*** Over 100 reviews in 9 months: Thank You for supporting me HTF membership!

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Ronald Epstein, Apr 17, 2002.

  1. Ronald Epstein

    Ronald Epstein Founder

    Jul 3, 1997
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    Real Name:
    Ronald Epstein

    106 reviews may not seem much compared to
    those archived on other DVD review sites....
    that is until you consider that all these
    reviews were done by one individual
    at an average of 12 titles per month.
    I decided in order to do accurate reviews on this
    forum, I needed to invest some money. I bought a
    Toshiba 57HX81 widescreen[/b] HD TV. I also
    bought the Panasonic RP91 progressive scan
    DVD player. I then had Gregg Loewen ISF CALIBRATE
    my equipment so that I clearly was in a position
    to give accurate video and audio assessments.
    Within weeks, boxes of DVD product were arriving
    here daily. To this day, I receive up to 8 new
    DVD titles per week from Warner Brothers, MGM,
    New Line, DreamWorks, Universal, Columbia and
    Artisan. I am also proud to announce that
    Walt Disney Home Video will start sending
    me product this week.
    Nobody can just start a website and get this
    kind of product from the studios. The field is
    already oversaturated and the studios only provide
    screeners to sites that get the most traffic. In
    addition, the studios expect that everything they
    send you gets a review.
    In any given week, I will write up to 5 new reviews.
    I dedicate an average of 3-4 hours for each review
    that I write. This includes watching the movie,
    taking screen shots and writing the review. Some
    of the more elaborate Special Editions take longer.
    It took me 5+ hours to do Fox's From Hell
    Did I mention that I have another 40-hour per
    week job and run a forum?
    Every free moment I have is dedicated to doing
    reviews for this forum. I have gained 10 pounds
    in these past 9 months from either sitting in my
    Home Theater or at a computer in office that never
    gets cleaned. Though I still buy many DVDs each
    month, I never get to watch them. I have an
    obligation first to review most all the titles
    that the studios send me every week. It's a job
    that's not much unlike a constant homework assignment.
    I am certainly not complaining. This was my
    choice. The upside is that I keep the product
    I review. I also have the opportunity to share
    my viewing experiences with all the members of
    this forum.
    I accept the fact that my writing skills have
    much to be desired. I accept these skills have
    been the subject matter of many negative posts
    in this forum as well as other forums. Since
    the mid 90's, my name has been all over the
    newsgroups and discussion forums either because
    people either enjoyed what I had to contribute,
    or didn't like the attention I was receiving.
    It is those of you who have accepted my reviews
    for what they are and have posted many generous
    words of response that I wish to thank.
    I never decided to write reviews here in order
    to best anyone else. I think I have always been
    up front with my readers in saying that though I
    lack the ability to write in a professional manner,
    what I do write comes from the very heart of
    someone that is passionate about movies and their
    entertainment value.
    The biggest problem I face in writing reviews
    How many ways can one describe how good a DVD
    looks and sounds?
    This format has progressed to the point where
    just about every new release looks and sounds
    as good as the other.
    Some of the fun of writing these reviews has been
    lost simply because I have to sit and think of new
    ways to describe how fantastic a DVD looks and sounds.
    I don't litter my reviews with technical jargon,
    though I respect reviewers who do. People want to
    simply know if the picture and audio lives up to
    the latest standards. Most releases do. The biggest
    task of writing a review is finding new ways to
    eloquently say "this DVD looks as great as any other"
    The Highs and Lows
    The first archived review on record is http://www.hometheaterforum.com/ronsreviews/familyman.html
    Of course, many of you are aware that I picked
    Moulin Rouge as the best DVD of 2001.
    Though my decision raised much controversy, most
    of it was over personal opinions of the film. My
    pick was based on the overall presentation of the
    disc as well as the fact I thought Moulin Rouge
    was one of the most daring projects ever brought
    to the screen. Nobody can argue that Moulin
    Rouge from blueprint to film to DVD was the
    result of sweated relentless devotion from its
    Director, Baz Luhrmann.
    For better....for worse
    When you get to watch so much product from the
    studios, you notice trends and changes. Two of
    the biggest studios that fall into this category
    are Warner Brothers and MGM.
    Over a year ago, MGM was hated by most
    members of this forum. Their bare-boned DVD
    releases that sported lackluster transfers became
    the focal point of criticism on this forum. In
    the past 9 months, I have slowly watched that
    studio redeem itself with releases like The
    Usual Suspects, Bull Durham, Buckaroo Banzai
    and Bandits. The studio is putting great
    effort into not only putting out better transfers
    but in adding Special Features, animated menu
    structures and elaborate packaging.
    Warner Brothers, on the other hand, has
    lost sight of the format they conceptualized.
    Though the transfers coming out of this studio
    are one of the best in the business, their attitude
    towards this format is the worst. The mere fact
    that they began releasing full-frame only
    titles leaves no argument that they have deeply
    hurt this format. In addition, despite numerous
    complaints and petitions, the studio is mishandling
    not only their South Park television product,
    but other television releases as well.
    Thank You
    I wanted to write something to this membership that
    has supported my views and reviews.
    I consider the membership of this forum to be
    a sort of "police force" that keeps tabs on how
    the industry is doing.
    All of us in this forum are here together because
    we are passionate about DVD. We, more than anyone
    else, understand what this format was intended to
    be and how well or not it has progressed these past
    five years.
    Trust me when I say that the voices of this forum's
    membership are known to all the studios. Your
    opinions here rise louder and stronger than anywhere
    else. I know, because anytime there's controversy
    within these forum walls, the studios respond.
    We are not here to work against the studios.
    We are here to with them in order to
    assist them in getting professional feedback in
    order to make better product.
    But make no mistake about it -- though I consider
    to be friendly with a few people in Home Video, this
    forum has an obligation to speak out against any
    studio that we feel is hurting this format. In
    the same light, we never hesitate to praise those
    same studios when they do something right.
    Thank You for supporting my reviews and views on
    this forum. My goal is not to become someone who
    likes to listen to his own voice, but rather, bring
    out honest and frank assessments about where this
    format stands.
    Everything I write -- everything I say seems
    to get critiqued in this forum or spread all
    over the internet and industry. I might as
    well say what I mean and mean what I say.
    Thank you -- all of you -- for coming to this
    forum and making it a respected voice in this industry.
  2. DanC

