About the just-released “Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room,” Rolling Stone‘s Peter Travers says:

Image Hosted by ImageShack.usIt’s scarier than The Amityville Horror, as scandalous as Fahrenheit 9/11 and loaded with more conspiracies than The Interpreter.

Alex Gibney’s riveting documentary is a rape story, with the public trust as the victim …

There’s even gallows humor: After a speech praising Enron, Lay reads a written question from the audience: “Are you on crack?” Nah. The drug of choice here is hubris.

There may be a touch of hubris in the film’s PR dept. as well:

Orders from a PR Firm?

John Gorenfeld says the PR firm handling the new movie about Enron all but ordered him when to write his review. – Dan Gillmor

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Check out the “friendly” reminders that blogger John Gorenfeld got from the movie’s PR people:

How many PR firms are ordering bloggers around?

After mailing me a review copy of Enron: The Smartest Guys In The Room, the PR shop pushing this film, Special Ops Media, repeatedly nagged me to inform them (along with other bloggers, see postscript) “asap” as to when I am going to review it, and when I am going to tell them about my plans to review it:

John – This is just a reminder that your review of the film needs to be posted this week or next (before April 21).

John — let me know what is going on with this asap

John — I made it clear from the outset when the review needed to be posted (see the emails below).

“They’re not paying me enough to put up with this!” I thought, feeling a twinge at the thought of my $15,000 “consultant fee” before remembering I’m not Corey Greenberg and am not, in fact, being paid at all to write this blog. Whew!

Of course, the first thing I noticed was that they sent him a review copy. Hot damn! How do I get on those lists? Quit complainin’, dude!

John adds in the postscript:

Postscript: It seems to be part of the firm’s “innovative” PR push to target bloggers, I see from a Google search. Anyone who wants to be taken seriously as a journalist of integrity can’t allow PR flacks to act as their blog’s assignment editor, while going woozy at the “opportunity” to receive a free DVD-R. Coverage driven by press releases is what newspapers are for.

Post has been rewritten a bit. I fully disclose this, lest I become the subject of an emergency conclave on blogger ethics.

Guess that “going woozy” remark fits me too. Not just “The Adventures of Chester.”

[I was recently offered the chance to review the new film, “Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room,” based on the book of the same name by Bethany McLean and Peter Elkind. I’d like to thank Special Ops Media for this opportunity.]

Darn tootin’, Chester.

I highly recommend this film. Don’t miss it.

Atta boy, Chester. Unlike that whiner John.

Oh, that movie. My daughter and I have to go to Seattle this week for a doctor’s appointment, but we plan to treat ourselves afterwards. We hope we can get in to see the new Enron flick, which is playing in Seattle. It’s in “limited release” for now.

Catch this screenshot I took of the movie’s interactive Web site:

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It’s a fun Web site. Requires the Flash plug-in.

Movie fans at IMDb are giving the documentary a 8.2 — that’s very high. Here are samplings of the movie reviews:

Salon’s Andrew O’Hehir says:

Free Image Hosting at www.ImageShack.usThis movie about America’s biggest corporate collapse is part of a new breed of film, more agitprop than documentary.

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Someone more dispassionate than I might argue that there are further similarities between talk radio and lefty agitprop movies (I hesitate to call them documentaries): Both could be seen as making valid points about the nature of power in America — the oligarchic power of the elite establishment or the quasi-fascistic power of big capital, as the case may be — that become dangerously clouded by ideological zeal and the quest for entertainment value. …

More reviews via MetaCritic:

Premiere Peter Debruge

Delivers a polished and well-researched look at America ‘s largest corporate bankruptcy with a laser-sharp focus on the personalities, practices, and fates of the top executives behind the Enron meltdown.

Christian Science Monitor David Sterritt


Portland Oregonian Marc Mohan

With this amoral business environment, it’s not a question of if there will be another Enron, but when.

The Hollywood Reporter James Greenberg

Not only a great cautionary tale, it’s a civics lesson that should be seen by every concerned citizen.

New York Daily News Jami Bernard

Is a movie worthwhile if it makes you sick? Absolutely, in the case of Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room.

Washington Post Michael O’Sullivan

It’s a story of jaw-dropping chutzpah, grim, mostly hindsight-based humor and more stomach-churning drama than you could find in 10 screenplays.

Wall Street Journal Joe Morgenstern

Gives us the same sort of perverse pleasure that’s been a staple of “60 Minutes” over the years — watching world-class crooks tell world-class lies.

Check out more reviews at MetaCritic.

Back to the big question: How do we bloggers get our mitts on some review copies of new movies? Gotta find out … gotta … ideas welcome!

Will we complain about some reminders from the PR people? Are you kidding? Come on, John!

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