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Office Christmas Party

Another reminder that allowing your cast to madly improvise instead of actually providing a coherent script with a scintilla of inherent logic often leads to…

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Harry Benson: Shoot First

The filmmakers are themselves too celebrity besotted to comment in a meaningful way on how Benson’s career balanced depictions of the rich and famous with…

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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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Writer Profiles: Peter Sobczynski

We have some amazing writers, film critics and video essayists at RogerEbert.com, and as we head into the home stretch of this year, we would like to remind you of some of their work. Although we have many talented critics who contribute reviews and articles occasionally during the year, these particular profiles will highlight the work of our critics who have contributed the most reviews and/or video essays. Here is our critic Peter Sobczynski, our master of satire.Chaz Ebert, publisher

Thoughts on 2016 (so far):

If the success of "The Shallows" tips studios to the fact that doing that kind of lean filmmaking is effective, rather than trying to blow away audiences every six seconds, I for one would be a happy camper.

Excerpt from Peter's Movie Love Questionnaire (read the full Q&A here):

My father was definitely a movie fan but his tastes tended to gravitate towards older films that he enjoyed when he was younger—World War II epics, programmers featuring the adventures of Charlie Chan and Abbot & Costello and musicals—and was somewhat less adventurous when it came to more contemporary fare. (After sitting through "Blue Velvet"—a long story involving lies, betrayal and an ice show—he turned to me and sincerely asked "Uh, the stuff that people were laughing at—was that supposed to be funny?") My mother has never been much of a movie person—the list of classics that she has either dismissed entirely or never even seen continues to blow my mind—but she, strange as it may seem, probably had more influence on my future taste because every once in a while, something would pop up on the 3:00 Movie on Channel 7 and she would make sure that I watched it because she thought I would enjoy it. As a result, at the age of 5 or so, I was watching and digging the likes of "Duel," "Help," "The Girl Most Likely To" (a hilarious Joan Rivers-penned TV movie with Stockard Channing as an ugly duckling who becomes a beautiful swan via plastic surgery and kills her former tormentors) and "The Producers." (I am convinced that "Easy Rider" was another one but she denies it.) That said, both of them encouraged my ever-growing fascination with film as a child in all imaginable ways—driving me to theaters, picking up copies of "Variety" on the newsstand and not flipping out when their son decided to attempt to make a living out of reviewing movies.

Peter's reviews from 2016 (so far):

The Masked Saint

13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi

Aferim!

The Finest Hours
Jane Got a Gun
Nina Forever
London Has Fallen
The Measure of a Man
Criminal
Precious Cargo
Mother's Day
The Darkness
The Dresser
Therapy for a Vampire
De Palma
The Infiltrator
Hillary's America: The Secret History Of The Democratic Party
Lights Out
Sharknado 4: The 4th Awakens
Into the Forest
Hell or High Water
Imperium
Beauty and the Beast
Asura: The City of Madness
Desierto
Keeping Up with the Joneses

Check out all of Peter's reviews and interviews here.

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