My first Criterions (thank you Barnes and Noble)

The end of year Barnes and Noble Criterion sale has passed and I have in my hot little hands my first ever Criterions. I have a couple others coming very soon (next week, fingers crossed). I've already talked about Criterions in a previous post, but for those who don't know, they are a film distribution company that restores important classic and contemporary films and jam-packing them with supplements which adds so much to the experience of the film. I have to say, Criterion is unmatched in terms of quality. No detail is overlooked. Every single edition is beautifully package and they instantly become the centerpiece of any DVD collection. Now, enough drooling over Criterion, let's talk about what I have so far:

The Ingmar Bergman trilogy examining the silence of God (Through a Glass Darkly, Winter Light and The Silence). Very heavy and emotionally exhausting. I'm still trying to appreciate Bergman's films, but honestly, they've all been disappointing. Granted, I've only seen this trilogy and I saw The Virgin Spring last week at the Chauvel. I'm going to have to wait until I see Wild Strawberries at Cinemathque on Monday before I decide whether I should hop on the Bergman Bandwagon. I have to say every element of his films are perfect - the photography, the acting, the music, the mood are all brilliant and I always feel I'm in the hands of a director who knows what he's doing. However, there's something about his films, I cannot quite put my finger on it, but I find them excruciatingly dull, and at times, cliched. I've started to re-watch the films and fortunately, I've found that they have improved so much more on a second viewing. 

The Criterions are excellent. Beautiful covers, well-written essays and the box set also comes with a fourth DVD called Ingmar Bergman Makes a Movie, this is a five-part documentary on the making of Winter Light and it is fascinating. 

I also have the Adventures of Antoine Doinel box set, which includes four films: The 400 Blows, Stolen Kisses, Bed and Board, Love on the Run and also includes the short Antoine and Colette. As expected, it is packed with special features (oops, sorry they call them "supplements") that provide context for the films as well as include interesting interviews with Truffaut and his collaborators. It also contains a booklet with various essays and notes. The covers look amazing as well as you can see here:

The last one is The Last Emperor and this is a four disc set. One contains the film, one the television series and the other two supplements. I'm still going through this DVD but the film is exquisite, a tad melodramatic/Asian soap opera in some parts, but still a brilliant film.

I cannot wait until I receive the other three, I'm already counting down the days.

Note: All photographs were taken by yours truly. I would appreciate it if you inform me if you intend to use any of it. See my contacts for details. Thanks.

Superiority Complex and IMDB users

Being a film lover, it's embarrassing to admit that I spend more time on IMDB than actually watching movies. Which is like an Olympic athlete spending more time in the library studying their sport than going outside and playing it.

Wow, I just likened myself to an Olympic athlete and likened movies to sport. Maybe I've been watching too many Track and Field videos on YouTube. But anyway, you get my point.

Everyday I check the website for the latest news about the film world and obsessively checking on the Hit List for any interesting articles (actually, I check the List secretly hoping that one day I will find one of my blog posts in there, and then I will get so much traffic from it that I become more famous than Justin Bieber and consequently receive thousands, maybe millions, of requests from various publications begging me to write an article from them. Then I will of course win a Pulitzer for the pieces that I write. Plus, I'll be named one of the most influential people in the world, most likely by People Magazine and also become the richest celebrity in the world, beating Oprah by half a billion dollars.)

As I was saying, I love IMDB for the wealth of information the site contains to satisfy even the most information-hungry cinephiles. I also love the rating system. I love the satisfaction that you get when you give a one star rating to a film that wasted both your money and time because it bored you so much it was borderline sadistic mental torture. I also love giving ten stars for films that truly took my breath away.

What annoys me about IMDB is the vast amount of users who go to the site to post comments as a way to vent, and sometimes to feel good about themselves. Granted, I'm guilty of committing such acts - see Slumdog Millionaire IMDB post (I can't seem to track it myself). But that post is not as extreme compared to other posts I find. 

But the users that make my blood boil (more than trolls, which is saying something) are the ones who feel that they are better than everybody else because he/she liked a film that the average movie-goer can't seem to understand. I think they call it the "superiority complex". They are usually written by people who are quite intelligent - their spellings are all correct, they make valid critical comments about the film and sometimes references to back it up. I think to myself,  wow what a very smart person, I wish I could write a post like that. But then they say something like this:

" If  you didn't get Kubrick's 2001 or got annoyed watching Alien 3 because it had no guns and shooting, then don't bother with this film. Go back and watch Transformers 2 for the hundredth time"

or something like:

" A lot of people will not get this film because it requires you to think. If you're one of the mainstream conformists who anticipate the next commercial blockbuster that Hollywood churns out then do yourself a favour and DON'T watch this film. It's just a waste of your time"

(Note: These aren't direct quotes from IMDB users because it's mean and inconsiderate if I do that, so I wrote these myself but if you read a lot of IMDB comments/posts you'll recognise these types of comments)

The other way to recognise one is when another user counters their arguments and the original poster gets all angry and upset, feeling that their film credibility has just been publicly taken away from them by somebody else. So they reply back to the other user with lines similar to the examples above then following that by "name-dropping" or "title-dropping". They will usually reference or even list their favourite films or directors, as one would do in a resume, in order to make a point of how smart and how much they are an expert in film, thus gaining their credibility (and ego) back. 

What these people don't understand is that everyone has their own tastes and opinions and sometimes forget that film itself is subjective. There's no such thing as a perfect film. It is perfectly acceptable for one person to dislike a film like Citizen Kane and absolutely love a film like The Dark Knight. It does not make them any less intelligent nor does it mean that they have a bad taste in film. 

What really gets me upset is the fact that these types of comments explicitly tell people NOT to see a film, because they assume that you don't possess the intellectual capacity to enjoy these films. When really, what they should be saying is for people to at least try and see the film because they might possibly enjoy it, I mean you never know. What if that person who has a tendency to only watch big action flicks and rom-coms find a newfound interest in foreign films because somebody told them to go and see In The Mood For Love and it moved them so much they hunted down other Wong Kar-Wai films.

Film is such an amazing medium that it should be shared, right? Even if you are a film critic, I don't think anyone has the right to tell anyone else what they shouldn't see. A good film critic does this, a great one gives an opportunity for people to decide for themselves. Which is probably why I never really like the 'At The Movies'  See it/Rent it/Skip it approach. Think of how many movies a person "skipped" because their favourite critic told them to, but would have enjoyed if they went out and seen it. It's not a film critic's job to tell us what to see, their job is to create a discussion for the film. A 'skip it' is one way of stopping these discussions and goes against the idea of film criticism in the first place.

Anyway, back to those IMDB users (how did I end up talking about film critics? Focus Jesue, focus). I always imagine these people like this guy here:

So that's just my little rant about IMDB, I'm sorry that it's so negative, but this has been bugging me for quite a while. Now let me check up on that Hit List...