Sarah and I have recently begun going to the movies fairly often. Getting me to go was no small feat as I generally do not like movie theatres and I think the price of a movie is way out of line with its value. Few movies we see are so timely that waiting for their rental release would lessen the enjoyment, so why pay big bucks. Having said that, though, if we do decide to wait for the DVD, we usually forget about the movie and never end up seeing it. The other difficulty comes in finding a movie we both want to see. Sarah doesn’t like violence and I’m not big on whining and crying or, god forbid, singing. So I’ll wait for Casino Royale and The Departed to come out on DVD and Sarah will probably go see Dreamgirls with her Mom while we’re in Connecticut for Christmas.

Still, we have managed to find a few movies to see together in recent weeks. Some have been good and some not, and that leads me to my point about movie reviews. Movie reviews are really subjective, more so than book reviews. Take, for instance, the movie Marie Antoinette, which we saw a few weeks ago. This was one Sarah had to prod me to see. I went in thinking I’d be bored to tears and I was right. What vindicated my preconception was that Sarah was also bored to tears. The movie was bad in so many ways. The only positive notes were the costumes, which were exquisite (so I’m told) and the scenery. Yet it is not hard to find reviews which rave about the movie and just as easy to find reviews which pan it, sometimes within the same publication. Check out this list of reviews from MRQE, the Movie Review Query Engine. There’s one review from Film Threat, Hollywood’s Indie Voice which gives it 4/5 and another which gives it 0.5/5. One thumb up and one down? Last night we saw The Holidayand today I read a review of it in The Boston Globe which gave it a so-so rating (2/4). The reviewer (IMO) was looking for a profound message when the movie was clearly meant to be an amusing way to spend two hours. The same can be said for A Good Year, which we saw a few weeks ago. Very enjoyable film, but not too deep. You could put your mind on cruise control and just be entertained. And that is exactly what we went in expecting to see.

I guess the goal is to find a reviewer who seems to mirror your own personal tastes, difficult as that may be. Or maybe just read many different reviews and try to draw a complete picture from the various points of view. Sometimes one review is all you need, though, as is the case with Mel Gibson’s Apocalypto. The only review I’ve read about it said that there is so much intense violence and gore that you become numb to it and actually begin to find it darkly amusing. Um, no thanks. Think I’ll pass on that one.