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DO YOU LET REVIEWS INFLUENCE YOU?


Zea
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And to which critical venues or critics do you refer if any?

Usually, I'll check Rotten Tomatoes, IMdB or just Google a film and see what comes up.  When they were on tv, Ebert & Siskel were pretty reliable. I remember Gene Shallat did reviews which I always thought were more crafted for humor than an honest review.  Leonard Maltin is more straight forward. Of all these, perhaps my least favorite is Patrick Stoner who reviews for many PBS stations. Stoner gives new meaning to the word "effete".

So those are the usual suspects I'll check.  But that's the extent of it.  When researching any info about something I'm not familiar, I never limit myself to one source. I prefer to cull a consensus. It also helps to know a little of their movie-reviewing history. Have their past movie critiques somewhat coincided w/mine? If so, I may - MAY - heed their assessment a bit more.  Having done/said all that, the final judgement of a film, either before or after I may see it,  is up to me.

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17 minutes ago, Zea said:

And to which critical venues or critics do you refer if any?

Usually, I'll check Rotten Tomatoes, IMdB or just Google a film and see what comes up.  When they were on tv, Ebert & Siskel were pretty reliable. I remember Gene Shallat did reviews which I always thought were more crafted for humor than an honest review.  Leonard Maltin is more straight forward. Of all these, perhaps my least favorite is Patrick Stoner who reviews for many PBS stations. Stoner gives new meaning to the word "effete".

So those are the usual suspects I'll check.  But that's the extent of it.  When researching any info about something I'm not familiar, I never limit myself to one source. I prefer to cull a consensus. It also helps to know a little of their movie-reviewing history. Have their past movie critiques somewhat coincided w/mine? If so, I may - MAY - heed their assessment a bit more.  Having done/said all that, the final judgement of a film, either before or after I may see it,  is up to me.

I don't at all refer to any higher source than my own taste and opinion. 

I will read basic reviews of the plot and do have an interest in who is the director usually, which tells me everything I need to know. That follows too for old films that I might have never seen. I would rather watch the worst movie ever made by Lubitsch than the best by some hack, and there are a lot of them floating around as there have always been. I am open to any new director but they might only get one chance for me to think their stuff is worth seeing again.

Now reviews from some past critics who I feel have shown their knowledge of films and seem to be serious critics and not just writing a TV Guide type synopsis of films, I might give some credence. I think I know enough about films to be my own judge, jury and willing victim.

I particularly ignore reviews by people like Leonard Maltin, which I find irrelevant. I also was not really a fan of Siskel and Ebert, who seemed forced on tv with their little diatribes. Your consensus idea though is a good one, since if one is totally in the dark about a film, that's a good way to come to some conclusion.

Once a friend told me a reviewer had said a Robert Altman film was a bit "dark" so we shouldn't go see it. I said back "That's the reason I wanted to see it...duh!" One reviewer's bad film is another person's perfect film in my opinion. Thanks for an interesting topic choice!

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Yes I do !  The one I count on the most is Leonard Maltin. 90 percent of the time he is right on. I have disagreed with him on films like APACHE, MAKE MINE MUSIC, MELODY TIME and MY SISTER EILEEN (1942) .   There are some others of course, but those are the ones that come to mind as I write this. Everyone who loves older movies should have his most recent Classic Movie Guide which he updates every 4 or 5 years. Looking forward to his next edition. Sometimes certain titles are omitted like PURSUIT OF HAPPINESS (1934). Rain 

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I don't really have a consistent pattern. I would say 80 or 90 per cent of the movies I see, I don't read a review until after I've seen it. But once in a while, I do read a review first. I don't think I've ever let a review read in advance stop me from going to see a movie, however. On the other hand, a preponderance of positive reviews might once in a great while cause me to go see a movie I might have otherwise missed. I would say it's likely I might not have seen Eighth Grade if I hadn't read at least 10 glowing reviews of it in advance.

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1 minute ago, sewhite2000 said:

I don't really have a consistent pattern. I would say 80 or 90 per cent of the movies I see, I don't read a review until after I've seen it. But once in a while, I do read a review first. I don't think I've ever let a review read in advance stop me from going to see a movie, however. On the other hand, a preponderance of positive reviews might once in a great while cause me to go see a movie I might have otherwise missed. I would say it's likely I might not have seen Eighth Grade if I hadn't read at least 10 glowing reviews of it in advance.

How was it? I've seen a lot of ecstatic reviews for it, as well, but it sounds about a thousand leagues away from anything I'd normally want to see. 

