Following up on last week's releases, The Book of Eli continued to find more quotes from the peanut gallery of ad junkies.
"The Book Of Eli gets 2010 off to a spectacularly exciting start." - Pete Hammond
"Mila Kunis is a striking leading lady." - Jeffrey Lyons
"Denzel Washington is one cool dude, who is worth following anywhere." - Peter Travers
That's the General Motors, Ford and Chrysler of the quote game for you. Even the phantom Jeff Craig weighed in with a "powerhouse" and a "dynamite" in the ads. Truth is, the film isn't half-bad. Michael Phillips even said it was a "see it" on At The Movies this weekend. Looks like we both agree it is a decent recommendation of a film despite going against the grain of a 44% rating at Rotten Tomatoes. But neither of us, nor most even-minded film observers, would go so far as to call it "the perfect movie" or to say that "Denzel Washington has never been better" as you can see from the commercials last week. Hyperbole nearly at its worst.
Its worst comes with films like The Spy Next Door. 43 out of 47 reviews at Rotten Tomatoes are negative, going to show what I have always told the studios. You can always find someone to say something nice about your film. Hell, When In Rome is pimping quotes from Facebook for crying out loud. You don't need to rely on junketeers and easygoing hyperbolic hams like the Big Three.
"Flat-out fantastic!" - Film Advisory Board
"High-flying family fun!" - Jami Philbrick, Movieweb
"Jackie Chan has never been funnier. Zany action for the whole family." - Avi Offer
Here we go again with the "never been" stuff. The Legend of Drunken Master? Shanghai Noon? Go East or West and it's highly unlikely you won't be able to point at a title where Chan made you laugh than in The Spy Next Door. That's right, one of those four positive reviews belongs to Avi Offer, the NYC Movie Guru. Also a guy very happy to see his name in the ads. His negative quotes are equally awash in positivity. The movie is this, this and this but it's also good here, here and here. Mr. Offer ranked eighth on Criticwatch's Whores of the Year list in 2009 and he is already making a case for 2010.
The Film Advisory Board are not critics. They just determine which films are "suitable for children" and then slap their seal of approval sticker on them. Suitable films like Deck the Halls which contains a scene involving Matthew Broderick and Danny DeVito mistakenly ogling their daughters from behind. Finally we see Jami Philbrick's name again. We haven't seen that name since it was doubled up on the weekend of Dec. 4 when two films not screened for critics - Armored and Transylmania - managed to pick up some positive quotes from Jami. The "High" part of Philbrick's quote I can believe.
That was all last week though. We have some new openers getting the pre-advance hype from some "critics." Dwayne Johnson as The Tooth Fairy is currently devoid of any praise in the ads. Legion is not being screened for critics, but the Paul Bettany film where he dismisses the concept of angels instead of playing one is up and running.
"A fascinating and compelling look at a driven, passionate genius." - Jeffrey Lyons
"Creation is rich and involving. A fascinating movie with a wonderful lad performance by Paul Bettany not to be missed." - Pete Hammond
"Paul Bettany is note-perfect as Darwin." - Ernest Hardy, L.A. Weekly
Lyons and Hammond again. For one of the worst films I personally saw at the Toronto Film Festival last year, if not THE worst. Lyons no longer has a TV show, doesn't write reviews and still gets quoted. And couldn't we get through one month without seeing Hammond's name in an ad? Would that be too much to ask? The ad I'm surprised we haven't seen Lyons Sr. in yet is the new CBS Films medical drama, Extraordinary Measures. This is precisely the kind of earnest, true-life drama that is usually an easy candidate for Jeffrey to call one of the year's best. We're not there yet, but others have thrown their names into the mix.
"A life changing story...a feel-good, believe-again movie." - Jan Wahl, KRON-TV San Francisco
"As uplifting and inspirational as The Blind Side." - Jeanne Wolf, Parade
Care to go into battle with any of them. You have to love when the commercials go "uplifting and inspirational" but the print ads go with "inspirational and uplifting." Well, which is it honey? What deserves top billing? Neither probably matters if it is being compared as on par with The Blind Side. Aim high, sister! Jan Wahl's above quote in the commercial is a curious one. "A feel-good, believe-again movie?" Believe in what? God? Santa Claus? The Cubs winning the World Series? If you said any of those you would be wrong. The correct answer, according to the full quote released in the newspaper ads is "Believe again in the power of the human spirit." Eh, no thanks. Think I'll watch Anvil: The Story Of Anvil again, which James Rocchi told us was "A hymn to the human spirit played loud in power chords." Much preferable to Harrison Ford telling people to "get out of my lab!"