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State of the Blog – June 2015

With May over, my first full month of blogging on Plot and Theme has concluded, and I am having a great time so far talking movies and trailers and news. This got me thinking that it might be fun to spend the first day of each month looking back on what was successful from the previous month and what movies I most enjoyed watching. Further, I will also look forward to my most-anticipated films for this month and tease a couple of posts I have in the oven, so to speak.

First of all, I am mostly enjoying my big, involved essays – and it would seem that the readers like those the best as well. The Inglorious Basterds piece is my most read, and is also my most involved work to date. I plan to have other pieces of this nature coming out soon, so hopefully they are well-received too. As far as normal reviews go, I find myself more motivated to right them when I really enjoy a film. Fortunately for me, I haven’t seen any truly horrible films this last month – but I did see some middling ones, for sure. It is probably harder to produce an insightful review on a middling movie than an absolute trash heap, actually, but I am working on specifically identifying what is good and what is bad in those mediocre ones to make my opinions as clear as possible.

Two movies that I saw in May really stood out to me: one in the theater and one at home on the couch. Like practically everyone on the planet, I thought Mad Max: Fury Road was a modern-day action masterpiece, and did almost everything right. It is the perfect blend of practical and digital techniques, world-building and character moments, and plot and theme (that’s why I call it that!). The film has some weaknesses, but none detract significantly from what it does correctly. At the absolute opposite end of the spectrum is Steve McQueen’s first feature film Hunger. It has been a long time since I watched a film that stuck with me for so long after the runtime had elapsed. I simply cannot get some scenes, characters, and lines out of my head. I am being haunted by Hunger, in a very good way. Please, if you find yourself scared of this challenging film, grit your teeth and dive in. No promises, but I agree with a comment by Kit O’Loughlin that we may look back on the Fassbender/McQueen pairing as being on par with DeNiro/Scorsese and other famous director/actor pairings.

For June, I’ve got the same huge movies on my radar that everyone does, but I am probably most excited for Inside Out, above things like Jurassic World, Ted 2, and Entourage. In fact, I doubt I will see Entourage and the Ted sequel in theaters at all, as I am not particularly interested in those at all. I am still lukewarm on Jurassic World, even though Josh Gad was raving about it after watching the premiere in Paris last night – but I am still definitely seeing it opening weekend. Some smaller films to pay attention to are Me and Earl and the Dying Girl and Testament of Youth, both limited Indie-type releases that look promising. If those play in theaters near me, expect to see reviews here on both the two huge releases and the smaller ones.

Other posts that you can expect include my second aesthetics-only post, this one discussing the school of art called, “romantic realism”. I plan to discuss this school with special regards to film, and will lean heavily on some formal definitions from The Romantic Manifesto by Ayn Rand, but almost all of the ideas with regards to film aesthetics will be my own. Some may be slightly adapted from drama (stage plays, for instance), as Rand included very little discussion of film and/or cinema in her essays. I have an in-depth evaluation of the Paul Greengrass film United 93, which I will tease as an investigation of the crippling nature of ignorance – and how people respond to it. In the near future, you should also expect reviews of The Raid 2, 12 Years a Slave, Senna (the documentary), and maybe even Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (I have yet to pull the trigger on that one . . .)

And finally, I’d like to thank those of you who give my stuff a read. There are probably thousands of movie opinions that you can find online, so I am glad that there are some folk out there who like to know what I have to say about some of these things. I will endeavor to hone this blog more and more over the coming months, and would like to see you come on the journey with me. I love hearing suggestions, either for movies you think I should see / review, trailers that I should talk about, or anything else you think would be cool for me to discuss. Please, if you really dig something that I write, give me a share on some of them social media (I got buttons at the bottom for the lazy), and leave a comment detailing either how you liked something, or how you thought I sucked / phoned in a piece. I am trying to get more proficient and consistent with my production, and words of encouragement and critique have always been thoroughly appreciated.

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Derek Jacobs

Chicago,IL 60606

A website

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