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Heaven Is for Real

Faith-based film tries reaching past its audience, but falls back on preaching to its own choir way too much.

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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.

#155 February 13, 2013

Marie writes: If I have a favorite festival, it's SXSW and which is actually a convergence of film, music and emerging technologies. However it's the festival's penchant for screening "quirky" Indie movies which really sets my heart pounding and in anticipation of seeing the next Wes Anderson or Charlie Kaufman. So from now until March, I'll be tracking down the best with the zeal of a Jack Russell terrier!  Especially since learning that Joss Whedon's modern B/W take on Shakespeare's "Much Ado About Nothing" is set to screen at SXSW 2013 in advance of its June 21st US release date; they'll cut an official trailer soon, rubbing hands together!

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On naval-gazing detail

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Q. I noticed in your review of "Annapolis" some errors and maybe a misperception of what the Naval Academy is about. Tyrese Gibson plays Midshipman Lieutenant Cole; he is not a "drill sergeant" and is not "on loan to the academy." Prior-enlisted Marines and sailors are a regular occurrence at USNA. I think, however, that your misperception of the Naval Academy illustrates what any other viewer would think and how the filmmakers didn't care about detail or a well-made story. Why make a movie about a unique institution like the United States Naval Academy if you can't do it right?

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A Midshipman dismisses 'Annapolis'

As an avid reader of your internet column and a Naval Academy Midshipman, I thought it necessary for me to respond to your experience of "Annapolis," a movie that I might find more pertinent and tangible. As a Brigade, we looked forward to the first feature presentation of the United States Naval Academy since the days of black and white film. The day the trailer came out on Touchstone Pictures' webpage, it took up to thirty minutes to watch the lagging preview because virtually the whole Brigade was trying to watch. We waited those thirty minutes. We looked forward to a more realistic portrayal of this institution, or, at the very least, a popcorn movie that showed bells and whistles, something like "Top Gun." Neither was our fortune. Granted, the movie was enjoyable to watch. Base a feature film on your school and you'll like watching it, no matter how clichéd or trite it might be. Add to the fact that the theater in Annapolis, Maryland for the 7:30 P.M. showing was sold out since 10:00 A.M., and ninety percent of the attendees were Midshipmen, you enjoy it just for the company. Other than being mildly entertained, there are few to no Midshipmen that I have talked to that thought it was a good movie. This has less to do with details the director didn't feel necessary to include and that "Annapolis" was filmed in Philadelphia: the screenplay was shallow, the dialogue was stilted and forced, and the direction was sloppy and indifferent.

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