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Criticwatch - Now, Do You See?
by Erik Childress

Our title this week is somewhat inspired by the great news that NBC has renewed Hannibal for a second season. But also in that we hope to catch you up a little in what has been going on the last few weeks in the film publicity game. We are a month into the summer movie season and when the temperatures begin to climb, the quote whores shall rise. Reviews have been up and down so far (and in both extremes) and yet for some reason it is the junket press who are always first in line to tell anyone watching a commercial that THIS movie is the MUST-SEE even more than the LAST one. That being said, we're not going to say much this week. We'll just let the quotes mostly speak for themselves.

First up on the watch this week we spotted that Paramount is already trying to prove that their mega-budgeted zombie epic, World War Z, is not the impending disaster that many have been waiting to trounce on. Quality or not (it is from Marc Forster, the director who gave us the Daniel Craig Bond film people choose to forget) the production problems (the entire final act was reshot) and rising costs of the film is what has built up such speculation. Paramount has also not exactly established positive vibes with critics lately in the manner in which they practically closeted Star Trek Into Darkness until it opened from about 75% of the U.S. press. Whatever the reason it ultimately seemed pointless as the film is the second best-reviewed wide release of 2013. (87% at Rotten Tomatoes with 231.) You won't find any reviews of World War Z published yet, but the studio would love to keep it at 100% for as long as possible with this giant blurb on the TV ads:

"Addictively exciting. Smart, scary and tension fueled. Everything you want in a blockbuster." - Peter Travers

Nothing like giving the king of hyperbole an early look to secure your first quote, right? Again you won't find a written review from Travers yet, so look for him to work those words into his eventual write-up. (Maybe.) That didn't really matter last summer when he said that Pixar had "outdone itself" with Brave but then contradicted himself at the very first opportunity. If you want to see Travers' Top 10 zombie films, you can see them right here. If you want to take his WWZ quote with a grain of salt, well...

"A summer movie that has everything - non-stop thrills, laughs, and top tier acting. This baby is popcorn movie heaven." (The Taking of Pelham 1-2-3)

That's the Tony Scott remake, mind you. Sticking with the present, we look at what's happening this weekend. From the director of The Happening. Not that Sony wants you to know that. The last time M. Night Shyamalan's name was associated with a film (just as a producer) there were reports across the country of boos emanating from theaters. Some of them were even posted on YouTube. Whether it's a Shyamalan film, a Jaden Smith film or a Will Smith ego-feeding vanity project to people we never want to see around film stock again, After Earth is getting the worst reviews of the summer. Even some of the worst of the year. Only five major releases in 2013 have registered a worst percentage than 12% at Rotten Tomatoes (A Haunted House, The Host, The Big Wedding, Movie 43, Scary Movie 5). There are only 11 positive reviews of After Earth as of this writing out of 91. There is a 12th positive review in the newspaper ads:

In case you missed how whorish the ads for The Hangover Part III looked, we wanted to show you once again how dedicated Warner Bros. is to their junket attendees.

"Hilarious" - Kevin McCarthy
"Surprising" - Silas Lesnick,
"Rockin" - Kourosh Taj, NGTV
"Hysterical. Fantastic. Action packed" - Jacki Jing, FOX-TV
"Outrageous. Wild" - Maria Salas
"The wildest ride yet" - Bonnie Laufer
"Ridiculously funny. The best Hangover yet." - Jami Philbrick
"An epic ending" - Cindy Pearlman
"The perfect ending." - Steve Samblis, The Hollywood Fast Lane
"The funniest trilogy ever comes to a glorious end." - Shawn Edwards

You may add your own commentary if you like. We will move on to the other major release this weekend, the exceedingly dumb Now You See Me. Critics have not been as harsh to the film as they were After Earth. It currently sits at 44% on the Tomato scale. Can you believe that only 14 out of 51 wide releases this year have ranked over the 60% "fresh" mark? (And three of those were semi-limited releases: Mud, The Place Beyond the Pines and Spring Breakers.) I suppose if 13% if enough for Sony to get one quote for After Earth than 44% is enough to get Summit four more.

