Film Critics Shut Out of ‘War of Worlds”‘– a ‘N.Y. Times’ Poem in Response

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By: E&P Staff

Some film critics are up in arms over Paramount’s attempt to quash pre-reviews of the new Steven Spielberg/Tom Cruise blockbuster ?War of the Worlds,? which has a gala premiere in New York City tonight. This morning The New York Times appeared to join in the fun.

Theories about why Paramount has taken this unusual action (rare for a Spielberg-type film), range from the film is a stinker to anger over the excessive coverage of the Tom Cruise-Katie Holmes romance and its Scientology link. (You might call this Cruise Control.) Another rumor is that the Times has been particularly singled out because of its trashing of Paramount’s recent flop ?Sahara.?

Film critics attending early screenings have been asked to sign agreements saying they won’t review it until it opens.

This morning, in the Times’ quasi-gossip column, Boldface Names, writer Campbell Robertson noted that he had not been invited to the ?War of the Worlds? premiere, and then composed a poem based on Yeats. It includes:

?Things fall apart; the center cannot hold;
Mere Scientology is loosed upon the world,
The squirting microphone is loosed, and everywhere
The memory of BRAD and ANGELINA is drowned;
The press lacks all conviction, while TOM CRUISE
Is full of passionate intensity,
Really, really passionate intensity?

And:

?A gaze blank and jovial as the sun,
Is holding a press conference, while all about it
Reel shadows of the indignant Star reporters.
The darkness drops again; but now I know
That two months of interminable news coverage
Were vexed to nightmare by a publicist’s confirmation,
And what vapid interview, its hour come round at last,
Slouches towards the Ziegfeld to be born??

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