ABOUT CINEMA SIGHTLINES
"Critics are like eunuchs in a harem; they know how it's done, they've seen it done every day, but they're unable to do it themselves."
- Brendan Francis Behan Irish author & dramatist (1923 - 1964)
On occasions when I've been held up as an expert on something, (I was once introduced as a Film Historian, for example) it's made me feel very uncomfortable. I've learned enough to know that there is infinitely more that I don't. The most I'll allow as a description is that I'm interested enough in a subject to have inquired, learned and remembered a few things about it.
As I was reaching technical adulthood, with an already keen interest in entertainment, I began to think about the difference between critics and reviewers, or rather, what I ideally thought the difference should be. Already having witnessed how a "critic" can kill the creative efforts of hundreds of people by simply saying a movie or a show was crap, it seemed to me that the best position for a critic would be within the creative process, and not after the fact. It's far more useful for the critics to view a work in progress, and give feedback that might help improve the end result. When it's done, all they can do is praise or kill it.
Reviewers, on the other hand, as I saw them, were simply people who gave a brief idea of what a movie or a show was, and pointed out that if you liked that type of show, you might like this one. Like a book review in high school, but without giving away the entire plot.
Getting back to Mr. Behan's statement above, what naturally follows that idea, is the assumption that criticism from one who is not equipped to participate is questionable. What qualifies one to judge something as good or bad? What do they know? A recurring response that came up when we criticized something as kids was "can you do it any better?" Well...
The original concept for this site was to review Cinemas and Movie Theatres the way food critics review restaurants, the intention being to guide and/or drive the moviegoing experience up to a higher standard. It's important that we not simply condemn something without expressing how we feel it could be made better. And how do we know? Well... we do have some significant practical experience, but we don't see ourselves as infallible. We are just interested (read: passionate) enough to have learned and remembered a few things.
A lot has changed since I was a kid. Technology has soared, while the economy has plummeted. There are lots of cool gadgets to enhance our existence, but it now takes two incomes to pay for them. The workday is longer and things cost more. We have more stress, less leisure time, and many of us have less, if any, disposable income.
Going out to the movies was once an affordable haven that gave escape from the real world and could make anyone feel like royalty for a couple hours. Now, a trip to the movies costs about the same, or more, than buying the picture on DVD four months later. What you find when you leave home for a movie, is no more impressive or special than your own living room. Why bother? Well it is nice to get out of the house... What drives us is a passion and appreciation for good movie showmanship, a strong inclination to communicate, and a hunger for the gratification that comes from providing a memorable entertainment experience.
- TJ Edwards