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

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Men, Women & Children

A potentially interesting premise is handled so badly that what might have been a provocative drama quickly and irrevocably devolves into the technological equivalent of…

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Time Is Illmatic

An excellent documentary that focuses more on why the Illmatic album came to be than how successful it became. Prepare to be schooled in many…

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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.

Days of Ebertfest: The 2013 schedule

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PRESS RELEASE: CHAMPAIGN, Ill. -- Terrence Malick's 1978 film "Days of Heaven" won an Oscar for best cinematography, and Roger Ebert likely found that no surprise. It is "above all one of the most beautiful films ever made," Ebert said in a 1997 review. So it's only appropriate that the film will open the 15th annual Roger Ebert's Film Festival on April 17 in the big-screen, newly renovated Virginia Theater in downtown Champaign.

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Ezra Pound also wrote a poem about the Lake Isle of Innisfree. And shared a cottage with Yeats.

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Spoken Word writes on his wonderful Spoken Verse.com: . Ezra Pound shared a cottage with W B Yeats during a period of three years. It seems that he didn't share Yeats' ambition to end up living alone on an island in the middle of a lake.

The title refers to Yeats' poem "The Lake Isle of Innisfree. McHugh and I drove out there from Sligo, but your man who lived in the cottage on this shore didn't feel like rowing us out.

"Volailles" actually means "chickens," if we ]take it literally, but here it means whores. "Poules" is similar and it also means both chickens and whores. There was a delightful film called Irma la Douce with Shirley MacLaine and Jack Lemmon set in the seedy part of Paris populated mainly with the Poules, their Mecs and the Flics - meaning the Prostitutes, their Pimps and the Cops. And, if you haven't seen Irma La Douce here it is - just watch the opening few minutes and you'll be hooked--er, yes, "hooked" is appropriate:.

The first tobacconist is in 'Little Britain' : Government Street, Victoria, British Columbia, Canada.

The second tobacco shop is in Old Town. San Diego, California, USA.

O GOD, O Venus, O Mercury, patron of thieves, Give me in due time, I beseech you, a little tobacco-shop, With the little bright boxes piled up neatly upon the shelves And the loose fragrant cavendish and the shag, And the bright Virginia loose under the bright glass cases, And a pair of scales not too greasy, And the volailles dropping in for a word or two in passing, For a flip word, and to tidy their hair a bit.

O God, O Venus, O Mercury, patron of thieves, Lend me a little tobacco-shop, or install me in any profession Save this damn'd profession of writing, where one needs one's brains all the time.

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#153 January 30, 2013

Marie writes: Kudos to fellow art buddy Siri Arnet for sharing the following; a truly unique hotel just outside Nairobi, Kenya: welcome to Giraffe Manor.

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It's sometimes wise to call the cops

While he has been called "the Master of Suspense," Alfred Hitchcock has also been called "the Master of the Macabre," and that title is exemplified by his delightful black comedy "The Trouble with Harry" (1955). On the surface, it looks quite atypical compared to Hitchcock's more famous works, but this is a vintage story from a great director with a wry sense of humor, and it is also one of the most liveliest works in his exceptional career. Although somebody is dead, there is no suspense or danger or blond lady in the movie, and all we have to do is leisurely enjoy a pleasant walk with its funny characters as they try to deal with bizarre trouble on one fine autumn day in their ordinary peaceful rural town in Vermont.

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#133 September 12, 2012

Marie writes: As TIFF 2012 enters its last week and the Grand Poobah nurses his shoulder in Chicago (having returned home early for that reason) the Newsletter presents the final installment of Festival trailers. There was a lot to chose from, so many in fact there was no room for theatrical releases; they'll return next week. Meanwhile, enjoy!

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#100 February 1, 2012

Marie writes: While writer Brian Selznick was doing research for his book "The Invention of Hugo Cabret", he discovered the Franklin Institute in Philadelphia had a very old automaton in their collection. And although it wasn't one of machines owned by Georges Melies, it was remarkably similar and with a history akin to the one he'd created for the automaton in The Invention of Hugo Cabret...

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Chicago Film Critics announce awards

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After years of speculation and delays, "The Tree of Life," Terrence Malick's long-awaited film that took viewers from the beginning of time to 1950s Texas, proved to be worth the wait, according to the Chicago Film Critics Association. The CFCA gave "Tree of Life" four awards including Best Picture, Director, Supporting Actress for newcomer Jessica Chastain and Cinematography for Emmanuel Lubezki.

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#12 May 26, 2010

The Grand Poobah: The Sounds of Silents: Science finds that silent movies trigger mental soundtracks in our minds. Oddly enough, this may explain why they create a reverie state in me. I usually listen to them with a musical sound track, but after reading this I tried a little of "The Show Off" on Netflix streaming, and I see what they mean.The Guardian article "Can I hear the sound of silence?"So try a little of "The Show Off" yourself. Turn off the sound. Here's the complete movie via Google; though Netflix quality is better. Notice that whenever Louise Brooks is on screen, you simply can't focus on anyone else. 

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New Agers and Creationists should not be President

New Age beliefs are the Creationism of the Progressives. I move in circles where most people would find it absurd to believe that humans didn't evolve from prehistoric ancestors, yet many of these same people quite happily believe in astrology, psychics, reincarnation, the Tarot deck, the i Ching, and sooth-saying. Palmistry and phrenology have pretty much blown over.

