

Not movies that try to be bad, but movies where the cast and crew gave it their all but just could not make a good movie. Troll 2 is an example of this. If a critic says a movie is bad I'm more inclined to see it depending on why they say it's bad.

User avatar
Cliffjumper
Posts: 32206
Joined: Wed Jan 31, 2001 5:00 am
Contact:

Post by Cliffjumper » Wed Dec 05, 2012 11:00 pm

Mmm, I do tend to find myself really enjoying an outright terrible film - mainly more recentish examples as lot of really old B-movies are often just boring. Camp tends to outstay its' welcome over 70 minutes.

I do have trouble with stuff that's just done carelessly, though - Castle of Fu Manchu is my big bugbear with this because it seems to be basically an incomplete film hamfistedly edited together by people who don't give a shit; it's just irritating.

Like you say, the best results come when everyone genuinely believes they're good at what they're doing.

User avatar
Terome
Posts: 1431
Joined: Wed Jan 24, 2007 4:16 pm
Location: Brighton

Post by Terome » Wed Dec 05, 2012 11:04 pm

Nobody likes Vanilla Sky, Cliffy. It's what makes us human.

I like to go into movies as cold as possible, myself. I try to avoid trailers too. Mind, I only watch about four or five of them a year these days.

User avatar
Addl
Protoform
Posts: 1529
Joined: Sun Sep 17, 2000 4:00 am
Location: Germany

Post by Addl » Thu Dec 06, 2012 1:08 am

I also do it like cliffy. Seen most before and then read comment and suggestions afterwards (from imdb and amazon)

Since in china an DVDs sell here for 1.5 euro, we sometimes experiment with good sounding plot but otherwise unknown to us and have had lots of disappointments ( eg Barbarossa )
[sigpic][/sigpic] :clap: Isch bin dabbei! :up:

User avatar
inflatable dalek
Posts: 23950
Joined: Sat Apr 03, 2004 3:15 pm
Location: Kidderminster UK

Post by inflatable dalek » Thu Dec 06, 2012 8:07 am

I certainly don't agree with Cliffy's opinion on most films.

More seriously, I think it's music more than anything I'm out of step with. I don't really care about deeper meaning or subtext to lyrics. I don't give a toss if the artist writes their own songs. I just want to be able to sing along badly and dance like the girl I went to school with who had special needs. That's why I'll take Robbie Williams over the Rolling Stones any day, because at least unlike Jagger he can sing in tune rather than that strange screechey thing the be-lipped one does.
TRANSFORMATION: ALL GOOD THINGS
END OF AN ERA IN MY LOOK AT AOE 5!
PLUS: BUY THE BOOKS!

User avatar
Hound
Posts: 9649
Joined: Tue Sep 26, 2000 4:00 am
Location: Henshin!

Post by Hound » Thu Dec 06, 2012 9:16 am

I'm not sure I have ever read a movie review. I actually don't watch many movies really and when I do it's usually something action-y and stupid and coming out in the summer.

I did look on youtube for reviews of the Bond movies once and that was long after I'd watched all of them.

I might watch something on the recommendation of a friend but usually it's just cause it's something that's caught my interest and I've gotten bored with whatever it is I've been into before that. It's how I ended up watching the Bond movies or Gundam or any number of things I've found myself obsessed with over the years.

It's TV shows, cartoons and anime that I tend to seek out reviews of and usually only after I'm either finished watching something or quite a ways into it.

User avatar
angloconvoy
Posts: 2790
Joined: Fri Sep 29, 2000 4:00 am
Location: Ichihara, Japan

Post by angloconvoy » Thu Dec 06, 2012 9:59 am

I only consume media that other people tell me to. I don't even read reviews, I just go by the scores.

