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A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night

Some of the images sit there unmoving for too long, but that very same stasis also helps create and enforce the underlying tension, the tormented…

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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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Cast and Crew

* 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.

thumbnails 9/23/2013

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An online community for men who believe female oppression is a myth; a thick glass ceiling for women conductors; how "Breaking Bad" redeemed its worst mistakes; Britt Ekland talks shop (and Sellers); NY regulators crack down on fake Internet reviews.

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A comedy that keeps swimming

No cinematic genre lends itself less for repeated viewings than comedy. Finding a truly funny picture is hard enough (not that you could tell from the typical reactions at a "Fockers" screening) and besides, how many times can people laugh at the same joke? Comedies also tend to age the worst. Among those that I recall once driving audiences wild here in México were "The Party" (1967), starring Peter Sellers, with all the guests falling into a pool full of bubbles, and Peter Bogdanovich's zany screwball feature "What's up Doc?" (1972), but watching them today mostly leaves me cold.

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#85 October 19, 2011

Lesson for the day: How to have fun while wasting time... Marie writes: welcome to DRAW A STICK MAN, a delightful Flash-based site prompting viewers to draw a simple stick figure which then comes to life!  Ie: the program animates it. You're given instructions about what to draw and when, which your dude uses to interact with objects onscreen. Thanks go to club member Sandy Kahn who heard about it from her pal Lauren, in Portland Oregon.Note: here's a screen-cap of what I drew; I've named him Pumpkin Head.

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#78 August 31, 2011

Marie writes: At first you think you're looking at a photograph. Then the penny drops, along with your jaw..."Alan Wolfson creates handmade miniature sculptures of urban environments. Complete with complex interior views and lighting effects, a major work can take several months to complete. The pieces are usually not exact representations of existing locations, but rather a combination of details from many different locations along with much of the detail from the artist's imagination. There is a narrative element to the work. Scenarios are played out through the use of inanimate objects in the scene. There are never people present, only things they have left behind; garbage, graffiti, or a tip on a diner table, all give the work a sense of motion and a storyline. Alan's miniature environments are included in art collections throughout the US and Europe." - Alan Wolfson - Miniature Urban Sculptures

"FOLLIES BURLESK" (1987)14 1/4 x 19 1/4 x 21 1/2 inches(click images to enlarge)

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#66 June 8, 2011

Marie writes: the ability to explore an image in 360 degrees is nothing new, but that doesn't make these pictures any less cool. In the first of a series, the Observer's architecture critic Rowan Moore introduces spectacular interactive 360-degree panoramic photographs of Britain's architectural wonders. "You are put in the middle of a space, and using your computer mouse or dragging your iPad screen - you can look in any direction you choose: up, down, sideways, diagonally, in any direction in full 360 degree turn, in three dimensions."

Go here to explore St Paul's Cathedral, London, built 1675-1711.

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#65 June 1, 2011

Marie writes: Why a picture is often worth a thousand words...Production still of Harold Lloyd in "An Eastern Westerner" (1920)

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Blake Edwards: In Memory

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Blake Edwards, the man who gave us Inspector Clouseau, breakfast at Tiffany's and a Perfect 10, is dead at 88. A much-loved storyteller and the writer of many of his own films, he was a bit of a performer himself. He directed 37 features and much TV, and was married for the past 41years to Julie Andrews, who was at his side when he died.

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The call girls who sank a government

May Contain Spoilers

Michael Caton-Jones' 1989 film "Scandal" begins amidst an atmosphere of gaiety and innocence at the start of the 1960s. Bright, resplendent, sparkling visions burst before our eyes. Soon the tones will become darker. "Scandal" chronicles the multi-faceted sex scandal that erupted in the "you've never had it so good" British Tory prime minister Harold Macmillan's conservative government in 1963.

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Poetry in motion -- and it rhymes, too

View image The animated banners, archived, are worth the price of admission alone...

Jonathan Lapper offers an inspired free-associative montage/meditation on the moving part of the movies at Cinema Styles, which you must see. It's called "Frames of Reference," a little under seven minutes long, and it marvelously (too marvelous for words, obviously) orchestrates cinematic motion and memories to Oliver Nelson's "Complex City." (If you suspect you're unfamiliar with the great jazz arranger, think "Stolen Moments" -- which might make a great subtitle for this reference-packed short subject.) My favorite transition: From "Hiroshima, Mon Amour" to "Citizen Kane." You'll see why.

And now, for fans of Richard Lester, Peter Sellers and Spike Milligan (and Leo McKern and Graham Stark and Norman Rossington...), my own movie reference: "Frames of Reference" is "The Tracking, Exploding, Kissing, Watching, Crashing, Throwing, Fainting, Dancing, Drinking, Flying, Falling Backwards Film," though not necessarily in that order. And that's not the half of it....

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Robert Downey Jr. plays it black

Who's that black guy in between the blonde Jack Black and the tattooed Ben Stiller? It's Robert Downey, Jr.

One of these days I'm gonna play it black Play it black One of these days... -- misquoted Elvis Costello song from "My Aim is True"

What will the Jim Crow "one-droppers" who didn't think Angelina Jolie was "African enough" to play Dutch-Jewish / Cuban-black-Hispanic-Chinese Mariane Pearl make of this? The actor in the center of the accompanying image is Robert Downey Jr., a white German-Scottish / Irish-Jewish actor. He's playing a white actor who is cast in a part originally written for a black actor, so he decides to play it black. The movie, "Tropic Thunder," is a satire of Hollywood actors making an epic war movie. It's directed by Stiller, co-written by Etan Cohen ("Idiocracy," "My Wife is Retarded" -- note that the "h" is not in the first name but the last; he's no relation to Joel) and Justin Theroux (who played a director in "Mulholland Dr." and an actor in "Inland Empire"). Nick Nolte, Jay Baruchel and Steve Coogan also star -- along with some big names in cameo appearances.