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I found it very squirmy and emotionally honest! I was uncomfortable for a lot of the film, and I mean that in a good way. To some degree, it's an indictment of the under-20 crowd who spend every waking moment humanly possible on social media, which is an easy target for someone middle-aged like myself. But it's more than that. You also feel the incredible pressures crushing down on someone that age, especially female, to be liked by their female peers and to be desired by boys. And the relationship between the protagonist and her single father is by turns heartbreaking and heartwarming. I would say it's easily one of the best films I've seen this year.

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Usually no. If I've already planned on seeing something, I'll most likely see it. For example, I love Disney films, and I have made a goal to watch every single one in theaters until the day I die. I don't really care what the reviews may say; I watch them because they make me feel happy. 

Conversely, if there's one I'm on the fence about, I will read some reviews, and if they are generally negative or wishy-washy, then I won't pay money to see the movie in theaters; I'll wait until it's out on rental. 

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If I'm planning to watch something specifically, I won't ever consult a review. Nor see a Trailer. Nor read a red envelope. Nor even look at a poster. Nor read a DVD jacket. If I can. When I browse NetF I might chance the first line of two but no further. Directors and actors are pretty good indicators.  It's nice to go in cold turkey if possible to allow myself to be surprised. If it's a puzzler and I get uncomfortable enough I may refer to a synopsis to get straightened out. Reviews that I read here are not threatening usually since I feel if I ever get around to seeing, I probably won't remember details that I read now. Even then, if it's too detailed I give up or if feel okay I may scan it.

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Interesting question, especially in this crowd of classic movie fans!

Absolutely, I read "reviews". Complicated plots or slowly paced movies are difficult for me to get through watching at home alone, whereas I can watch almost anything with others in a theater.

I gather my TCM viewing/recording a month in advance. Any unknown titles are penciled in and first check Leonard Maltin's Classic &/or "Modern" Movie Guides (Psychotronic Movie guide if applicable) just to get an idea of plot, who's in it, pacing or if there's anything out of the ordinary about it. It's not gospel, just something to give me an idea whether it's worth recording or burning a disk.

I then refer to this board's thread "(Whatever Month's) Schedule is Up" to see what others have noted about what's included. Although I've already seen 80% of what TCM shows, I've found several real gems from others here pointing them out.

None of my sources are "reviews" really, just basic synopsis & impressions like "I was on the edge of my seat" or "found the plot confusing" I can then judge for myself whether I want to give it a try or not.
I hate missing something and everyone talking about it afterwards!
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18 minutes ago, TikiSoo said:

None of my sources are "reviews" really, just basic synopsis & impressions

Exactly.

Reviews are too likely to tell me too much before I've seen the movie. I hate that.

And the last thing I need is a prissy Roger Ebert telling me what I'm about to see is shameful for one if his snowflaky reasons.

After seeing it, I have no issue with comparing my thoughts with a review - and sometime look to the review to help explain something in the plot I feel I may not have grasped completely.

But, I'm extremely spoiler-averse, a well as being doggedly determined to retain my own original sense of a movie, so I never read reviews of movies I haven't seen.

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14 hours ago, CaveGirl said:

I don't at all refer to any higher source than my own taste and opinion. 

 

Yep. the ONLY one any of us can truly trust.  ;)

I've always said, whenever this topic comes up( and it seems to show up as often as North By Northwest on TCM) that I only read( or at least USED to) reviews mostly to get a line on what the movie is about.  NObody's opinion on ANYTHING influences how think and feel about whatever it is.

Sepiatone

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1 hour ago, Sepiatone said:

Yep. the ONLY one any of us can truly trust.  ;)

I've always said, whenever this topic comes up( and it seems to show up as often as North By Northwest on TCM) that I only read( or at least USED to) reviews mostly to get a line on what the movie is about.  NObody's opinion on ANYTHING influences how think and feel about whatever it is.

Sepiatone

Right on, Sepia! I will say though that as opposed to most official movie critics who I ignore, I actually would be partial to the opinions of many people here who are so impressive with their movie knowledge, good taste and sane opinions. If one of the fun cognescenti here touted a movie, old or new, I would be more likely to want to view it, than if Leonard Maltin did. I guess I trust the opinions of the TCM movie buffs more than some lackey who got a job reviewing films for "People" magazine or the like.

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You know, after I posted this topic along w/my initial response and read through all your responses thus far, I really had to whomp myself upside the head for writing what is practically antithetical to how I truly approach reviews. And I can't even blame one of those... er...funny cigarettes.?

