Founder Intro

         
 

01 December 2010| No Comments     by Sean Chavel

 

At FlickMinute, I am setting out to reinvent the language of film criticism to make it practical and to the point. Not only will you learn about movies but gather a new philosophy on life, I hope. This is not a place to get snotty about film but only to get into a fair discussion about what you like and don’t like. There is also a difference here between movies and film. Movies are entertainment, and a good one merits three stars, maybe more if it has repeat viewing status all over it. Films are art, and an esteemed success merits five stars. By doing a grading system of one to five stars it covers a more practical range. Movies in the middle ground are ones that should deemed as watchable. 

There is a time to be snotty though, this isn’t softball criticism either. Snotty swipes are reserved for Katherine Heigl and Gerard Butler at their worst work. Or Miley Cyrus or Zac Efron. Or scatological spew in bad comedies, cruel exploitative abuse against females, or all of 3D. I will eventually write controversial dissertations on why Clint Eastwood is better than John Wayne, why French auteur Robert Bresson sucks, why Korean cinema is the new “It” thing, why “Joe Versus the Volcano” is the best romantic comedy of the last 25 years, or why adapting Jack Kerouac’s book “On the Road” is the worst idea ever.   

My name is Sean Chavel and I have been a movie reviewer in Los Angeles since 2002. I reviewed dozens of films that year and can probably remember the earliest ones if I thought hard enough about them. Memorably I was in awe of “The Pianist,” “Minority Report,” “Far From Heaven,” “Spirited Away” and “Punch-Drunk Love.” Those great films were certainly enough to keep me excited with reviewing. In retrospect, I probably feel stronger about “Spirited Away” more now above the rest. 

I was born in San Fernando Valley, CA in 1977. Besides building blocks and riding my toddler tricycle, my earliest memories were James Bond’s “Moonraker,” “Superman,” and the “King Kong” version with Jeff Bridges and Jessica Lange. I liked movies, I had seen “2001: A Space Odyssey,” “The Wizard of Oz” and all of James Bond by that point, but it was until age 12 that I took more avid notice. “Born on the 4th of July” (1989) and “Total Recall” (1990) are unlikely but truly the movies that made me feel like I was growing up.  

Oliver Stone’s “Born on the 4th of July” was a passionate cry against war policies in Vietnam, and I empathized with Tom Cruise’s Ron Kovic who went to war but didn’t understand what it stood for, or what propaganda of patriotism meant until after he came home paralyzed. How come that movie as the one work of cinema that was influential? I don’t know entirely now, but it made me want to see what else was out there. I don’t want to over-exaggerate but I was shaking in fear before I stepped into the Arnold Schwarzenegger trip to Mars thriller “Total Recall” (1990), but I came out exhilarated and then not afraid of anything. I still retain a fondness of those films although neither one is an ace in the hole as I would think later. 

Later that year, following the highs of Schwarzenegger, I wondered why the name Martin Scorsese was such a big deal. “GoodFellas” was hyped months before its release, so I decided to check out “Taxi Driver” (1976) on video – I suddenly empathized with the pain of New York alienation, how precocious of me. After my eye-opening discovery of Scorsese, I went full-throttle by seeing every movie as humanly possible which meant cable recordings and VHS rentals. Within due time, I discovered revival movie houses in Los Angeles (later to learn that New York is the home to the best revival movie houses). 

The ranking and cataloging began. “Citizen Kane” (1941) premiered at #16 the first time I saw it at age 14 (today it ranks at #4). Many Stanley Kubrick films were high up on my list. I still wasn’t thinking film criticism as a future vocation, per se. I made a series of stop motion animation films throughout high school that were small film festival ready, not bad considering that I had no traditional editing equipment. After that, I wanted to become a screenwriter, though, to capitalize on talent that teachers of mine had been lauding. By college, I knew much about Alfred Hitchcock, Billy Wilder, Francis Ford Coppola, Woody Allen, Charlie Chaplin and the very underrated Bob Fosse. But in film classes I discovered Ingmar Bergman, Francois Truffaut and Louis Malle. Before I knew it, I was writing about film in college and afterwards finding ways to professionally guest critic in small publications.  

Admittedly, I over-exaggerated on films here and there to get a name, to get on the good side with publicists who are the ones that invite you to screenings. But I quickly decided to toss away with hyperbole once I got my foot in the door. Now, when I give a film a rating of 5 stars, it’s because I believe it should still be watched in thirty years from now. When I say that latest by Christopher Nolan, Clint Eastwood or David Fincher is a masterpiece, I mean it, because I’ve saved the praise for the right time. 

What I mostly want to do with FlickMinute is create a new companionable language about film. You should be able to spend a few minutes at the beginning and at the end of every week. Log on if you have a minute, and click on if something interests you in breadth. With any extra time during the week, browse through the archives of time and archives of foreign imports. I will in due time go way back to cover nearly 100 years of film. I will continue to back up the archives with new uploaded material. In sum, I hope FlickMinute will become a part of your daily routine, but better, open your mind to the limitless boundaries of film.  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Sean Chavel

About The Author / Sean Chavel

Sean Chavel is a Hollywood based author and movie reviewer. He is the Executive Director of flickminute.com, a new website that has adapted the movie review site genre by introducing moodbased and movie experience based reviews.

 

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