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Jackie

There are two movies in "Jackie." One of these movies is just OK. The other is exceptional. The first one keeps undermining the second.

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Things to Come is the detailed tapestry of one woman’s life, as she moves through an important transition.

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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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* 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.

The death of a young paparazzo

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Night on a highway somewhere. A hat and a shoe. In its very simplicity the photograph signals it has some hidden significance.

The caption explains that the two objects on Sepulveda Blvd. in Los Angeles are at the spot where a young man named Chris Guerra was struck by a SUV and killed at about 6 p.m. New Year's Day while trying to cross the four-lane highway.

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100 Great Moments in the Movies

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Roger Ebert / April 23, 1995

For the centennial of cinema, 100 great moments from the movies:

Clark Gable in "Gone With the Wind":

"Frankly, my dear, I don't give a damn."

Buster Keaton standing perfectly still while the wall of a house falls over upon him; he is saved by being exactly placed for an open window.

Charlie Chaplin being recognized by the little blind girl in "City Lights."

The computer Hal 9000 reading lips, in "2001: a Space Odyssey."

The singing of "La Marseillaise" in "Casablanca."

Snow White kissing Dopey Bashful on the head.

John Wayne putting the reins in his mouth in "True Grit" and galloping across the mountain meadow, weapons in both hands.

Jimmy Stewart in "Vertigo," approaching Kim Novak across the room, realizing she embodies all of his obsessions - better than he knows.

The early film experiment proving that horses do sometimes have all four hoofs off the ground.

Gene Kelly singin' in the rain.

Samuel L. Jackson and John Travolta discuss what they call Quarter Pounders in France, in "Pulp Fiction."

The Man in the Moon getting a cannon shell in his eye, in the Melies film "A Voyage to the Moon."

Pauline in peril, tied to the railroad tracks.

A boy running joyously to greet his returning father, in "Sounder."

Harold Lloyd hanging from a clock face in "Safety Last."

Orson Welles smiling enigmatically in the doorway in "The Third Man."

An angel looking down sadly over Berlin, in Wim Wenders' "Wings of Desire."

The Zapruder film of the Kennedy assassination: Over and over again, a moment frozen in time.

A homesick North African, sadly telling a hooker that what he really wants is not sex but couscous, in Rainer Werner Fassbinder's "Fear Eats the Soul: Ali."

Wile E. Coyote, suspended in air.

Zero Mostel throwing a cup of cold coffee at the hysterical Gene Wilder in Mel Brooks' "The Producers," and Wilder screaming: "I'm still hysterical! Plus, now I'm wet!"

An old man all alone in his home, faced with the death of his wife and the indifference of his children, in Yasujiro Ozu's "Tokyo Story."

"Smoking." Robert Mitchum's response, holding up his cigarette, when Kirk Douglas offers him a smoke in "Out of the Past."

Marcello Mastroianni and Anita Ekberg wading in the fountain in "La Dolce Vita."

The moment in Akira Kurosawa's "High and Low" when a millionaire discovers that it was not his son who was kidnapped, but his chauffeur's son - and then the eyes of the two fathers meet.

The distant sight of people appearing over the horizon at the end of "Schindler's List."

R2D2 and C3PO in "Star Wars."

E.T. and friend riding their bicycle across the face of the moon.

Marlon Brando's screaming "Stella!" in "A Streetcar Named Desire."

Hannibal Lecter smiling at Clarise in "The Silence of the Lambs."

"Wait a minute! Wait a minute! You ain't heard nothin' yet!" The first words heard in the first talkie, "The Jazz Singer," said by Al Jolson.

Jack Nicholson trying to order a chicken salad sandwich in "Five Easy Pieces."

"Nobody's perfect": Joe E. Brown's last line in "Some Like It Hot," explaining to Tony Curtis why he plans to marry Jack Lemmon even though he is a man.

"Rosebud."

The shooting party in Renoir's "Rules of the Game."

The haunted eyes of Antoine Doinel, Truffaut's autobiographical hero, in the freeze frame that ends "The 400 Blows."

Jean-Paul Belmondo flipping a cigarette into his mouth in Godard's "Breathless."

The casting of the great iron bell in Andrei Tarkovsky's "Andrei Rublev."

