About/Ratings

Hi, my name is Carlos Cuevas. Welcome to AfterImage, a personal blog I started in 2014. The idea was to write short personal reviews on the things I love, mostly movies, music, and books. Fast forward a few years and here we are still.

Please also check out my sister site Cinesthesia, where my friends and I dive deeper into fantastic films, including Sci-Fi, Horror, and other genres.

Thanks for visiting!

Grading movies is a largely silly exercise. While there are obvious indicators of craft, the experience of watching a film is highly subjective and elastic. But since we need some sort of guide, here is how I rate them:

**** Excellent

Emotionally resonant and technically impressive films that push the medium forward. Casablanca (1942), 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968), and Goodfellas (1990) all make the cut.

***½ Great

A cut above the rest. Films that go above and beyond in terms of skill and overall effect. Sunset Boulevard (1950), Dog Day Afternoon (1975), and Back to the Future (1985) fit in this category.

*** Good

Generally solid, well-rounded films, even if there are some minor kinks here and there. High Plains Drifter (1973), Witness (1985), and The Big Lebowski (1998) come to mind.

**½ Above Average

Pretty good efforts with more hits than misses. Nevertheless, you can’t shake the feeling that they could’ve been even better. Annie Hall (1977), Total Recall (1990), and Wonder Woman (2017) are some examples.

** Mediocre

As Dylan said, no reason to get excited. While these films may have some okay moments, they are mostly unremarkable. Most movies belong here, including big-budget and “prestige” stuff like Forrest Gump (1994), Avatar (2009), and The Revenant (2015).

*½ Poor

Substandard and incompetent, these films make you wish you could get those two hours of your life back. Think Dirty Dancing (1987), Sucker Punch (2011), and The Visit (2015).

* Awful

These are not “so bad they are good” cult films that could conceivably earn a higher spot on the list. No, these are just… bad. The list includes Piranha II: The Spawning (1982), Jaws: The Revenge (1987), Ballistic: Ecks vs Sever  (2002), and pretty any title with a colon.

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