The following conversation took place in 2005 in front of an audience at the Telluride film festival in Colorado, after a screening of Martin Scorsese’s documentary, Bob Dylan: No Direction Home.
Sight & Sound's prestigious Greatest Films of All Time poll is conducted only once per decade. The latest edition polled 846 film critics (up from 144 in the 2002 edition) and 358 directors. The results were revealed earlier today and, for the first time since 1962, Citizen Kane has not topped either the critics' or the directors' poll. It has been unseated as the Greatest Film of All Time by Vertigo and Tokyo Story. The magazine has also revealed the Critics' Top 50. [more inside]
Whenever Roger claimed to have the superior intellect, Gene would say, “Aren’t you the guy who wrote Beyond the Valley of the Dolls?”
Enemies, A Love Story, an oral history of Gene Siskel and Roger Ebert that first appeared in the premiere issue of The Chicagoan, has been published today as an eBook single by Now and Then Reader. Slate has a lengthy free excerpt, which includes an amusing anecdotal report that the two men began every taping with a game of patty cake. Writer Josh Schollmeyer, executive editor of Playboy, based the 25,000-word article on interviews with 36 participants and observers of the two men who "essentially invented televised film criticism." (Via)
Reports suggest that director Terrence Malick's recent film The Tree of Life, starring popular actor Brad Pitt, is experiencing a 5-10% walkout rate. Are misconceptions about the film driving audience members out of movie theaters in anger and bafflement? (previously)
For Roger Ebert, it's a prayer that made him "more alert to the awe of existence." For Rober Koehler, it's a kitschy New Age con. For Richard Brody, it perfectly captures the essence of a generation by depicting a character thinking "back to the musings and fantasies of childhood, which are the product of a wondrous and fantastic view of science formed by popular-science books for children and by the commercial artists whose illustrations adorned them." For Stephanie Zacharek, it's "a gargantuan work of pretension." For Ignatiy Vishnevetsky, it's "a creation myth in the guise of a crypto-autobiography" that invents a universe of its own only to destroy it. For J. Hoberman, it's lifeless and dull, "essentially a religious work and, as such, may please the director's devotees, cultists, and apologists." It spent thirty years in development, three in editing and, yes, it contains dinosaurs. The Tree of Life, written and directed by famously reclusive Zoolander fan and "JD Salinger of American movies" Terrence Malick , won the Palme d'Or at this year's Cannes Film Festival. Tomorrow, it comes out in the United States. [more inside]
Roger Ebert is returning to television: "'This is the rebirth of a dream,' said Ebert, who partnered in recent years with Richard Roeper before cancer robbed him of the ability to speak. He said he will act as co-producer and employ a computer voice to appear on every episode with segments titled Roger's Office devoted to classic, overlooked and new films." (Ebert, previously on MeFi.)
As I write this, I realize I am about to do something that, for the most part, is never done. I am going to criticize a critic. Filmmakers are never supposed to respond to a critic about their work. It's an unspoken rule of engagement. But in this case, I feel compelled. [more inside]
The Village Voice and IndieWire have both put out their dueling film critic's polls this year, with Wall-E and Flight of the Red Balloon topping the lists, respectively. [Previously] [more inside]
Lorenzo Semple, 84, has been a screenwriter for more than 50 years; his credits include "Papillion," "The Parallax View" and "Three Days of the Condor." Marcia Nasatir, 81, is a longtime agent and production executive, was the first female VP of production at United Artists, and produced films like "The Big Chill" and "Hamburger Hill." Together, they are the "Reel Geezers," offering irresistible film reviews on YouTube. To wit: Superbad, Iron Man, Sex and the City, Lars and the Real Girl, No Country for Old Men, There Will Be Blood. [more inside]
On Tuesday, A.V. Club critic Nathan Rabin's reassessment of the rabidly ambitious Perfume: The Story of a Murderer marked the culmination of his Year of Flops project, a reviewing marathon of 104 commercial and critical failures. Here's the index of the films, sorted into Elizabethtown-derived categories of good but luckless movies, ordinary losers, and disasters of mythic proportions. [more inside]
Indiewire put out their second annual film critic's poll recently. There Will Be Blood tops the list, with Zodiac, No Country for Old Men, Syndromes and a Century, and 4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days following behind. [more inside]
'In defense of film critics' posits that 'Film critics [unlike food critics, etc] are expected to be cheerleaders.' I guess we're not supposed to think it's odd that the piece was written by paper's resident film critic. He does ask at least one good question, though: why have so many truly awful [and poorly reviewed ] films done so well at the the box office this year?
Time Mag's 100 All Time Best Flicks Compiled by their OWN critics, of course. Hence no Kevin Smith masterpieces mentioned. The List also fails to mention some of the most popular movies of all time. It can't be right if it doesn't include the Wizard of Oz.
SPOILER ALERT: There's a movie out now that, like The Crying Game, depends for much of its impact on a plot twist. Are critics honor-bound not to blab that development to readers? (More Inside, including, duh, spoilers)
It's not quite fresh, according to mainstream reviewers polled by Rotten Tomatoes. But Christian Bloggers feel very differently. As one reports, I went into the movie expecting to be moved, but never to the extent that I actually was. But both sides seems to agree the R rating should be taken very seriously.
Critics Gone Wild. Rarely do entertainment journalists have as fine an occasion to cut loose and shower their barbs as the opening of Gigli: "I fought the urge to punch someone once it finally ended." Not that anyone's surprised! Enjoy, if you get a kick out of scalding prose.
The Bottom Feeders. Are these truly the 5 worst movie critics in America? Personally, Ebert gives me migraines and Joel Siegel makes me want to claw out my eyes. Who's your most hated movie critic?
As to be expected the dumb critics are ripping Lara Croft to shreds; I mean really tearing it a new orifice. Which means of course I must see this film. Major argument against? A hack plot designed only to engender scenes of mindless violence. Duh. It's not supposed to have emotional impact. It's just supposed to be fun. Did any of these critics actually play the game? What frightens me though is that Roger Ebert enjoyed it... I'm so torn...
Columbia's movies suck so bad they had to make up their own critic! Newsweek has discovered that a "gushy" critic who has been quoted in Columbia's movie ads for almost a year is an invention of their advertising department.