    DanC Stunt Coordinator

    Dec 5, 2000
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    Although I don't have time to post much, I always enjoy reading your reviews Ron. Thanks for all the time, effort and hard work you put into these reviews, you're a true asset around here!
    BTW, I just went back and compared your Family Man review to some of your latest efforts...night & day! Keep up the great work! [​IMG]
  3. Peter Apruzzese

    Peter Apruzzese Producer

    Dec 20, 1999
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    Real Name:
    Peter Apruzzese

    Even when I don't agree with your reviews - and that's mostly film content, not disc presentation - I always find them interesting to read. And as someone who used to edit a team of 10 non-professional writers for a weekly magazine, I can say with certainty that your writing efforts have greatly improved over the time you've been publishing them here.

    Keep up the good work!

  4. Artur Meinild

    Artur Meinild Screenwriter

    Aug 10, 2000
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    Ron, I really like reading your reviews... Believe me, they're some of the more interesting and in-depth reviews on the net...
  5. Ric Easton

    Ric Easton Cinematographer

    Feb 6, 2001
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    Wouldn't your time have been better spent writing a review? Just kidding! While I don't read every review that comes down the pike, ie: films I have no interest in what-so-ever, I always check out your reviews of movies I am curious or on the fence about.

    I think many folks think being a reviewer is the easiest job in the world, with great perks! I know that is not the case, and I often wish I had the talent for painting pictures with words.

    Keep up the good work, Ron, and don't let your critics get to you. You perform a valuable service here and it is most appreciated.

  6. Lou Sytsma

    Lou Sytsma Producer

    Nov 1, 1998
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    Real Name:
    Lou Sytsma
    Yes Ron your efforts are greatly appreciated by me - and I'm sure many others.
    Since all DVDs are coming out with fairly good transfers the use of a blanket statement that you can cut and paste from review to another should not be a problem. You would only need to modify it if a DVD had a transfer that was outside the expected range. Just a thought.
    As for gaining more than a lb a month that does not sound like a good trend! Maybe you should start watching movies on a stationary bike or treadmill![​IMG]
    BTW - you might want to consider offloading reviews to some off your friends that are interested in doing reviews otherwise you are probably going to burn yourself out.
    Shameless plug - I'd be interested in helping you out!:b
  7. AndyDL

    AndyDL Stunt Coordinator

    Jul 10, 2001
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    Writing skills? Who are these people?

