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Goodbye to Language

Jean-Luc Godard's latest free-form essay film may be, more than anything else, a documentary of a restless mind.

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The Great Invisible

Winner of the SXSW Grand Jury Prize for Documentary, the film is strongest when it focuses on the micro rather than the macro. How the…

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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.

#231 August 13, 2014

Sheila writes: What a sad week this has been already. We lost both Robin Williams and Lauren Bacall, and the tributes have been flooding the Internet. We have included some link round-ups below with tribute pieces and obituaries, including the two beautiful pieces running on Rogerebert.com. The response has been overwhelming. In case you missed it, here is David Simon's remembrance of a day on the set of "Homicide" with Robin Williams. Please share your favorite roles, favorite moments, favorite memories of these two beloved performers.

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#74 August 3, 2011

Marie writes: I love illustrators best in all the world. There's something so alive about the scratch and flow of pen & ink, the original medium of cheeky and subversive wit. And so when club member Sandy Kahn submitted links for famed British illustrator Ronald Searle and in the hopes others might find him interesting too, needless to say, I was quick to pounce; for before Ralph Steadman there was Ronald Searle... "The two people who have probably had the greatest influence onmy life are Lewis Carroll and Ronald Searle."-- John LennonVisit Kingly Books' Ronald Searle Gallery to view a sordid collection of wicked covers and view sample pages therein. (click to enlarge image.) And for yet more covers, visit Ronald Searle: From Prisoner of War to Prolific Illustrator at Abe Books.

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#10 May 12, 2010

Dear Club Members;When last I heard, the Grand Poobah was dashing out the door to catch a flight to Cannes, France.  One can assume the plane landed safely as he's still Tweeting. :-)

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Babs, Henry and Long Duk Dong:Cleaning up after the Oscars

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I said just about everything I had to say about the Oscars in a dozen or so tweets I filed the evening of the broadcast, in between juggling manual updates for a couple of stories on RogerEbert.com (including Roger's live-tweets of the show) and approving Oscar comments on Roger's blog. I think I got out of my chair two or three times between 3:30pm and 9:30pm PST.

So, yeah, I made a few observations -- like this:

Instead of playing "I Am Woman" after Kathryn Bigelow's win, why didn't they play "Papa Can You Hear Me?" for Babs? #oscars

And this:

Elinor Burkett's Oscar performance marks the official arrival of the word "Kanye" (or "Kanyed") as a verb. http://j.mp/9XIwqy #oscars

And this:

Has "Based on the Novel Push by Sapphire" become the new "Electric Boogaloo"?

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March 13, 2010

May Contain Spoilers

Welcome club members.

This is intended as an oasis in the melee of the web, where we can gather. Who are we? We are you, and the friendships that have formed in the nearly two years I've been doing my blog. You don't need to be told that you are a remarkable group, an astonishment to those who are accustomed to the usual web discussion forums. • • • Speaking of forums, we have opened our Private Club Thread. Needless to say, it will defeat the purpose of the thread if you share the link outside the Club.

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CIFF: All our capsule reviews

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UPDATED 10/16: Here are brief reviews of all the Chicago Film Festival movies we have seen, in alphabetical order, written by Bill Stamets and Roger Ebert. More will be added as we view them. For a full CIFF schedule, go to www.chicagofilmfestival.com or call (312) 332-FILM.

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Toronto #9: Everybody must get cloned

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TORONTO, Ont. -- “The Walker” is another of Paul Schrader’s “man in a room” films, and his best film since “Affliction” (1997). It’s a fascinating character study with as fine a performance as Woody Harrelson has given, and certainly the most unexpected. Schrader defined the films as centering on the image of a man in a room preparing to go out and do something, and then doing it, while remaining focused by his preparation. That would define Schrader’s “American Gigolo” (1980), with Richard Gere in training for his profession as a professional lover of women. And “Light Sleeper” (1992), with Willem Dafoe as a drug dealer who is also a recovering addict.

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Product placement: The lives of 'The Sopranos'

An extended family moment: Blanca, Hector, AJ.

Never send a business reporter to do a critic's job.

