In Memoriam 1942 – 2013 “Roger Ebert loved movies.”

RogerEbert.com

Thumb_ylxcdc106ikiarfthkcacasaacb

La La Land

This is a beautiful film about love and dreams, and how the two impact each other.

Thumb_jackie

Jackie

There are two movies in "Jackie." One of these movies is just OK. The other is exceptional. The first one keeps undermining the second.

Other Reviews
Review Archives
Thumb_xbepftvyieurxopaxyzgtgtkwgw

Ballad of Narayama

"The Ballad of Narayama" is a Japanese film of great beauty and elegant artifice, telling a story of startling cruelty. What a space it opens…

Other Reviews
Great Movie Archives

Studio publicists vs. Internet critics

From: Jonathan W. Hickman, Atlanta, GA

Over the last 10 years writing about movies on the Internet and maintaining the site einsiders.com, I've had to put up with a lot from PR firms and distributors. First, I had to convince them that my site was a real business (in the professional sense of the word, we don't really do this for the money, you know). And second, I had to gain something of their trust. Unfortunately, that "trust" as I loosely refer to it has eroded lately.

This has been one of the worst summers to be an Internet film critic. Forget that we also do weekly radio broadcasts in metro Atlanta, if any of our content is to appear on the Internet, we are excluded from the larger films of the summer. That means that I was invited to the night screening of "Potter" (the same day as the day screening), but not insured that I would get a seat (like I have time to arrive hours early). And this week, I was not even invited to see "The Simpsons Movie." It shows utter contempt for what I have done for the last 10 years.

And talk about hypocrisy, we are inundated with emails from studios and PR firms daily with promotional bits for the big films that ultimately we won't even get to see by deadline. It is unbelievable to me how this plays out. For months and months prior to release date, we carried "Transformers" news, and yet, here in Atlanta, I wasn't even permitted to see the film before release day.

Despite being quoted on major movie posters and boxes, I'm on the outside looking in. There is a misconception that because the bulk of my work appears on the Internet, I will for some ridiculous reason damage the product. My commitment to following the rules of professional courtesy cannot be questioned, but it is none-the-less.

As I prepare to travel to Toronto again this year to try to take in the best of the awards season, I wonder whether I should even waste the time. Many of my fellow critics are finding it harder and harder to make a living as free-lancers and the Atlanta Journal-Constitution has trimmed their movie staff significantly (even the beloved critic Eleanor Ringel-Gillespie finds herself in retirement). As a side note, I grew up reading Mrs. Ringel-Gillespie, you, and Leonard Maltin. The work of the three of you caused me to become a critic. I seriously doubt anyone will consider it a smart career move in the future. Frankly, I think that it is time I went back to practicing law full time.

Could you provide me with some advice?

Ebert replies: If you observe deadlines, there is no reason for them to ban you. They're terrified by sites like AICN, which break embargoes with bad news. My advice: If you love movie reviewing, stick to it. My realistic observation: Studios have the right to decide who sees their films.

Popular Blog Posts

Why Critics Should See Bad Movies

A piece on the experience gained from seeing bad movies.

Who do you read? Good Roger, or Bad Roger?

This message came to me from a reader named Peter Svensland. He and a fr...

The Unloved, Part 36: "Lisztomania"

For the 36th installment in his video essay series about maligned masterworks, Scout Tafoya examines Ken Russell's "L...

The Power of Fear: Reflections on "Pan's Labyrinth"

Jessica Ritchey on the personal power of Guillermo del Toro's "Pan's Labyrinth."

Reveal Comments
comments powered by Disqus