I also love to read reviews for movies. The more eruditic or witty the reviewer, the better. (Walter Chaw is my favorite.) And reading reviews for great films is almost as fun as reading for bad. (E.g., X3: "It's Michael Bay's Schindler's List!")
Unfortunately, the downside of this saturation is that I'll be dissuaded from seeing the film altogether (e.g., the reviews of Pirates of the Caribbean 2 were less than enticing, and haven't bothered with it), or worse, I'll be looking forward to it with unattainable expectations.
Such may have been the case with The Departed, a film that had everything going for it: a great cast, a cool story, a great director, and nearly unanimously praising reviews. So, why when I went to see it on opening night did I come away with a 'very good -- but not great' feeling? The performances were outstanding, the dialogue was funny, there was genuine tension throughout. But I just couldn't put my finger on it.
Maybe it was the repeated references to Goodfellas in the reviews. Some even went on to say it was 'as good as'. I was expecting more contemporary music, for sure, but really I think that I was sitting there saying, "This is no 'Goodfellas'" rather than appraising the movie on its own merits. As such, I'm going to wait 'til I see it again to pass judgment.
That said, I'm a little nervous about two more movies I've been rabidly looking forward too. The first, The Prestige, is already getting a few reviews in, and although I wawnt to read them, I'm fairly skeptical of a couple things. First, of the above expectations being led one way or another. Second, in a statement to the press, Chris Nolan (the director) wrote:
- "The Prestige is a mystery structured as a cinematic magic trick. In order to allow audiences to fully enjoy the unfolding of the story, we respectfully ask that you not reveal too much about the deceptions at the heart of the film."
The second movie is next months' uber-anticipated revival of the James Bond series, Casino Royale. I have been rabidly consuming regular viewings of the outstanding trailer and the many tidbits from the official site. Of course, I will see this film in the theaters, but I worry about my expectations being too high. It does look like the Bond film I've always wanted, Daniel Craig acts liks a Bond I've always wanted, but I've been fooled by trailers before. Still, very tough to downplay the first Bond film I've actually anticipated since, well, I can't recall when. Unfortunately, on one of the video blogs on the site they mentioned a late scene involving a character that I thought was a surprise (i.e., a deviation from the book's character), so I'm going to have to wave-off seeing any more spoilers. Arrgh.
You know, I guess there's a good reason for having a need-to-know basis.