Over the past year or so, people in my profession have been up in arms over the increasing number of films that the studios dump into the theatres without press screenings.
We need a moment here to define what that means.
There are, basically, two kinds of screenings. Press screenings, which are generally done in the daylight and only for the sort of people who are paid to see movies at 10 am. (I've reached a point where it seems unnatural to go out and see movies in the evening, but I've always preferred matinees.)
Then there are promotional screenings, which are advance public evening screenings where radio stations and alternative weeklies give away tickets. There's probably an ad for one in this week's NOW. If these are held on Tuesday or Wednesday evenings, they can be considered as functioning in lieu of press screenings, because the dailies can still make their deadlines and get a review into the Friday paper. The weeklies are fucked, but the dailies are served.
The majors have actually taken to cheating on the issue - a promo screening held at 9 pm. Thursday evening. So we can't say they didn't screen, but it's useless if you have to write about the film for Friday am, or if your paper comes out on Thursday. Ghost Rider was one of those.
My feeling is that we shouldn't bother reviewing them if they don't screen them.
What does this have to do with The Death Of Mr. Lazarescu? I'm coming to that…