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Texas Publication Slams Fuel - Austin Viewers Fight Back

01/02/2009 05:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

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On November 21 Josh Rosenblatt made a mistake. The moonlighting movie critic for Austin's weekly "hip" newspaper decided to write about Fuel as if he had just cashed a big fat check from a major oil company and was now doing the dirty work of an eco-smackdown. Having missed the point of the film and perhaps the majority of its content, Mr. Rosenblatt referred to the movie as "not a movie. It's a two-hour infomercial for biodiesel that somehow managed to escape from whatever environmental convention at which it was supposed to quietly screen and is now making its way to local theaters, perhaps to play as one-half of a double feature with Your Friend the Carbon Offset." It's unclear from his review whether or not he actually watched the movie, or just recited something he read on the internet.

Rosenblatt may have some credentials worth noting. First, he's certainly been to see movies at theaters. Second, he's been critiquing movies for 3 years, since he got a B.A. and third, he likes comic books, cartoons and action adventure films. While these credentials are enough to enable him and the Austin Chronicle to actually discern, what is and indeed what is not a movie, the Austin viewing public isn't buying Rosenblatt's smack.

Almost immediately after the Austin Chronicle "review" appeared, viewers began writing back - with their own reviews of Fuel, of the paper and of its movie critic. The comments are worth reading - they range from "the reviewer seems to have missed the second half of the movie..." to "This review has almost nothing to do with the film itself. It should be qualified with 'Josh [Rosenblatt] had a deadline and a hangover'." and to "NOTE TO ADVERTISERS - If you really want to make a difference, pull your ads from this fishwrap of a paper!" You gotta love the public - they keep you honest.

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Meanwhile, the film's box office numbers in Portland, Seattle and Austin have been better than just about any documentary this year, making theaters around the world notice. Fuel is also currently playing in both the prestigious Stockholm International Film Festival and the International Documentary Film Association in Amsterdam, which is one of the most stringent film festivals in the documentary world. And...once again, tonight's screening here in Amsterdam - is sold out! No matter good reviews or bad, audiences are packing theaters worldwide to watch FUEL and participate in the green energy revolution!

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