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Abuse of Weakness

An examination of power, greed, emotional manipulation and simple need that is gripping and powerful to behold even if you don't know the story behind…

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The Expendables 3

If you’re over 40, this is your “The Avengers.” As slavishly devoted to the old action films of Sly and company as any Marvel Universe…

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Ballad of Narayama

"The Ballad of Narayama" is a Japanese film of great beauty and elegant artifice, telling a story of startling cruelty. What a space it opens…

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Monsieur Hire

Patrice Leconte's "Monsieur Hire" is a tragedy about loneliness and erotomania, told about two solitary people who have nothing else in common. It involves a…

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* This filmography is not intended to be a comprehensive list of this artist’s work. Instead it reflects the films this person has been involved with that have been reviewed on this site.

#71 July 13, 2011

Marie writes: Once upon a time when I was little, I spent an afternoon playing "Winne the Pooh" outside. I took my toys into the backyard and aided by a extraordinary one-of-a-kind custom-built device requiring no batteries (aka: artistic imagination) pretended that I was playing with my pals - Winnie the Pooh and Tigger too - and that there was honey nearby; the bumble bees buzzing in the flowerbeds, only too happy to participate in the illusion. And although it didn't have a door, we too had a tree - very much like the one you see and from which hung a tire. A happy memory that, and which came flooding back upon catching sight of these - the animation backgrounds from the new Winnie the Pooh; thank God I was born when I was. :-)

(click to enlarge images)

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Days and nights of bottles

May Contain Spoilers

In the biochemistry class during my naive undergraduate years, the professor jokingly said the capability of metabolizing alcohol depends on our genetic makeup. Thanks to the variations in the genes, some people can produce more enzymes or more active enzymes to take care of alcohol in their body. They can be heavy drinkers, or the ones less susceptible to the hazards caused by alcoholism than their fellow drunks.

That may explain the existence of Charles Bukowski (1920-1994), the "laureate of American lowlifes" who lived a relatively long life despite many days and nights of bottles and women at the bars. As Stephen King says in his insightful book "On Writing," writing usually has no business with drinking ("Hemingway and Fitzgerald didn't drink because they were creative, alienated, or morally weak. They drank because it's what alkies are wired up to do."). Sometime there are exceptions like Bukowski. Drinking and writing always came together to him, and he had no problem with that.

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Movie Answer Man (07/30/2000)

Q. Homage alert! Did you notice the striking similarities between Amy Heckerling's "Loser" and Billy Wilder's "The Apartment"? The skeletal plots are identical: Nerdy guy has a crush on a woman who likes him but who, in turn, has a crush on an authority figure who's taking advantage of her. Beyond that, there are several scenes in "Loser" that echo Wilder's film: (1) In "The Apartment," Shirley MacLaine stands up Jack Lemmon at a performance of "The Music Man." In "Loser," Jason Biggs is stood up at a concert. (2) In "The Apartment," a good doctor pumps Shirley MacLaine's stomach and gives a warning to Lemmon, who pretends to be her boyfriend. In "Loser," a good doctor pumps Mena Suvari's stomach and gives a warning to Biggs who pretends to be Suvari's boyfriend. (3) In "The Apartment," Lemmon's unsavory superiors party at his place and he has to clean up afterwards. In "Loser," Bigg's unsavory roommates party at his place and he has to clean up afterwards. (4) In "The Apartment," MacLaine stays at Lemmon's place to recuperate and he offers to cook for her. In "Loser," Suvari stays at Biggs' place and he offers to cook for her. (5) At the end of "The Apartment," Fred MacMurry complains to MacLaine how Lemmon "threw that big, fat promotion in my face." At the end of "Loser," Greg Kinnear complains how Biggs' threw a big A grade back in his face. (6) Both films end with the heroine finally wising up and rushing back to the hero's apartment/animal hospital quarters for a happy ending. Are you as shocked/impressed as I am? (Joe Baltake, film critic, Sacramento Bee)

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