So here goes my semi-mea culpa: Actually the only time I'll check reviews is if I'm totally clueless about a film. Although I listed them, I don't ever listen to 'speaking' reviewers.  If anything, I'm more likely to browse an online review.  Even then, I almost never do this for a new film but more likely just to get the gist or genre of an older film that I've missed or one that was so obscure it slipped under the dvd radar.  This usually happens when I'm desperately searching for anything to rent for that particular evening and there's no movie I particularly want to see on tv.

I've never been one to follow someone else's opinion or even use it as a guide. I just take note of it and weigh its value relative to my own. 

For instance, last weekend I came across a movie from 2010 called "Perrier's Bounty". The only hint I got was from the cast that it was an Irish film, which I usually love. Did more research on it and scanned one or two lines of a couple reviews just to get gist of plot.  Even from the first line or two it read like something we'd enjoy. So we rented it. Turned out to be pretty darn good.  Violent, but darkly funny, too. Sort of a Quentin O'Tarentino film.

Most true film fans such as all who inhabit here, don't need chapter and verse about a film. Tell us who's in it, who directed it, its genre and perhaps a most minimal synopsis sans even a whiff of a spoiler,  and we're either on board, thumbs down or at least willing to give it a tentative go w/reservation.  Because you never know what you're going to like, love or loathe.  And we don't need a professional reviewer to dictate either to us.

 

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This is an interesting topic. I have several thoughts germane to what's been discussed. But of course, keep in mind, this is only my take on it.

I think others' reviews are worth reading to get an overall gist of something. But not to be taken necessarily at face value. Some reviewers or critics are people who totally approach films differently than I do. But if I read three or four reviews from people with different viewpoints and I sift through what they're saying, I find the common elements. Then I know what to expect going into it.

Sometimes I read a review if I am rushed for time. Like I only have two free hours on a particular day and want to know if the film will be worth my time, if it's worth devoting those two hours towards watching it. If I can tell it's not something that will excite me, based on what others are saying, then I will just junk it and go to another film. I might come back to it later if I have more time.

***

Now when it comes to writing my own reviews-- it's another ball game. I want to make sure I am encouraging people to see something I think is worthwhile. I am not going to write a scathing review and devote a bunch of negative energy towards something when I can just as easily use that time to focus on something more positive. Now this said, I will sometimes compare a film, like if something has been remade, to a different version. And I may make a few critical remarks about the version I feel is less effective. But my goal is still to prop up the version I think is quite good and worth watching. Make sense?

Of course my reviewing process has evolved, as I imagine the process evolves for other people who review films. 

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I only listen to reviews if it's 5 star or 1 star, nothing in between. If something is rated or reviewed as 1 star I say "never mind", and if something is rated 5 star I DVR whatever it is because it must be worth seeing. Everything in between is so subject to opinion it seems silly to quibble about 2 1/2 stars vs 3 stars, etc, but I figure it must be good to get a 5 star.

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I think everyone who has commented so far is right:  maybe your are influenced, and maybe not.

I do read reviews to find out about subject matter.  And if you read the reviews of particular critics over a period of time, you get to know that Critic 1 hates everything that's X, and Critic 2 raves about everything that's Y, so you can, in effect, judge for yourself, based on their reviews, if it's the movie for you.

These days I also rely on reviews to let me know how much violence, sex, general luridness, stupidity, etc., a given film shows us.  I'm not as willing to see just anything simply because it's the most highly acclaimed of the highest grossing (both of those criteria are inherently unreliable).  If it's going to make me uncomfortable, or frustrated, or angry, I'll probably give it a pass.  One certainly can't rely on advertising or trailers for that kind of assessment.

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Depends on the genre:

Drama, Period Piece or Art house type film: Probably yes.

Comedy or Action film: No

Sci Fi or anything with computers and technology: Goodness no !

Critics always vote down what they cannot understand. I think its because they can be snooty and don't like to be made to look dumb.

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7 hours ago, GGGGerald said:

Critics always vote down what they cannot understand. I think its because they can be snooty and don't like to be made to look dumb.

They're also paid to do it. They vomit up words any way they feel like it - the important thing is to get the "review" in and get paid.

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4 hours ago, darkblue said:

They're also paid to do it. They vomit up words any way they feel like it - the important thing is to get the "review" in and get paid.

You got that right ! You'll never hear a critic say "I really didn't understand the film so I will decline to rate it". They will never pass up that paycheck.

What really gets me is if its some "bathroom humor" type of film, you can tell they wrote the review before they saw the film, if they ever saw the film or paid any attention.

I only really watched Roger Ebert because he worked with Russ Meyer and I knew he had a sense of humor and didn't take it so seriously.

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