Unfair? Film Publicists Giving Some Movie Critics Special Treatment

| by Hollywood Elsewhere

Earlier today OK magazine critic Phil Villarreal thanked a Phoenix-based film publicist, Barclay Communications' Lindsay Derr, for an invitation to see a 1.25 screening of The Mechanic (CBS Films 1.28), the latest action thriller starring Jason Statham. The invitation, however, says that reviews must be held "until opening day." Villarreal felt this was unfair.

His objection was due to the fact that Arizona Republic critic Bill Goodykoontz, a top Gannett critic whose reviews appear in papers around the country, always reviews Friday openers on Wednesday. "If I go to the screening I will post my review Wednesday, 1.26, because that's when Goodykoontz will post his review," Villerreal replied, "[because] I will not respect an embargo that's different for different people. If this isn't okay let me know and I will not attend the screening."

Derr's response: "That is not okay so I will have to ask that you not attend the screening."

Villarreal is a member of the Phoenix Film Critics Society and has joined the Online Film Critics Society. He says he's determined that he will post his reviews "once Goodykoontz has posted his, since he is the biggest dog in my corner of the country. That policy seems to be okay with Allied [another Arizona-based publicity outfit] for the time being, but it's apparently not good enough for Barclay."