As Above, So Below
It's that rare found-footage film with a strong premise, a memorably eccentric style, and plenty of energy to burn. It's also poorly conceived, and hard…
Roger Ebert became film critic of the Chicago Sun-Times in 1967. He is the only film critic with a star on Hollywood Boulevard Walk of Fame and was named honorary life member of the Directors' Guild of America. He won the Lifetime Achievement Award of the Screenwriters' Guild, and honorary degrees from the American Film Institute and the University of Colorado at Boulder. Since 1989 he has hosted Ebertfest, a film festival at the Virginia Theater in Champaign-Urbana. From 1975 until 2006 he, Gene Siskel and Richard Roeper co-hosted a weekly movie review program on national TV. He was Lecturer on Film for the University of Chicago extension program from 1970 until 2006, and recorded shot-by-shot commentaries for the DVDs of "Citizen Kane," "Casablanca," "Floating Weeds" and "Dark City," and has written over 20 books.
In reading some of the reviews and excerpts of your new Scorsese book, I finally "got" what it is that you get about his work: Catholic identification. I'm sure other people have said the same thing over the years, but for some reason, it only just clicked with me. Because this is exactly why I never really got Scorsese.
First, get the Pot. You need the simplest rice cooker made. It comes with two speeds: Cook, and Warm. Not expensive. Now you're all set to cook meals for the rest of your life on two square feet of counter space, plus a chopping block. No, I am not putting you on the Rice Diet. Eat what you like. I am thinking of you, student in your dorm room. You, solitary writer, artist, musician, potter, plumber, builder, hermit. You, parents with kids. You, night watchman. You, obsessed computer programmer or weary web-worker. You, lovers who like to cook together but don't want to put anything in the oven. You, in the witness protection program. You, nutritional wingnut. You, in a wheelchair.
And you, serving in Iraq or Afghanistan. You, person on a small budget who wants healthy food. You, shut-in. You, recovering campaign worker. You, movie critic at Sundance. You, sex worker waiting for the phone to ring. You, factory worker sick of frozen meals. You, people in Werner Herzog's documentary about life at the South Pole. You, early riser skipping breakfast. You, teenager home alone. You, rabbi, pastor, priest,, nun, waitress, community organizer, monk, nurse, starving actor, taxi driver, long-haul driver. Yes, you, reader of the second-best best-written blog on the internet.
We will begin with a scientific conundrum. You put Minute Rice and the correct amount of water into the Pot, and click to Cook. Minutes later, the Pot clicks over to Warm. Tomorrow night, you put whole grain organic rice and the correct amount of water into the Pot, and click to Cook. An hour later, the Pot clicks over to Warm. Both nights, the rice is perfectly cooked.
By Roger Ebert
I can't see Sarah Palin as vice president, but I have no trouble imagining her as an Emmy winner. I'm not being satirical. She and John McCain kicked butt on Saturday Night Live. They were terrific. How good were they? They were better than Tina Fey and Darrell Hammond.
I received this message on the blog, but it obviously fits no known topic. The author is something of a mystery: "R. Crutch," no city, no e-mail. But I felt it necessary to share with you. RE
We critics can't be too careful. Employers are eager to replace us with Celeb Info-Nuggets that will pimp to the mouth-breathers, who underline the words with their index fingers whilst they watch television. Any editor who thinks drugged insta-stars and the tragic Amy Winehouse are headline news ought to be editing the graffiti on playground walls. As the senior newspaper guy still hanging onto a job, I think the task of outlining enduring ethical ground rules falls upon me.
The Sun-Times' Dave Hoekstra writes about Tura Santana here.
Blind people develop a more acute sense of hearing. Deaf people can better notice events on the periphery, and comprehend the quick movements of lips and sign language. What about people who lose the ability to speak? We expand other ways of communicating. There are three ways I can "speak." I can print notes. I can type on my laptop, and a built-in voice says them aloud. I can use my own pidgin sign language, combining waving, pointing, shrugging, slapping my forehead, tracing letters on my palm, mime, charades, and more uses of "thumbs up" and "thumbs down" than I ever dreamed of.
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Another path is open to me in the age of the internet. I can talk with new friends all over the world. Writing has always been second nature to me, as satisfying in a different way as speaking. Maybe because I was an only child with lots of solitary time, I always felt the need to write, and read. I was editor of my grade school, high
Q. I was surprised by your review of "Blindness." I've not seen the film yet; I am currently reading the novel, with 50 pages left to go. It is a stunningly good work. I've not read any of Jose Saramago's work before, but I will be reading more in the near future. I plan to see the film. John Zulovitz, Columbus, OhioA. One of the commenters on my blog asked how a film could be so true to a great novel and yet be an unsuccessful film. I think it involves the POV. In the novel, we are imagining being blind, but in the movie, we are seeing blind people.Q. What do you think of the idea of recommending someone "wait for video" to see a movie? What the heck is that supposed to mean? Chris Rowland, Browns Mills, N.J.A. Must be something in the air. A. Braunsdorf of Lafayette, Ind., asked the same question. If you're told to "wait for the video," interpret that as "don't see it." Any movie worth your time is worth seeing in a theater, if you can. But certainly use and appreciate video as a way to view good movies you want to catch up on. It's two hours of your life, no matter where you park your butt. "Wait for the video" should always mean "see it."Q. Do top-rank directors like Scorsese and Demme consider their films successful if they receive widespread critical acclaim, yet fail at the box office? Or is a profitable film a necessary earmark of success? By the same token, does it really matter to them if their films are critically lambasted, yet are huge box-office hits? Conrad Gurtatowski, Crown Point, Ind.A. Great directors believe their films are a success if they are satisfied with them. So they should. You can never be a great artist if you think critics or the box office know better than you do.Q. I had an odd movie-going experience today. The Clearview Chelsea, in one of NYC's gay neighborhoods, was showing "The Exorcist" as a camp classic mainly for its gay audience. A drag queen comedian "hosted" it, which means she sat with a microphone and made loud, obnoxious jokes throughout the movie (OK, some of which were kinda funny), and the audience was encouraged to scream out favorite lines and clap and cheer throughout.
From Jeff Shannon, film critic, Seattle WA: