Variety Scraps Bad Movie Review For $400,000, Is Basically Yelp

Variety has a bit of explaining to do after it was revealed that the magazine removed a negative movie review from their web archives for money. The movie in question is Iron Cross, which follows an NYPD cop as he tracks down the SS officer who killed his family during the Holocaust. The film happens to be the last movie by the late Roy Scheider, who passed away during production.

As the Los Angeles Times reported last November, the film’s writer and director, Joshua Newton, struck a deal with Variety in order to position the movie as a possible Oscar contender:

The film was bankrolled by private British investors and Newton wanted to finish the picture before taking it out to potential distributors, but he’s not waiting to launch the marketing and Oscar campaign.

“The marketing aspect is as important as the product itself. You can be the best thing since sliced bread but its worthless without the marketing,” he says.

To that end he has gotten his investors to agree to a “substantial” buy (about $400,000) in the Hollywood trade paper Variety with ads of one sort or another running every day until Oscar voters have turned in their ballots in late January.

That “about $400,000,” however, did not keep Robert Koehler, a freelance writer for Variety, from writing that “Newton doesn’t know when to let up, and his habit of cross-cutting between the present and the Holocaust devolves from a cinematic device into an annoyance” and “Newton’s film is simply mediocre stuff, choppy and uncertain, with hints of ambitious ideas that fail to gather steam.”

The film review is no longer viewable on Variety‘s website.

When Defamer got wind of the review’s removal, they asked Variety publisher Brian Gott for an explanation. His response? “Unfortunately Variety does not comment on internal matters. I hope you understand.”

That your publication shares the same level of integrity and commitment to honest reporting as Yelp, the online reviewing site that is currently facing a lawsuit over similar allegations? Yup. Understood.