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I've been buying Total Film magazine for a while and have found it to be a great read and a good source of finding out amore about films and discovering films I wouldn't have otherwise come across.
The cost of £3.99 may seem offputting at first but personally I would rather spend that on this that on some other mags of a similar price which are just full of adverts! At least with this mag it is actually packed with articles and reviews and the only adverts that are in there are actually of some interest!
It comes out once per month and each issue contains plenty of reviews of upcoming films, including behind the scenes info and reviews with actors and directors, also there is a letters page (usually with a prize of a recent DVD for the star letter) and regular competitions. In addition to all the usual stuff you would expect it also reviews older films which are already out on DVD including some classics, there are also a few television, book and soundtrack reviews.
It is a good mixture of reviews, interviews and trivia and makes for a great read for any film fan.
It's always hard to choose the right magazine; some are so opinionated that you don't really get all the information you want. In some respect I'm talking about Total Film here, some articles are very opinionated and they only tend to publish stories about what they like, however on the other hand they do well to give in depth view, even if it is a little biased.
I remember buying my first copy because it had some free gift, I can't quite remember whether it was the issue with the film posters I still have up in my room, or the director's book that's sitting on my shelf. If they are to be praised, they never give out duff freebies! However that's not the reason to buy this magazine.
The reason why I do buy this magazine; opinionated articles aside, is because they always get a scoop on what's up and coming in the film industry. I don't tend to buy magazines to read about films that are soon to be hitting the big screen in the next month - that's what the internet is for! However, many times I've bought the magazine to find out what I can look forward to seeing in the next 6 - 12 months; trust me, they do well to scoop the big news!
Also they do cover stories on various actors and actresses, directors and producers. It's always good to know why a story was created, how hard it was to play a certain role, or what directors hope to be doing in the next year or two. This is an all rounded magazine which is what I like about it, in summary it's got; the latest scoop on up and coming films, general production news of films, actor/actress/director/producer profiles and interviews, reviews of films/DVD's, and a good freebie with almost every magazine. It's your sort of average film magazine with lots to get your teeth into.
About 10 years ago, there was really only one UK film magazine - Empire. Although I bought the odd issue, I always found its style a little pretentious. Then Future Publishing launched Total Film. I bought my first copy around issue 6 and immediately knew I'd found the film magazine for me.
The reason Total Film is so good is that you genuinely get the impression that they are a bunch of ordinary people who like films, writing about films. If a film is good, they will say so; if it's a stinking piece of garbage, they won't be afraid to say that either. It's like having a chat about films with your mates. Their reviews are honest, unpretentious, informative and written in the sort of language that the average cinema-goer uses, with little or no techy speak.
Of course, it probably helps that Total Film's tastes closely match my own and are very eclectic. They will happily give a rave review to a dumb film with hundreds of explosions and no plot as they are will to a great, but obscure cinematic work in Swahili. The bottom line is: if it's a good film, Total Film will say so, regardless of where it's from or who's in it. And if Total Film say it's good, the chances are I will enjoy it. In the whole time I have been reading the magazine, I can only think of 3 films which they have rated and I have slated. When you think of how many of their reviews I must have read in that time, that's a pretty good record.
As well as their good, honest reviews, Total Film also have some excellent features. Indeed, these are often better than the reviews. There are the ubiquitous interviews with stars and directors, which are interesting enough, but where Total Film really outshines its rivals is in some of its dafter features. In the past for example, it's had articles aiming to settle that perennial playground argument of who would win in a fight between (say) RoboCop and Rambo, or a recent issue had an article called "The Movies Made Me Do It" looking at instances where criminals have blamed their actions on films.
Yes, Total Film has a sense of humour and its not afraid to use it. This makes it far more entertaining and readable than some other mags which take themselves way too seriously. There's a small section called "Is it bollocks?" which looks at some unlikely thing that has happened in a film and then rings up an expert t to ask them is it possible. There's the one question interview, where pompous, verbose stars are asked a single question and not given the chance to jabber away. Finally, best of all, there's the Rod Hilton's Abridged Script, which takes a film each month and boils it down to its basics with hilarious results! It's this sense of levity, of poking fun at the industry whilst still retaining affection for it which makes Total Film such a joy to read. Sure, other magazines also have a sense of humour, but Total Film applies it constantly.
The magazine does have a few downsides, though. As the film journalism world doesn't offer many career opportunities, you often find a significant amount of cross-over between Empire and Total Film journalists. This seems to happen every few months with writers swapping between the two and this can have an impact on the magazine. If a journalist is used to writing a certain style (the more serious Empire style for example), it can take them a little while to adapt to the new style of the magazine and this can impact on the overall quality of the magazine.
