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The Force

A strong film that tackles a charged subject in a fair and even-handed manner that will give viewers of all social and political persuasions 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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* 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.

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"Bad at Dancing" by Joanna Arnow; Frank talk from four female directors; David Schwimmer's #ThatsHarassment campaign; Directors reframing black history; Pulling Baltimore out of poverty.

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#295 February 7, 2017

Matt writes: You don't have to be a sports fan to enjoy the spectacle and exhilaration of the Super Bowl, and the same is true of sports films. There are endless uplifting pictures charting the triumph of underdogs in various sports, with football being one of the most crowd-pleasing. Roger Ebert gave favorable reviews to several of them, including Warren Beatty and Buck Henry's very funny 1978 comedy, "Heaven Can Wait," Gurinder Chadha's delightful 2002 dramedy, "Bend It Like Beckham" and Peter Berg's 2004 drama, "Friday Night Lights."

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#293 January 10, 2017

Matt writes: At the end of a year overwhelmed with loss, it was devastating to lose two of the brightest stars in the Hollywood galaxy, a mother and daughter duo for the ages. Debbie Reynolds and her daughter, Carrie Fisher, each achieved stardom at age 19—the former in 1952’s “Singin’ in the Rain,” the latter in 1977’s “Star Wars.” These pictures will forever stand as two of the all-time greatest entertainments, and Roger Ebert penned Great Movies essays on both of them, claiming that “there is no movie musical more fun” than “Singin’ in the Rain,” while hailing “Star Wars” as a masterpiece that “melded a new generation of special effects with the high-energy action picture.”

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The Cannes winners, as sort of expected

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Beasts of the Southern Wild

• Chaz Ebert in Cannes

The Cannes 2012 Palme D'Or was indeed won Sunday by Michael Haneke for "Amour," the best film in the festival. And what an emotional moment to see its two stars, Jean-Louis Trintignant and Emmanuel Riva walk up on stage with Haneke to accept the award. A juror, Jean-Paul Gaultier said they gave the most emotionally real performances of any film in the festival. He said he bawled his eyes out. This was the second time in three years that Hakeke won the Palme, after "The White Ribbon" in 2009.

And surprisingly, three out of four of my award speculations also won prizes. However, if you listened carefully to the reasoning of the Jury you can conclude that actually all four of the lineup would have won.

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The first slice of Cannes 2012

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Above: Bill Murray, madras paparazzo. (AP photo)

The pizza they make in Cannes is unique: a less-is-more creation that is flat and crispy, thoroughly Mediterranean and packed with Riviera flavor. Alleged "European-style" pizzas peddled in the U. S. never seem to achieve that micron-thin crust covered by the faintest wash of tomato sauce, a mere garnish of cheese, and earthy ingredients that can include artichokes or thinly sliced eggplant, generous oregano, and tiny Cannes-grown olives (complete with pits). It's seared in an oven at an impossibly high temperature so that that everything melds into a glorious crackly flatbread that has nothing in common with the doughy excess of American pizza.

The opening day of the 65th Cannes Film Festival is a little like that local pizza, tasty and unique, providing a full range of experiences with just a few carefully chosen ingredients. The various competition events will be in full swing starting tomorrow morning, so today functions as a bit of an appetizer.

Even as festival workers were putting the final touches on the red carpet covering the famed steps up to the Grand Theater Lumiere for tonight's gala festival opening, the opening film, Wes Anderson's "Moonrise Kingdom," was previewing for the international press at the Debussy Theater next door. Although Anderson is the darling of many critics, the only film of his that I've previously warmed up to was his droll animated feature "Fantastic Mr. Fox." "Moonrise Kingdom" had me enthralled from the first frame, and made me think that I need to take another look at his earlier work.

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