It’s April, the lion of March has transfigured into a lamb (at least I think that’s how it works), and now the fools have come and gone (I’m sure). All the while, the endless cycle of movie releases continues unabated and I’m here on Plot and Theme to contribute to the confusion with my entirely correct opinions. This month, the blog turns two full years old, I creep close to 300 total posts, and I’ve got some great pieces in the pipeline. We’ll talk about all of that plus some cool new movies to keep your eyes out for in the month of April.
Here at Plot and Theme, March promises to be an especially exciting month, especially compared to the relative doldrums of the year so far. There have been extremely strong stand-outs so far (see Get Out), but like most Januaries and Februaries, there is much more trash than anything else. So, for this State of the Blog, I’ll be a little more forward-looking. I’ll definitely remark on the best films I saw and reviewed in February, and briefly discuss the tedious and unremarkable Oscars night. But I’ll spend most of my time in anticipation of the movies releasing this month and the pieces I will look to write.
February is going to be a great month for catching up on older movies and writing. The theaters are not going to have too much to offer, and the Oscars are sure to be charged with politics (in case you’re not aware – they already are, and for good reason). But, all is not lost. There’s going to be some cool things going on here on the blog, and I am sure that at least one movie will end up being a pleasant surprise (my money is on Get Out).
In the biggest news since the last time the title of a Star Wars movie was revealed, the title of the next Star Wars movie has been revealed. Disney’s Star Wars Episode VIII: The Last Jedi – A Star Wars Story promises to be the next best film in the Star Wars saga for the three weeks after its December 15th release. Me, personally, I love the new title. But what can we predict now, 11 months before opening night, with nothing to go on but the title, a red outline, and the phrase, “the next chapter in the Skywalker saga”? Basically everything.
It can be incredibly difficult to get a feel for the “critical consensus” for a new film, if there even is such a thing. But, online review aggregators like Rotten Tomatoes and Metacritic do their best to provide their readers with a general idea of the quality of a film, which I have discussed at length before. Today, I’d like to show a crystal clear example of why another metric, the User Ratings from IMDB.com, borders on absolute uselessness. Put bluntly, the site does not require that a person giving a rating has even seen the movie. The result is blatant vote-brigading, either artificially elevating a substandard film through the sheer size of the fanbase of its underlying intellectual property, or unjustly punishing a film for its perceived transgressions that are unrelated to the quality of the filmmaking. In the former case, we’ll look at Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice, and in the later, the more recent A Dog’s Purpose.
As I mentioned in my State of the Blog post this month, I am planning a series of in-depth essays on the films of Stanley Kubrick. Each month, on the last day, I will publish an essay on one of Kubrick’s films, and I intend these pieces to be worthy of the films that they are analyzing, not mere “reviews”. This will not be a trivial pursuit. And, I acknowledge that I may not be up to the Herculean task. Regardless, these are some of my favorite films, and I hope to enhance my enjoyment of them (and yours!) through analysis and discussion.
We’re just into 2017, and the time-honored tradition of celebrating a new year by accidentally writing down its predecessor first continues unabated. Though the early months of the year often struggle movie-wise, there are interesting things going on. These include a few intriguing films, the meaningless over-evaluation of Awards Season (and the vitriol it inspires), and even the beginning of the festival season. Here at Plot and Theme, I’ll reflect backwards a bit, mention some cool things I’m looking forward to, and then set some goals for the year.
As 2016 draws to a close, it is the ideal time to reflect upon a fantastic year for film. Though the major tentpoles disappointed and suggest that the Big Hollywood machine is starting to sputter, this may be the single best year for film of the century, and I intend to argue the merits of each film on my Top Ten List.
In the Northern Hemisphere, darkness insists upon our waking hours earlier each day. The country is full of crybabies and fascists, and nothing in between. It’s cold. But at least there’s a new Star Wars movie to over-appreciate.