Variety's unflattering review of 'Iron Cross,' a film starring the late Roy Scheider as a retired cop plotting revenge against the man he holds responsible for the slaughter of his family during the Holocaust, predicted that the 2009 indie drama "will be remembered as Roy Scheider's swan song and little else."

But 'Iron Cross' may yet be remembered as the movie that destroyed Variety's film review section -- and perhaps the venerable trade paper itself, since its singular and comprehensive reviews have been the paper's cornerstone for 100 years.

When 'Iron Cross' producer-director Joshua Newton griped about the December review to Variety, arguing that the article (written by freelancer Robert Koehler) had killed the movie's chances for awards, scared off potential distributors and undermined the $400,000 ad campaign the paper had sold him, he claimed a staffer at the paper dismissed his complaint by telling him, "It's only one person's opinion," and "No one takes these reviews seriously."

As if to prove those contentions, last week, Variety laid off three of its staff critics, including chief film critic Todd McCarthy, who'd been reviewing films for the paper for 31 years.
categories Features, Movies, Hot Topic