Nah, obviously people who are that extreme are a bit daft. Outside of technical issues I don't really go by reviews, especially since my favourite critics are the ones who outwardly seem to hate everything ever. That said, if you read a lot of reviews (I read a lot of game reviews pre-purchase, movies I tend to wait until after watching) you get a feel for which critics basically have similar tastes as yourself. In that case, if they recommend something I hadn't considered,, I'm more likely to give it a look. Also goes for anyone I know that shares my tastes. It's not across the board though. For example, I definitely don't have the same tastes as Cliffjumper in most movie genres, but when it comes to westerns I'll take his advice on what's worth a look (Incidentally, I haven't been able to find a copy of the original cut of Oncw Upon a Time in the West over here, how does the director's cut rate?).

Anyway, renting movies is really cheap over here (buying or renting online isn't, it's not a very logical country), so I don't mind taking a chance on something being crap.
Image

User avatar
Cliffjumper
Posts: 32206
Joined: Wed Jan 31, 2001 5:00 am
Contact:

Post by Cliffjumper » Thu Dec 06, 2012 11:36 am

The 165 minute cut? IIRC it's the same as the old VHS release and is ace. Can clone my disc for you if you like?


It's something I've brought up in relation to the hostile criticial reception of the Bay films but I can't think of a group that has less in common with their audience than film critics. Music critics seem to have a larger turnover and gaming critics seem to be much younger (I guess because keeping up with hardware is a much more important part of the job) but film critics seem to be the same guys they were 30-40 years ago. It's like Roger Ebert - I find most of his 60s/70s/80s reviews to be very level-headed and fair enough even if I don't agree with them. More recent stuff just seems to show a massive generation gap to people actually watching the films.

User avatar
angloconvoy
Posts: 2790
Joined: Fri Sep 29, 2000 4:00 am
Location: Ichihara, Japan

Post by angloconvoy » Thu Dec 06, 2012 12:24 pm

I'd agree about film critics, especially Ebert. The fact that he makes claims like video games are not and will never be art is also a good indicator that he isn't on the same page as the majority of the media-consuming public. Especially as it shows that he's forgotten that when he started out, movies were considered in the same light.
As far as "professional" film critics go, I always preferred Jonathan Ross, being as how he's a guy who likes movies that average people like.

edit: Yeah, it's the 165 minute version. I'll give it a watch next time I've got a few hours free :)
Image

User avatar
Cliffjumper
Posts: 32206
Joined: Wed Jan 31, 2001 5:00 am
Contact:

Post by Cliffjumper » Thu Dec 06, 2012 1:22 pm

I always used to enjoy Ebert's reviews - like probably a few UKers I had a copy of Cinemania bundled with an older PC and always found his reviews good reading - well-argued even if I disagreed (one I remember the most was a highly negative review of The Usual Suspects as he disliked the way the twist made the rest of the running time irrelevant - I didn't and don't agree but the argument was well-made). Catching up ten years down the line he sounds like a miserable old twat - "the camera moves too much, the sound is too loud, I don't like any of these actors" - which juxtaposes badly with strong cases made for, say, 1970s action-only films like The Driver or Vanishing Point, defended as pieces that use cinema action in pure form.

Agree on Ross - I find the big thing in his favour is that he seems to actually really, really enjoy films and isn't afraid to say when something was miles better than he expected or if he's slated a director/actor before and they've proved him wrong.

Re: Once Upon a Time in the West, I'm not sure there's a directors' cut per se - there's the original European version (which was, IIRC, Leone's cut) and the cut American version (which thankfully seems to have disappeared from circulation; the only extra footage in that is Harmonica getting back up after the station scene, necessary because they cut the first scene at the trading post). There is an Italian version that's something like three minutes long, though by the sounds of things it's taken from a work print and the extra length just comes from some scenes not being edited completely. Not in a huge rush to track it down myself.

User avatar
relak
Protoform
Posts: 233
Joined: Wed Mar 28, 2012 11:47 am

Post by relak » Sat Dec 08, 2012 1:28 am

Thunderwave wrote:I'm more like Cliffy. I tend to read reviews afterward and just go see what I want based on what I've seen before, even if it's just to see how an actor/actress does in a movie. There is one caveat though.

