Films these days start out being pitched as a high concept—“My script is Ghost meets Titanic in outer space”—and end up being reviewed as a high concept—“James Cameron’s I Loved A Phantom Starship Captain is Ghost meets Titanic in outer space”. It does save you time when a film you haven’t seen is compared to one you have seen and hated, but, these days, like job applicants’ references, the snippets of press reviews on movie posters are often more informative when you read them between the line. Michael Brooke posted a little while back on the power of selective quotation, but, except in his extreme cases, we see through that too. Most of us have learned to note the source of the gushing and think about the words that aren’t on the poster. Here are four releases at the local video shop I won’t be renting any time soon:

  • Last Life In The Universe: “Casts as compelling a lovelorn spell as Lost In Translation“—The Big Issue
  • King Arthur: “Just about the best battle scenes ever”—News of the World
  • Cold Creek Manor: “A Cape Fear-style thriller” [and Battlestar Galactica is a Star Wars-style space opera]—The Independent
  • Catwoman: “Halle Berry” [Yes, apart from the title and a picture of the star dressed in her cutaway, spray-on leather outfit these are the only words on the front cover of the DVD.]