Secondly, as the line between film and other media becomes increasingly blurred, Total Film is paying giving greater magazine space to things like books, film soundtracks or computer games (often not even based on films). Personally, I buy a film magazine because I want to read about films, nothing else. In fairness, the total proportion of space devoted to these areas is only small (around 5-10 pages each issue), so if you skip them (as I often do), you're not missing out a great deal. However, if increasing amounts of pages start to be dedicated to these areas, I might be a little more concerned.
As its grown older, Total Film has also drifted away a little from its original concept. Early issues made great play of getting its readers involved. There were regular features like "The 50 Best Action Films" where TF named 49 of them and the allowed the readers to vote for number 50; or polls where everyone could vote for their favourite sporting films and then TF would collate the results in a table. As the magazine has gone on, these features have become fewer and fewer - TF now tells you what is good and bad and gives little chance for its readers to get involved, other than through the letters page. This is a step backwards in my opinion as it reduces that sense of "sharing" in the magazine. It's a strange decision - most media is becoming more inclusive, and it's something which TF perhaps need to consider reintroducing.
A minor complaint is that Total Film carries a phenomenal amount of adverts for a certain type of mobile phone service (you know, those promising you can speak live with Luscious Lucy). Most mags have them these days, as they're obviously big payers, but TF seems to have more than most - often as many 4-5 pages. This can make it a little embarrassing and attract some strange looks if you're reading the magazine in public.
And finally, a final concern: in recent months, Total Film has had a re-design -always something which strikes fear into the heart of loyal, long-standing readers. It still retains many of the strengths outlined in this review, but some are slowly starting to ebb away, which is a concern as it is becoming more tabloid and sensational in its approach, which is not a direction I want it to go in.
Still, overall, Total Film is an excellent magazine. For less than four quid a month, it's very good value for money (particularly as most issues have some form of free gift) and provides a good few hours worth of reading. If you're fed up with the slightly ponderous style of Empire, give TF a whirl. Not everyone will appreciate its more light-hearted approach, but if you like your film mags with a sense of humour, TF is hard to beat!
© SWSt 2008
I figured I should write a review on the magazine I had been reading for the past few years (since 2001) but have now quit.
My history and experience
The magazine first caught my attention in 2001 when I saw The Lord Of The Rings on the cover. Bored that afternoon with nothing to do I bought the magazine and started reading it. Immediately hooked, the magazine stayed informative and entertaining until the penultimate pages (the ultimate pages were porn ads) where I put the mag down, satisfied that I had learned everything that was going on in the industry that month.
Over the next few years I continued to read it, learning more and more, being the first to find that Sean Bean would be the villain in National Treasure or The Hobbit was being optioned to be made into a film or Bill & Ted III was being made... Wait a minute, that didn't happen! Yes, in the world of Total Film Keanu Reeves and Alex Winter were reprising their roles as Bill Esquire and Ted Theodore Logan AKA WILD STALLYNS!!!! *Cue air guitar music* with Laurence Fishburne cameoing as God and Ozzy Osbourne coming along for the ride. Pity that never happened...
Yes, Total Film brings out facts but in its earlier days mixed it with fiction to the point that you would only take what they said with a grain of salt... very different to Empire where you believed what they said no matter how idiotic the concept. Today, though, Total Film has a new section called Buzz that thankfully puts rumours down in its own section and restores some dignity to the mag.
So the years progressed and the magazine became more and more expensive, going up from £2.90 to £3.70. But as the prices increased so did the pages, becoming more fleshed out and intriguing so that you felt that it was worth the price you paid. Total Film was now a major rival with Empire.
But perhaps that was a bad thing for Total Film was now at the peak of its popularity with buyers, myself included, lapping up everything they had to say and loving them for their free posters they used to give.
Total Film felt it was invincible and started to have more fun with its words, making fun of everybody and publishing the most pathetic letters in their mags (which meant that people who wrote 20 silly words received prizes but those who had genuinely interesting things to say had their words deleted by the staff). Along with that their forum was moved and made bigger (and better).
Now I must say a little about the forum: At that time run by the lovely Liz Hawkins its administrators were two men(?) who were not part of the Total Film staff but simply film fans who loved the magazine. One was a fan who loved all film, one was a cinephile who snubbed almost everything. The two worked together and helped build a small community where users acted courteously towards each other and were always interested in what everyone had to say. But that's not a good thing.
The forum was a small community for a reason. The members of that magazine who belonged to the old forum (which included me) knew each other well enough to get along in the new one as did a few members who joined earlier, but sadly that meant that some users felt that their words were more important than others and so they downright bashed any new member who had a thing or two to say about movies. This meant that many members left the forum to join others. I myself had made many friends there (both old existing members and new ones) and when I saw one administrator (who I to this day believe was between the ages of 17 to 20) breaking his own rules and attacking a user I and other members stood up for him.