If you were attending a dinner party of community leaders in Dallas, Atlanta, Omaha or Colorado Springs and the conversation turned to religion, a chill might fall on the room if you confessed yourself an atheist. Yet at a dinner party of the nicest and brightest in New York, Chicago, San

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Bill Maher attempts to corroborate his theory that Americans are stupid by behaving like one

"If u get a swine flu shot ur an idiot." -- Bill Maher, Twitter, September 26, 2009

"This is not a liberal versus conservative issue. This is a science versus nonsense issue." -- Thomas H. Maugh II, Los Angeles Times health blogger

Bill Maher may as well believe in Creationism, for all he knows about science or religion. (See above.) The problem I've always had with him is that, no matter what position he may take up, his reasoning is likely to be manifestly unsound. Listen to him talk and most of the time you soon realize he doesn't know what he's talking about. It doesn't matter if you eventually "agree" with his stance because he's reached it for invalid reasons.

Take his latest anti-vaccine pronouncement, made to Bill Frist on Maher's HBO show: "I would never get a swine flu vaccine, or any vaccine. I don't trust the government, especially with my health." OK, fine. If Maher doesn't "believe" in vaccines, or the ability of the U.S. to provide a working one, he's free to pass and to keep himself quarantined if he gets sick so he doesn't infect anybody else. When he reaches Medicare qualification age (he's 53) he can choose not to take advantage of it or any other health insurance he doesn't believe in and pay cash for his hospitalizations and medical treatments. But telling people (like young people and pregnant women) who are at high risk from serious flu complications not to get vaccinated because he doesn't "believe" in vaccines or doesn't "trust the government"? That's sick.

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The gathering Dark Age

Apparently unconnected items appeared within two days of each other in the Los Angeles Times, and together confirmed my fear that American movie-going is entering into a Dark Age. The first was in a blog by Patrick Goldstein, who said: "Film critics are in the same boat as evening news anchors -- their core audience is people 50 and over, and getting older by the day. You could hire Jessica Alba to read the evening news -- or review 'G.I. Joe' for that matter -- and younger audiences still wouldn't care." The other was in a report by John Horn that despite "The Hurt Locker's" impressive box office success, "younger moviegoers are not flocking to the film, which could limit its ticket sales."

The obvious implication is, younger moviegoers don't care about reviews and have missed the news that "The Hurt Locker" is the best American film of the summer. There is a more disturbing implication: word of mouth is not helping the film in that younger demographic. It has been Hollywood gospel for decades that advertising and marketing can help a film to open strongly, but moviegoers talking with each other are crucial to its continuing success. That has been Summit Entertainment's game plan for "The Hurt Locker," which opened in a few theaters and has steadily increased its cities, becoming a real success without ever "winning" a weekend or benefiting from an overkill marketing campaign.

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Classic flicks under the stars

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The seventh annual Outdoor Film Festival in Grant Park will open with James Dean as a rebel without a cause, and end with Ferris Bueller as a rebel with one. The series of seven free Tuesday evening screenings, which draw crowds upward of 14,000, unspools starting July 18 at Butler Field, Monroe and South Lake Shore. The schedule of this year's festival, which is presented by the Mayor's Office of Special Events, Commonwealth Edison, the Chicago Park District and the Chicago Film Office, was released today.

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Toronto #5: A memorable film season

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TORONTO – At the halfway point of the 2005 Toronto Film Festival, one thing is clear: This is the best autumn movie season in memory. One film after another has been astonishingly good. Critics gathered in the hallways after the Varsity press screenings, talking in hushed tones as if witnesses to a miracle.

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Movie Answer Man (08/10/2003)

Q. In your "Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl" review, you mentioned that I was opening a pirate store. We actually opened the store 14 months ago. It's doing well, too. Pays the rent on our nonprofit space, oddly enough. Only in San Francisco. We sell about 100 eyepatches a week. We sell hooks, striped socks, treasure chests in all sizes, lard, planks (by the foot), peglegs (sized to fit)--anything you could want, though we don't sell cannonballs anymore. Our supplier was good, but they kill you on the shipping. (Dave Eggers, San Francisco)

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Movie Answer Man (07/01/2001)

Q. I have noticed a shift in the marketing of the movie "A.I." What started out as a media blitz promoting the movie as almost "E.T. II"--another loving, touching, sci-fi Spielberg masterpiece--now seems to play up the film as dark and portentious, with Spielberg now quick to point out that this was a Stanley Kubrick project that he picked up and finished off. What's your take on this? (Don Money, Andover MA)

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Movie Answer Man (07/30/2000)

Q. Homage alert! Did you notice the striking similarities between Amy Heckerling's "Loser" and Billy Wilder's "The Apartment"? The skeletal plots are identical: Nerdy guy has a crush on a woman who likes him but who, in turn, has a crush on an authority figure who's taking advantage of her. Beyond that, there are several scenes in "Loser" that echo Wilder's film: (1) In "The Apartment," Shirley MacLaine stands up Jack Lemmon at a performance of "The Music Man." In "Loser," Jason Biggs is stood up at a concert. (2) In "The Apartment," a good doctor pumps Shirley MacLaine's stomach and gives a warning to Lemmon, who pretends to be her boyfriend. In "Loser," a good doctor pumps Mena Suvari's stomach and gives a warning to Biggs who pretends to be Suvari's boyfriend. (3) In "The Apartment," Lemmon's unsavory superiors party at his place and he has to clean up afterwards. In "Loser," Bigg's unsavory roommates party at his place and he has to clean up afterwards. (4) In "The Apartment," MacLaine stays at Lemmon's place to recuperate and he offers to cook for her. In "Loser," Suvari stays at Biggs' place and he offers to cook for her. (5) At the end of "The Apartment," Fred MacMurry complains to MacLaine how Lemmon "threw that big, fat promotion in my face." At the end of "Loser," Greg Kinnear complains how Biggs' threw a big A grade back in his face. (6) Both films end with the heroine finally wising up and rushing back to the hero's apartment/animal hospital quarters for a happy ending. Are you as shocked/impressed as I am? (Joe Baltake, film critic, Sacramento Bee)

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