Trial by Fire
The film plods at points, trudging along, and there are a few misguided narrative "devices" tacked on, but still, "Trial by Fire" bristles with anger.
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)
Ebert William Golding's "Lord of the Flies," a famous modern novel, concerns a group of British schoolboys who are marooned on an island and gradually become savages. Despite all the standards of decency and honor that have been hammered into them in school, they eventually grow capable of murder. That's what the book is about: how capable we are of violence despite all our talk of civilization.
To the surprise of all concerned, Luis Bunuel's "The Exterminating Angel" has turned into a modest hit at the Town Underground. This is an encouraging sign if Chicago is to develop another first-run outlet for good foreign films. The Town will hold "Angel" at least another week, possibly two, before opening Orson Welles' "Falstaff."
Andrew Sarris tells the story of a Sam Goldwyn press conference at which a reporter incautiously began: "When William Wyler made 'Wuthering Heights'..." Goldwyn interrupted angrily: "I made 'Wuthering Heights.' Wyler only directed it."
I'm supposed to be a movie critic, and yet I keep hearing about these great new movies I've never seen. Don't think I'm not on the job; my trouble is that I live in Chicago.
Not since “I, a Woman” hit the suburbs has a movie caused more excitement than “Bonnie and Clyde.” It's the blood-soaked, tenderly photographed love story of two bandits and the banks they called their own.
For many American moviegoers, Jean-Luc Godard's “Breathless” (1960) was an introduction to the new style of French filmmaking. Everything about the movie seemed filled with life, invented on the spot. Godard scribbled the script on the backs of envelopes every morning before shooting. For his hero he chose an unknown, Jean-Paul Belmondo, who was not handsome like Rock Hudson but ugly like Humphrey Bogart. Aware of the inevitable comparisons, Belmondo parodied Bogart in a memorable scene which put him in the tradition of the master.
It's a game you get to play everywhere, because so many people have seen "Blow-Up," and most of them want to talk about it. Movies that require you to figure things out for yourself always leave a lot of frustrated customers behind.