For a long time, I'd considered the idea of "Review Companions" over at Flixist. When I took over as Reviews Editor, I made a decree that a previous feature, Deep Analysis, was dead. In fact, that was how I opened my new Reviews Guide. And I did this because I believed (and continue to believe) in the worth of Reviews as Analysis. On some level, it's about the blurry line between "Review" and "Criticism," but it's really about allowing writers the freedom to write reviews as analysis.
So why, then, would I need a Review Companion? When I want to avoid spoilers. You see, every time I write a review I have to decide if I'm going to spoil it, and to what degree. Sometimes, I go right for the third act and just get it over with. Other times, I don't even want to discuss a film's basic premise. That was the case with Coherence, because the film's fundamental premise is a spoiler. But I fell in love with the film, and I had to write something about it, so I was at a crossroads: Do I analyze the film the way I want to, or do I write something without spoilers in the hopes of getting people excited about it? Enter the Review Companion, which allowed me to have my cake and eat it too. I very rarely do straight-up analyses of individuals films, because I don't often find going too deep into any particular movie all that interesting. But Coherence was an exception, both because it was a fascinating film that made me think about a whole lot of things, but also because it's exactly the kind of film that I want everyone to see. Usually films that get the most in-depth analyses are films without much mass appeal, but I think everyone can get something out of Coherence, and I wanted (and want) everyone to see it.
Also, this was pretty cool: