- Excellent film, very enjoyable, highly recommend it.
- Pretty good, would recommend it.
- Run of the mill. Has some good stuff and some bad.
- Not that great, only die-hards might enjoy it.
- So bad that it's, well ... bad. No need to see it.
My ratings are a reflection of my enjoyment of a film. Not necessarily the technical aspects themselves: the acting, direction, script, sound, or visuals. But rather, how much each of those things enhance (or dehance) my enjoyment of the movie.
I put weight into rewatchability. If I can watch a film over and over again, and enjoy it every time - to me, that's a sign of a good movie.
Unless it's integral to my review, I don't write plot synopses ... I let the other 10,000 windbag critics take care of that. I'm here to tell you if the film is good or if it deserves to be buried next to Jimmy Hoffa.
I believe movies set up "rules", and the movie must then exist within those rules. The rules allow a film to be plausible even though it is not believable. As a result, sometimes I'll criticize a film for cheating, for doing something that breaks its own rules.
The grades I give to films are relative to the genre of the film. While I might give Election a higher grade than The Godfather, I'm not necessarily implying Election is a better movie. What I'm saying is that Election is a better comedy than The Godfather is a drama. Movies need to be judged based on their intent and how successful they were at achieving it. On occasion I will change a grade. A film's rating can increase or decrease over time, with perspective; I like my reviews reflect that.