Gelf Magazine - Looking over the overlooked

The Blurbs

June 29, 2007

Live Free or Blow Hard

In this week's edition of The Blurbs—the feature in which we take a close look at those critic blurbs that are a fixture of ads for movies—see breakdowns of blurbs for 'Live Free or Die Hard,' 'Evan Almighty,' 'Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer,' and more.

David Goldenberg

The critic blurb is a staple of arts advertising. Yet if you look behind some blurbs, you'll find quotes out of context, quote whores, and other questionable ad practices. Blurb Racket exposes the truth behind critics blurbs in movie ads from the New York Times. Movie titles link to metacritic.com, which compiles movie reviews in a far-more honest way than do movie ads. See the inaugural Blurb Racket column for background and useful links.

Graphic created by Paul Antonson
"I would love to see someone, a helluvalot more talented than Tim Story direct the next FANTASTIC FOUR movie."—Harry Knowles on 'Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer'

Graphic created by Paul Antonson

Evan Almighty (Universal Pictures)

Sandi Newton, CBS-TV: "Perfect for the whole family! Evan Almighty will surprise you—it's provocative and insightful, full of great heart and soul! It's definitely the ideal movie to see with loved ones!"
In her blog post on the movie, Newton writes, without apparent irony, "Carell is informed he will have to build an arc…" Perhaps she meant narrative arc?

Shawn Edwards, FOX-TV: "A heavenly comedy that's perfect for the entire family! Steve Carell is hilarious, touching and completely engaging."
Shawn, Shawn, Shawn. Won't you ever learn?

Live Free or Die Hard (Twentieth Century Fox)

Mick LaSalle, San Francisco Chronicle: "The summer's best action blockbuster!"
Actual line: Either "Live Free or Die Hard" will go down as the summer's best action blockbuster, or it's going to be one exceptional summer.
At least LaSalle knows that the summer just started.

Richard Roeper, Chicago Sun-Times: "Two hours of pure adrenaline! Willis is in top form in his career-defining role."
Not quoted: "By going bigger with all the action sequences, director Len Wiseman often turns McClane into little more than a stunt double."

Kenneth Turan, Los Angeles Times: "A slick piece of action entertainment, fast-moving with energetic stunt work and nice thriller moves."
Actual line: "Inevitable lapses in plausibility and an inflated two-hour, nine-minute running time aside, Live Free or Die Hard is a slick and efficient piece of action entertainment, fast moving with energetic stunt work and nice thriller moves."

Broken English (Magnolia Pictures)

Matt Zoller Seitz, The New York Times: "A well-acted, smartly directed film."
Actual line: "Broken English is a well-acted, smartly directed film that’s depressing because it could have amounted to so much more. It departs from the studio-financed romantic-comedy template in just one, unfortunately fatal respect: it makes a point of pride out of rejecting cliché, then swoons into its embrace."
Seitz is not a fan of this movie, and makes that clear. For finding a pony in that review, this ad wins Gelf's Bogus Blurb of the Week award.

Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer (Twentieth Century Fox)

Harry Knowles, Ain't It Cool News: "The Silver Surfer is absolutely fantastic. I was just so incredibly happy."
Not quoted: "I would love to see someone, a helluvalot more talented than Tim Story direct the next FANTASTIC FOUR movie."

1408 (MGM)

Calvin Wilson, St. Louis Post Dispatch: "Cusack & Jackson turn in two of the best performances of the year!"
Not quoted: "But the film is nowhere near as exciting as its trailer promises, and its denouement is a letdown."

Surf's Up (Columbia/Sony)

Shawn Edwards, FOX-TV: "A Perfect 10"
I guess that's a no.

David Goldenberg

David Goldenberg is the co-founder and editor of Gelf, and the host of Geeking Out, Gelf's monthly science speaking series.







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Article by David Goldenberg

David Goldenberg is the co-founder and editor of Gelf, and the host of Geeking Out, Gelf's monthly science speaking series.

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