Monday, December 29, 2014

The happy return of an old gadget

Those items appearing down the right side of my blog are called "gadgets" in blogger terminology, and I've just brought an old one back.

You'll notice it under Most Recently Seen for the First Time and Most Recently Revisited, and it's my list of movies I've most recently reviewed.

When I was writing reviews for, a gig that lasted me from the year 2000 to the year 2011 (with an externally imposed break that lasted from late 2003 to early 2005), I would update this gadget to show you the three most recent movies I had reviewed for the site. I tended to write at least a half-dozen reviews a month, so this gadget was regularly updated.

But as 2012 wore on and it became pretty clear I wasn't going to immediately return to a reviewing gig, I sadly retired the gadget. It was a rough moment, believe me.

Now, though, I'm proud to say it's ripe for revival.

I'm not getting paid to write reviews again. Any former or would-be critic can tell you that ship has pretty much sailed.

But I do have a new gig with an Australian film website called ReelGood, which is reachable at It's a gorgeous-looking site that posts all variety of film content. I started out writing lists for them (10 Movies That Changed Outer Space at the Movies was one example), something I intend to continue doing. But the last three pieces I've written have been reviews, and three is the magic number for bringing my Most Recently Reviewed gadget back to life.

Oh happy day.

When I returned from the U.S., I had something unique to offer the site's editor-in-chief, which was that I had seen Birdman and Foxcatcher -- both movies that don't open in Australia until January. He leaped at the opportunity to get up early reviews of them, and liked my writing enough that he quickly began talking about getting me to attend some media screenings, especially while he is on vacation during January. So I may not have any pay immediately forthcoming, but to film lovers, free screenings are a kind of currency of their own.

After I saw The Interview on Christmas and realized it was not yet reviewed for the site, I reached out to the editor and told him I could review it, it being so time sensitive and all. He'd actually caught it as well -- he must also have a VPN that tricks the internet into thinking he's in the U.S. -- but was too "flat out" to write the review, what with his holiday coming up. As it turns out I disagreed with him on the movie, but he was again incredibly happy with what I'd written -- even if he characterized his take as "the exact opposite."

I'm now confident enough in where this will go that it's time to bring the old gadget back.

Except it's not exactly the same as the old gadget. The old gadget was just text, informing you of the film I'd reviewed but not telling you where you could actually read the review. That's because I was keeping my blogger identity hidden under a blogger handle, something I felt was necessary at the time. I don't know what service I hoped to provide my readers by just telling you what I'd reviewed, except that it was just a way to document my activities.

Well, now I've got a much more effective way that's also useful to you. That list is now a link list rather than a text list, meaning it's comprised of links to the reviews. You can see not only what I've been up to, but what I think about what I've been up to. So have at it, readers -- check out my thoughts on Birdman, Foxcatcher and The Interview over at ReelGood.

Me, I'll just bask in the warmth of this warm Tasmanian morning as I look out over Hobart harbor from the deck of my mother-in-law's house. And pretty soon think about updating the blurb at the top of my gadgets, which still says I'm "between gigs."

And wonder, with a tinge of self-satisfied glee, what movie I may be reviewing next.


Don Handsome said...

so glad to have your reviews back.

Derek Armstrong said...

Thank you Don. Me too.