As Downey told Entertainment Weekly, "If it's done right, it could be the type of role you called Peter Sellers to do 35 years ago. If you don't do it right, we're going to hell." [...]

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A Clockwork Cuckoo

View image: Eyes Wide Shut.

My review of "Color Me Kubrick" at RogerEbert.com and in the Chicago Sun-Times:

John Malkovich is a terrible Stanley Kubrick. In "Color Me Kubrick" he plays the director of "Dr. Strangelove," "2001: A Space Odyssey," "A Clockwork Orange," "Spartacus" and "Judgment at Nuremberg" as a multiple-car collision of Peter Sellers' Inspector Clouseau, Miss Kirk Douglas, Quentin Crisp and Tony Soprano. Sometimes all in the same scene.

What, you say? Kubrick didn't direct "Judgment at Nuremberg"? Well, right you are, and Malkovich isn't playing Stanley Kubrick, the renowned film director. In "Color Me Kubrick," billed as a "true-ish story," Malkovich plays Alan Conway, the fittingly named con artist who improbably impersonated Kubrick -- well, not so much impersonated him as simply claimed to be him -- around London during the making of "Eyes Wide Shut."

The movie is structured as an episodic farce and a showcase for bad acting. As the cons get increasingly outlandish, so does Malkovich's Conway's Kubrick, who tries on more accents than all the characters in all of Stanley Kubrick's films put together, and gets them all wrong, too. He name-drops incessantly, and insists on referring to the star of "Paths of Glory" and "Spartacus" as "Miss Kirk Douglas," and the star of "Eyes Wide Shut" as "Little Tommy Cruise."

Continue reading review at RogerEbert.com

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OK, maybe '102 Movies...'

Peter Sellers as Dr. Strangelove. True, he's no Jim Carrey, but...

My list of "101 Movies You Must See Before You Die" has generated some provocative e-mail. As I mentioned in my original posting, this was a list I came up with in 1999, providing what I'd consider to be the most important common cultural touchstones in films from the 20th century. It's not a list of the best films (some I don't even like much), or the most important films, or even my favorite films. (The latter list, circa 1998, is here -- and it needs some updating.) I could easily have listed 202 titles (or, perhaps, even 1001, as a certain book with a similar title does), but I limited myself to a short list. That wasn't enough for everybody, though...

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Charlize Theron: Beyond beauty

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"She is a gazelle in a goddess suit." We are discussing Charlize Theron, and that is how her director, Niki Caro, describes her. It is true enough, yet consider the role for which Theron won an Oscar two years ago and the new role for which she will undoubtedly be nominated this year. In "Monster" (2003), she played a desperate hooker who worked freeway rest stops, was overweight, her face mottled, her teeth awry.

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Toronto #4: Festival notes & quotes

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Gwyneth Paltrow starred in the stage version of “Proof” (2005), the story of a brilliant mathematician’s equally brilliant daughter. When her father (Anthony Hopkins) becomes mentally ill, she cares for him; after his death, her sister (Hope Davis) and her boyfriend (Jake Gyllenhaal) disagree about her future. Meanwhile, who wrote the earth-shaking mathematical proof found in her father’s locked drawer?

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'Closer' looks and 'Sideways' glances

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Q. I saw both "Closer" and "Sideways" recently. I know that both of these films got rave reviews, but I left both feeling disappointed and wondering "what am I missing?" I didn't like any of the characters in "Closer" and just saw a narcissistic emptiness. I had no idea why they did what they did.

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The good, the bad and 'De-Lovely'

CANNES, France -- The winners of this year's Cannes Film Festival will be announced at a ceremony Saturday night. As I write, the leading contenders for the Palme d'Or are said to be "The Motorcycle Diaries" from Brazil and "Comme Une Image" ("Look at Me") from France, although there are supporters for "2046" (2005) by China's Wong Kar-Wai, a film I found maddening in its mannered repetition of a few worn stylistic and dramatic strategies. And it is said that Michael Moore's "Fahrenheit 9/11" will win one of the top prizes; it was cheered longer than any other film in festival history.

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The business of controversy

CANNES, France -- Quentin Tarantino, Charlize Theron, Tom Hanks, Michael Moore, Brad Pitt, Sean Penn and Shrek are converging on this balmy Riviera resort town today, and there may be trainloads of striking French show-biz workers to picket them. The 57th Cannes Film Festival is open for business.

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Precious cargo

HOLLYWOOD -- There's joy in Middle-earth tonight. "Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King" led the 76th annual Academy Awards with a record-tying 11 Oscars, including best picture and director. Vanquishing all opposition like the forces of Sauron, it won every category for which it was was nominated.

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Stanley Kubrick 1928-1998

Stanley Kubrick, one of the greatest of film directors, and perhaps the most independent and self-contained, is dead at 71. The creator of "2001: A Space Odyssey" died early Sunday morning at his country home north of London.

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Movie Answer Man (08/27/1995)

Q. I saw "Dangerous Minds," which was an OK movie, but could have been better. My question is, what happened to the scene where the students and teacher are playing pool? This scene is a major part of all of the previews and is still in some of the TV commercials. Why did they decide to cut that scene? -- David Becerra, San Diego

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Cannes 1980: Speculation season

Cannes, France – These last few days at the Cannes Film Festival always seem devoted to handicapping the prize ceremony. The critics and cineastes gather in the Blue Bar, that jam-packed cafe under the very awnings of the Palais du Festival, and speculate on the winners, which will be announced Friday afternoon.

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