An ambitious, challenging piece of work that people will be dissecting for years. Don’t miss it.
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-in-Chief 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)
It seems to be written in the subconscious of the world's moviegoers that a feature film should be somewhere between 95 and 120 minutes long. Much shorter, and you don't get your money's worth. Much longer, and you start getting restless. We've been trained to expect two hours.
"I want to find out what the censors say about my film," Andrei Konchalovsky whispered to the projectionist. "I'll give you a bottle of brandy if you eavesdrop after the screening, and let me know what their objections are."
Thank God for President Bush's stomach flu. It gave the op-ed pundits something to write about other than Oliver Stone's "JFK." Never in my years as a newspaperman have I seen one subject pummeled so mercilessly and joylessly as this movie that questions the official wisdom on the assassination of John F. Kennedy.
LOS ANGELES -- It happened several years ago. Larry Kasdan was standing on a street corner, and he stepped off the curb and then a woman grabbed him by the collar and yanked him back toward her, and just then a big city bus thundered past, going fast.
Ebert's Best Film Lists 1967 - present
An open letter to the "Teenage Film Panelists" at certain other newspapers:
On the one hand, John Frankenheimer is of course pleased that the Cold War seems to be over. On the other hand, the timing was disastrous for his filmmaking career. After the success of "52 Pickup" (1986), he made "Dead Bang" (1989), an unhappy experience marked by sharp differences with the star, Don Johnson, and then in 1989, began shooting "The Fourth War," a splendid political thriller starring Roy Scheider as a hot-headed U.S. Army officer assigned to a sensitive border post opposite Soviet troops.
In one way or another, I have been waiting for the apocalypse all of my life. Most people, I imagine, never think about it, and those who do probably fear it. Not me. I expect to be filled with joy during the final battle between good and evil, while those fearsome horsemen thunder through the sky - because at least then I'll know for sure that something exists beyond the material universe, and therefore it is possible to escape from death. These days, I no longer really think of the end of the world in literal terms. I envy the faith of those who do. When I was in parochial school, the notion of Judgment Day filled me with a rush of danger, as I imagined the Lord evaluating billions of lifetimes, and then turning a particularly stern eye on a certain fifth-grader from Urbana, Illinois.
When Sherman McCoy, the hero of Tom Wolfe's The Bonfire of the Vanities, took the wrong exit ramp into the Bronx, the result was a merciless flaying of New York's rich and famous. When Mel Brooks, the director of "Life Stinks," took the wrong exit ramp into downtown Los Angeles, the result was a warmhearted comedy about the homeless.
Columbia Pictures shouted "fire!" in its own crowded theaters.