"What have you done to its eyes?" Dialogue by Mia Farrow in "Rosemary's Baby."

Moses parting the Red Sea in "The Ten Commandments."

An old man found dead in a child's swing, his mission completed, at the end of Kurosawa's "Ikiru."

The haunted eyes of the actress Maria Falconetti in Dreyer's "The Passion of Joan of Arc."

The children watching the train pass by in Ray's "Pather Panchali."

The baby carriage bouncing down the steps in Eisenstein's "Battleship Potemkin."

"Are you lookin' at me?" Robert De Niro in "Taxi Driver."

"My father made them an offer they couldn't refuse:" Al Pacino in "The Godfather."

The mysterious body in the photographs in Antonioni's "Blow-Up."

"One word, Benjamin: plastics." From "The Graduate."

A man dying in the desert in von Stroheim's "Greed."

Eva Marie Saint clinging to Cary Grant's hand on Mt. Rushmore in "North by Northwest."

Astaire and Rogers dancing.

"There ain't no sanity clause!" Chico to Groucho in "A Night at the Opera."

"They call me Mr. Tibbs." Sidney Poitier in Norman Jewison's "In the Heat of the Night."

The sadness of the separated lovers in Jean Vigo's "L'Atalante."

The vast expanse of desert, and then tiny figures appearing, in "Lawrence of Arabia."

Jack Nicholson on the back of the motorcycle, wearing a football helmet, in "Easy Rider."

The geometrical choreography of the Busby Berkeley girls.

The peacock spreading its tail feathers in the snow, in Fellini's "Amarcord."

Robert Mitchum in "Night of the Hunter," with "LOVE" tattooed on the knuckles of one hand, and "HATE" on the other.

Joan Baez singing "Joe Hill" in "Woodstock."

Robert De Niro's transformation from sleek boxer to paunchy nightclub owner in "Raging Bull."

Bette Davis: "Fasten your seat belts; it's gonna be a bumpy night!" in "All About Eve."

"That spider is as big as a Buick!" Woody Allen in "Annie Hall."

The chariot race in "Ben-Hur."

Barbara Harris singing "It Don't Worry Me" to calm a panicked crowd in Robert Altman's "Nashville."

The game of Russian roulette in "The Deer Hunter."

Chase scenes: "The French Connection," "Bullitt," "Raiders of the Lost Ark," "Diva."

The shadow of the bottle hidden in the light fixture, in "The Lost Weekend."

"I coulda been a contender." Brando in "On the Waterfront."

George C. Scott's speech about the enemy in "Patton:" "We're going to go through him like crap through a goose."

Rocky Balboa running up the steps and pumping his hand into the air, with all of Philadelphia at his feet.

Debra Winger saying goodbye to her children in "Terms of Endearment."

The montage of the kissing scenes in "Cinema Paradiso."

The dinner guests who find they somehow cannot leave, in Bunuel's "The Exterminating Angel."

A knight plays chess with Death, in Bergman's "The Seventh Seal."

The savage zeal of the Klansmen in Griffith's "The Birth of a Nation."

The problem of the door that won't stay closed, in Jacques Tati's "Mr. Hulot's Holiday."

"I'm still big! It's the pictures that got small!" Gloria Swanson in "Sunset Boulevard."

"We're a long way from Kansas!" Judy Garland in "The Wizard of Oz."

An overhead shot beginning with an entrance hall, and ending with a closeup of a key in Ingrid Bergman's hand, in Hitchcock's "Notorious."

"There ain't much meat on her, but what's there is choice." Spencer Tracy about Katharine Hepburn in "Pat and Mike."

The day's outing of the mental patients in "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest."

"I always look well when I'm near death." Greta Garbo to Robert Taylor in "Camille."

"It took more than one night to change my name to Shanghai Lily." Marlene Dietrich in "Shanghai Express."

"I'm walkin' here!" Dustin Hoffman in "Midnight Cowboy."

W.C. Fields flinching as a prop man hurls handfuls of fake snow into his face in "The Fatal Glass of Beer."

"The next time you got nothin' to do, and lots of time to do it, come up and see me." Mae West in "My Little Chickadee."

"Top o' the world, Ma!" James Cagney in "White Heat."

