Wednesday, March 22, 2006


Keeping You In The Dark

On October 7th, I brought you news of the UK ditributors of 'Revolver' putting deeply, deeply misleading quotes on the film poster. If you cast your mind back, the quotations on it, 'Brilliant . . . Guy Ritchie back to his best' came out of the mouths of a page three girl in the film and a marketing company promoting it, not anyone actually reviewing it.

Films change, but tactics don't. I was walking past the local newsies yesterday, and I came upon a poster for the DVD of 'Alone In The Dark.' Now, let me tell you a little bit about 'Alone In The Dark.' It is directed by Uwe Boll, who is generally considered to be the worst film director working big projects today. It currently resides at number 22 on the IMDb's bottom 100. It was met with almost complete critical ridicule on its American release. Boll himself was nominated for a 'Worst Director' Razzie.

Which is why my bullshit-o-meter went spinning out of control at the sight of a quote on the poster, from my beloved 'Fangoria' magazine, saying 'Rousing fight scenes and non-stop action.' Hardly praise, is it? Still, sadly, no, as they say. Fangoria is the best magazine for horror fans and gore hounds like me, and I was fairly confident that they wouldn't make this big an error in judgemnt.

I was right. It was reviewed by Michael Gingold, who is, I believe, one of their most senior reviewers, and he gave it the lowest possible rating, one skull out of four. At no point in his review are those words written. However, Gingold did have some choice words of his own about Boll's work. Take it away:

'. . . To call Boll’s direction strictly pedestrian would be an insult to all the fine citizens who walk the city streets every day, and to say that ALONE’s characters and dialogue are cardboard would demean that fine material which allows us to store and ship our consumer goods.'

Hmmm, maybe he wasn't a fan. So where does this statement come from? One of the commenters in this thread states:

'The reviews and Fangoria print reviews are often different. Too bad I don't have that issue since I quit buying the mag over a year ago to check the context of the quote.'

Sadly, I don't have that issue either. However, I am fairly sure that even if I had it open in front of me, it wouldn't say anything positive about the film. Maybe the wordings of the reviews are different, but it seems fairly unlikely that on a film that there was pretty much complete critical consensus of as total dross, they would have two reviews, one panning it and another praising it.

Anyway, this fits neatly into my campaign to have distributors exposed for putting quotes on posters that did not come from reviews. Momentum Pictures can hang their collective head in shame.

The mystery deepens.


I have also posted here.

I'm assuming the quote was taken from a bad review... something like: "Alone in the Dark falls far short in its attempts to create (rousing fight scenes and non-stop action)"?? They must have just chosen the positive words out of overall negative sentences. You're right to point this out though, its so dodgy to mislead people like this, cinema tickets aren't cheap (not the only reason why i don't go!).
Talking of shit movies, has anyone seen this Snakes On A Plane thing?

It is common practice in the US for certain soft-ball reviewers to pop up in movie posters.
"The Seattle Mariner's Friend Times states: A ball of FUN!!!"
"The Union Gazette and Lawnspray Weekly calls it 'the BEST thing to happen to movie theaters since electric hand-dryers!'"
The publications usually exist, the reviewers usually exist, and they are either being paid for their reviews or are clinically retarded.

This is the first time I've heard of a brazenly mis-quoted movie review! Seems like you could get sued over the States, anyway.
Mis-quoted reviews are somewhat par for the course here. Private Eye highlights things like this periodically.
They also had a Hackwatch special on (the mirror's) Paul Ross after he got fired. He didn't ever seem to see a bad film. Even films that were universally slated (Pearl Harbour etc.) had his quotes on commending the film to all. He's the brother of Jonathan I think, but can anyone remember the name of that dire quiz show he had on BBC1 at lunchtimes for a while? it's been bugging me... watched it quite often...
Happy - I think that's certainly a possibility. Sadly, further investigations after writing this post haven't revealed an answer yet. If and when I manage to uncover it, I shall flag it up.

Boudica - 'Snakes On A Plane' is, I believe, still in post-production. I am genuinely unsure as to whether this idea is the worst idea ever, or actually rather canny. Given the buzz surrounding the film, probably the latter.

SafeT - As MattyG has pointed out, they're far from uncommon here. Because we have fewer newspapers, it tends to be the same few over and over again - particularly The Mirror, The Sun and The News Of The World. I stated in the first one of these that British filmgoers would be advised to ignore recommendations based on redtop reviews, and instead listen to someone who really knows their stuff, and I stand by that.

MattyG - I'm sorry mate, I don't remember that . . .
just remembered!
no win no fee.
Paul Ross only got paid to host the show if all of the contestants lost.. which wasn't very often...
depending on how annoying he'd been would depend on how much you wanted the contestants to win. gave a good opportunity to bet on the side as to whether he'd win or they would. good distraction from gcse revision.
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