But I'll talk about what happened later.
So which year are now at? Oh yes, 2005.
The magazine looked great, it probably even smelled great, and its issues were more rich and informative than ever before. Every aspect of film productions were mentioned and interviews were given with all the main players on the set of the film. But the magazine somehow didn't go in-depth with them and simply was used as a way of promoting the film. Yes, that is true, that's what magazines do, but unlike Sight & Sound or Empire, Total Film was beginning to resemble Heat magazine with its lavish poems of love towards the celebrities and no getting down and dirty into the truth of it all, making a hellish production seem like a walk in the clouds. It's reviews also grew more and more outlandish, giving positive reviews to universally panned films and spoiling movies for the masses (28 Weeks Later gave two HUGE pictures of one of the biggest twists in the film). It also didn't want to appear like it loved everything so gave lame excuses for why it gave 4 stars and not 5; Zodiac, for example, lost a star because its camera shots were too perfectly composed.
If Stanley Kubrick had made it, the film would have gotten 5.
My respect for the mag had dropped drastically and no matter what freebies they gave, from DVDs featuring movie trailers to more posters, many customers decided to stop buying the magazine. But I stood on, hoping that this was just a bad patch in a great decade.
Then it happened. The realization. The truth. This magazine may be writing its reviews based on what it gets from the studios. Why else does the magazine promote everything Eli Roth does, always talking about his upcoming projects as if he's the next Scorsese of our generation. Always giving him rave reviews for the worst of his work, always praising what others condemn, giving Hostel: Part II 4 stars when every other mag gives him 1 (even fans of the genre hated the movie). Their love for this man put me off so much that I have now quit reading the mag.
And now back to the forum:
Before I go on, let me just say that the opinions of the administrators and members in no way reflect Total Film's beliefs, and what I say is based on my own personal experiences.
So we stood up for the member. And this administrator turned his horns on me, attacking me in every post no matter what was written. It could have been a stated fact in the press and I still would have been insulted (the usual attacks were that I knew nothing of film or had no taste in movies simply because I felt that Kingdom Of Heaven was an underrated picture).
I no longer went to the forum to enjoy a conversation about film with other filmlovers; I now went there to defend my words against an administrator who broke his own rules, who harrassed me every day like a bully who had found its prey.
But in those dark days there was one good one. This came last Summer at the time that I was at my peak of message boards (by the way that was only a phase; today I have life, work, and relationships which take time out of the lesser points of life) and was the administrator of another messageboard that houses over 7000 members (the members who were brutally attacked by this administrator, whether it be because they liked a film he loathed or defended another user's opinion to like that film, joined this forum when they asked me if I was part of anything else). At that time Ms. Hawkins wanted to break the record for: Most users online on their forum. I had a friend with me that day (who I had introduced to this forum) and together we went to the site and logged on to increase the numbers. The record sadly wasn't broken (in fact one of the administrators wasn't on at the time) but the admin whose eye was fixed squarely on me immediately created a thread making the horrendous accusation that my friend and I were the same person. Forced to defend myself for the rest of the day (and thankfully other members believed my words) it finally ended with the administrator withdrawing his horrible remarks, my friend quitting the boards, and the other administrator sending me a private message giving me a reluctant apology for all the trouble they had caused.
VICTORY! I screamed like Kevin Dillon's character in Entourage.
But that was not to last.
For 6 months later the admins would have their revenge. After yet more horrendous posts attacking me I finally stood up for myself, unafraid of this person's position. He could have been the President of Futurenet (the publication company) but that does not give him the right to abuse his rights as an admin.
I said what I thought of him, what he did, how I felt, everything...
And the next day I could not log on. Was I banned? No. Apparently one of my pieces of info was changed (I'm guessing password or e-mail address) and this could only have been done by the admins.
So I asked my friend if I could use his account? He kindly agreed and I sent a message to the nicer of the two admins. No reply to it. So I posted on the forum that I was using my friend's account and couldn't log onto mine. The administrator then replied to my message telling me that it would be sorted out immediately and I could go online.
THAT WAS A LIE.
For the very next day my friend's account was banned. And I still could not log on.
Those two admins finally removed their scapegoat, but what goes around comes around and after so many members who have joined their forum have realized that it is a close-knit village where new people are not welcome, I am sure that they will realize their mistakes and make the forum a better place.
Do I regret ever joining it? No. I made friends there who knew so much about film and whose opinions I truly respect. I had my good times in the forum too talking about the hot Summer and the beautiful days. And perhaps me being shut out of their community was a blessing for I would no longer have to be insulted in that forum and could go out and resume my life, going to exotic locations, seeing the most breathtaking films, and seeing them with the most breathtking women. So no, perhaps it does have a happy ending. :-)
The Total Film mag is divided into the following sections:
Past: Good letters that had interesting questions, some fun polls, and were always a good read.
