Hi, my name is Carlos Cuevas. Welcome to AfterImage, a personal blog I started in 2014 as a way to make me put pen to paper (or rather hands to keyboard) because lazy writers like me lack the discipline to do it every day.
The idea for the site is to talk about things that leave an impression or imprint in our minds. The films we watch, the music we Iisten to, the books we read, they all inform who we are, and their afterimage lingers in us.
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:
An unforgettable experience. Emotionally resonant and technically impressive films that push the medium forward. Casablanca (1942), 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968), Psycho (1960), and Goodfellas (1990) all make the cut.
***½ Very Good
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), Back to the Future (1985), and Mulholland Drive (2001) fit in this category.
Generally solid. Films that are enjoyable and worth your time, even if there are some minor kinks here and there. High Plains Drifter (1973), Witness (1985), Cop Land (1997), and The Big Lebowski (1998) come to mind.
**½ Pretty Good
Hits more than it misses. Somewhere between average and good, these are films that are entertaining and work reasonably well, but feel like they could just be a little better. Annie Hall (1977), Total Recall (1990), Eyes Wide Shut (1999), and Wonder Woman (2017) are some examples.
Mostly forgettable. While they may have some okay moments, these films fail to make a lasting impression. Most “commercial” and “prestige” movies have a place here, including stuff like Top Gun (1986), Titanic (1997), Mystic River (2003), and The Revenant (2015).
*½ Below Average
Mediocre and incompetent. Films that make you wish you could get those two hours of your life back. Think Dirty Dancing (1987), Showgirls (1995), Lady in the Water (2006), and Sucker Punch (2011).
The worst of the worst. 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. Yet in their own appalling way, they demand to be seen. The list includes Piranha II: The Spawning (1982), Jaws: The Revenge (1987), Ballistic: Ecks vs Sever (2002), Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice (2016) and pretty any movie title with a colon.
Please also check out my sister site Cinesthesia.