When reviewing movies, I form my own opinion - but one of my favorite websites for helping me decide whether or not to go see a movie is RottenTomatoes.com. I really like the "consensus" approach they use in determining whether or not a movie is good or bad in a general sense.
If you're not familiar with the site, it gathers reviews from across the web and based on the ratings of individual reviews determines whether the movie gets a ripe or rotten tomato. 60% and above overall positive reviews garners a film a ripe tomato, indicating that it's a good flick according to the majority. Anything under that gets a rotten tomato. My experience is that anything down to about 50% can be a pretty good bet depending on the genre and your personal tastes, although the lower you go the more likely you won't like a movie no matter what.
Up until this past week I've almost always been in agreement with the overall consensus, but I think the majority of reviewers out there really need to lighten up based on the ratings for Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer.
In my review of the film I gave it stars. Now FF2 was no Citizen Kane, but then it didn't set out to be. It was a fun movie and a vast improvement over the first film. Sure, it had it's problems (Jessica Alba's acting, for one) but in the end it was an entertaining escape for an hour and a half.
I just don't understand some of the really nasty comments made by reviewers about this movie. Here are some examples:
"(Director Tim) Story can't sustain anything resembling a mood, let alone a sense of gravity."
Um, the idea here was to not make a "heavy" movie. If you want a sense of gravity in a superhero flick, go watch Spider-Man 3 (wasn't THAT one fun) or Batman Begins.
"Rise of the Silver Surfer is an existentially and aesthetically unnecessary sequel to the equally irrelevant if depressingly successful Fantastic Four."
I just love that one. Is the reviewer talking about a superhero movie or something shown on the Independent Film Channel?
"Surfer is just as lousy on every level as its predecessor."
Um, sorry, but that's no true.
"For non comic book fans over the age of 13, Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer is a tedious, incoherent bore. For comic book fans of any age, it is an atrocity."
Ok, the target audience is, are you ready...? Kids and comic book fans. And "an atrocity"? Are you kidding me? Save that witty quote for Catwoman. Heck, I wouldn't even use a term like that to describe Ghost Rider, and I did not like that movie at all.
My personal philosophy regarding movie reviews here at Screen Rant is that one should often review a movie within the context of it's genre. That's why on my 5 Star Movies page you'll see a Sci-Fi flick like Serenity and a comedy like Kung Fu Hustle on the same page as the outstanding documentary Enemies of Happiness.
Each of the above movies succeeds at its goal, whether that be to give you a great Sci-Fi experience where you care about the story and characters, to make you laugh hysterically, or to enlighten you about some topic you weren't aware of. Having said that, of course you can have movies that fail even within their genre and I'll call it like I see it. I'll also admit that my personal subjectivity regarding the content of a film sometimes comes into play when I'm writing a review, but that's part of my reviewing style.
I don't write movie reviews for other critics, I write them for regular folks who are trying to decide whether or not to plunk down their hard earned money to go see a movie. That's why I don't often mention things like cinematography or esoteric aspects of a movie - of course all that factors into the final product, but I approach a review from the very basic "was it a good movie or not" point of view. Was I entertained? Moved emotionally? Blown away? Those are my benchmarks and I think they're yours as well.
End of rant.