Present: Most of them are stupid with the occasional interesting one.
Arguably the best part of the mag, the news is always interesting to read with fun facts and trivia and great anecdotes to mention at work. It also features some good movie stills.
I've already mentioned them as I have mentioned:
The Buzz: AKA Rumours
We then have features on upcoming movies which is a simple promotion for the film, followed by DVD reviews (amazing how a magazine can rate a movie 5 stars, find that the public hated it, and then give it 1 star when its time to review the DVD) and lastly, US DVD, replicas and porno ads.
It also however features the fabulous Abridged Script, arguably the best part of the mag. Hilarious spoofs of new releases, it's always great to see someone rip the script apart. Do read it after you've seen the film of course, unless you like laughing at things you don't understand or read spoilers.
By the way you don't need the mag to read the abridged script, you can read it right here:
Lastly we have the website itself, which sadly posts rumors as facts only to the next day quickly retract their statements (this had happened quite a few times hence why I mention it). But it is also a great way of promoting the mag, the truthful news are always interesting, you can read their reviews online, and you even get links to the newest trailers on the web. A fantastic job, then, with every aspect of it apart from the forum.
Summary: A great magazine that has peaked and is now dragging itself to the end, Total Film's best parts can now easily be found on the web. Let's hope it picks up before people stop subscribing.
As a big movie watcher, I suppose it was always likely that I would start reading about films as well as going to see them at the cinema. I'd always avoided such things on the basis that a) magazines are overpriced marketing exercises and b) I couldn't see the point of reading all about them. But over the last year or so, I've found myself compelled to read reviews, previews and conjecture that will help me decide whether I need to see a film or not.
It's quite addictive, I have to say. In the film industry, hype seems to be all important these days, so when my expectations are built up to epic proportions, I now want to know whether I'm going to be disappointed or not. Scoop pictures, sneak previews and gossip still hold little interest for me, but as one outlandish project is announced after, I do find myself drawn into the conjecture. This is how I started buying Total Film.
Total Film, published every four weeks, is one of the market leaders, up there with Empire and Premiere. Of the three, Total Film is my favourite because it feels more accessible than the other two. I enjoy the sense of humour exhibited amply by the writing team and simply find the features that I require easier to locate and absorb. It's a glossy little affair, with plenty of pictures and captions to keep me both entertained and absorbed. It also avoids the trap of taking itself too seriously. Empire, for example, is committed to being the "best movie mag on the planet" but a comparison between the two is something like Coronation Street versus Eastenders - both similarly pitched intellectually, but whilst one is having a laugh, the other one is intense about being, well, intense. At around 150/160 pages each issue, Total Film is pretty good value for money at £3.50. There are the usual subscription deals - free DVDs, save 25% etc - but I've never bothered.
Total Film has recently restructured itself slightly in an attempt, as far as I can see, to capitalise on the features people want first - or are more likely to browse when lifting off the shelf in WhSmith. The hype section, named Access, has moved to the front of the magazine and is a blatant attempt to draw readers into its bold, colourful splashes of scenes from forthcoming films. These days, particularly when in competition with the Internet, it seems to be an essential requirement to get the "first scoop" pictures on forthcoming releases and Total Film is a tough competitor. It's all blockbuster stuff - Star Wars, Batman and Harry Potter were long hyped in this section before a cinema release date was even confirmed. Access is essentially the "trailer" equivalent of the cinema - snippets and tasters to whet your appetite for the biggest, most blockbusting releases on their way. It's borderline "nerd" territory, with all the editors seeming to salivate over news of the new Spiderman film or who will direct Xmen 3 but if you're into that kind of thing, Total Film is a "must read".
Rough Cut provides more than titbits but is still essentially a gossip column. There are slightly more in depth interviews and or features about things that are up and coming, but you also have the benefit of articles about big events (like the Oscars or the Cannes festival) plus a few spacefillers. I've never really seen the point of "The Abridge Script" - a regular feature that seeks to condense the script from a well known film into two columns. Like, why?
If a section could be described as "useful" then, for me, it would be the New Films. Reviews of a variety of lengths and depths can be found here, but this is where you go if you want to read a review of the latest cinema releases. Normally, the review will be featured a few weeks before or just on the release of the film but sometimes the publishing schedule seems to catch them out. A full review of the Revenge of the Sith wasn't published until the Summer 2005 (June) issue despite the film having already been out for the best part of a month. Arguably, you would have expected the magazine to feature the film right on or just before the release - a problem that they blame on studio scheduling patterns. This is a problem compensated better by Empire who feature reviews online inbetween publications - something Total Film could consider if they were really desperate.
