CINELATION | Movie Reviews by Christopher Beaubien
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Cinelaton: Redesign

Written by Christopher Beaubien • April 27, 2010 • Start the Discussion!

At last I am pleased with the look of the site. Being a bloody perfectionist is a torture for me. Nothing ever feels truly done. My head whispers incessantly, “It is never enough.” What’s worse about internal complaints are the echoes. With a blast of relief, I can look at Cinelation and not squint over a detail too inane for most to notice. Actually, I am more than pleased with the result. It really does look wonderful now. The joy of being a bloody perfectionist!

In the Spring of 2008, I began writing for a modest movie blog with only promises of being paid for all my work – once it became profitable. One year later, those promises turned more transparent as fewer e-mails about compensation were returned. This was after I went up and beyond to get their website promoted on the Synecdoche, New York DVD without so much as two nickles to rub together. I am a genuinely faithful man, but my patience went from creaking to dilapidation. This couldn’t be avoided any further. I would have to build my own website to house my reviews.

After a month of being saturated with HTML setups , CSS codes and WordPress, a rough version of Cinelation saw some light.

At the time, I felt some measure of pride between this versus no Cinelation at all. Soon enough, the dust from the battle of building something as foreign as WordPress began to settle. More and more, my artistic eye noticed the flaws. A variety of improvements were necessary for Cinelation to look genuinely unique and professional.

Then I experienced a terrible setback when I upgraded to WordPress 2.9. There was no turning back. My content had to be transported into a new version of MySQL5 on my server. All because MySQL4 could never love after WordPress 2.8. My server of choice (Cough! 1&1 Cough!) gave me a Catch-22: I could move only 10MB of files when I had 20 times more than that to input. They could do that themselves – easy(!), but they figured I could do it myself despite that I couldn’t. After a dozen lengthy calls to technical support, one had enough pity on me to do it with their computer in less than ten minutes. All good? That was child’s play!

Once my text and images were converted into the new MySQL database, my heart sank into my intestines. All of the glyphs and punctuation symbols in my written work had turned into unintelligible computer code. Every quote (“) was “. Every François Truffaut was François Truffaut. Every comma. Every dash. Every article. It was a dismal few weeks replacing replicating the text to its original form. I can’t emphasize the dull agony of alone inspecting the end of every sentence to make sure it was either a period or an ellipse.

The hurdle was behind me and it was back to tweaking Cinelation’s looks. I experimented on widgets, graphics and their placement on an exacting pixel by pixel regiment until the design agreed with me.

The most fun I had on here was making the new header image, a collage of faces from some of my most treasured films. A great deal of thought was put into the who following the whys. Each character carries more than just a few associations to encompass just a glimmer of the past century’s worth of film history. Much of which is very personal as it should be. There are 24 characters in total. Why 24? Because like the number 3, 24 is a magic number.

I keep beaming every time I look at this. In a word by Carrie White’s English instructor (Sydney Lassick), “Beeeauuuutifuul!” – minus the condescension.

Who is everyone up top? I will answer that in just a few days.

For now, here is the still from Patrice Leconte’s Monsieur Hire (1989/1990) that I had used for my first header. The beautiful Sandrine Bonnaire who plays Alice, the object of Monsieur Hire’s helpless and yearning voyeurism who has great deal going on in her own mind here. We go to the movies to watch characters who are usually oblivious to us. The best ones are usually lost in thought

Rest assured that Monsieur Hire is among the new header’s faces.

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