"Pure summer movie magic!" - Pete Hammond
"Original" - Fred Topel,
"Sensational fun." - Patrick Stoner, WHYY-TV (PBS)
"Mesmerizing." - Mose Persico
"The most exciting thriller of the year." - Shawn Edwards

Notice how Pete Hammond cleverly worked in the word "magic" to describe a film about magicians. It reminds us of those who did the same just two months ago for Warner Bros. The Incredible Burt Wonderstone.

"Comedy magic!" - George Pennacchio, KABC-TV
"A magical cast of comic genuises." - Rusty Gatenby, KSTP-ABC Minneapolis
"Carell and Carrey make movie magic!" - Michael King, NBC-TV
"Steve Carell makes movie magic." - Joel Amos

Nice, guys. And thanks again to Warner Bros. Can't wait to see how you ruin the anticipation for Man of Steel as you search through your recent junket quotes for the words "flies" and "soars." Back to Now You See Me though, we must end (again) with ol' Shawn Edwards. Three-time Quote Whore of the Year (2007, 2010-11) calling it "the most exciting film of the year." Not that it's been a great year for excitement, though the consensus might tell you to consider Iron Man 3, Star Trek Into Darkness or Furious Six for that fix. Though you may want to consider what Shawn actually thought of Now You See Me.

Seems like a 3-out-of-5 rating would suggest Shawn actually agrees that it's been a year bereft of true excitement and that this is the best Hollywood has had to offer. Except he already referred to Jack the Giant Slayer (for WB) as "spectacular" and "thrilling" as well as calling The Call "riveting and super intense." Does Shawn not understand the definition of the word "exciting" or what it means to rank a film above all others by the comparative scale of a rational human being, let alone one who is supposed to draw such comparisons for a living? Maybe next time you will consider how little it means when Edwards describes anything with the tag of "most."

"The most magical film of the year. An instant classic." (Charlotte's Web)
"The most magical movie of the year!" (Mr. Magorium's Wonder Emporium)
"The most dazzling animated feature ever made." (Robots)

"One of the most creative, original and visionary movies ever made." (Where the Wild Things Are)
"Stunning! The coolest and most original movie in years." (Looper)
"The most original film of the year." (Transformers)

"The most outrageous and inspired comedy in years." (Youth In Revolt)
"The wildest, funniest, most hilarious movie of the year." (Little Man)

"Matthew McConaughey and Kate Hudson are this generation's most engaging on-screen couple." (Fool's Gold)
"Wonderful! Delightful! Enchanting! Penelope is the most charming and irresistibly romantic movie you'll likely see all year. I loved it." (Penelope)
"One of the year's most enjoyable films! Wonderful! A fabulously fantastic treat!" (Connie & Carla)
"The most delightful movie of the year!" (No Reservations)
"The most charming and wonderful movie you'll see all year." (The Sisterhood of the Travelling Pants)
"The most enjoyable and entertaining movie of the season." (Tyler Perry's Madea's Family Reunion)
"The most romantic movie of the year!" (The Twilight Saga: New Moon)
Stylish and completely romantic! One of the most epic love stories ever." (The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 1 )

"The most moving and memorable film of the year." (United 93)
"Powerful and inspiring! Jamie Foxx and Robert Downey Jr. soar in the most moving film of the year." (The Soloist)
"The most inspiring movie of the year." (The Help)
"One of the most powerful and moving films I've ever seen." (Tsotsi)
"The most powerful movie of the year! Profoundly uplifting and utterly provocative. An instant classic like Scarface." (Get Rich or Die Tryin')

"The most thrilling movie of the year!" (Source Code)
"The most exciting film of the year!" (2012)
"The most exciting movie of the year!" (Resident Evil: Extinction)
"One of the most suspenseful and truly frightening movies of the year." (Vacancy)
"The most exhilarating movie of this year! Eagle Eye is an action packed thrill ride that puts the pedal to the metal." (Eagle Eye)
"…Year's most action-packed and high-flying flick." (Bad Boys II)
"Dynamic. Exhilarating. Exciting. Entertaining. The best movie of the year! One of the most entertaining, exciting and intense movies ever made." (I Am Legend)

Good or bad, great or awful, no matter where the film falls on a Tomatometer, Metacritic or your own personal sense of right and wrong, Edwards will be there as the most epic quote whore working today.

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originally posted: 06/01/13 02:15:06
last updated: 09/22/18 03:18:09
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