In terms of the quality of reviews, they're pretty spot on - I would generally only be able to attempt to emulate the style and structure because the authors have struck the perfect balance of wit, information and opinion and they never give anything away. Total Film is guaranteed to be "spoiler-free". Film of the Month is always a dubious title, if only because their film of the month isn't always their favourite film on release. Work that one out! The best part of the reviews in Total Film, however, is the "predicted interest curve" - a graphical representation of the running time showing whether they were Thrilled, Entertained, Nodding Off or ZZZZZ - how useful is that? Only a film that stays in the first two categories will get me to the cinema but sadly only a few of the films reviewed each month have this feature. Come on Total Fillm - do it for them all! Another reason that I generally stick with Total Film is that I tend to agree with what they think - though some dubious recommendations have been made. The editorial team STILL refuse to back down from their four-star rating of Star Wars Episode One and everyone knows that film was crap.
After the reviews and then the charts, the main features start - a topical selection of on-set features of new films, interviews with actors/directors and historical reviews of a certain actor or director's work. Although they're well presented and put together, these things hold only a limited interest for me, purely because what famous people think or say doesn't really bother me. I do, however, love the chart features, which include a themed run down of the top 40 or 50 "somethings" - musicians in films, best scraps, best screen deaths and best villains have all cropped up. Normally, number 50 is left for the public to decide and each letters page will be a deluge of nominations for the previous issue's number 50. Things are getting really nerdy now, right?
Lounge is a sub-section of the magazine devoted to the latest DVD releases. It's a strange section given that normally the film review will be different to that originally published in the magazine. Information on the extra features can be sparse and almost an afterthought proving that films are still why people buy DVDs - not features. Float or Flush is a hilarious appraisal of the latest horror releases - most of which get flushed straight down the toilet and rightfully so. For the ultimate in nerdiness try "Answer Me" - a monthly featurette with questions from readers about who played the chief Ewok and other such information. It's essential reading.
Things I like?
Quality of writing - always entertaining and easy to pick up and put down.
Variety of news - always get the latest gossip.
Advertisements are at least related to the subject matter and don't dominate the whole magazine.
And the Predicted Interest Curve - nerd-movie man and his nerd-mates now argue over their relative curve after the latest screening of a new film. Sheesh.
Things I don't like?
Free gifts - I'm not 12, so a poster of Batman does little for me.
Advertorials - reviews dressed up like reviews when in fact the studio paid for them.
Masculinity - Total Film clearly believes its entire audience is male, heterosexual and gagging for Jessica Alba. Try and bear in mind some of us are gay or female - I'm not averse to totty, you just need to recalibrate the tottometer.
The mark of a good magazine is how many times it gets read. Every issue of Total Film gets read over and over again - I'm surprised that the print hasn't come off some of the pages now. I'm, like, totally addicted to this magazine!
Let me admit something. Something that will probably get me expelled from this dear site. I've never bought a copy of the magazine I'm about to review. Therefore, I can never really have consumed it. Fortunately, there are higher goals in this world. So, having not spent £3.00 on this delightful glossy monthly, I will promptly review it. Total Film is a truly great magazine. That is said up front, just in the hope that either my name will be printed on some testimonial page, or the nice people who publish it will send me a lifetime subscription as long as I keep this sort of thing up. But seriously, it is a great magazine. Everybody loves films, right? Even people who don't really go to movies love movies. And Total Film is brimming with movies. Lots of lovely movies. And interviews with celebrities. Some of them even seem like nice, normal people. Okay, so, with a few exceptions, I wouldn't want most of them over for a cup of tea and a chocolate biscuit, but it's nice to see celebrities treated relatively normally. Just as a science magazine would treat a scientist or a sports magazine would treat a sportsman. Total Film have the usual sort of thing you expect from a modern, hip magazine. Lots of nice features, articles and all the silly bits they pay typewriter manacled hacks like me to write while under the command of some pie-faced journalistic dominatrix with a penchant for non-matching socks and novelty Christmas singles to cough up. In the edition I have beside me, they have a lovely picture of Spiderman on the front cover. Okay, well, it's not Spiderman - there is no such thing - but it's pretty all the same. And inside, they make some wonderful jibes about Hulk Hogan's movie career (the highlight of which is either Mr. Nanny or Suburban Commando). They are also tastefully cynical about movies. Let me explain. Go to any cinema in Britain (or look on the web) and when the tr
ailers come on, just think about the idea. Many times it sucks. I mean, take a look at the trailer for The Day After Tommorow. Yes, it's a box office success. But that doesn't mean it doesn't suck. Look at the new Thunderbirds Are Go movie that's being touted in the cinemas (or at least it was when I saw the delightfully excellent Harry Potter Trois last night). That's going to suck. It'll be succesful, but it'll suck. How do you know? Gut feeling. And the reviewers for this mag seem to have a very similar gut feeling as mine on a lot of the movies. Hollywood is an evil place. Not, as the moralists would say, because it's full of pornographers and people who say things that just aren't acceptable in polite company. But because they make things that suck and inflict them on our culture. Magazines like TF have a great job to play - to play Devil's Advocate towards sucky ideas. And they do it wonderfully. Minimal celebrity worship, a healthy cynical attitude towards the film industry and a love for great films. All that adds up to a decent magazine. Whether it's worth £3 or not is dependent on two things. First of all, whether or not you like IMDb. I love IMDb, and am fairly sure that a film magazine is redundant for my tastes (I just don't go to that many movies). And second of all, how much you love movies. If you love movies more than I do - which isn't difficult - you'll probably enjoy this mag. If you love movies as much as I do, you'll enjoy this mag when somebody gives you a free copy. Which, if the publishers are wise, they'll be doing about now.
