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End of year film magazines round-up 2009

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End of year film magazines round-up 2009

It’s time to drop into the wonderful world of film magazines. December is a crucial month for these cinephile glossies – it’s the time when readers decide whether to renew their loyalty for another year – so let’s have a look at what you are really getting for your money.

It’s become fashionable to inveigle some kind of kudos by labelling up significant issues. So December’s Empire becomes The Icons Issue with ten different covers featuring icons of the decade which include Heath Ledger as the Joker, Matt Damon in Bourne mode and Uma Thurman with that samurai sword. We plumbed for the one with Daniel Craig as Bond on the cover and at £3.99 we hope we made the right choice. Inside it’s business as usual – some excited previews, cute Q&As, reviews, some nice features including one on the currently omnipresent Spike Jonze and then we get to the money shot: The mighty 24 page Icons of the Decade in which we are told the backstory of the protagonists of the most popular films of the noughties (Maximus, Wolverine, Aragorn, Harry Potter). All good fun but Total Film has got one thing over it. A free gift.

The features and reviews cover more or less the same ground as its rival but Total Film has a free giant poster in it with the promo poster for Tim Burton’s upcoming Alice in Wonderland on one side and A Christmas Carol on the other. The writing is a little bit more irreverent here (risky in the favouritism-fuelled world of film publicity) and, on the strength of these issues alone, Total Film’s home entertainment section (entitled Lounge) offers a more considered sweep of what is out there at the moment.

In their wisdom, Sight and Sound have made their December issue ‘The Michael Haneke Issue’ with the bearded and brilliant codger looking out from the cover. There’s no gifts but David Thomson’s article on Henri-Georges Clouzot’s L’Enfer is a peach and Tag Gallagher’s reappraisal of the work of Jean-Marie Straub does remind one what this publicly funded magazine is there for.

It’s blood, bods and bosoms all the way in Gorezone –’ the world’s most upmarket horror entertainment magazine’. The writing is terrible but this is a magazine that seems to work on the premise of giving their readership what they want, which is but that’s no bad thing, and there’s not a Jonze interview in sight.

Although really a music magazine, Uncut still tries to keep up its limited end in the film coverage stakes. The writing is good, as you might expect, but the space given is simply not enough (five pages in 146 page publication) and with a hefty cover price of £4.50 you may just want to go online, if you are not there already.

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