Life And so my bewildering dissertation reading programme continues as I plunge into the depths of trying to understand how genres are defined and how I can even attempt to do such a thing. It's actually very exciting, although as I'm discovering it can be done very badly and without recognising the values of the past. All too often a film like The Great Train Robbery is described as the first western and the start of a series that continued with a guilty feminist pleasure like Bad Girls, even though at the time it was actually part of a cycle of films narrating bank jobs and heists.

Actually one of the problems that continues to dog genre criticism is the primacy of old genres that have largely gone away, simply because there are so many of them. A huge chunk of writing follows westerns and musicals around even though there's only been a few of them in recent years (all to do with the life cycle of genres apparently). Horror and sci-fi are still around because they have adaptability on their side.

How am I apart from that? I'm back in existing mode, lurching onward to September and the dissertation handing in date and whatever happens beyond. I still have no idea what I want that to be. Film journalism's a dream but I still have that nagging feeling that my writing still isn't up to scratch (my X-Men 3 review being a new low) and that it's a really unpredictable business. Plus I wouldn't know where to start. Any ideas anyone? Some kind of columnist also sounds perfect. People in the real world keep saying 'You should become film reviewer' and good lord I wish I could -- if only because of the amount of really bad, slanted criticism knocking around.

Too many times now I'll want to find out actually how good a film is and have a bunch of prejudices thrown being tossed out masquerade as a fair opinion, too easily wanting to make the reader laugh. I read Sight & Sound and although sometimes the writing style can be a bit dry at least they give every film a chance. There's a piece about the Kelly Brook staring beach drama Three III which whilst conceding that it's largely a vehicle for Brook, actually talks about problems with editing and scripting and careful justfies why it's not that good a film. I'd rather have that, a situation were you actually learn something, than some gimp simply giving it one star and knocks on about her 'assets'. Err thanks.

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