I'm a big fan Show Film First. A company which aims to get people to preview screenings of films - for free.
There's also a confusingly similarly named company called See Film First with broadly similar aims. I'm not sure what, if any, relationship the two have.
Show Film First concentrate mainly on bloggers - getting them to exclusive screenings in the hope that they will generate some online buzz about a movie before release.
To help you on your way to creating a blog, they've created a handy (if somewhat patronising) guide to blogging movie reviews.
I can highly recommend signing up to the services if you're interested in movies. The films I've seen have been a mixture of blockbusters (which probably don't need that much more buzz) and smaller films (which probably benefit the most).
On Saturday the 4th of December, Show Film First are holding an Online Opinion Former's Showcase. 7 hours of movies, trailers, and panel discussions in The Empire, Leicester Square. There is an admin charge of £10 - but I think that's well worth it considering what's on offer.
- 8.45 - Intro
- 9:00 - Part 1: showreel of the next quarter’s trailers
- 9.30 - Film 1
- 11.30 - Panel discussion 'Building an online film audience' led by Charles Gant (Heat, Guardian and Variety)
- 12.10 - Q&A opportunity
- 12.30 - Short break (lunch is not provided but apart from cinema concessions there are several food outlets in close proximity.)
- 1.00 - Part 2: showreel of the next quarter’s trailers
- 1.30 - An important Film issue Q&A
- 2.00 - Film 2
- 4.00 - End
Writing about the films is embargoed until the next day, and they're not releasing the titles of the films yet. They do say:
both films are previews, one releases later in December and one early 2011 and we're confident you wont be disappointed.
I attended a bloggers preview of Legend of the Fist: The Return of Chen Zhen last week. Here's the trailer:
The film starts will a brilliant premise - Kung Fu vs the Nazis! What's not to love about that? Who wouldn't want to watch a couple of hours swastikas against shurikens?
Sadly, the film then diverts into a not very subtle "homage" to Casablanca. The plotting is confusing - especially if you're not well versed in the lore of Chen Zhen - or the television series Fist of Fury, of which this is a sequel. I also found it to be highly nationalistic - almost to the point of propaganda.
There's no doubt that Donnie Yen is a talented martial artist, but from the editing of this film, it's very hard to tell. Kung Fu movies have traditionally relied on fast editing to make the action look more dramatic than it is. Legend of the Fist contains so many sub-second edits that it's hard to follow the action - the viewer can't even determine whose foot is kicking whose face. The speed at which the cuts happen mean that you lose all the majesty and beauty of the balletic battle.
Take a look at this scene from Jackie Chan's "Rumble In the Bronx"
Yes, the editing is fast - but it lingers long enough so that we can see the sheer skill of the performers. Donnie Yen may as well not have been in Legend of the Fist - the fights are that quickly cut.
Overall, it's certainly a "wait for DVD film" - and only then if you're happy to put up with long gaps between the chaotic violence.