Former New York Times film critic Elvis Mitchell has had his share abrupt exits and non-departures since the paper named him Janet Maslin's replacement in 1999. This past December he was dropped as co-host for the planned reboot of Roger Ebert at the Movies. In 2004, he spent a semester lecturing at Harvard. In 2005, he accepted a job running Sony's New York production office but never reported to work. He was also a no-show for a gig he accepted at the Los Angeles Times. But even by Mitchell's own standards, the circumstances surrounding his termination as co-chief film critic at Movieline this past weekend were odd and abrupt.
Deadline's Nikki Finke first reported Saturday that Mitchell was out after three months on the job following a "company investigation into the circumstances surrounding Mitchell's recent review of Summit Entertainment's Source Code." Finke's article infers the "circumstance" is whether or not Mitchell actually attended a February 24 critic's screening of the film, after his review referenced Jeffrey Wright's character smoking a pipe, a detail that was included in early drafts but left out of the final cut. Source Code director Duncan Jones criticized Mitchell and Movieline for the error on his Twitter account. According to Finke, Mitchell "told editors that he was at the screening and that it was all a misunderstanding and that he would provide a written explanation" but was fired anyway.