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Magic in the Moonlight

While Allen’s new picture, "Magic In The Moonlight," isn’t even close to being a disaster (for that, see, well, "Scoop"), I don’t think it’s unreasonable…

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Hercules

Dwayne Johnson tries, but he’s surrounded by poor CGI and a terrible adaptation of yet another comic book. Ian McShane steals what little movie there…

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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.

#197 December 11, 2013

Sheila writes: This week, on Rogerebert.com, we celebrate the women writers on the site, with tons of great content, all of it written by women. Chaz Ebert shares some introductory words for this weeklong project, which had been a dream of Roger's as well. The Table of Contents will be updated as the week goes on. Keep checking back!

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#180 August 14, 2013

Marie writes: Much beloved and a never ending source of amusement, Simon's Cat is a popular animated cartoon series by the British animator Simon Tofield featuring a hungry house cat who uses increasingly heavy-handed tactics to get its owner to feed it. Hand-drawn using an A4-size Wacom Intuos 3 pen and tablet, Simon has revealed that his four cats - called Teddy, Hugh, Jess and Maisie - provide inspiration for the series, with Hugh being the primary inspiration. And there's now a new short titled "Suitcase". To view the complete collection to date, visit Simon's Cat at YouTube.

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#173 June 26, 2013

Marie writes: There was a time when Animation was done by slaves with a brush in one hand and a beer in the other. Gary Larson's "Tales From the Far Side" (1994) was such a project. I should know; I worked on it. Produced by Marv Newland at his Vancouver studio "International Rocketship", it first aired as a CBS Halloween special (Larson threw a party for the crew at the Pan Pacific Hotel where we watched the film on a big screen) and was later entered into the 1995 Annecy International Animated Film Festival, where it won the Grand Prix. It spawned a sequel "Tales From the Far Side II" (1997) - I worked on that too. Here it is, below.

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#90 November 23, 2011

Marie writes: club member Sandy Kahn has submitted the following and I salute her web skills for having found it. Namely, an upcoming auction of film memorabilia the likes of which you rarely if ever see...

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# 73 July 27, 2011

"I love music so much and I had such ambition that I was willing to go way beyond what the hell they paid me for. I wanted people to look at the artwork and hear the music."  - Alex Steinweiss

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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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Elizabeth Taylor, pagan goddess

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Camille Paglia is known for being both brilliant and wacky (possibly wacko) -- often at the same time, which is probably when she's at her most inspired. A founding contributor at Salon.com (and co-star of "It's Pat: The Movie"), Paglia spoke on the phone to Salon editor Kerry Lauerman yesterday after the news of Elizabeth Taylor's death, and offered up an extraordinary tribute. I just wanted to share some of it with you. Lauerman begins by quoting something Paglia wrote about Taylor in Penthouse in 1992:

"She wields the sexual power that feminism cannot explain and has tried to destroy. Through stars like Taylor, we sense the world-disordering impact of legendary women like Delilah, Salome, and Helen of Troy. Feminism has tried to dismiss the femme fatale as a misogynist libel, a hoary cliche. But the femme fatale expresses women's ancient and eternal control of the sexual realm." Paglia takes it from there:

Exactly. At that time, you have to realize, Elizabeth Taylor was still being underestimated as an actress. No one took her seriously -- she would even make jokes about it in public. And when I wrote that piece, Meryl Streep was constantly being touted as the greatest actress who ever lived. I was in total revolt against that and launched this protest because I think that Elizabeth Taylor is actually a greater actress than Meryl Streep, despite Streep's command of a certain kind of technical skill. [...]

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#55 March 23, 2011

Marie writes:  Having recently seen a stage play, I was reminded again of how much I enjoy them. And the buildings they're often performed in. Which sent me off looking for old ones and hopefully Theatres you never hear about - as then it's like stumbling upon a secret known only to a lucky few. And thus how I found "Minack Theatre Portcurno Cornwall" with a view over-looking the Cornish sea...

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Good-bye to All That

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By Roger Ebert December 4th, 1966

He came garbed In a vast old vicuña coat, eaten by moths and mended by nuns, he explained, and a black Spanish hat with a flat top and round brim. He had been turned away from the English Room of the Hotel Pearson for lack of coat and tie, but here, on a rainy Sunday morning in Old Town, Robert Graves passed unnoticed.

