ReelCritic - A New Film Blog

February 10, 2010 - 3 minute read -

As you may have already gathered from my Twitter feed, I’ve been working recently on ReelCritic, a new blog catering solely for my film reviews. For a sneak peek at the design of the new site, pop on over to http://www.reelcritic.co.uk/. Everything you find at that address is a non-functional mock-up, so please don’t try to leave comments, etc. There’s only one review available, Rachel Getting Married. I’m currently working to port this design over to Drupal’s theme engine so that I can get the blog fully up and running. The rationale for this change is to separate my posts more than is currently possible. This blog was originally set up as a home for posts about programming, with the aim of learning more about programming and developing my skills. The posts on other subjects were to be mere sidelines to the main theme, but it has become clear from my posting patterns over the last few months that this blog really has two main themes and as such doesn’t really have space for both: the film reviews have, to an extent, pushed out the coding posts.

This also opens further opportunities for me: for example, I intend to expand the scope of ReelCritic to cover my musings on film in general, and also TV. Serendipitously, it also feeds back into my aims of learning more about programming, as I have been sharpening my CSS and HTML saws over the last couple of weeks preparing the new design, which all in all I’m quite chuffed with. All the graphics were sourced from the ever-reliable iStockPhoto. My intention is to make the film reel horizontally scrollable via a neat bit of jQuery that I’m yet to find/write.

[img_assist nid=131 title=Reely Good desc=Screenshot of ReelCritic’s new design link=node align=center width=400 height=241]

I can’t really mention this without also mentioning the fantastic resource that is DocType.com. Essentially, this is Stack Overflow for web design, but it also comes with the nifty feature of being able to supply a link to your problematic page and displaying a screenshot of the page next to your question. Furthermore, it caches the CSS and HTML from your page at the time of posting, and displays them in syntax-highlighted pretty print. The community is as friendly and helpful as that around Stack Overflow, albeit seemingly a bit smaller. Judging by the design and features of the site, I can’t help but think it is based on Stack Exchange, the software behind Stack Overflow, but some of the differences, such as the screenshot feature, make me think the similarity is just coincidence.

In addition to the blog, I have started a new Twitter account for ReelCritic, which you can find @reel_critic. If you’ve enjoyed my reviews, you will likely enjoy the @reel_critic tweet stream.

My long term plan is to put together an aggregator site running at http://www.alastairsmith.me.uk/ to serve as my homepage that pulls in data from both CodeBork and ReelCritic, as well as my other online activities (e.g., Picasa, Twitter, GitHub). If there’s anything you’d particularly like to see on any of my sites, leave me a comment or send me an email.