    This isn't an English forum, it's a Home Theater Forum!

    All I want is your honest opinion on the quality of the DVD and the movie.

    I could really care less about 'writing skills'...

    Anyway, thanks for everything you do buddy. It's much appreciated.

  8. DaViD Boulet

    DaViD Boulet Lead Actor

    Feb 24, 1999
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  9. Tony Scello

    Tony Scello Second Unit

    Sep 8, 1999
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    Your reviews are a tremendous service to the membership here. It's always interesting to see what your going to say about a new DVD even if I'm not all that interested in the title. For those titles I am interested in, your reviews give us a thorough look at what we can expect before we plunk down our money.

    Slightly off topic, but how do you like the Toshiba 57HX81? I recently bought the Toshiba 50H81.

    Keep up the good work. Thanks.
  10. Ron-P

    Ron-P Producer

    Jul 25, 2000
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    Real Name:
    Ron, first off, thank you for this forum.
    Secondly, thank you for your reviews. I
    love'em. About the only reveiws I read.
    They tell me exactly what I want to know.
    Keep up the excellent work [​IMG][​IMG]
    Peace Out~[​IMG]
  11. Jack Briggs

    Jack Briggs Executive Producer

    Jun 3, 1999
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    Ron's "professional" critic wrote:

  12. Mark Hobbs

    Mark Hobbs Stunt Coordinator

    Mar 3, 2002
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    Great job Ron! Keep up the good work!!!
  13. Keith M.

    Keith M. Second Unit

    Apr 1, 1999
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    I have always enjoyed reading your indepth reviews. I cherish and appreciate the opinions of others. That is the essense of a "forum". You will never please everyone all of the time, but if you did, nobody would respect your opinions and views. And there would be no need for reviews. I personally dont care for so-called "professional" written reviews/reviewers. Having a degree in journalism/English does not automatically qualify your opinions as the truth. The added value of a review by your peers is enormous. This is why we are all here, we care more about the opinions of others "like us", not the "professional" opinions of magazine writers.

    Please keep up the exceptional work...
  14. Rain

    Rain Producer

    Mar 21, 2001
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    Congratulations on the milestone, Ron.
    As always, it is a great pleasure to be a member here.
    Thanks for HTF! [​IMG]
    EDIT: Oooh, oooh, oooh, I just noticed your review for The Last Waltz. Thank you for making my day!!!!!! [​IMG]
  15. RAF

    RAF Lead Actor

    Jul 3, 1997
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    You review DVDs[​IMG]
    Boy, you learn something new every day here at the HTF. I guess I should really be paying more attention.
    [​IMG] [​IMG]
    And you realize that your reviews have cost me a lot of money!
  16. Ronald Epstein

    Ronald Epstein Founder

    Jul 3, 1997
    Likes Received:
    Real Name:
    Ronald Epstein

    Actually the quote is a laugh at me.

    To be fair, those were not the reviewer's

    exact quote. I trashed the original email

    and only gave the generalized meaning of

    what was said in quotations.

    I will modify the original statement so

    that it is no longer misunderstood.

    That was my fault, and again proves that

    I am full of many writing flaws.
  17. Dmitry

    Dmitry Supporting Actor

    Nov 30, 1998
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  18. kevin_asai

    kevin_asai Stunt Coordinator

    Mar 12, 2001
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    I am really glad and proud to be a part of this forum.
  19. Andrew_Sch

    Andrew_Sch Cinematographer

    Dec 30, 2001
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    Hmm...ME making something respectable...now there's a new concept[​IMG] . Thanks for all your hard work Ron.
  20. Reni D

    Reni D Stunt Coordinator

    Jan 2, 2000
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    I have enjoyed your reviews for the past year even thought I think Moulin Rouge was just awful. But I rather read your review with the so called "grammatical lapses " than a " Official DVD Reviewer that may get paid by Studios to always find a positive spin to a DVD and not be totally honest on there reviews.
    Well keep up the great Work and look foward to many reviews to come.

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