Reviewing the Movie Reviewer: Q&A with CineFile

I don’t know anyone that doesn’t love movies. We all have our opinions on what good vs. bad movies look like but we all have our favourites. A few of us even start writing and reviewing them. Even fewer get a major platform to share our informed opinions from. I thought it would be fun to dig into the minds of people who have made a career out of talking movies. Black Press and Glacier Media blogger Kyle Wells, aka Cinefile, is described on their site as a “certified, card-carrying film nerd.’ That’s just my kind of people.

1) What are the characteristics of a “good” movie?

A “good” movie is a movie that does well at what it is trying to accomplish. I try to approach a movie on its own terms, keeping in mind its audience, its genre and what it seems to be going for. Often it’s not going for enough, or going for something worthless, but by taking a movie on its own terms you can find more to appreciate. And then it takes interesting characters, a compelling story and a cohesive pace and style to succeed. I’m a fan of genre films, so with this approach you can really start to enjoy a good horror film or a good action film, regardless of how it stacks up to an Oscar-bait type of movie. I’m far more taken with an exceptionally well made horror film than I am with a mediocre drama. But these are “good” films. A great film is one which accomplishes all that and more, a film that exceeds its parameters and truly surprises you.

2) In your opinion, does where you watch a movie impact how good it is? Why/How?

Watching a movie in a cinema and watching a movie at home, or on an airplane, or wherever else, does influence the experience. Some movies are made for cinemas, not only to see them on the big screen but to see them with other people, to get that feeling of an event. I saw Lawrence of Arabia on the big screen last year for the first time, and despite it being one of my favourite movies already, none of my previous viewings came anywhere close to the experience of seeing it in a theatre, for all the above reasons. Then again some films lend themselves to the intimacy of a small screen and watching it on the couch in your long johns, eating cupcakes.

3) What is it that you love about movies that led them to become a part of your career?

I love the immersive nature of film. I love the escape, whether it’s into a world that’s scary, fun, exciting, relatable or thought provoking, I love the feeling of being enveloped in a film’s story, characters, visuals, music etc. I feel like most cinephiles are at least a little socially awkward too, or reserved, and movies bring us out of our shell in some strange way.

4) Have you ever been surprised a movie was generally thought of as “good”? Which one?

I’m constantly surprised at movies people find “good.” “Good” is totally subjective, but when I watch something like The Help, for instance, which many people loved, I couldn’t get past its politics, as a fictional film about white people saving the day for African-Americans theme. Sure, it’s a well-constructed movie, with some excellent performances, but I found it insultingly naïve and misguided when you read between the lines. I also don’t know what people see in the Lord of the Rings movies, but fantasy is one genre I usually can’t get into. It’s not them, it’s me.

KyleWellsedit 199x300 Reviewing the Movie Reviewer: Q&A with CineFile5) What are two good films you would recommend that many people may have missed?

Only two? Well I usually use any opportunity I can to tell people to watch George Washington (2000), David Gordon Green’s first movie. I’m a sucker for ethereal, quiet movies of great drama, and this small film is truly compelling and immersive. Another “good” movie I recently re-visited, on the other end of the spectrum, is First Blood. The John Rambo character became a joke with the horrendous sequels, but the original film from 1982 is extremely exciting and surprisingly thoughtful. It’s my favourite action movie and I think it deserves more credit.

Bonus Round Question: How many movies would you say you watch, on average, a year?

It’s so hard to say but, with some simple math, I’d say I watch around 250 movies a year. Probably about a quarter of those are in the theatre. The rest are new releases, journeys into the back catalogue and old favourites, enjoyed at home.

Thanks to Kyle for submitting himself to our round of questioning. You can find him sharing his movie views in various Black Press publications like the Victoria News, and Goldstream Gazette as well as Glacier Media’s Powell River Peak.

 Reviewing the Movie Reviewer: Q&A with CineFile
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