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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.

#235 September 17, 2014

Sheila writes: Susan Wloszczyna and Brian Tallerico, from Rogerebert.com, were both at the 39th annual Toronto Film Festival. So many films to see in so little time! I look forward to checking out many of the titles. You can check out all of the reviews here, listed out in the Table of Contents. Rogerebert.com's Odie Henderson also attended the festival and he sent in a a dispatch of his favorites. What films are you looking forward to the most this fall?

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Greg Salvatore on the LA premiere of "Life Itself"; How John Oliver Changed TV; Michael Mirasol on "Do the Right Thing"; 2014 fails The Bechdel Test; Steve James talks to The Daily Beast.

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#225 July 2, 2014

Sheila writes: Welcome to the "Life Itself" Special Edition of the Ebert Club newsletter! The film, directed by Steve James, opens on July 4 in select cities (and on demand), with more dates and cities to follow. You will find more information about that below, as well as an exclusive for the newsletter: an interview with Ebert Club member Greg Salvatore, who won tickets to the L.A. premiere of "Life Itself" at the Google+ Hangout held on Roger's birthday. He was generous enough to share his thoughts with us and let us experience the L.A. premiere vicariously. There's lots more below. Here is the official trailer for "Life Itself."

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Fiona Apple fumes; defending "The Story of Film"; bringing "Gravity" lovers back to earth; inside the Tenenbaum house; David Byrne on how the 1% Are Ruining New York.

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Remembrances of Roger

UPDATED (4/17/13): A selection of tributes and memories from those who knew, and read, Roger Ebert. More will be added as we collect them:

"For a generation of Americans -- and especially Chicagoans -- Roger was the movies. When he didn't like a film, he was honest; when he did, he was effusive -- capturing the unique power of the movies to take us somewhere magical.

"Even amidst his own battles with cancer, Roger was as productive as he was resilient -- continuing to share his passion and perspective with the world. The movies won't be the same without Roger, and our thoughts and prayers are with Chaz and the rest of the Ebert family."

-- President Barack Obama, April 4, 2013

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Piracy isn't always that simple

Matt Singer wrote a thoughtful piece against piracy a few days ago here on Criticwire. I read it with great interest. And I believe that he is correct, provided that Piracy fits a certain context. Let me try and provide some background.When I started writing movie reviews, I was living in the Philippines, a third-world country. Movie-going is deeply tied into our entertainment habits. The masses, most of whom are not able to afford most forms of entertainment, at least have theaters we can go to to escape the hardships of reality.

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Santa Barbara Film Festival 2012

May Contain Spoilers

It's a sunny, unseasonable 80 degrees as the 2012 Santa Barbara International Film Festival kicks in, but all I want is to be indoors. When you peer at a schedule listing nearly 200 films jammed into 10 days, and you just can't wait, you know you're an addict. This is my third SBIFF so I recognize the signs.

Suddenly each January, there's an extra bustle in this appealing, laid-back town. Downtown on lower State Street, trucks appear bearing vivid banners, soon to be festooned overhead. Special lights and rigging go up at 2 central venues - the precisely restored, historic Lobero and Arlington Theatres. Locals watch to see whether Festival Director Roger Durling changes his hair: one year it was spikey, another year purple. This time it's rather like Heathcliff - longer, romantic.

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The Artist, Shame and hype-season backlash

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Over the last ten days or so I have been serially obsessed with "A Dangerous Method," "Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy," "Margaret," "Moneyball," "A Separation" -- and I haven't had time to really devote myself to following these obsessions because I must get to the next movie on my end-of-year "must-see" list, which grows and mutates by the day. Of course, I never do make it to all of them by my deadlines, but between Thanksgiving and mid-December, those of us who whip up those inevitable year-end ten-best lists of movies and who participate in film critics' polls and/or awards balloting feel a little like those wretched souls at Wal-Mart on Black Friday (or is it Black Thursday now?), busting down doors to get to screenings and screeners so we can see and evaluate everything in the rush before voting day.

It's a joy to have these opportunities to see new stuff that might not be released in many cities until late December or sometime in 2012, and to catch up with things that slipped by earlier in the year. But ithe pressure to evaluate everything in "ten best" terms, rather than just watching the movies and thinking about them and writing about them and considering "listworthyness" later on, can also be frustrating. Especially while award-bestowers -- I'm talking about you, New York Film Critics Circle -- have moved their year's-best announcements earlier and earlier (right after Thanksgiving weekend!). So, even as I'm watching things, they're being honored or ignored in various quarters.

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#89 November 16, 2011

Marie writes: I was browsing the 2010 National Geographic Photography Contest Galleries and came upon this amazing shot - click to enlarge!

