Friday, July 23, 2010

Episode IV: A New Hope (for Cinema Styles)

I've been at this blogging thing for years now (a little over three) but in the last year I've gone up and down the mood gauge as unemployment has taken my focus away from the movies. Now, this Monday, I start a new job (finally!) and, going into my fourth year here at Cinema Styles, I expect more changes to occur. For one, I won't be on during the day anymore, except on a day off of course, but I don't think that's very much a concern at this point. These days more of us are logging on at night and doing brief check-ins on social networks like Facebook during the day, something I can quickly do on a lunch break. But there are other changes too, changes in how I view movies.

In the last two years my wife and I have become huge fans of the AFI Silver here in Silver Spring and I've gotten to experience so much classic Hollywood and world cinema on the big screen that I don't know how I ever survived without it. It's to the point where I'll make sure a film I haven't seen before, but is playing on, say, TCM, isn't going to be playing at the AFI first. If it is I don't want to blow the first time I ever see it by seeing it on television. But it's more than that.

When I started Cinema Styles it was decidedly a classic Hollywood film blog. That was its primary focus and I tried to keep everything to 1979 and before. Gradually I mentioned some newer films and liked the idea of being a part of the conversation on current cinema. Cinema Styles doesn't have a lot of reviews but now, it seems, those that are here have as much chance as being current (Avatar, Shutter Island) as being classic (Foreign Affair, Easy Living) and that's fine by me. However, the one area I haven't really moved into is documentaries, even though they have quickly become my favorite form of movie to watch (I watch at least two or so a week, sometimes not a narrative film at all). The reason is because I take them all personally (I watch primarily political docs) and don't want to get into a fight over politics on my blog, I really don't. It seems easier to review a narrative film based on its technique without necessarily arguing about the philosophical content of its message. With a documentary, often, the message is the thing. I occasionally review a historical documentary, like the ones I have reviewed on nuclear tests and the Cold War, but that's different. History is more easily argued in a civilized manner because of the benefit of hindsight and a body of established facts from which to work. That being the case, I don't think Cinema Styles will be moving into the direction of documentary reviewing any time soon.

In fact, I don't know what direction it will be moving in, just that it's exciting to be getting back to work and Cinema Styles will have to adapt to a new schedule, that's all. The rants will still be here, In the Land Before CGI will still be here, Opening Credits I Love and even other much longer neglected features, like The Wanderers, will still be here and pop up from time to time. And Unexplained Cinema and The Invisible Edge will still be here too, although I've neglected The Edge for almost two weeks now. And I'll still be here, just at night more than during the day. Wish me luck!