Gray matters | Bleader

Gray matters

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Scroll through the week of posts at GreenCine Daily and eventually you come upon this isolated snippet: "Filmbrain points us to five [film] blogs that make him think."

So here we are again, back to that favorite "intellectual" shibboleth, like a moralizing club for whacking at the great unlettered . . . except isn't "thinking" actually a kind of default setting for the species, something you can't help doing in the presence of, you'll pardon the language, "internal/external stimuli"? It's the old GIGO argument in reverse: adjust the data inputs, saturate the informational environment, and the problem ultimately solves itself. 

Only Filmbrain isn't quite doing what GreenCine says it is. "All the film blogs I regularly read meet that criterion," the anonymous proprietor admits, adverting to the "thought-provoking" ideal, then proceeds to name five ostensibly overlooked sites that, in his view, generate more than the usual amount of intellectual grist.

1. Screenville—"A treasure trove of meaty material" overseen by a "mysterious gentleman from Paris" who's characterized as "[c]hallenging, questioning, and confrontational without ever being rude, aggressive, or disrespectful."

2. D+Kaz—From "prolific" film blogger Daniel Kasman, whose "reviews are always well thought out, and remarkably insightful. His reasoned approach favors aesthetics over narrative, which allows him to find merits in trash such as The Transformers."

3. The Broad View—Under the guidance of Lisa Rosman, "the Dorothy Parker of the film blogosphere. . . . There's not a single post on her site that is anything less than gripping, and her style makes me green with envy."

4. European-films.net—Which aims at providing "the most complete coverage of the European film scene"; its proprietor "can claim he is the only film blogger in his entire country--but then again, he does live in Luxembourg."

5. Strictly Film School—"The one film blog I simply cannot read online. Site proprietor Acquarello's reviews are brimming with ideas and analysis that deserve to be read the old-fashioned way. ... This is capital-C Cinephile stuff, yet the reviews are devoid of the pretentiousness and one-upmanship you occasionally find in these circles. This is criticism that at times approaches the poetic."

Finally, and just to be ornery, my favorite hectoring screed du week—from the "Dorothy Parker" site:

"Complaining that a major motion picture is crap is pretty much like whining that Twinkies don’t yield nutritional value. The studio system is predicated on a business model in which the value of individual films is calculated on how much money they produce, plain and simple: if the studio doesn't anticipate a film will make money, it shan’t be made. And if it anticipates that it will make money, made it shalt be—even if the script is riddled with holes, the stars radically miscast, and the editing as junky as the guys huddled on my corner. That the financial worth of these movies is predicated to some degree on people’s experienced (or anticipated) pleasure is the only place where aesthetic or social value enters this picture, ultimately, even if the individual cogs—the directors, the actors, cinematographers, editors, what have you—still care fiercely about the quality of the work they are producing for financially unrelated reasons. So a feature that boasts strong pacing and visual style—Ocean’s Thirteen, for example—is preferable for everyone. It will last longer on the shelf due to good word of mouth; it will be more fun to plunk cash down to see."

 

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