TOTAL FILM Price £3.00 Monthly Current subscription offer: 12 issues for £24 Subscribe by Direct Debit and get Pulp Fiction collectors edition DVD free (probably expired by now -check before subscribing) I am a die hard movie fan, and by that I don't just mean that I enjoy watching Bruce Willis running up and down skyscrapers/airports/New York, but that I love films, especially good ones. Being a generally very busy person, however I don't have the time, or indeed the money to go and see every film that comes out and so I turn to my favourite guide, Total Film It has quite simply got the reviews that most accurately describe all the good and bad points of a film and also relate the film to other films in it's genre. Aside from the usual text of the review there are two other features that I find especially useful 1) See this if you liked.... Where the reviewer lists three films that bear a relation to the film under review.. 2) Predicted interest curve... Which categorises how interested you are likely to be at all stages of the movie from 'Thrilled' to 'Zzzzzzz'. These are a really good laugh and are sometimes employed to very humorous effect ( e.g. the Spiderman predicted interest curve looked like a web!) The overall rating comes in the familiar out of 5 stars system.... But this is not all..... Total Film doesn't just contain reviews oh no there are articles such as -Celebrity Interviews -The Story behind the making of... -DVD and Film Book reviews -Soundtrack reviews -A Quiz -Rough Cut - this deals with movies in the making and rumours, celebrity news, box office charts, a reader Q&A section -Blockbuster Previews -The Abridged Script - their backpage feature where a famous film is put through the grinder of abridgement in a humorous way. This section is usually quite cynical but
good for a few giggles. The sheer volume as well as the content is also impressive. In the October 2002 issue there are 170pages of which only 40 were ads ( almost all film related ads too) leaving 130 pages of content. Some people will chant 'Empire' at this review and maybe a few years ago I would have done too, but in my opinion Empire has gone down the tubes a bit while Total Film keeps getting better and better. Empire seems to sell out when reviewing big movies rather than being honest (did anyone really think Attack of the Clones deserved 5 stars as i got in Empire, btw Total Film gave it 3 I think), and for a guy on a budget with little time to spare honest reviewing wins out every day!
I have been with total film since its first issue and I still love it and subscribe to it. If you like your films and can never decide which to go and see or rent then this is the magazine for you. It is very easy to read, I have never disagreed with any of the reviews and as such have been to see a few films that I wouldn't have normally and really enjoyed them after reading about them in the magazine. There are easy to find sections for the latest movie reviews, DVD and video releases all giving you a easy to read review that isn't too long winded but never missing anything you would like to know either. If you don't want to read a review they all have a great 4 line summary at the bottom with an overall rating which is easy and quick and straight to the point. They also have smaller sections reviewing computer games and hardware (teles, DVD players etc.) all very useful. The magazine has also got a less serious side to it with a great news and gossip section. They always have some great interviews each month with top movie celebs including actors and directors etc. They have the usual comps and free gifts that other mags have but the best part is the subscription option. If you subscribe you get each months mag delivered to your door at a significantly reduced price and usually before it's out in the shops. In summary if you want to know about the latest films and don't like things being taked too seriously then this is the monthly mag for you.
