April showers bring May flowers, Mayflowers bring pilgrims, and May itself brings the start of Summer Blockbuster Season, that baffling mixture of excitement and predictable, four-quadrant committeethink. As we touch base at the beginning of this season, I’ll discuss the films that have me stoked for this month (both big and small), talk about a few pieces I have in the works, and generally lay out the plans of Plot and Theme. Not too complicated, but it should at least be fun.
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.