I killed At The Movies. The dueling critics format outlived Siskel, the more natural on-air presence of the two. So why didn’t it outlive Ebert?
based on Roger Ebert’s memoir
, by Hoop Dreams’ director Steve James
, premiered at Sundance
in January and is now rolling out in theaters
and on demand
Today is the 100th birthday
of Raymond Nicholas Kienzle
, better known as Nicholas Ray
. The seminal Hollywood-outcast
behind Rebel Without a Cause
, Bigger Than Life
, Bitter Victory
and the hallucinatory Western Johnny Guitar
made intensely emotional films about isolated people, often infused with profound desperation
and a sense of the nightmarish
. Francois Truffaut dubbed him "the poet of nightfall," while Jean-Luc Godard simply declared that "the cinema is Nicholas Ray." He studied architecture under Frank Lloyd Wright, mentored Jim Jarmusch
and let Wim Wenders film him as he was dying of cancer
. Bob Dylan even wrote a hit song
about one of his movies
. [more inside]
, Ebert Presents At the Movies
will begin airing full episodes of Gene Siskel and Roger Ebert’s original PBS show
, Sneak Previews
. Taking a break from reviewing movies
, co-hosts Christy Lemire and Ignatiy Vishnevetsky will introduce and discuss the episodes. Hungry for more classic Siskel & Ebert
? Try the invaluable, Ebert-approved SiskelandEbert.org
, a growing archive
of home-taped episodes of Sneak Previews
and At the Movies
. [more inside]
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]
Dear M. Night Shyamalan,
Sincerely, Omer Mozaffar.
Film editor and sound designer extraordinaire Walter Murch writes to Roger Ebert
regarding a fundamental conundrum of current 3D technology: "It is like tapping your head and rubbing your stomach at the same time."
: "In the last year or two, the world's cinema has become even more available. This instant, sitting right here, I can choose to watch virtually any film you can think of via Netflix
, the Asia/Pacific Film Archive
, Google Video
. At Europa Film Treasures
, I can watch films none of us has heard of." Ebert on how the accessibility of film online is making for more and better film criticism from around the world "..by their early 20s, Wael Khairy of Cairo and Seongyong Cho of Seoul had seen every significant film ever made." "The best single film criticism site is arguably davidbordwell.net
". [more inside]
, his writing
, and his battle with cancer
are hardly foreign topics here, but this in-depth interview/profile from Esquire
about Ebert's illness, loss of speech, and late career burst of creativity is worth a read.
Death To Film Critics! Hail The CelebCult!
"A newspaper film critic is like a canary in a coal mine. When one croaks, get the hell out. The lengthening toll of former film critics acts as a poster child for the self-destruction of American newspapers, which once hoped to be more like the New York Times and now yearn to become more like the National Enquirer. We used to be the town crier. Now we are the neighborhood gossip."
Roger Ebert to return to writing movie reviews.
Love him, hate him, disagree with him, worship him, whatever, but Pulitzer Prize winning movie critic Roger Ebert, after several operations that have left him without the power of speech, will return to writing movie reviews shortly after his 10th Annual movie festival, Ebertfest.
Me, personally, I'm happy as heck about this.
In Scenes from an Overrated Career
, film critic Jonathan Rosenbaum
writes a rare New York Times op-ed arguing that the work of recently deceased director Ingmar Bergman
is overvalued compared to Carl Theodor Dreyer
and Robert Bresson
. Both Roger Ebert
and David Bordwell
respond to Rosenbaum's takedown of Bergman, while Rosenbaum writes a brief eulogy blog post
on Bergman. Meanwhile, another blogger discusses how Antonioni and Bergman hated each other
despite recent obits that have paired them together.
"I ain’t a pretty boy no more"
Roger Ebert is determined to attend his Overlooked Film Festival
We spend too much time hiding illness. There is an assumption that I must always look the same. I hope to look better than I look now. But I'm not going to miss my festival.[via]
In 30 years of going to Cannes
, Roger Ebert has witnessed Francis Ford Coppola suffering from post-Apocolypse insanity and learned Jerry Lewis's secret for preventing riots--but the most interesting character he ever met there was a loudmouthed, fast-talking Texan named Silver Dollar Baxter with an uncanny gift for bluffing...
Roger Ebert's new web site,
launched by the Chicago Sun-Times, includes
nearly 10,000 pieces of the newly svelte
critic's writing, including more than 5,500 film reviews
dating back to 1967. Love him or hate
him, that's quite a (free) resource. [via TV Barn
Roger Ebert salutes Buster Keaton
in an article in which he says the Great Stone Face is "the greatest actor-director in the history of the movies." High praise indeed! Any other Keaton fans out there? (This is from the Chicago Sun-times--I don't believe registration is required.) And if you want to see Buster smiling--sort of--here's a picture of him with one-time movie partner Fatty Arbuckle
After seeing Steven Spielberg's "Minority Report," my mind was churning with amazement and curiosity. Talking to Spielberg and his star, Tom Cruise, I found myself not an interviewer but simply a moviegoer, talking the way you do when you walk out of a movie that blindsides you with its brilliance.
Roger Ebert savages "John Q." for general dumbness
yet agrees with the message: we should have socialized health care. Steve MacLaughlin, however, details how the film greatly misrepresents medical and health care reality
just to make its point -- and he fears that Joe Popcorn is going to absorb it as political education. Given that the film is set in the present day, rather than some fictional dystopian future, is this artistic license or irresponsible oversight? Perhaps libelous propaganda?