Gray Lady picks pix
For years, the New York Times ran reviews of every film that appeared in the New York Film Festival.But the Gray Lady is changing its tune. For the first time, the paper will not publish critics’ daily reviews during the fest. It will still cover the festival, through feature coverage and a greater number of “Critic’s Notebook” columns, much in the way it covers other major film festivals. It will also review some of the pics. “We will provide the same amount of coverage as in the past,” said Times spokeswoman Abbe Serphos. “(But) what we’re doing is giving the critics more flexibility to write about what they believe deserves attention.” Decision is likely to make producers of unsold films — for which the certainty of a Times review at the fest has served as a springboard for other coverage — a little nervous. On the other hand, some of the bigger pics could benefit from the shift. In the past, movies that were being released would sometimes receive a full review at the time of the festival and then only excerpts when the movie opened. Now they may be more likely to see the full review at opening. The New York Film Festival, which opens Sept. 29, has on its schedule an eclectic mix of prestige pics and critics’ faves slated for fall release — including Miramax’s “The Queen,” Sony Pictures Classics’ “Volver” and Picturehouse’s “Pan’s Labyrinth” — as well as a bevy of smaller foreign and indie films without U.S. distributors. Though fest won’t enjoy the frequency of daily reviews, organizers say they believe the change will have a beneficial effect on consumer exposure. “We welcome the opportunity for critics and feature writers to champion films that they like through a comprehensive series of articles vs. two or three paragraphs in a roundup of reviews,” said Jeanne Berney of the Film Society of Lincoln Center, which presents the fest. The Times has rejigged its review coverage over the last few years, choosing to include more smaller films in roundups and saving standalone reviews for bigger releases.