It’s two days old (i.e., on par with the Dead Sea Scrolls), but check out this Dave Germain 4.4 AP story about distributors deciding not to show more and more movies — 11 haven’t been advance-screened this year, compared to two that had been hidden from the press at this time in ’05. It’s one of those “this is unfortunately the way things are” stories — a photo of the current malaise over the steady degradation of movie quality. Am I worried about not getting to see stuff? Naaah…you just have to set aside time each day to call your publicist friends and politely badger them into inviting you to this or that. But it’s hard to get the energy up to go to a lot of the advance screenings that are being held. I had to force myself to se On A Clear Day — I could smell the determination of this film to lift my spirits a mile off. We’re in the early April dog days, and every night before leaving for a screening a little voice says to me, “You don’t really want to see this thing…admit it.” You know they’re not going to show you The Benchwarmers or Phat Girlz and any of the other obvious-shite movies, but who wants to see Take The Lead or Hard Candy or Scary Movie 4, even? (The one knockout bit is Craig Bierko doing his Tom Cruise couch-jumping thing, but you have to wait for the end of the film to see it.) The Sentinel (20th Century Fox, 4.21) is one of those Washington, D.C.-based “who’s the real bad guy?” movies in the vein of No Way Out that might not be too bad…it’s obviously one of those heavily-pumped formula jobs…but they’re a little hesitant about screening it earlier than opening week. I’m just waiting for this season to end and for the mid-April festivals (San Francisco, Worldfest), the early summer flicks and the Cannes Film Festival to come into view.