Richard Burton exploding when Elizabeth Taylor reveals their "secret" in "Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?"

Henry Fonda getting his hair cut in "My Darling Clementine."

"Badges? We ain't got no badges. We don't need no badges. I don't have to show you any stinkin' badges!" Alfonso Bedoya to Humphrey Bogart in "The Treasure of the Sierra Madre."

"There's your dog. Your dog's dead. But there had to be something that made it move. Doesn't there?" Line from Errol Morris' "Gates of Heaven."

"Don't touch the suit!" Burt Lancaster in "Atlantic City."

Gena Rowlands arrives at John Cassavetes' house with a taxicab full of adopted animals, in "Love Streams."

"I want to live again. I want to live again. I want to live again. Please God, let me live again." Jimmy Stewart to the angel in "It's a Wonderful Life."

Burt Lancaster and Deborah Kerr embrace on the beach in "From Here to Eternity."

Mookie throws the trash can through the window of Sal's Pizzeria, in "Do the Right Thing."

"I love the smell of napalm in the morning," dialogue by Robert Duvall, in "Apocalypse Now."

"Nature, Mr. Allnut, is what we are put in this world to rise above." Katharine Hepburn to Humphrey Bogart in "The African Queen."

"Mother of mercy. Is this the end of Rico?" Edward G. Robinson in "Little Caesar."

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"What's your favorite movie?"

All movie critics are asked two inevitable questions: (1) "How many movies do you see in a week?" and (2) "What's the greatest film of all time?" Gene Siskel found that it didn't matter what his reply to (1) was: "I can say one or a dozen--it doesn't matter. The real answer is between four and ten, but they don't really care." The answer to (2), as we all know, is "Citizen Kane." When naming that film, I sometimes even joke, "That's the official answer." The most respected "best film" list in the world is the one the UK film magazine "Sight & Sound" runs every 10 years. They poll the world's directors, critics, festival heads, archivists and others. Ever since 1962, the top film has been "Kane."

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The films of our lives

I saw a movie recently in which an 80ish women has an unlikely photograph on her wall. It shows Anita Ekberg in the famous scene where she wades in the Trevi Fountain in Fellini's "La Dolce Vita." She tells her elderly boyfriend: "I looked exactly like her when I was young." Maybe she did and maybe she didn't, but the photograph struck a chord. I saw Fellini's "La Dolce Vita" for the first time in London on the summer of 1962, in a little cinema on Piccadilly Square. I taught it a shot at a time at the University of Colorado at Boulder in 1972, and again in 1982, 1992 and 2002, give or take a year. I've seen it countless other times, but those ten-yearly screenings have helped me measure the inexorable progress of time.

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"There's nothing I like less..."

View image Death... death of art... death of cinema...

"... than a bad argument for something I hold dear," said Daniel Dennett, quoted at the top of the column to the right. In this case, the argument belongs to Camille Paglia ("Art Movies, R.I.P.") and the thing I hold dear is the intoxication of seeing a great movie. She does a lovely job of capturing what the latter is like (although she puts it firmly in the past tense), but spends too much of her time simply explaining what a dinosaur she has become. (What am I talking about? It's just Paglia in Apocalyptic Mode again. But I'm still trying to figure out why this column of hers bugs me so much.)

I have to admit: If I thought that in the last 30 years "only George Lucas' multilayered, six-film 'Star Wars' epic can genuinely claim classic status," you could stick a fork in me, too. Actually, you wouldn't have to. I'd do it myself, because I'd know I was done, without "A New Hope" for movies.

Paglia says t'was modernism killed the magnificent beasts of art cinema; I think it's more likely her own solipsism. Wallowing in what she calls a "cold douche for my narcissistic generation" (she's referring to the deaths of Bergman and Antonioni, natch), Paglia wonders: "I'm not sure who, if anyone, still views moviegoing as a quasi-mystical experience." (Obviously, she doesn't read film critics or movie blogs, some of the best of which are also listed in the column to the right.)

But hers is not a rhetorical proposition. Posing a provocative open question is never enough. Paglia then formulates The Answer herself, and shuts the rest of us out in the cold, cold world of the Post-Boomer Death of Art: The waning of art film has been just one of the bitter cultural disappointments that the baby-boom generation has had to endure. [...]