"I'll wager you haven't had a vicuña here before, he told the hat check girl. It's an antique, 30 years old. Mind someone doesn't pinch It."

The lion of British letters Is 72 now, his face folded Into a map of craggy wisdom, like the face of his friend Frost. Hardly more than a month ago he was released from a London hospital after a serious operation. It Is necessary to be reminded of these things because the Graves who visited Chicago last weekend was still young and open to the possibilities of life. Perhaps It Is significant that his next book, on a shelf of some 130, will be his collected love poems.

"I'm just about the last one left who's still writing love poems," Graves observed. "Cummings and Frost were love poets, although in Frost you couldn't always see It. They were two of my dearest friends. I met Frost In England In 1914, and got Cummings' first book published over there.

"But they're both gone, and nobody writes love poems anymore. I suppose a love poet has to be in love all of the time with someone or something. That's why there aren't any left. People don't love anymore. Perhaps It's because sex has become too easy. It Is such a distraction, you know."

He produced an old Army tobacco box and rolled a cigarette with meticulous care. "Love was the chief interest In Elizabethan times, and during the early 19th Century," he said. "There have been very few love poets since Keats. I suppose Poe was a love poet In his own mixed-up way."

How does one go about being a love poet?

"Well, you've got to start early. There's got to be some sort of illumination In childhood, before puberty. A mystic experience, which you forget all about until you fall In love quite young. It's at that point that you discover love Is taken usuriously by most people, and so you conform, and that's an end to It. The important thing is to carry on, despite everybody else's attitude. You must obstinately keep your spiritual virginity." He smiled. "Whatever that Is."

Graves recalled that he started out on the right note for a future poet. While being taken for walks In the park by his nurse, the young Graves was often patted on the head by the aging Algernon Charles Swinburne, who passed through the park In route to his daily pint.

"Now when Swinburne was a young man, he asked for the Poet's Blessing from old Landor," Graves said, "and Landor, when very young, had been blessed by Johnson, and Johnson, in his turn, had been taken to Queen Anne as a child to receive the monarch's blessing against scrofula. Anne was the last monarch to bless against scrofula, you know. The Georges didn't believe in all that. The British monarchs still have the power today, but they don't want to use It." His mouth drew down disapprovingly.

But the England of Swinburne's blessing was an earlier world, one ended by World War I. Two of the most touching elements of the paperback edition of Graves' famous autobiography, Good-bye to All That, are the photographs on the covers. On the front is Graves at 33: young, serious, a thick fall of hair over the forehead, the face handsome and yet somehow still unformed. On the back cover Is the Graves of 40 years later. The face Is unmistakably the same, hardly changed except by age, and yet In the eyes there is no missing the weight of experience.

"Good-bye to all that," Graves notes In his Introduction, Is his sole contribution to Bartlett's Quotations. The phrase was a farewell to pre-1914 England, when wars were fought by heroes, soldiers were led by gentlemen, and the terrible winters of the fighting In France were still unused. The war took away the Innocence of a generation, as Graves implies in his title, but It Inspired a generation of poets.

"In the first part of the century," Graves said, "the English poetic tradition was in decline. When I started writing poetry, In 1908 or 1909, there was nobody about except old Hardy, and nobody paid any attention to him. Literature was Ignored In the schools. There was a beautiful free field for new poets. The World War I poets had nobody to look up to, and the war provided them with Incredibly strong emotions."

Of the poets produced by that explosion, Graves is one of the few survivors. He spoke briefly of some of the others who began writing at about the same time. "Cummings, of course, always one of my favorites. And Frost. Eliot was a great poet, but he suffered some sort of spiritual injury very early. He was finished as a poet by 1926. All the rest, that musical stuff, the Four Quartets, wasn't poetry. It was good technical work, but It wasn't up to The Waste Land.

"I saw Pound's work from the very first. My father was a charter subscriber to Harriet Monroe's Poetry magazine, and I started reading Pound there in 1911. I tried to persuade myself he was good, but I wasn't able to. Then, a few years ago, when he was let out of the hospital, Pound himself said he wasn't any good, hadn't accomplished anything. I was relieved that he'd taken me off the hook."

