Browse all reviews by letter     A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z 0 - 9

How many times have you read a review praising a film to the skies, gone to see it and it's a stinker? What's going on? The bottom line is there are no objective criteria when it comes to likes and dislikes. A film review is a justification of someone's likes and dislikes, a reflection of their experience and values. Hopefully, with a bit of erudition thrown in.

Since 1999 and with a variety of reviewers Cinephilia has provided film reviews of the latest theatrical release movies as well as an extensive archive of classic, art-house and Australian films in a browseable and searchable database calle Cinefiles.

Films are listed there alphabetically, omitting pronouns. Thus, The Flight of the Phoenix will be found under "F". This arrangement also applies to foreign-language films. Sometimes foreign-language films are listed by their English titles if they are better known by that.

Generally speaking, each film is rated as a good (or bad)instance of its type - thriller, comedy, drama, etc, not as a movie per se. Thus, Withnail and I has the same rating as Magnolia, ie. both are deemed (roughly) equally successful within their style.

This is not an entirely satisfactory approach although no approach is. Some genres have inherently more potential as art than others - the 'high art' form of drama as opposed the 'low art' form of comedy, for instance. This makes it rather misleading to simply apply the best-of-its-kind approach to rating films. Thus the highest rating (4.5 - 5 stars) tends to be reserved for films that achieve more than comparative stylistic success and add to the finest that cinema, as an art form, has to offer. Understandably there are few, if any, such films in any given year.

Of course, underpinning these general precepts is a host of preferences and presuppositions. Thus, I have a liking for films, whatever their stylistic approach may be, that explore the contradictory, troubled aspects of life or that have a melancholy, even tragic view, of the human comedy. A film's primary value for me depends on what the people (often concealed behind the symbolically autonomous figure of "The Director") who have made it have to say. How and how well they say it is a highly contingent affair. In the best films form and content come together seamlessly but content is its sustaining heart.

Anyway, I hope that this website is of use to you in exploring the wonderful world of film.

Bernard Hemingway, reviewer and editor-in-chief

For more about my views on film reviewing and film criticism click here.





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