Bad Mojo

November 30, 2007
A thought by James Berardinelli

Going forward, I'm going to use the Friday ReelThoughts to reflect on the week's new releases and make some general comments that are intended to be less "spoiler-ish" and less specific than the individual reviews. This week, however, there are only a couple of new releases: The Savages and Awake. The Savages is effective but dark, but is opening in only a few theaters this week. (It's one of those "small" movies that starts out almost nowhere then gradually increases its range until the distributor runs out of prints.) It's an acting tour de force for Laura Linney and Philip Seymour Hoffman, and worth seeing if you don't mind films about dementia and dysfunctional families. Most readers, however, won't be close enough to a theater showing it this weekend. Also, don't be fooled by the previews: this is not a comedy (which is one of the marketing campaigns). Meanwhile, Awake was not screened for critics. That is not a good sign; I'll see it this evening and have a review up late tonight for anyone who wants a first-hand impression.

In yesterday's column, I asked whether a film that was nominated for Best Foreign Film one year could be nominated in other categories the next year. Thanks to everyone who responded; your feedback was appreciated (even if I didn't send an individual e-mail thank you). The answer to the question is no. There's an Academy by-law that specifically forbids this. This apparently is a relatively recent rule, however, since there are past examples when this sort of thing happened. Bottom Line: The Lives of Others won't be eligible for anything at next year's Oscars, irrespective of what its release "year" is.

For today's subject, I'm also going to solicit reader input. It seems that the Google link to this site has been hijacked. It used to be that if you typed in "Reelviews" at Google, the link would be #1. Recently, that link was replaced by The hijacking site replicates all the content but substitutes its own advertisements for mine, so the situation is undesirable in a number of ways. (It's also really slow to load.) It's worth noting that this hijack has only happened with Google. The other search engines still point correctly.

A little research uncovered some information about the Mojolingo site. It's a legitimate web address whose goal is to translate websites into Chinese. (It fails utterly with Reelviews since everything is still in English.) This is apparently not a malicious hijack, which is a little comforting. Nevertheless, the end result is the same. I know some of the specifics about how this ended up replacing the legitimate link for Reelviews; I won't repeat them here since they're technical in nature and will bore many of my readers. (Not that such a thing has stopped me before...)

The issue at hand is getting this fixed. The problem is that Google is not what one might describe as responsive. I have sent an e-mail to their anti-spam department but I'm not sure whether it will get where needs to go. I imagine Google gets thousands of anti-spam e-mails each day so who knows if or when they will act upon this one? There are instances of other sites that had this problem having been "fixed" so it's obviously not impossible to get it done. The problem is obtaining the right contact. So that's where I'm asking for help. If anyone can provide me with a solid contact inside Google who might be able to straighten this out, I'd be thankful. If not, I'll have to hope that the problem gets resolved on its own. Stranger things have happened. Meanwhile, if you use Google to access the site, I ask that you refrain from doing do until this is sorted out (either access it directly or via one of the other search engines). Every hit through Mojolingo loses advertising dollars for me.