Every theatrical release reviewed in Sight and Sound & The Monthly Film Bulletin. Ever.

Film Soon. But not yet, I'll let you know.

After noodling about with spreadsheets and the list on Letterboxd, a month ago I set up a central watch list on the IMDb to consult rather than having selections strewn across the various streaming services. With the help of JustWatch, that means that the service itself becomes secondary to the text/artwork/result of the entertainment media conglomerate's mode of production that looks good.

That led to the inevitable question of what?  After attempting to use Rotten Tomatoes aggregator as a guide and only watching anything which has a score of more than 70%, which led to me watching too many very good films, which seems like a blessing, but just like my anxiety tablets this generally pleasant mood all of the time, it left me with nothing to kick against.

Which led to a realisation the better option was to  work through everything theatrically released in the UK and then pick and choose what looks good.  In other words, what most people do.  But with my project led brain, it seemed best to be systematic about this.  The best way to cover the variety of releases was to look at the deep pile of Sight and Sound Magazines under my desk.

Then taking out a subscription to give me access to the digital archive of every issues so that said pile can remain undisturbed.  Much easier to work from a scan anyway and in any case, the collection only really stretches back to the early 00s.  Now I'm putting this on a screen it looks completely mad.  I'll never watch all of these films.  Gah.
 
So the reason for my absense from here, other than going through one of the periods of living up to its title, is creating playlists containing every film which has been reviewed in a year's worth of Sight and Sound Magazine.  Essentially, volunarily submitting to a data input role.  The monotony is surprisingly theraputic.  Zen-like.

After each year, that content has been transfered to my watchlist, which is sorted by release date going backwards.  Except, "fun fact", on the website that's the international release date.  You can only see the UK release date order on the app.  Although that would have been my preference, with nearly seven thousand items already in the watchlist, the app just crashes, so website it is.

Sight and Sound 2011

Sight and Sound 2012

Sight and Sound 2013

Sight and Sound 2014

Sight and Sound 2015

Sight and Sound 2016

Sight and Sound 2017

Sight and Sound 2018 (so far!)

My tollerance is about six months/issues per night although hopefully that'll get longer as the number of releases/reviews decreases going backwards.  There didn't seem to be as many films released even in the last decade let alone the nineties, although it's also possible that most of them were only receiving a London release (as plenty of newer films still do).

Something to be aware of is that this won't necessarily be the films that actually received their theatrical release in those years.  The vagueries of publishing mean that the January issue will have reviews for film released in the preceeding December.  It's a bit smushy.  There have also been occasions when I've come across a film which isn't on the IMDb and submitted a basic update.

Eventually the plan, as the post title suggests is to create a single playlist containing everything reviewed across both titles.  The Monthly Film Bulletin ran the complete film round-up until the two titles merged in the 90s with Sight and Sound only covering a few key titles when it was still just a quartly publication. 

Given that the remit of both periodicals has been to keep a record of every film released in the UK each month, that should mean that there'll then be a big long list of every film theatrically released in the UK stretching back to 1934 somewhere online.  I'm not sure of what use this will be although I imagine the downloadable database will be handy for someone.

Of course, when I get to the other end of these publications, I'll look at the chasm of time between 1934 and the start of the film business and want to fill in that gap somehow.  But we'll see.  Like I said, having written all of this down (if you see what I mean), it looks like an impossible task.  But I like a challenge ...

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