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


The Danish Girl

The Danish Girl lacks an immediacy and vibrancy, as well as a genuine sense of emotional connection.

Other Reviews
Review Archives

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…


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
Festivals & Awards Archives
Other Articles
Channel Archives

CE3K 30 3.0


The light is the movie.

In celebration of the 30th anniversary three-disc DVD release of three -- count 'em, three -- versions of Steven Spielberg's masterpiece, "Close Encounters of the Third Kind," I offer yet another quotation from Richard T. Jameson's "Style vs. 'Style'" (Film Comment, March/April, 1980):

"Energy" has become the new cliché of film criticism, which is a damn shame since the cinema is a medium of energy... "Energy" as a cop-out for mindless noise and jitter is reprehensible. But energy, sans quotes, can be lucid, multivalenced, aesthetically informed, and beautiful in ways unique to cinema.

Steven Spielberg misapplies it in "1941," but illuminates the world and his medium with it in "Close Encounters of the Third Kind." "Close Encounters" is, like any other good movie, about mise en scène, the transliteration of energy. "The sun sang to me last night," an old derelict beams. The dissonant but regular chant on a mountain in India is echoed on the toy flute of an Indiana boy, while his mother finds herself painting an odd rock formation into all her pictures and a newly-ex power-company employee (he's chasing a new power) looks for it in rumpled pillows and bowls of mashed potatoes. Form finally compels its own content. Music becomes light, gesture, mathematical formula, the patterns described in space by a celestial craft in motion. The metamorphosis of reality, the rediscovery of possibility, the translation of an idea into visual action: what movies do: why movies exist. The foremost pleader of the UFO cause is played by one François Truffaut, movie director.

This is energy as style, style as energy. It's radiant because it's been defined by a cinematic sensibility: What Spielberg's seeing and the way he sees it are one.

I get chills reading that, because it puts me back in touch with the sense of awe I get from a movie that sings... like the sun.

Popular Blog Posts

Anton Ego and Jesse Eisenberg: some notes on the presumed objectivity of critics

Matt Zoller Seitz reviews and reflects upon Jesse Eisenberg's New Yorker piece about film critics.

The Strange Case of "The Other Side of Midnight"

The film that Fox packaged with "Star Wars" to get theaters to play a little space opera no one had heard of was "The...

Spike Lee’s Oscar: Hollywood Does the Right Thing

An article about Spike Lee's Honorary Oscar at the 2015 AMPAS Governors Awards.

Reveal Comments
comments powered by Disqus