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La La Land

This is a beautiful film about love and dreams, and how the two impact each other.

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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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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.

#83 October 5, 2011

Marie writes: I love photography, especially B/W and for often finding color a distraction. Take away the color and suddenly, there's so much more to see; the subtext able to rise now and sit closer to the surface - or so it seems to me. The following photograph is included in a gallery of nine images (color and B/W) under Photography: Celebrity Portraits at the Guardian."This is one of the last photographs of Orson before he died. He loved my ­camera - a gigantic Deardorff - and decided he had to direct me and tell me where to put the light. So even in his last days, he was performing his directorial role perfectly, and ­bossing me around. Which was precious." - Michael O'Neill

Orson Welles, by Michael O'Neill, 1985

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Parrot asks, "What'd the frozen turkey want?"

A joke should have the perfection of a haiku. Not one extra word. No wrong words. It should seem to have been discovered in its absolute form rather than created. The weight of the meaning should be at the end. The earlier words should prepare for the shift of the meaning. The ending must have absolute finality. It should present a world view only revealed at the last moment. Like knife-throwing, joke-telling should never be practiced except by experts.

For many laymen, a joke is a heavenly gift allowing them to monopolize your attention although they lack all ability as an entertainer. You can tell this because they start off grinning and grin the whole way through. They're so pleased with themselves. Their grins are telling you they're funny and their joke is funny. The expert knows not to betray the slightest emotion. The expert is reciting a fact. There is nothing to be done about it. The fact insists on a world that is different than you thought. The fact is surprising and ironic. It is also surprising--you mustn't see it coming. That's why the teller should not grin. His face shouldn't tell you it's coming. If the joke is also vulgar, so much the better, but it must never exist for the sake of vulgarity. That's why "The Aristocrats" is not only the most offensive joke in the world, but also, in the wrong hands, the most boring.

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In the sweet bye-and-bye

One is the loneliest number that you'll ever do. Or maybe it isn't. Maybe Zero is lonelier, because it doesn't even have itself for company. On the other hand, maybe Zero isn't really a number. Even if it is, let's not go there. Too deep for me. Let's start out easy, with One. Everybody on board? Good. If one is lonely, what is the cure? Two, obviously, even if Two the loneliest number since the number one.

I believe that's why reproduction in all species requires two mates. Except for species that reproduce all by themselves. That is known as parthenogenesis. It is a bleak life. You're always the one who has to get up in the middle of the night, and when you masturbate, you fantasize about yourself.

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Robert Altman invents his life as it goes along

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Does anyone ever really think about the director of an opera? I'm not talking about opera professionals or music critics, who know all about such things. I'm thinking of ordinary ticketholders. We think about the singers above all, and then, in descending order, about the composer, the sets, the costumes, the plot, and the conductor. There's the libretto, which we think of primarily as a framework for the music. There's lighting, which we notice, and the person in front of us, who we notice even more if our view is blocked. Directors? Don't operas direct themselves?

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