My pagan brand of atheism is predicated on worship of both nature and art. I want the great world religions taught in every school. Secular humanism has reached a dead end -- and any liberals who don't recognize that are simply enabling the worldwide conservative reaction of fundamentalism in both Christianity and Islam. The human quest for meaning is innate and ineradicable. When the gods are toppled, new ones will soon be invented. While I sympathize with Ms. Paglia's Regrets ("I'm not sure who, if anyone, still views moviegoing as a quasi-mystical experience"), I resent her attempt to co-opt my pagan brand of atheism predicated on worship of both nature and art in the name of her art-movie secular-humanism death-wish. (OK, I wouldn't use the word "worship." What's wrong with a little "awe," girl? You needn't go leaping at "worship" like a bull at a gate.)

She sounds like a reactionary religious fundamentalist to me: My god will endure, resistance is futile, and any attempts to embrace another religion will only enable the false gods to rise! Is there some kind of contest between Pagliaism, Christianity, and Islam?

This, however, is quite beautiful, in a deliberately anachronistic fashion: Other indelible memories: the grinding of the collapsing stone balustrade in the baroque gardens of Alain Resnais's "Last Year at Marienbad." The night wind eerily stirring the spray-painted green trees in the London park of Antonioni's "Blow-Up." The column of army tanks ominously rumbling through the city street in the unknown land of Bergman's "The Silence." The life-giving waters of the Fountain of Trevi suddenly stopping in Federico Fellini's "La Dolce Vita," stranding Marcello Mastroianni and Anita Ekberg mid-kiss.Yet Paglia claims only the "Star Wars" movies are on that plane (ship?), "and it descends not from Bergman or Antonioni but from Stanley Kubrick and his pop antecedents in Hollywood science fiction." I'm not quite sure what conclusions she's trying to draw from that comparison. Are you?

(Thanks to girish for passing this along.

P.S. I just re-watched "The Silence" last night, in part because I didn't remember any "column of army tanks." Turns out that's because they aren't there. It's one tank that comes into the square below the hotel window, stalls, starts up again, stalls for a long time, and then moves on. It's ominous, but it's not the way Paglia describes it. Memory can greatly enhance these long-ago moments from the cinema, too...

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Movie Answer Man (05/20/2001)

Q. Your review of "The Mummy Returns" was harsh on what is, was, and always will be a popcorn movie--a fun jaunt through Indiana Jones territory. It was meant to open the summer with a bang, and has achieved that. In a movie where they have resurrected an ancient mummy and there are magic powers abounding, does it really matter if Rick O'Connell can run 1,000 miles an hour, or that one of two armies can emerge unscathed from battle? So why take issue with "unbelievable" ideas and scenes? I review movies for a web site, and gave "The Mummy Returns" a mostly glowing review, as a popcorn movie. It won't go on my list next to "Fight Club," "The Usual Suspects" or "Run Lola Run," but it is still good fun. (J. Scott, Oakville ON)

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Marcello Mastroiani, 1924-1996

In Rome Thursday night, they turned off the water in the Trevi Fountain and draped the monument in black, in memory of Marcello Mastroianni. The Italian actor, who died early Thursday at his Paris home, made about 120 films, but was best remembered for Federico Fellini's "La Dolce Vita" (1960), in which he waded into the fountain in pursuit of an elusive sex goddess played by Anita Ekberg.

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Hope Springs From 'Sirens'

Filmgoers should be cheered by the news that an Australian film named "Sirens" is doing strong business at the nation's box offices. It is loosely inspired by the life and times of a colorful painter named Norman Lindsay, who shocked his country in the 1930s with an unconventional lifestyle that included large numbers of beautiful women who were his models, muses and, occasionally, lovers.

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Ann-Margret: Still cracking that whip

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LAKE GENEVA, WI -- There is just no keeping up with all the new Ann-Margrets. Last year's new Ann-Margret abandoned her image, as the press releases say, to play a committed graduate student in "R.P.M." Her quandary: Should she still shack up with Anthony Quinn after he stops being a radical professor and becomes a moderate administrator? That's a dicey quandary, believe me, because Ann-Margret was playing a liberated woman even if she didn't have her own motorcycle and had to ride on the back of Anthony Quinn's.

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