Of the younger poets, Graves mentioned only Yevgeni Yevtushenko, the Russian who will read his work Tuesday at the University of Chicago. "He has a marvelous inside right at soccer," Graves said, "but the trouble is, he carries that team spirit business over to his poetry. A lot of his stuff boils down to Nightingales of the world, unite! I'm a great football fan, but in poetry I'm all for the personal and unique."

Because he has stubbornly gone on writing about love, mythology, and purely personal concerns, Graves has never been identified as the leader of a school or the spokesman for a generation. His most characteristic act, in May of 1929, was to say good-by to the England of his youth and move to Majorca, where he still lives In the house he built for himself. As readers have noticed, often with surprise, his rhyme and his lines scan, and in an age of experimentation in poetry Graves works the traditional lyric lode almost alone. It Is perhaps his way of refuting the nightmare of the trench warfare In France.

Graves made only one reference, obliquely, to his experience in the war, where he served as a captain In the Royal Welch Fusiliers. On July 20, 1916, during a heavy German barrage, he was hit in the thigh, hand and head by fragments and nearly killed by a piece of shell which passed through his chest. Taken to a dressing station, he was classified as mortally wounded. Indeed, the next day, as an ambulance was painfully jolting him away from the front, his superior mailed a letter of condolence to his parents.

"I read my own obituary In the Times," Graves said. "What was worse, the bank closed off my account and drew a red line at the bottom. It was 10 years later when I wrote up the experience In Good-Bye to All That. I was unconscious most of the time after I was hit, and what with one thing and another, I'd forgotten a lot.

"Well, last month, while I was In the hospital to be cut open, in came a bloke to visit by the name of Owen Roberts." Graves leaned forward to be sure the name was recorded properly.

"Now here's the interesting thing: Roberts was the man who saved my life. He pulled me back after I was hit, so I was told later. But by the time I got around to writing the book, I had forgotten It.

"So here he came Into the hospital ward, 50 years later, a chipper old bloke, 74 years old, retired as a civil servant. Roberts was banged up pretty bad in the war, too, but he'd nevertheless managed to father two children and I've a pretty satisfactory life. It all adds up to something, I suppose. I was glad to set the record straight. I signed his copy of Good-bye to All That, I giving him full credit for saving my life." Graves smiled. "It was the least I could do, you know."

Graves continues to write. He spoke with enthusiasm of his new translation of the Rubiyat, which Is based on an original 12th Century manuscript. "I got the original from my friend Omar Ail Shah, who comes from the part of Afghanistan where the classical language Is still spoken. I was astonished to see how badly old Fitzgerald had mucked up his translation. Take Fitzgerald's lines about a loaf of bread, a jug of wine, and thou. In the original version, before Fitzgerald got to it, they also had a leg of mutton and a cheese -- so you see It was a pretty substantial meal." Graves grinned. "What's more, old Khayyam was under that tree with another chap, not a girl."

In his public role as a great man of letters, Graves continues to make ceremonial appearances such as, In recent weeks, before the Arts Club of Chicago, at Kansas State University, and before some 6,000 English teachers In Houston.

He has the knack of looking and acting like a poet, as well as being one. He willingly puts up with his public role and, like Frost, has become something of an ambassador from the world of poetry to the rest of the world. As such, he does not mind being occasionally excluded from dining rooms for lack of a tie.

But aren't poets supposed to be exempted from conventions like wearing ties In dining rooms?

"Not exempted," he said, "but protected sometimes."

He collected his coat and flat-brimmed hat, and we went out into the Old Town afternoon. On Wells Street, we shook hands. "Now you'll never have scrofula," he said.

Robert Graves - Welsh Incident - Richard BurtonUploaded by poetictouch. - Arts and animation videos.

Robert Ranke Graves 24 July 1895 Wimbledon, London, England December 1985 Deià, Majorca, Spain

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100 Great Moments in the Movies

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Roger Ebert / April 23, 1995

For the centennial of cinema, 100 great moments from the movies:

Clark Gable in "Gone With the Wind":

"Frankly, my dear, I don't give a damn."

