The House with a Clock in Its Walls
Black, more than anyone else, should have been the one to wind up The House with a Clock in Its Walls. Too bad he doesn't…
Roger Ebert became film critic of the Chicago Sun-Times in 1967. He is the only film critic with a star on Hollywood 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.
Chaz is the Publisher of RogerEbert.com and a regular contributor to the site, writing about film, festivals, politics, and life itself.
Matt Zoller Seitz is the Editor at Large of RogerEbert.com, TV critic for New York Magazine, the creator of many video essays about film history and style, a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in criticism, and the author of The Wes Anderson Collection. His writing on film and TV has appeared in The New York Times, Salon, New York Press, The Star-Ledger and Dallas Observer. (Banner illustration by Max Dalton)
Q. What are angels?
The routine at movie premieres is by now well-established. Hotel suites are turned into sets for the stars, who sit on chairs in front of movie posters and vases of flowers while platoons of interviewers are cycled through the room. Actors steel themselves for the ordeal; Tom Hanks told me that doing a press junket is more exhausting than doing a movie.
The cliche is: In the 1950s in America, we were all a little like Ozzie and Harriet. In the decadent 1990s, we're descending into armageddon. Gary Ross' new film "Pleasantville" argues the opposite: In the 1950s we were leading blinkered lives, but it's been steady progress ever since, into today's society where change is seen as an opportunity, not a threat.
As the third annual Chicago Underground Film Festival prepares to unreel, my first task is to define the term underground. These films are not to be confused with "independent films," which are discovered at Sundance by Hollywood agents and lead to fame and fortune for their lucky directors. They exist on another plane--grottier, more anarchic, less eager to please, more willing to outrage. Underground films are to independent films as garage bands are to warm-up acts.
Fasten your seat belts: "Ridefilm" is coming. Sony IMAX announced last week it is scouting two Chicago area locations for installations that will marry movies and moving platforms to create rides that give you the sensation of hurtling through space and time.
Sometimes a movie opens with such a whoosh that you have to stand back and ask yourself what it represents - whether it has touched a nerve. "Mission: Impossible" has surprised everyone, even its makers, by scoring opening-week receipts in the vicinity of $75 million, a figure rivaled only by Steven Spielberg's "Jurassic Park."
In an age when young movie stars are famous for their clothes, their homes, their cars and the clubs where they hang out, Keanu Reeves is famous for his suitcase. He's been living out of one for nearly three years, occupying hotel rooms in the cities where his movie career takes him.
Musings on recent movies and other developments:
Ebert's Best Film Lists1967 - present
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. This is the story of one of the most important films I've seen this year and of the show-business cliffhanger it prompts: Will it find the audience it deserves? Or will it drift into the neverland of home video, because it has been denied the right launching pad?