Monday, February 25, 2008

Another Kind of Movie Reviewer

On January 17th, a review of Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles, was posted on the LanceReviews website. That review received over 1,000 hits in a single day from virtually every corner of the globe.

It is remarkable given that this website is only seven months old, and is one man's labor out of love for good movies and anguish over bad ones. In July 2007, Lance Berry launched his movie review site, on which he posts a new review every couple of days. He does not get paid doing this, and he does not run ads on his site; what he gets is the fun of reviewing and venting, plus an unexpectedly large readership.

Once a film critic/columnist for Latest Issue Entertainment, Lance Berry started his own site dedicated specifically to movie/TV/entertainment reviews, because he has a passion for film and believes that good movies should be praised and recognized, while bad films should be "drop-kicked to the furthest nether regions of hell whenever possible." The LanceReviews site receives daily hits from around the world, including places such as Japan, Russia, Australia, and the UK, in addition to the United States.

Lance is not your average movie reviewer who has to please some special-interest audiences, including the movie industry. He reviews things exactly as he sees them, which makes him a reviewer for the average person, rather an irony that "average" has such divergent meanings. And, unlike many reviewers trying hard to be entertaining for the sake of entertainment, Lance strives to be informative. That, I think, actually makes his reviews more entertaining than most.

And he is humorous and insightful. His headline on Vantage Point is “Disadvantage Point: New espionage thriller plays like another familiar film...but with half the charm.” For Jumper it is “Clunker: anywhere is possible. Teleportation flick goes nowhere fast.” Of course, not every movie is a dud. For The Spiderwick Chronicles, Lance says “Magically Enthralling: Spiderwick spins a web that ensnares its viewer...and doesn't let go!”

As you can see from the picture above, which I adapted from his website, Lance has a clever eye for layout, in this case with an ironic twist. He uses the medium of Hollywood presentation, to present Hollywood.

I don’t often go to see movies in theaters, but when I do it seems like about half the time I am disappointed. Lance, who does go to theaters a lot, seems to agree with me. In fact, he had it so strongly that he started reviewing as a way “to vent about bad movies that are foisted on an unsuspecting public.” But this is not venting in vain, not for the people who read his reviews. If you are lucky enough to read his review in advance, you are forearmed – you might instead curl up in bed with a book. If you see the review too late to save the evening, you can turn the disappointing event into a memorable laugh.

Though honest criticism might upset some people, it can also transcend that. After he saw Casino Royale, in which Daniel Crag plays James Bond, Lance posted what he called "the most honest review of Casino Royale you will read," with the headline "A Bond movie that ISN'T a Bond movie." Several people pasted copies of the review on pro-Craig sites, in order to allow bashing. Apparently some of those people still liked Lance's writing enough to come back for more.

After Lance allowed, a British-based site, to post his review of Casino Royale, as well as a link to his article on why Christian Bale should be the next Bond, his site began to get a lot of European hits.

I hope Lance's screenplay writing also benefits from his film reviews. Yes, he has been writing scripts seriously for the past 5-7 years. "I write well, I write fast. In the past, I have re-written 120-page screenplays literally overnight," he says, "I am versatile, writing all types of screenplays: drama, horror, science-fiction, etc. I have made several good connections within the industry recently, but I am still waiting for that 'big break'."

It is his intention to eventually produce a science fiction series, based on his screenplay and novels "The Reign".


Jonas Knutsson said...

Any man who calls "The Transformers" 'an abomination' is a friend of mine.

Maryanne Stahl said...

very interesting. I wish him all success.

Xujun Eberlein said...

Jonas, the photo on your poster behind is wonderful! I wish it were not hiding behind your name.

And thanks Maryanne! I will pass your kind words to Lance.