Introduction ~~ Total Film and Empire are probably the two most popular and widely available film magazines in England. Empire has been going the longest, (for as long as I can remember) and Total Film has been now going several years. Both magazines include cinema reviews, videos to rent and buy, DVD’s, information on up-and-coming films and interviews with actors, directors, etc. I usually buy Total Film but have bought Empire a few times and still tend to buy it if there’s nothing good on Total Film. The Reviews ~~ Well considering you buy these mags to find out what to see at the flicks or to decide what film to rent or buy this bit is very important. I cannot really say which magazine has better reviews as all of the reviews are wrote by different people. Most of the reviews in the two magazines are high quality and useful but some are just full of irrelevant drivel. And some of the top members on Dooyoo’s film reviews are easily better than reviews in these two magazines. What I think makes Total Film win on reviews is that they still include lots of detail on less well-known and unusual films. Empire tends to only devote one or two paragraphs to these less well-known films and purely concentrates on Hollywood blockbusters. Value for money ~~ Both magazines contain roughly 150 pages and unfortunately both have lots of adverts. Total Film costs £2.90 and Empire costs £3. So not much difference in price but I would certainly say Total Film is better value for money as it frequently includes a freebie. Though if its just reviews your after both mags are bad value for money when you can get high quality and accurate reviews on a huge variety of films on Dooyoo. Other bits about the magazine ~~ I personally prefer the layout and style of Empire though I suppose it’s a matter of personal opinion really. Empire is plainer and simpler and it is easier to be able to just pick up Emp
ire anywhere inside and start reading. With Total Film you have to rely more on the contents. One thing I like about Total Film is their coverage on unknown filmmakers and unknown films. And they include lots of information and advice for budding wanabee film directors. Even if your not considering making a film this section still makes good reading. Both mags interview big, well-known famous faces – British and American stars. Total Film also reviews film websites, film hardware, videogames and film related books. Empire also reviews all of these except videogames. Quite useful really getting reviews on all of those as well as films. Subscribing ~~ Like all magazines Total Film and Empire are desperate to get subscribers. Both do this by offering very competitive subscription rates. At the moment though if your looking at subscribing to one of the two, Empire will give you the best deal. Subscribing to Empire will give you a £1 off ticket at ABC and Odeon cinemas and U571 on DVD or video for free. Just a shame really that U571 was totally inaccurate and based entirely on lies. Though that’s totally irrelevant… Overall ~~ Both magazines are good but if you are thinking of buying one of the two I would recommend you buy Total Film. Though as I said earlier if its just reviews you want your frankly wasting your time with Dooyoo and loads of other reviews all over the net. However if your bored and need something to read I strongly recommend both, there’s quite a lot in them and there’s lots in to interest anyone remotely interested in films. Thanks for reading
I have been buying Total Film magazine since day one. I remember it well; I walked into a WH Smiths in a small town called Droitwich Spa when I noticed a mag with Mel Gibson's face plastered all over it and a big sticker saying ONLY £1 (Normal price £2.50). That was Feb 1997, I've been buying it ever since. It is now £3 and still well worth the money. I was a real collector of this magazine, always keeping each mag in pristine condition. I remember not letting my dad cut out a voucher for Jurassic Park because it would mean defacing the mag. I gave this up when Total Film decided one month they would bring out the magazine advertising X-men with four different covers. Bastards! I knew not buying all four would mean my collection would be incomplete, so now I can’t be bothered. Over the years Total Film has given away loads of freebies on the front of its magazines ranging from film scripts, posters, cinema tickets, music cds, and film trailer cds. It’s always nice to have something free; it’s a pity these extras are few and far between these days. The magazine itself is brilliant; I very rarely disagree with any of the reviews. The magazine reviews films at the cinema, DVDs (region 1 and 2), videos to rent and buy, hardware, books, soundtracks, and multimedia, each with its own recommendations. All the top cinema releases get a predicted interest curve that shows the best and worst parts of the movie. There is also a film of the month (This month it is Shrek). Total film magazine makes interesting reading for the average film buff; I regularly read the mag from start to finish. The reader’s letters are usually funny; RoughCuts is very interesting with movie news, pre-production, rumours, film charts and loads more. There are lots of interviews and features with people in movies that are out right now, and Reel Screen, which is all about filmmaking. I nearly forgot the most important par
t of the magazine, the film quiz, which is great, but recently started putting a spot the difference as the first question. WHY? I recommend this magazine to everyone who likes film. Go buy it now and write me a comment on your thoughts.
OK so all we can see thats new in Total Film is the headers for the Contents page and Roughcuts-well I can at least-if anyone else knows of more let me know as I'll probably go right past them!!!. But this should'nt take us away form the fact that Total Film is by far the most superior film mag in the country, after beeing in the states for a year I really did miss out on Total Film and was pleased to see it when I got back, I mean it's got everything a film fan needs-news reviews and previews, lawsuits!!, fantastic interviews with not just stars and directors but also writers, producers and (maybe one day) a gaffer! The reviewers are all mostly unbiased and review pretty much everything thats due for release unlike some rivals who just review the big films of the month, the DVD section too offers much info which being a DVD owner I like to know whats what on the discs i'm buying before getting them and realising theres no features on it!!!! but more importantly I agree with their reviews 9 out of 10 times so I pretty much know what to expect when I go to the cinema. The Independants Day section give us a real insight to indie flicks and what to be looking for in the comming monthes. The freebies and specials that we get every now and again are well worth while aswell-espially when they're things like CD-ROMs and DVD'd although i've yet to look at the new disc this month:( TotalFilm just gives me a reason to go into WH Smiths once a month as its all i look forward to in te magazine biz-quite sad really is'nt it!!!!! PS if any wants my 2for 1 UCI pass give us a shout on ICQ as ther'es no UCI's by me!!!!
