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A Letter to Momo

Even scenes that work, such as a climax on a rain-soaked bridge, feel like they could have been trimmed by a few hand-drawn frames. Maybe…

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Cannibal

Visually striking and confident but frustratingly hollow in terms of character and narrative.

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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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Kings of the Road

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Wim Wenders' "Kings of the Road" is a film of great depth and beauty, and its black and white photography is worthy of comparison with John Ford's. But it is rarely played commercially, maybe because of its three-hour length.

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Preview: Close Encounters of the Third Kind

“Close Encounters of the Third Kind” had its official premiere here last Sunday before one of those typical media crowds: Hard to please, veterans of a thousand opening nights, showing its sophistication as the credits went past by applauding the names of the cinematographers. The final credit faded silently to darkness on the screen, and there was a certain hush: Here was director Steven Spielberg's $24-million gamble, and we were about to see if he'd pulled it off.

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The Summer of '77

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We've just been through a remarkably old-fashioned summer at the movies: A summer during which the big hits were a space opera, a romantic melodrama, a thriller about sunken treasure and even one more absurdist frolic with good old James Bond. Summer is traditionally the season for quick, shallow entertainments, but the summer of 1977 outdid itself, and was astonishingly successful at it; Variety, the show-biz bible, calls this the best summer in years at the movie box office.

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Five years of criticism

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In this racket, you see maybe 250 movies a year. When I first got into it, the pace seemed incredible, and I didn't see how anyone could possibly last five years as a movie critic. I used to tell people, in fact, that five years of this ought to be enough for anybody. There were times, in fact, when five minutes of it seemed enough for anybody. The first five minutes of "Vengeance of She" were five of those

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"Medium Cool" on multiple levels

A fourth viewing of "Medium Cool" convinces me more than ever that this is a great American document, one of the most important films of this political and social period. It's also evident, this time around, that "Medium Cool" succeeds in different ways than most movies; that, indeed, it is weakest on its conventional levels.

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