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Heaven Is for Real

Faith-based film tries reaching past its audience, but falls back on preaching to its own choir way too 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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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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Remembering Dalton Trumbo

I met Dalton Trumbo only once, five years ago, but he made an impression I've not forgotten. The meeting was for lunch, long and leisurely, on the occasion of the opening of his film, "Johnny Got His Gun." Trumbo had directed the film at the age of 66, from a novel he wrote when he was 33. In the lifetime between those two ages he had been the highest-paid writer in Hollywood, had spent 10 months in prison and had won an Academy Award under a false name.

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Interview with Michael Kutza

Michael Kutza's year began with a January trip to California to look at the American Film Institute's new stuff. Then he was off to Colombia to help judge the Cartagena film festival, new movies from Latin and South America. He was back in Chicago in March for board meetings of his Chicago International Film Festival.

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Interview with Thomas Tryon

Where is the piece, the editor wanted to know, about Thomas Tryon? I knew where it was, but I wasn't telling. It was in that dark and musty cupboard of my mind where I keep all those articles which (a) I hope never to write and (b) which would be mean and nasty if I ever did. When Ingmar Bergman was a bad little boy, his father would lock him in a closet and tell him there were things in there that would bite off his toes. My cupboard is the same.

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Interview with Cliff Robertson

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"You're gonna think this is crazy," Cliff Robertson was saying, "but I think the Libertarian Party has the right idea. There ought to be a place on the ballot where you could vote for None of the Above. Then maybe in November the parties would have to go back and nominate somebody else . . ." He grinned wickedly at the notion. This was the other night at O'Rourke's, where he's settled into the corner of a booth after a flight from San Francisco. He was in town to talk about his new movie, "Obsession," but the conversation turned into a debriefing about the Democratic primaries. Here it was August and he was STILL for Mo Udall.

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Interview with Milton Berle

Milton Berle made his acting debut in 1914, at the age of 6, as the little newsboy in Charles Chaplin's "Tillie's Punctured Romance." Since then, he has been in vaudeville, radio and the movies and in 1948 became television's first big star.

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John D. MacDonald: Not merely popular, he's also good

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In 1945, his sixth year in the Army, John D. MacDonald sent a short story home to his wife. She typed it up and submitted it to Story magazine, which bought it for $25. "1 thought that was pretty damned good," MacDonald recalls. "I figured, hell, if I could sell about four stories a week, I could live pretty well."

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The Movie's Silent, But Mel Brooks Isn't

"I'd say 'Silent Movie' is my best film by far," Mel Brooks was saying, "and, let's face it, the others were pretty good. This is the funniest, the hardest to accomplish, the best. But we could not get the crew to laugh! There we were, knocking ourselves out to be funny, and behind the camera, not a snicker. This was a veteran crew. After 50 years of making sound movies, they were afraid if they made a noise it would spoil the shot. Fer chrissakes, fellas, I said, there's not even a microphone. Laugh a little! Yuk it up!"

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Interview with Jason Robards

Eugene O'Neill's wife thought "Hughie" was one of her husband's lesser plays, Jason Robards was saying. "She said he loved writing it and it came out easy. She was full of baloney. Oh, it may have came out easy, because he wrote it at the height of his powers. But it's one hell of a play."

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