I'm sometimes amused by the naïveté of my critical and academic colleagues when it comes to the business realities of how movies are made, and why they turn out the way they do. They tend to view movies as a purely creative medium, and dismiss the influences of marketing and commerce on the "end product." But, on the other hand, whenever I read reports about "the biz," I'm equally amazed at how they approach movies as if they were factory-tooled widgets, nothing more than the products of corporate and marketing deals and decisions. The truth is, of course, that most movies are creative compromises, the results of a vast and complex set of inter-related artistic, commercial and economic judgments.

You'd never know that from Jon Fine's series of posts at his Business Week Fine On Media blog about so-called "product placement" in this season's episodes of "The Sopranos." Fine thinks the proliferating brand-name mentions are "suck-uppy" and rates them on a "one-to-ten scale of egregiousness" -- although, he reports, "'The Sopranos,' a show I like very much, does not do product placement in the fee-for-sense. Nor does HBO, although at times they've played footsie with the idea."

Fine doesn't acknowledge that there may be a number of creative reasons why real products and brand names are used on the show -- aside from the usual deals that allow nearly all movies and TV shows to keep their budgets down by gaining access to free consumer goods, from cars to soft drinks, that are used on screen. "The Sopranos" happens to be about people for whom bling means just about everything, despite all their talk about maintaining old-fashioned "family values" (you know, like omerta). It's a show about people in a strictly hierarchical social structure (organized crime, the mob, La Cosa Nostra)who pursue crass, vulgar, conspicuous consumption as a signal to others that they're advancing their station in life. Their lives are all about "product placement."

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From the Overlooked Hotel

EbertSwag: Love that Hitchockian coffee mug design, although nobody's going to mug Lauren Bacall over this stuff... (photo by Jim Emerson)

URBANA, IL -- All the guests of Roger Ebert's Overlooked Film Festival stay in the Illini Student Union building on the campus of Ebert's alma mater, the University of Illinois. That's right -- the third and fourth floors are a hotel -- with Wi-Fi access in the rooms, too. Take the elevator to the main floor and -- voila! -- you're in college again! And that's the spirit of the Overlooked -- discovering and learning about terrific movies (and movie-makers) you may otherwise have missed. But it's not just the movies: Ebert interviews the filmmakers after the screenings, the audience gets the chance to ask questions, and panels debate the present and future of independent production and exhibition.

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Audience reacts with confusion, anger to Lars Von Trier film

CANNES, France--The so-far disappointing 2003 Cannes Film Festival stirred from its torpor over the weekend with sex, violence and dogma. This being Cannes, dogma got the most attention, as Lars Von Trier, a founder of the minimalist Dogma movement, unveiled his three-hour "Dogville." This is one of the most confounding and exasperating films of the festival, and maybe it is brilliant, but I will not be able to determine that until I have recovered from the ordeal of sitting through it.

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AFI list is full of talent but empty of meaning

As part of its ongoing national effort to lead the nation to discover and rediscover the classics, the American Film Institute (AFI) today announced the 50 greatest American screen legends - the top 25 women and top 25 men naming Katharine Hepburn and Humphrey Bogart the number one legends among the women and men.

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Bill Paxton doesn't monkey around

LOS ANGELES Bill Paxton has an Oscar contender and a giant gorilla movie coming out within a couple of weeks of each other, and that's the story of his career. He makes little movies ("One False Move," "Traveller," "Trespass") and big ones ("True Lies," "Apollo 13," "Twister"). In the big ones, he is a stalwart leading man - like his hero, the fellow Texan Ben Johnson, whose every word sounded like the simple truth. In the little ones, Paxton plays regular guys who get twisted into strange traps of crime and guilt.

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Archivist Bradley was a true Hollywood classic

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My first memory, when I heard that David Bradley was dead, was of him drop-kicking a footstool across the living room. Bradley, 77, who died Dec. 19 in Los Angeles, was one of the legendary eccentrics of the film world, irascible and beloved. He launched the career of Charlton Heston, amassed one of the great private film archives and toasted the survivors of silent films at his legendary New Year's Day parties.

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Interview with Robert Altman (1980)

LOS ANGELES - Robert Altman is in an unsettled frame of mind these days. He has moved his Lion's Gate Films out to a large, nondescript factory building in West Los Angeles, and there he sits and broods about the current state of the American film industry. "We are adrift," he declares. "There is nobody at the helm. There is no rudder. The bridge is cut off from the rest of the ship. You don't negotiate with them anymore. You plea bargain."

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