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Wonder

You’ll shed a tear or two—especially if you’re a parent—and they’ll be totally earned.

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Mudbound

The film invites us to observe its characters, to hear their inner voices, to see what they see and to challenge our own preconceived notions…

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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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Movie Answer Man (04/02/1995)

Q. Help me settle something. If Writer A and Writer B both wrote their opinions on a film--both with diligence and pride in their work--what difference in the two pieces would identify Writer A as a Film Critic and Writer B as someone just offering an opinion? Take the weekly feature you see in some papers, where kids review films. At what point do they cross the line, and can be called Critics as opposed to Reviewers? Is there some sort of certification program, like taking the Sally Struthers correspondence course in gun repair? (Andy Ihnatko, Westwood, Mass.)

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Movie Answer Man (03/26/1995)

Q. I'm a photographer, and have been wondering--who started the Orange and Blue Movement? All those movies where each scene has to have something blue and something orange in it? A good example would be "Trading Moms," with Sissy Spacek. There are lots of others in the last two years. I think it began with night city scenes mimicking neon reflections on faces. The actor usually has an warm (orange) main light on his/her face from a 45 degree angle, and has a cold (blue) kicker light skimming the shadow side of his face. Warm colors appear to move forward and cold colors recede, so it adds depth to an object. Someone grabbed this theme of color and a movement began. (Jim Langley, Phoenix, Ariz.)

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Movie Answer Man (03/19/1995)

Q. In a theater lobby I saw the poster for the new movie "Bye, Bye Love," and there seemed to be something uncannily wrong about it. After staring at it for a long time, I realized what. The stars of the movie are all lined up smiling, including a small boy in the second row who is giving a "thumbs up" sign. If you compare the size of his hand with the size of the hand of the small girl also in the same row, you will see that his hand is about three times larger than her hand--almost as big as his face, in fact. Do you think this is really his own hand? Or has it been painted in by the ad agency, as a subliminal way of giving the movie "thumbs up?" (Sheila Chesham, Chicago)

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Movie Answer Man (02/26/1995)

Q. When I walked out of "Hoop Dreams," I said to my date it was the best movie I had seen in years. After talking endlessly about it to anyone who would listen to me, I have convinced myself that it was one of the top three movies I have ever seen. The fact that it was not nominated for an Oscar tells me the Academy is a political backscratching organization that doesn't have a clue. I cannot express how disappointed I am. (Kevin Brouillette, Kansas City, Mo.)

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Movie Answer Man (02/19/1995)

Q. I have been following the comments about moviegoing experiences in America, Taiwan, etc. As a Brit, having just completed a trip to New York City, it amazes me why your cinemas are so backward compared to those in London. Why do Americans tolerate such awful service? We Brits are told how much we can learn from the service industry in the U.S., but the simple task of seeing a film can turn into a nightmare! Examples: (1) Why do New Yorkers enjoy queuing up for 45 minutes to purchase a ticket? (2) Once you've bought your ticket, why do you have to queue up again to wait for the cinema to open the house doors? (3) Then, when it's open, there's an almighty rush to find the best seat, and then you have to wait another half hour before the film starts! By contrast, in going to the movies in London, we: (1) Telephone cinema and book tickets on credit card. Best available seat numbers are given. (2) Get to cinema five minutes before film starts, collect tickets, go into the auditorium, usher takes you to your seats and film starts. Simple as that. No queues. No hassle. (Darren Tossell, London)

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Movie Answer Man (02/12/1995)

Q. I recall a rumor that "The Exorcist" used subliminal messaging to affect the audience. When I saw it on its initial theatrical release, I passed out at one point--and I don't faint easily. It was early in the film when she was having her brain x-rayed: The scene showed Regan with a needle on the end of a tube stuck in her neck, and there's a gyrating X-ray machine and the machine-gun-like sound of sheets of film rapidly advancing. I recoil at the thought that a movie could have such an impact on me without some kind of unfair advantage. Maybe the hype surrounding the film and the crowded theater set me up for it. When I came to, I noticed that I'd slumped down and jammed my shins against the metal edge of the seat in front of me. They were cut and bleeding. Probably one of the few times that watching a movie led to physical injury. (Tom Norris, Braintree, Mass.)

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Movie Answer Man (02/05/1995)

Q. Just a note to let you know how wonderful my family (including three boys of 17 to 23) found "Hoop Dreams" and yet how disappointed we are that there are only three theaters showing that film in ALL of southern California! We have observed that the local theater chain regularly ignores films like "Do the Right Thing" to say nothing of "Roger and Me." We cannot believe that such a well made and well received film as "Hoop Dreams" is unavailable to most viewers. Why is this film getting so little exposure? (Paul Evans, Newport Beach, Calif.)

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