I started buying total film when it was at Issue No. 14, its now at Issue 54, so it must have done something right to keep me buying them right? Right! From the first time I bought it, i've always found it to be very funny, even the reviews always have a touch of humor in them, although remaining appropriately serious at the same time. And to the reviews; I have always found them to be unbiased, funny whilst serious at the same time, and always and opinion I can trust. In fact I know trust the reviews so much on Total Film, that even if i've never seen the film they are reviewing or never heard of it and they give it a good rating and i'm interested in it, i'll buy it such is my confidence that it will be good because Total Film said so. And they haven't failed me yet. Asides from just reviews, they have a "Rough Cut" section showing all the rumors, upcoming films etc. A preview section with about a page on each film in production. A Letter's page, where readers get to write their views etc. Interviews with stars, DVD reviews, Videos To buy reviews, Videos To rent reviews, Book Reviews, Soundtrack Reviews, Quizzes! There really is a lot in the magazine, good value for money as also sometimes they give away free things such as posters or CDs. A magazine I would recommend as the best film magazine out, if you don't sunscribe to it already, then do it!
Total Film is now one of the largest and most popular film review magazines in circulation within the UK. When I first discovered it a couple of years ago it was a breath of fresh air in an otherwise stale market. They were prepared to be totally honest, objective and impartial with the reviews and didn’t pander to film distributors or promoters in any way. I have now been a subscriber to Total Film for over two years. I receive my monthly edition courtesy of the postman arriving on my doormat more or less at the same time the magazine hits the newsagent’s shelves. They have various subscription offers on from time to time. My last renewal set me back £20 for the coming year. Subscriptions now cost £25 yearly, which is a saving of £9.60 on the cover price (£2.80 per issue). Total Film is produced by Future Publishing (who are also responsible for the spin-off Total DVD - a more inferior spin off). If like me you love films then this is an essential monthly purchase. The magazine has developed over the years to include cinema, video and DVD film releases and reviews. Basically it is a film addict’s handbook, with a comprehensive review section each month covering every film on release or due for release. Where Total Film beats the competition is on the style, layout and presentation of the magazine. It is eye catching and easy to read. The typefaces used are large enough to read comfortably without having to squint and they don’t over utilise exclamation marks as some other magazines are prone to do. A typical Total Film magazine will include the following elements: - Reader’s letters; - Latest movie news and Behind the scenes rumours; - Pre-Production News; - Actor/Actress/Director profiles; - Major film features and reviews; - Interviews; - New Cinema Release review section; - New Video Release review section (to rent and buy); - New DVD Release rev
iew section; - Reviews of movie related books and music soundtracks; - Spotlight on independent filmmakers; - Movie quizzes. For example, in the December 2000 issue they have an interview with Richard Attenborough, profiles on Uma Thurman and Joaquin Phoenix, and a feature on Quentin Tarantino (where has he been recently??). Occasionally they throw in gifts such as posters (I always bin them), screenplay books (good but rare) and music CDs (best movie theme tunes etc …). The December issue had another collection of posters so they went straight into the bin. Someone must like them but not me I’m afraid. The monthly issue normally hits the shops in the last couple of days of the calendar month, so the January edition will be out anytime now. If you love films and you haven’t read this magazine before then I highly recommend that you try out Total Film. In my opinion it is far superior to others out there right now (are you listening Empire?).
Total Film published by Future has information on up and coming films as well as ones just out at the cinema, or just out to rent/buy. Total Film also sometimes looks at films from a certain year, which is useful. What lets Total Film down is that it has fewer freebies than Empire; with Empire there are quite often freebies. Freebies with Total Film are rare. The website for total film is also very disappointing. Total Films rival Empire beats Total Film on the website, but you don't pay for the website so you can't really moan.
Total Film is a truely great magazine. It is not afraid to say what it feels about films despite what the general public may think of it. The articles are interesting and there is always something juicy to get your teeth into every month. What is also good about this magazine is the things they give away free with it. There is usually something, and it is always interesting. This is definitely a much better magazine than Empire and with any luck then soon it should topple Empire off its place as the best selling film magazine.