A reader’s guide to my film reviews

Semler at the Cinema features Brandon Semler’s thoughts on the world of film, including reviews, think pieces, previews and more. 

By Brandon Semler

I’ve received a few questions about the style/punctuation of my film reviews, so I figured I would post a quick road map. There are only two elements of each review that will remain consistent, so I’ll elaborate on them.  

1. Status

Firstly, while I don’t do star ratings or grades for films (I’m not a big fan of quantifying them), I will indicate whether I recommend films or not. Obviously, everyone has differing tastes, so people will like films I do not, and dislike films I love. But I like to think of these distinctions as what I would tell someone at a party if the subject came up in conversation.

Each review will include  of the following statuses:

Do Not Recommend: I do not believe people will generally enjoy the film.

Recommend for Fans: I recommend the film for fans of a certain genre, actor, style etc.

Recommend: I believe people will generally enjoy the film.

Strongly Recommend: I STRONGLY believe people will enjoy the film.

That said, these distinctions do not necessarily reflect how much I enjoyed/loathed the film. For example, my favorite film of 2018 (so far) is “Annihilation,” but my recommendation would be “Recommend for Fans” for those who enjoy slow-burn, heady sci-fi and horror. I would not recommend it for everyone because I do not think everyone would enjoy the film.

Like everything in art criticism, everything I’m saying is subjective and just reflects what I think. I don’t have better film taste than anyone else. I just enjoy writing about it.

2. Spoiler notes

I’m a firm believer that if you don’t want anything in a film spoiled, you should refrain from reading a review before seeing it. Each of my reviews will likely include mild spoilers in general, so tread cautiously. However, for specific, significant spoilers, I will include an asterisk next to a component of my review I wish to elaborate on, and will address it in a spoiler section at the bottom.

That’s the general gist. Happy reading.

Brandon Semler can be reached at popdiversifies@gmail.com, or on Twitter @BrandonSemler.

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