The Birth Of Earth: Photo by Terje Sorgjerd"Getting close or getting too close? Photo taken of the Eyjafjallajokull volcano eruption that would grind most of europe air traffic. This is the scariest moment in my life, and also the most beautiful and frightening display of raw force I have ever seen." - Terje Sorgjerd

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For the love of film (noir)

It's Valentine's Day, and what better occasion to coincide with the second annual Film Preservation Blogathon, For the Love of Film (Noir)co-hosted by Self-Styled Siren and Marilyn Ferdinand. Not only is it great readin', it's a benefit for The Film Noir Foundation. Last year, the project raised $30,000 for the Foundation.

This year... well, I'll just quote one of the blogathon contributors, Leonard Maltin:

The film to be rescued this year is Cy Endfield's "The Sound of Fury," also known as "Try and Get Me!" (1950), a lynch-mob drama written by Jo Pagano, starring Frank Lovejoy and Lloyd Bridges. It's an "orphan" picture that's in need of proper preservation, and the Film Noir Foundation is spearheading the project. Blogger Marilyn Ferdinand of Ferdy on Films, who has once again organized this mass fundraising project along with The Siren of Self-Styled Siren, explains, "A nitrate print of the film will be restored by the UCLA Film & Television Archive, using a reference print from Martin Scorsese's personal collection to guide them and fill in any blanks. Paramount Pictures has agreed to help fund the restoration, but FNF is going to have to come up with significant funds to get the job done. That's where we come in."

So, a big black-and-white Valentine goes out to the Siren and Marilyn -- and a special one to Greg Farrara of Cinema Styles, who created the splendid, atmospheric montage above to help publicize the event. Watch it, get into the spirit, and get yourself over to For the Love of Film (Noir), Sugar -- here or here.

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2009: Best of movie years... or not so much?

Roger Ebert on Twitter: "2009 is one of those magic movie years like 1939 or 1976."

Leonard Maltin on his iPhone Movie Guide app: "'Up in the Air' is the best film I've seen all year. Frankly, that isn't much of a compliment..."

Jim Emerson, right here and now: "For my money, 2005 and 2007 were the best movie years of the decade."

Discuss.

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Wild Things, Take 2

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In his groovy new iPhone app movie guide, my friend Leonard Maltin writes that "Where the Wild Things Are" "puts me in an awkward situation as someone who is supposed to deliver a clear-cut opinion of a film: I didn't love it, yet there are passages in it that are so magical I don't think I'll ever forget them." I'm with you there, Leonard. And because the lively discussion from my previous post about the movie, "Where the Mopey Things Are," has been so stimulating, I thought I'd offer excerpts from two impressive reviews -- one positive and one negative -- with which I (almost) completely agree. That is to say, I can absolutely see how people might come down on one side or the other, but I remain ambivalently in-between.

First, from Ty Burr at the Boston Globe:

Let's dispense with the preliminaries: What do the experts think of "Where the Wild Things Are''? As the end credits rolled, my 12-year-old daughter and her bestest friend turned to me with faces like the twin masks of comedy and tragedy on a Broadway playbill. One girl's eyes were wet with tears of sadness and profound joy; "I loved it,'' she sighed. The other looked as if someone had stuck an egg-beater in her ear and scrambled her brains. "That is not a children's movie,'' she growled.

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Hecklers as critics, critics as hecklers and comics as critics

Psychologists say that depression is rage turned inward. Stand-up comedy, on the other hand, is rage turned back outward again. (I believe George Carlin had a routine about the use of violent metaphors directed at the audience in comedy: "Knock 'em dead!" "I killed!") In the documentary "Heckler" (now on Showtime and DVD) comedian Jamie Kennedy, as himself, plays both roles with ferocious intensity. The movie is his revenge fantasy against anyone who has ever heckled him on stage, or written a negative review... or, perhaps, slighted him in on the playground or at a party or over the phone or online.

"Heckler" (I accidentally called it "Harangue" just now) is an 80-minute howl of fury and anguish in which Kennedy and a host of other well-known and not-well-known showbiz people tell oft-told tales of triumphant comebacks and humiliating disasters, freely venting their spleens at those who have spoken unkindly of them. At first the bile is aimed at hecklers in club audiences (with some particularly nasty invective for loudmouthed drunken women), then it shifts to "critics" -- broadly defined as anybody who says something negative about a figure whose work appears before a paying public. Some of the critics are actually interested in analysis; some are just insult comics who are using the Internet as their open mic. It gets pretty ugly, but it's fascinating -- because the comics, the critics and the hecklers are so much alike that it's no wonder each finds the others so infuriating.

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