I love bad movies.

Not movies that try to be bad, but movies where the cast and crew gave it their all but just could not make a good movie. Troll 2 is an example of this. If a critic says a movie is bad I'm more inclined to see it depending on why they say it's bad.
Ditto me.
Although I do use reviews if I have to make a choice between 2 movies but only 1 ticket. I sort of have a following list of professional reviewers depending on what they seem best at reviewing. Some tend to know their scifi better than others, some can review romance more objectively than others.

In the end, I look for objectivity. Many reviewers turn their review into an emotion laden one sided opinion rather than try to be objective.

User avatar
Skyquake87
Protoform
Posts: 3742
Joined: Sun Jul 04, 2010 9:34 am

Post by Skyquake87 » Sat Dec 08, 2012 9:31 pm

I don't read reviews either, I like discovering things for myself. Trailers do convince me to try things though, I have to say (i don't think I'd have thought about watching say, In Bruges or Q The Winged Serpent otherwise :swirly:)

User avatar
relak
Protoform
Posts: 233
Joined: Wed Mar 28, 2012 11:47 am

Post by relak » Sun Dec 09, 2012 8:21 am

Skyquake87 wrote:I don't read reviews either, I like discovering things for myself. Trailers do convince me to try things though, I have to say (i don't think I'd have thought about watching say, In Bruges or Q The Winged Serpent otherwise :swirly:)
Oh I stopped depending on trailers.
Ever so often, the trailer either spoils the whole movie plot by including pivotal scenes in there or totally misleading you about the movie with scenes shot specifically for the trailer and not in the actual film

User avatar
the_escaflowne_2k
Protoform
Posts: 639
Joined: Fri May 07, 2004 11:12 pm
Location: Under a cloud, no atlas though [Manchester].

Post by the_escaflowne_2k » Sun Dec 09, 2012 10:24 am

angloconvoy wrote:I'd agree about film critics, especially Ebert. The fact that he makes claims like video games are not and will never be art is also a good indicator that he isn't on the same page as the majority of the media-consuming public.
That's my main issue with him, especially when he freely admits that he's never played one or been interested in discussing it. That and his main arguements about being games is they "cannot evoke emotion", are "all about looks" and "lack depth" so they can be outright dismissed compared to than other media but who wrote a 3.5 review of Phantom Menace with such tidbits as:

"I do not attend with the hope of gaining insights into human behavior. Unlike many movies, these are made to be looked at more than listened to, and George Lucas and his collaborators have filled "The Phantom Menace" with wonderful visuals."

And:

"As for the bad rap about the characters--hey, I've seen space operas that put their emphasis on human personalities and relationships. They're called "Star Trek" movies. Give me transparent underwater cities and vast hollow senatorial spheres any day."
Image
"all i can say is that my life is pretty plain, you don't like my point of view you think that i'm insane"

User avatar
Denyer
Posts: 32225
Joined: Sun Sep 17, 2000 4:00 am
Custom Title: Shooty Dog Thing
Location: UK
Contact:

Post by Denyer » Sun Dec 09, 2012 10:44 am

inflatable dalek wrote:More seriously, I think it's music more than anything I'm out of step with. I don't really care about deeper meaning or subtext to lyrics.
Doesn't matter whether it's movies, music, books, etc. -- I tend to go for writing that can take the piss out of itself a bit, include humour, and it's nice if there's some intelligence and reasonable production values. Novelty's a big appeal, like that ancient punk 30-second songs compilation or Spray lyrics.

Or occasionally I dig out crap with none of the above but vaguely sentimental appeal such as Limp Bizkit songs...

Reviews that don't give 1/5 or 5/5 and can articulately describe what they liked or didn't like get a little attention. Even the polarised ones might mention something that makes me think I'd enjoy the thing they're slating/fellating.

Post Reply