Sunday, December 02, 2007

How I choose films to review for Reel Inspiration

I thought you might like to know how I choose films to be promoted through Reel Inspiration's grassroots efforts. First, I look out for diverse films with entertaining, powerful stories that uplift, challenge, give hope, or inspire us. (Or someone recommends one.) The biggest indicator that I should review a film is how emotionally moved or inspired I feel when I leave the theater. Did it also make me think? Is the theme relevant to our issues today? If I'm writing the review in my head while I'm walking out to the parking lot, I will probably send that review. Beyond that, I try to review high quality films.

Quality, of course, is subjective. Whose opinion do you accept? Popular reviewers often pick edgy, sometimes depressing films for their top ten lists. These same reviewers call inspiring films, "sappy." To be honest, sometimes I want or need to see a "sappy" film. These movies lift my spirits and can even get me out of a bad mood. Of course, there is nothing more inspiring that a great film. To me, a great film has something important to express.

My own definition of quality includes: stellar acting, technical quality, and especially exceptional writing and storytelling. I'll admit, in the past I've been pretty picky about the acting and writing. (Hey, I've got degrees in acting/writing and I've even made a few short films myself.) There have been some cases where I didn't review a film because of poor writing or acting. When I attended, "The, Notebook," the audience of all ages was really moved by the picture. I, however, had a huge problem with a hole in the story at the climactic moment. This flaw kept me from promoting the film to RI members. After putting some time and thought into it, I decided that the theme of taking responsibility for your loved ones was more important than the hole in the plot. The film is now on the list of recommended films for new members. Live and learn. On my list of favorite films (see my profile) there are those with flaws that bothered me at first, but now I watch those same films over and over because there is something in them that touches me. Sometimes its the flaws that make it art. (Think most James Brooks movies.)


To be the most effective in our promotional efforts, I need to review films as soon as possible -- before opening weekend is best. I don't have time to mull over my recommendations. I've decided that the most important consideration for a RI review, is that the filmmaker have something meaningful to say.

Movie Blessings,
Jana Segal
Reel Inspiration

1 comment:

wendy r. said...

I love to read these reviews!!! Thanks to all the Reel Inspiration Reviewers out there who are taking the time to see films early and write a review. These are awesome - I don't have time to read all the synopses of movies, and most of these films get lost in the promotion of major films. So, this is the ONLY way I'm hearing about them. THANKS from a former Production Manager & Producer and now a new mom.