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Listen Up Philip

The terrific cast all delves into the material full-bore, which contributes to its peculiar resonance. Perry may hate everyone and everything, but in making a…

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Private Violence

A look at the complexity of domestic violence, especially when it comes to the difficulty of prosecuting abusers in a court of law, "Private Violence"…

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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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#8: April 28, 2010

Photos from Ebertfest! In a stunning display of legerdemain, I materialized a glass globe out of thin air as Chaz and I were greeting the guests at the President's House...

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"I saw a Rohmer film once...": The truth behind the Night Moves meme

Arthur Penn's "Night Moves" (1975) is one of the great movies of the '70s. As a detective picture about a private eye with flawed vision -- in this case, a small-time independent dick and former football player named Harry Moseby (Gene Hackman), who'd like to think he's Sam Spade -- it would make a great double bill with "Chinatown," released the previous year. Yesterday, when the news came of French director Eric Rohmer's death, a lot of people who apparently hadn't even seen "Night Moves" (or, perhaps, a Rohmer movie) were freely quoting Moseby's famous wisecrack in pieces about Rohmer without providing any context for it:

"I saw a Rohmer film once. It was kind of like watching paint dry."

It wasn't long before it even became a Twitter meme: #nightmoves. (See examples below, after jump.)

What some (not all) of the quoters didn't seem to realize or remember is that Harry's remark, as scripted by Alan Sharp, is a brittle homophobic jab at a gay friend of his wife's. (Watch the clip above.) Ellen (Susan Clark) invites Harry to join her and Charles (Ben Archibek -- that's him at the end of the clip) for a movie: Eric Rohmer's classic "My Night at Maud's" (1970), about an engaged man (Jean-Louis Trintignant) who spends a long, memorable night in conversation with a divorcee (Françoise Fabian). Moseby is asserting his macho credentials, and ends the scene by teasing Charles about going bowling again sometime. "You seem to get some weird kind of satisfaction from this sort of thing, don't you?" Charles replies. Later that night, Harry drives by the theater as the movie is letting out and sees something indicating that his wife may be having an affair.

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Once is in!

View image We're in.

After an investigation on the eve (literally) of the official Oscar ballot mailing, the executive committee of the Academy's music branch "has met and endorsed the validity of 'Falling Slowly' [from 'Once'] as a nominated achievement. The committee relied on written assurances and detailed chronologies provided by the songwriter of 'Falling Slowly,' the writer-director of 'Once' and Fox Searchlight" [the film's US distributor]. For details, see "Is Once ineligible for Best Original Song Oscar?" below.

The issue centered on whether the song was actually written for "Once" (as Academy rules require), or for the 2006 Czech film "Kráska v nesnázích" ("Beauty In Trouble"), or in some other context. In addition to its performance by Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova in "Once," "Falling Slowly" appeared in various versions on three 2006 albums: Hansard and Irglova's "The Swell Season," the "Beauty in Trouble" soundtrack album (also sung by Hansard and Irglova), and "The Cost" by Hansard's band The Frames.

According to David "The Carpetbagger" Carr at the New York Times, music branch chairman Charles Bernstein released a statement about the evolution of "Once" and "Falling Slowly":

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Is Once ineligible for Best Original Song Oscar?

The Oscar-nominated song "Falling Slowly" (the only one not from "Enchanted" or "August Rush") may have been recorded for a Czech film -- and appeared on two albums in 2006, before "Once" was finished.

Not sure why this has become an issue now (does nobody at Fox Searchlight or the music branch of the Academy do any research until the last minute -- or beyond?), but Dublin film critic Paul Lynch passes along this report from his Sunday Tribune critical colleague Una Mullally:

The Sunday Tribune understands that the Academy query relates to whether the song, from the John Carney-directed movie "Once," was written specifically for the film, as the eligibility rules for the Best Original Song category demand.

"Falling Slowly" was originally recorded by the film’s co-stars Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova when Czech director Jan Hrebejk asked the two musicians to contribute songs to his 2006 film "Kráska v nesnázích" ("Beauty In Trouble"). Hansard and Irglova ended up recording the album "The Swell Season," of which "Falling Slowly" was a key track. That album was released in April 2006. Hansard’s band, The Frames, then rerecorded the song for their September 2006 album "The Cost. "Beauty in Trouble" was released in October 2006, with "Falling Slowly" played almost in full over the film’s trailer [above].

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