Buster Keaton standing perfectly still while the wall of a house falls over upon him; he is saved by being exactly placed for an open window.

Charlie Chaplin being recognized by the little blind girl in "City Lights."

The computer Hal 9000 reading lips, in "2001: a Space Odyssey."

The singing of "La Marseillaise" in "Casablanca."

Snow White kissing Dopey Bashful on the head.

John Wayne putting the reins in his mouth in "True Grit" and galloping across the mountain meadow, weapons in both hands.

Jimmy Stewart in "Vertigo," approaching Kim Novak across the room, realizing she embodies all of his obsessions - better than he knows.

The early film experiment proving that horses do sometimes have all four hoofs off the ground.

Gene Kelly singin' in the rain.

Samuel L. Jackson and John Travolta discuss what they call Quarter Pounders in France, in "Pulp Fiction."

The Man in the Moon getting a cannon shell in his eye, in the Melies film "A Voyage to the Moon."

Pauline in peril, tied to the railroad tracks.

A boy running joyously to greet his returning father, in "Sounder."

Harold Lloyd hanging from a clock face in "Safety Last."

Orson Welles smiling enigmatically in the doorway in "The Third Man."

An angel looking down sadly over Berlin, in Wim Wenders' "Wings of Desire."

The Zapruder film of the Kennedy assassination: Over and over again, a moment frozen in time.

A homesick North African, sadly telling a hooker that what he really wants is not sex but couscous, in Rainer Werner Fassbinder's "Fear Eats the Soul: Ali."

Wile E. Coyote, suspended in air.

Zero Mostel throwing a cup of cold coffee at the hysterical Gene Wilder in Mel Brooks' "The Producers," and Wilder screaming: "I'm still hysterical! Plus, now I'm wet!"

An old man all alone in his home, faced with the death of his wife and the indifference of his children, in Yasujiro Ozu's "Tokyo Story."

"Smoking." Robert Mitchum's response, holding up his cigarette, when Kirk Douglas offers him a smoke in "Out of the Past."

Marcello Mastroianni and Anita Ekberg wading in the fountain in "La Dolce Vita."

The moment in Akira Kurosawa's "High and Low" when a millionaire discovers that it was not his son who was kidnapped, but his chauffeur's son - and then the eyes of the two fathers meet.

The distant sight of people appearing over the horizon at the end of "Schindler's List."

R2D2 and C3PO in "Star Wars."

E.T. and friend riding their bicycle across the face of the moon.

Marlon Brando's screaming "Stella!" in "A Streetcar Named Desire."

Hannibal Lecter smiling at Clarise in "The Silence of the Lambs."

"Wait a minute! Wait a minute! You ain't heard nothin' yet!" The first words heard in the first talkie, "The Jazz Singer," said by Al Jolson.

Jack Nicholson trying to order a chicken salad sandwich in "Five Easy Pieces."

"Nobody's perfect": Joe E. Brown's last line in "Some Like It Hot," explaining to Tony Curtis why he plans to marry Jack Lemmon even though he is a man.

"Rosebud."

The shooting party in Renoir's "Rules of the Game."

The haunted eyes of Antoine Doinel, Truffaut's autobiographical hero, in the freeze frame that ends "The 400 Blows."

Jean-Paul Belmondo flipping a cigarette into his mouth in Godard's "Breathless."

The casting of the great iron bell in Andrei Tarkovsky's "Andrei Rublev."

"What have you done to its eyes?" Dialogue by Mia Farrow in "Rosemary's Baby."

Moses parting the Red Sea in "The Ten Commandments."

An old man found dead in a child's swing, his mission completed, at the end of Kurosawa's "Ikiru."

The haunted eyes of the actress Maria Falconetti in Dreyer's "The Passion of Joan of Arc."

The children watching the train pass by in Ray's "Pather Panchali."

The baby carriage bouncing down the steps in Eisenstein's "Battleship Potemkin."

"Are you lookin' at me?" Robert De Niro in "Taxi Driver."

"My father made them an offer they couldn't refuse:" Al Pacino in "The Godfather."

The mysterious body in the photographs in Antonioni's "Blow-Up."

"One word, Benjamin: plastics." From "The Graduate."

