In Memoriam 1942 – 2013 “Roger Ebert loved movies.”

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Birdman

One of the best times you'll have at the movies this year, and possibly the year's best film overall.

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Rudderless

If this directorial outing was in any sense an audition for the talented Mr. Macy, he should be congratulated on passing it.

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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.

I Miss Roger's Reviews

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Saturday, May 4, was one month to the day that Roger left this earthly plane. In honor of Kentucky Derby weekend I am posting this photo of Roger and I proudly sporting our hats at Churchill Downs. There have been several photos of us wearing hats over the years. For some reason hats delighted us to no end. And Roger was particularly fond of some of the more outrageous hats we wore. That day while we were watching the races we were so pleased that we could wear our hats both in doors and out. You can’t wear a hat in a movie theater.

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Moi, misérable: Fermer le trou à tarte

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Another brawl in the square Another stink in the air! Was there a witness to this? Well, let him speak to Javert! -- Javert, a character in the musical "Les Misérables"

I was an eyewitness to "Les Misérables."

After repeated exposure to that dreadful theatrical trailer-cum-featurette about how the singing is all done live on camera! -- It's live! It's Live! IT'S LIVE! -- I had no intention of seeing Tom "The King's Speech" Hooper's film version of the 1980s stage musical. But when it finally came out, some of the reviews were so bad that part of me wanted to see what the stink was all about. Still, I'm not a masochist; I don't enjoy going to movies I know I'm probably predisposed to dislike just so I can dump on them. On the other hand, there's nothing better than having your low expectations upended. I did enjoy that Susan Boyle YouTube video back in 2009, but that was all I knew about the musical. I remained curious but skeptical. And then ...

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A letter from Chaz

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• Chaz Ebert at Cannes

Dear Roger: "We were once indivisible from every atom in the cosmos," and that is how I feel when I am sitting in the Palais watching movies at Cannes with a screen spread out as wide as the galaxy, the audience circling around like protons and neutrons breathing as one in empathy.

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Some year-end thoughts from Chaz Ebert

Roger and I thank you for joining us as we talked about the movies each week this past year. We have enjoyed producing Ebert Presents At The Movies and hope to continue sometime in 2012. This week we produced our last show.

It is the Best and Worst Movies of 2011 and begins airing Friday night, December 30, at 8:30 pm on WTTW, Channel 11 in Chicago, and all during the weekend and next week on public television stations across the nation. (Check local listings to find out what time it comes on in your town.)

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Now you see 'em, now you don't

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Q. You said at the end of your Great Movies article about Kurosawa's "Red Beard": "I believe this film should be seen by every medical student." It might please you to know that my old judo teacher Dr. Paul Harper, who was also a surgeon and researcher at the University of Chicago, required all his surgery residents to watch "Red Beard." Just reading your description of some of those astonishingly beautiful scenes stirred deep emotional memories of the film. (Dave Fultz)

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Zoom, zoom

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Few movie mannerisms annoy me as much as the gratuitous zoom, which modish hack directors have been using since the 1960s to underline and over-punctuate their shots. For a number of years (particularly in the late '60s to mid-'70s), the ubiquitous zoom, having no correlative to any function of the human eye, was most often deployed as a cheap substitute for actual camera movement. And yet, in the hands of, say, certain French New Wave filmmakers, the zoom could feel refreshingly free and spontaneous, like guerilla documentary footage. Or it could signify varying degrees of counter-cultural psychedelic grooviness, from "Laugh-In" to "Easy Rider" to... "Austin Powers." (Meanwhile, directors such as Altman and Kubrick have been known to use the zoom's telephoto properties with purpose and intelligence -- though the former used it to open up the frame and the latter to lock it down.)

Any device can be used or misused, but not even such egregious clichés as the now-ubiquitous snatch-and-grab and shaky-cam techniques, or the endlessly circling twirly cam, irritate me as much as the wanton zoom. Which is why I found this passage from Glen Kenny's piece on the Duplass's movie "Cyrus" to be both amusing and gratifying. (It doesn't matter if you or I have seen "Cyrus," or how zooms are used in that film; it's the precision of Kenny's bullshit-detector argument that I appreciate.) He observes:

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Coming down from those 6-hour dinners...

May 22 -- The past three days have been a whirlwind of films, panel discussions and French-style dining (meaning 6-hour dinners that start at 8 pm at the earliest). All of this has resulted in minimal sleep or in some extreme cases, no sleep at all. On Wednesday, after a solid week into the festival and with less than a week to go, the atmosphere becomes more restless than usual. People can feel the end approaching and a repressed feeling of panic can emerge.

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"Cannes, içi, Cannes"

May 12th -- I have arrived. Perhaps it is just because I am writing about my experiences in Cannes this year or perhaps it is just bad luck, but there were many points during these past four days where I thought would not make it here before the festival began. On Saturday afternoon, my sister was running around the house doing some last minute packing and I was reading a fellow Cannes blogger's post about Eyjafjallajokull -- the not-so-friendly, Icelandic volcano. When I realized the volcano was causing travel problems again, I quickly looked up our flight and the status was a big, red "canceled." It was at this point that my emotions erupted right along with the volcano.

Left: My sister, Lily, holds up her sign and makes friendly eye contact with passersby in the hopes of receiving a ticket to the premiere of "Robin Hood."

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Robbers and strippers, battles and burlesque

The volcano gods were in a snit on Monday, and I arrived in Cannes on Tuesday six hours later than planned, following some frustrating encounters with ticket agents in Frankfurt Airport. Chicago Tribune critic Michael Phillips was on my flight from Chicago, having had his entire original reservation canceled due to drifting volcano ash. I heard delay stories everywhere, and figured I got off easy.

After fast dash to the Palais des Festivals five minutes before the office that issues accreditation badges closed, I picked up my press badge and film market badge. The Cannes skies were dark and threatening, with fog hanging over the distant mountains. I hoped that this wasn't a sign of weather gloom to come.

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See you at the movies

Yes, Chaz and I are still going ahead with our plans for a new movie review program on television. No, Wednesday's cancellation of "At the Movies" hasn't discouraged us. We believe a market still exists for a weekly show where a couple of critics review new movies.

I can't prove it, but I have the feeling that more different people are seeing more different movies than ever before. With the explosion of DVD, Netflix, Red Box, and many forms of Video on Demand,

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