I don’t usually review older movies unless it is as part of my journey through Roger Ebert’s The Great Movies (keep your eyes peeled for a piece on Chinatown in the coming weeks), but the latest Dissolve commenter project has brought me to Henri-Georges Clouzot’s The Wages of Fear. As we, the Dissolve commentariat, began working our way through the Criterion collection (an excellent series that strives to preserve and illuminate important cinema), a slot opened up in the form of spine number 36. I jumped at the chance to write about a movie I knew nothing about.
After almost six months of writing reviews (seven really, if you include my movie-watching project from last December), I still don’t have very much confidence in my abilities. I understand that I’ll need to write regularly for years before I’m even half as good as the great Roger Ebert or the staff at The Dissolve, but I’m doing my best. My latest attempt at pushing my personal boundaries is in writing long-form analysis. Basically, why is a movie good or bad, instead of just a value judgment.
The great thing about closely following a website like The Dissolve is that it can expose you to film you otherwise wouldn’t have seen (the bad thing is that I spend so much time reading it that I neglect my wife and children). The Dissolve, like many sites, puts the spotlight on the new movies it thinks are especially worth attention by labeling them “essential viewing.” The most recent movie given that tag is Coherence, a sci-fi/mumblecore film given that badge by Mike D’Angelo. D’Angelo is one of The Dissolve’s harsher critics, so when he really loves something, at the very least it demands your attention.
So I’m sitting at the table in a friend’s apartment, drinking a gin and tonic, and listening to this guy count off all of the women he’s had sex with in an effort to prove a point to his wife. And then I realize that I haven’t written a review yet today. I sure as hell can’t write about this experience (awkward), but I did do something else today. I made my schedule for this year’s Los Angeles Film Festival.
The advancements of the internet over the last 20 years have allowed for a lot of things: easier consumerism (maybe too easy), the proliferation of independent media (music, web series, etc), lots and lots of porn. But the greatest boon of the digital age has been the connections that have been forged over the World Wide Web. We’re not just talking about online dating (or the more anonymous sex options), though that has certainly been a phenomenon worthy of review; we’re looking more at the smaller “geek” communities that have been able to find one another like never before. One of the groups that did not necessarily need the internet to bond was film nerds. Nevertheless, they have benefited greatly from the successes of the internet, specially in the form of The Dissolve – a website for film nerds, by film nerds.