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

RogerEbert.com

Thumb_f8f20egntzlhnjjletts89sx5lt

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…

Thumb_hercules

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…

Other Reviews
Review Archives
Thumb_xbepftvyieurxopaxyzgtgtkwgw

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…

Thumb_jrluxpegcv11ostmz1fqha1bkxq

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…

Other Reviews
Great Movie Archives
Other Articles
Channel Archives

Reviews

Jonathan Livingston Seagull

  |  

At this point when I walked out of "Jonathan Livingston Seagull" -- some 45 minutes into the movie -- the hero had learned to avoid garbage and fly high, but the film, alas, had not. I hardly ever walk out of movies, and in fact I sometimes make a point of sitting through bad ones, just to get ammunition for a juicy review. But this one was too much.

It is based, to begin with, on a book so banal that it had to be sold to adults; kids would have seen through it. "The Little Engine That Could" is, by comparison, a work of some depth and ambition. Consider that the movie made from the book has now been made the object of a lawsuit by the book's author and you have some measure of the depths to which we sink as Jonathan dives.

Jonathan not only dives, and perfects his aeronautical ability, and makes his name as the flocks leading nonconformist, but he also talks. Allowing him to talk is perhaps the movie's basic strategic error. I can't imagine how the movie could have been made without spoken dialog, to be sure, but then was this movie really necessary at all? Jonathan talks under his breath with great gasping urgency: He talks to himself about how if only he could hold his wings a little different, etc., he, too, could dive for fish and not have to scavenge garbage. He sounds like he's giving himself a pep talk on the occasion of a terminal case of constipation.

And then there's the problem of the birds. The movie uses real birds. Contrary to the hope of the book, these birds in fact are just your average garden variety seagulls, and it's a little sickening to show them being knocked out and batted around in the interest of the story line. I left when Jonathan had dragged himself, groggy and bleeding, onto some flotsam, This has got to be the biggest pseudocultural, would-be metaphysical ripoff of the year.

Popular Blog Posts

Exploring Israel-Palestine through Movies: Part 1

The first part in a four-part series on what film can teach us about the relationship between Israel and Palestine.

Able-Bodied Actors and Disability Drag: Why Disabled Roles are Only for Disabled Performers

Scott Jordan Harris argues that disabled characters should not be played by able-bodied actors.

Who do you read? Good Roger, or Bad Roger?

This message came to me from a reader named Peter Svensland. He and a fr...

Simply Do it: Talking with Woody Allen About Directorial Style

An interview with Woody Allen about his new film, "Magic in the Moonlight."

Reveal Comments
comments powered by Disqus