A man dying in the desert in von Stroheim's "Greed."

Eva Marie Saint clinging to Cary Grant's hand on Mt. Rushmore in "North by Northwest."

Astaire and Rogers dancing.

"There ain't no sanity clause!" Chico to Groucho in "A Night at the Opera."

"They call me Mr. Tibbs." Sidney Poitier in Norman Jewison's "In the Heat of the Night."

The sadness of the separated lovers in Jean Vigo's "L'Atalante."

The vast expanse of desert, and then tiny figures appearing, in "Lawrence of Arabia."

Jack Nicholson on the back of the motorcycle, wearing a football helmet, in "Easy Rider."

The geometrical choreography of the Busby Berkeley girls.

The peacock spreading its tail feathers in the snow, in Fellini's "Amarcord."

Robert Mitchum in "Night of the Hunter," with "LOVE" tattooed on the knuckles of one hand, and "HATE" on the other.

Joan Baez singing "Joe Hill" in "Woodstock."

Robert De Niro's transformation from sleek boxer to paunchy nightclub owner in "Raging Bull."

Bette Davis: "Fasten your seat belts; it's gonna be a bumpy night!" in "All About Eve."

"That spider is as big as a Buick!" Woody Allen in "Annie Hall."

The chariot race in "Ben-Hur."

Barbara Harris singing "It Don't Worry Me" to calm a panicked crowd in Robert Altman's "Nashville."

The game of Russian roulette in "The Deer Hunter."

Chase scenes: "The French Connection," "Bullitt," "Raiders of the Lost Ark," "Diva."

The shadow of the bottle hidden in the light fixture, in "The Lost Weekend."

"I coulda been a contender." Brando in "On the Waterfront."

George C. Scott's speech about the enemy in "Patton:" "We're going to go through him like crap through a goose."

Rocky Balboa running up the steps and pumping his hand into the air, with all of Philadelphia at his feet.

Debra Winger saying goodbye to her children in "Terms of Endearment."

The montage of the kissing scenes in "Cinema Paradiso."

The dinner guests who find they somehow cannot leave, in Bunuel's "The Exterminating Angel."

A knight plays chess with Death, in Bergman's "The Seventh Seal."

The savage zeal of the Klansmen in Griffith's "The Birth of a Nation."

The problem of the door that won't stay closed, in Jacques Tati's "Mr. Hulot's Holiday."

"I'm still big! It's the pictures that got small!" Gloria Swanson in "Sunset Boulevard."

"We're a long way from Kansas!" Judy Garland in "The Wizard of Oz."

An overhead shot beginning with an entrance hall, and ending with a closeup of a key in Ingrid Bergman's hand, in Hitchcock's "Notorious."

"There ain't much meat on her, but what's there is choice." Spencer Tracy about Katharine Hepburn in "Pat and Mike."

The day's outing of the mental patients in "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest."

"I always look well when I'm near death." Greta Garbo to Robert Taylor in "Camille."

"It took more than one night to change my name to Shanghai Lily." Marlene Dietrich in "Shanghai Express."

"I'm walkin' here!" Dustin Hoffman in "Midnight Cowboy."

W.C. Fields flinching as a prop man hurls handfuls of fake snow into his face in "The Fatal Glass of Beer."

"The next time you got nothin' to do, and lots of time to do it, come up and see me." Mae West in "My Little Chickadee."

"Top o' the world, Ma!" James Cagney in "White Heat."

Richard Burton exploding when Elizabeth Taylor reveals their "secret" in "Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?"

Henry Fonda getting his hair cut in "My Darling Clementine."

"Badges? We ain't got no badges. We don't need no badges. I don't have to show you any stinkin' badges!" Alfonso Bedoya to Humphrey Bogart in "The Treasure of the Sierra Madre."

"There's your dog. Your dog's dead. But there had to be something that made it move. Doesn't there?" Line from Errol Morris' "Gates of Heaven."

"Don't touch the suit!" Burt Lancaster in "Atlantic City."

Gena Rowlands arrives at John Cassavetes' house with a taxicab full of adopted animals, in "Love Streams."

"I want to live again. I want to live again. I want to live again. Please God, let me live again." Jimmy Stewart to the angel in "It's a Wonderful Life."

Burt Lancaster and Deborah Kerr embrace on the beach in "From Here to Eternity."

Mookie throws the trash can through the window of Sal's Pizzeria, in "Do the Right Thing."

"I love the smell of napalm in the morning," dialogue by Robert Duvall, in "Apocalypse Now."

"Nature, Mr. Allnut, is what we are put in this world to rise above." Katharine Hepburn to Humphrey Bogart in "The African Queen."

"Mother of mercy. Is this the end of Rico?" Edward G. Robinson in "Little Caesar."

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Contra-Basterds

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I hope you're enjoying all the arguments swirling around "Inglourious Basterds" as much as I am -- not just here, but all over the place. Since I posted "Some ways to watch Inglourious Basterds [sic]," I've been reading other people's reviews and comments and interviews about the movie and, hell, even Quentin Tarantino doesn't always agree with Quentin Tarantino about what the movie's up to. (And why should he? Like all of us, he contains multitudes.) It's not about the Holocaust, but it is about the Holocaust; it's not real, but it's real; it's not fantasy, but it's fantasy; it's not history, but it's history; it's not amoral, but it's amoral; it's not moral, but it's moral...

What some people have difficulty with is exactly what others delight in: "Inglorious Basterds" is never situated in one reality or another reality. It's always juggling various combinations of reality and unreality -- history, alt-history, war movie (platoon movie, mission movie, spy movie, detective movie, propaganda movie, European art movie...), cartoon, folklore, satire, comic book, revenge fantasy, etc. -- and the combinations change from one moment to the next. And that, I think, is its subject. I don't think there's anything more to it than QT trying to create movie-moments. He does, and some of them are superb. I don't blame people who find its story and characters thin, or factual liberties preposterous, or generic conventions twisted, or (a-)morality ambiguous, or humor offensive, but he's got no reason to apologize for creating his alternative historical universe in a Hollywood movie -- a world in which all of the above are woven into its warp and woof.

Because "Inglourious Basterds" provides so much to talk about and to interpret, I thought I'd put together some fascinating observations (some of which I wish I'd made myself; some of which I think are off-base, but nevertheless revealing of something about the film) and set them bouncing off one another to get your own analytical juices flowing, starting with QT's (and others') takes on the nature of the world in which it unreels:

"I stop short of calling it a fantasy. I present it in this fairytale kind of thing as far as for the masses to take in, but that's not where I'm coming from. Where I'm coming from is my characters changed the course of the war. Now that didn't happen, because my characters didn't exist, but if they had existed, everything that happens in the movie is possible."-- QT, after a Museum of Jewish Heritage screening in Manhattan

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Stark beauty, dark vision

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Q. In your review for "The Dark Knight," you say that the Joker is a product of his father's poor treatment, but that's just one story he uses to explain his scars. Another is that he did it for his wife, and Batman interrupts before he offers a -- most likely -- different story. I think the point was that he doesn't have a cause. Who's wrong here?

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Kevin Costner: "I'll never make a sequel."

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Kevin Costner has made a movie about a presidential election with a finish so close that one man, one single citizen, will decide the entire race. "Swing Vote," which opens Aug. 1 and was directed by Joshua Michael Stern, stars Costner as that man, who becomes the center of a national media circus. He begins as an embarrassment and ends on a heroic note, with a simple, direct, patriotic speech that we can actually believe would come from his flawed character.

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Richard Harris: In memory

Richard Harris, the boisterous, brawling, sometimes brilliant Irish actor, is dead at 72. A charter member of the acting generation known as the Angry Young Men, he capped his career playing a very old and wise man--Albus Dumbledore, the headmaster of Hogwart's School in "Harry Potter And The Sorcerer's Stone" (2001).

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Martin Ritt focused on social issues

He was a large, genial, thoughtful man who was not quite your picture of a big-time Hollywood director. For one thing, he wore a jump suit everywhere he went. He had a closet full of them, in different colors and fabrics, and there was even a black-and-white "formal" jump suit that he wore with a bow tie to the Academy Awards. He said he didn't like to waste time every morning deciding what to wear for the rest of the day. He had better things to think about.

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