A 20-minute preview reel of Oliver Stone‘s World Trade Center (Paramount, 8.11) will be screened at the Cannes Film Festival in mid-May. Of course, a good editor can make almost any film look pretty good if all he/she has to do is show a “taster” reel. Columbia once invited the press to see a short reel of Roland Emmerich‘s The Patriot (’00), which was mostly taken from the film’s first act, which was the best part of the film, and pretty much everyone came out saying, “Looks pretty good!” Then everyone saw the full-length version and realized they’d been had. Less than a year later I was shown a taster reel from Charles Shyer‘s Affair of the Necklace (’01), and the costumes and the dialogue and everyone else seemed so quality-level that I came away thinking it might be a close relation of Barry Lyndon. Fooled again! And then Harvey Weinstein and the Miramax hustlers showed that short reel of Gangs of New York at the 2002 Cannes Film Festival, and once again everyone said, “Great footage…very promising!” And then the movie came out in December ’02 and everyone went, “Hey…what happened?” So we’ve been burned three times now with this hat trick, and I’m frankly suspicious, at this stage, of anyone trying generate heat on a big feature by showing a 20-minute reel. Wouldn’t you be, in my position?