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Office Christmas Party

Another reminder that allowing your cast to madly improvise instead of actually providing a coherent script with a scintilla of inherent logic often leads to…

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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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Cast and Crew

* 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.

In context

Two Three observations:

"I couldn't tell if it was a fable or if it was badly written."

-- couple leaving theater in Bruce Eric Kaplan New Yorker cartoon (1/19/09)

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"I think a record is something to be consumed and to be experienced by tons of people in different ways and in different lights. Context is everything for some people. Context isn't everything for other people."

-- Justin Vernon, aka Bon Iver, on his album "For Emma, Forever Ago," which he recorded during a winter spent living alone in a remote cabin in the Wisconsin woods

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"Framing is everything. I remember [someone] asked Erland Josephson, who worked with Bergman, 'How did he direct you? What did you do?' And he said, 'He didn't really direct us that much. It was just really where he put the camera.' I think that's true. It's really how, suddenly, the image takes a kind of energy. I'm fascinated by the visual language."

-- Sophie Fiennes, director of "The Pervert's Guide to Cinema"

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Defending Ingmar Bergman

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I have long known and admired the Chicago Reader’s film critic, Jonathan Rosenbaum, but his New York Times op-ed attack on Ingmar Bergman (“Scenes from an Overrated Career,” 8/4/07) is a bizarre departure from his usual sanity. It says more about Rosenbaum’s love of stylistic extremes than it does about Bergman and audiences. Who else but Rosenbaum could actually base an attack on the complaint that Bergman had what his favorites Carl Theodor Dreyer and Robert Bresson lacked, “the power to entertain — which often meant a reluctance to challenge conventional film-going habits?" In what parallel universe is the power to entertain defined in that way?

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Liv Ullmann and memories of Bergman

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Many great artists are flawed. Few have been more courageous in their examinations of conscience than Ingmar Bergman. Now in his early 80s, he lives on Faro, a Baltic island where he has long retreated between movies. He directed his last feature film, "Fanny and Alexander," a memory of childhood, in 1986. Since then he has written a series of screenplays to be directed by those close to him. In these, he seems to be trying to evaluate his life, and asking loved ones to forgive him his trespasses.

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3 festival films reveal life's secrets

TORONTO -- It was the opening weekend of the 25th anniversary Toronto Film Festival, the summer was over, and it was safe for the good movies to open again. Summer is the season devoted to the mindless feeding of our base desires for low entertainment. Autumn is when we get new three-ring binders and iron our chinos and go back to school. Something ineffable in the first cool day of September makes us think deeper thoughts and nurture our better natures. This passes, but for a time we feel virtuous and want to go to movies that will reveal the secrets of life.

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Reel tired

CANNES, France -- Since my last dispatch I have seen nine films, four of them more than three hours long, bringing my Cannes total to 16 movies in six days. I feel like the hero of "A Clockwork Orange," who had his eyelids propped open with toothpicks while cinema was force-fed into his brain.

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