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.
* This filmography is not intended to be a comprehensive list of this artist’s work. Instead it reflects the films this person has been involved with that have been reviewed on this site.
An interview with writer John Fusco and director John Lee Hancock about their Texas Rangers movie, The Highwaymen.
With FilmStruck gone and no real alternative filling the void at present, Amazon is in a prime position to grab up fans of classic movies.
A review of Paramount Network's new series Yellowstone, co-created by writer/director Taylor Sheridan.
An interview with Keith Carradine and Alan Rudolph.
A recap of the 90th Academy Awards.
The Ebert Voices crew celebrates a classic as it turns 50 years old, Arthur Penn's "Bonnie and Clyde."
Sheila O'Malley on the art of Joan Crawford, as displayed in a new restoration of 1952's "Sudden Fear."
The winners of the 89th Academy Awards.
A tribute to the late comic genius, Gene Wilder.
Politics of the new "Ghostbusters"; The Suskinds on "Life, Animated"; Restoring the "Chinatown" score; Bryan McMahan on "Knight of Cups"; Netflix could save "The Little Prince."
Roger's Favorites: actress Faye Dunaway.
Jeff Nichols brings "Loving" to Cannes; Cherchez la femme; Best of Cannes so far; STX pays $50 million for unmade Scorsese movie; "Mean Dreams" thrills at Cannes.
An essay on the legacy of actress Joan Crawford.
A recap of the 2016 TCM Classic Film Festival.
A review of Fox Searchlight's "Brooklyn" and "Youth."
An appreciation of Richard Lester as a retrospective of his work is about to unfold in New York City.
Critic Carrie Rickey traces the evolution of women on film and behind the camera over the course of her career writing about film.
Inside the Kenyan mall massacre; the death toll of acetaminophen; that heartwarming story of the pastor who posed as a homeless man is a fake; one person who's really glad that Breaking Bad is ending; ten great movies set in museums.
If we said there was a clear throughline from "Bonnie and Clyde" and Richard Donner's "Superman: The Movie," you'd say we were crazy, right? Get ready to eat your words as we prove once again that showbiz works in mysterious ways.
Billy Wilder's under-appreciated 1978 "Fedora" returns to Cannes to remind us that some things, like the fear of aging among celebrities, never change.
April 5 would have been Bette Davis's 104th birthday. I was reminded of this interview I did with her in 1988, which appeared on my CinePad website 10 years later:
When my former Seattle Times editor called me, a few months after I'd moved to Los Angeles, to say he wanted me to interview Bette Davis, I wasn't as thrilled as I probably should have been. I realized it was a rare opportunity -- she was giving only three interviews to promote the paperback version of her book about recovering from her stroke -- but Bette Davis had never been my glass of lemonade.
I just never really got the whole Bette-Davis-As-Icon thing. To me, she was a movie star, a part of Hollywood history (I admired the way she took on the studio bosses when they -- and she -- were at the peak of their powers), but with the exception of All About Eve (where she really used her movie-star mega-wattage as part of the role), I hadn't regarded her as a great actress. I mean, she was no Barbara Stanwyck, who was equally adept as a screwball comedienne, a tragic heroine, or a femme fatale.
But of course, I wasn't about to pass up the opportunity to interview a screen legend; there just weren't that many of them left. I remember thinking it was kind of funny and appropriate that she was living on the outskirts of West Hollywood (in the Century House on Havenhurst), mecca to the gay men who really worshipped her. But why did they? Was she just a camp figurehead because her brittle, melodramatic style of acting hadn't aged well? Or was it that she was Larger Than Life, a tough broad who had survived? Probably some of both...
Well, I'll say this: She sure knew how to be Bette Davis. She was cantankerous and flamboyant, but I also thought there was an undercurrent of playfulness to her behavior. Not that I thought she was "performing," or putting on a Bette Davis Act; I think she was probably like this most of the time. But I also think she rose to the occasion, somewhat, because she liked the attention, and liked the feeling that she was communicating -- albeit through me -- to her public.
It was a stellar afternoon...
Charles Bukowski died on his day in 1994. His voice is open and fearless, romantic, honest. He probably has a whole generation of writers getting drunk and wondering why they can't write like that.
In Big Ed's during the filming of "Barfly." Left to right, Bukowski, Ebert, Faye Dunaway, visiting fireman Andre Konchalovsky.
My story about a day on location with "Barfly."
Tom O'Bedlam reads Bukowski's incomparable "Who in the Hell is Tom Jones?"
Bukowski sits in the back set of a convertible and gives a running commentary along Hollywood Boulevard.
Bukowski photos and a song by Johnny Cash
Bono reads "Roll the Dice" by Bukowski
Charles Bukowski Reads "The Fire Station"
Tom Waits reads Bukowski's "The Laughing Heart," Hanks version of Ecclesiates 7, 3 -12:
WARNING: Big-time spoilers in the above video.
From the introduction to my fully explicated video, "Chinatown: Frames and Lenses," at Press Play, Chapter 4 in a week-long series: LIFE'S WORK: THE FILMS OF ROMAN POLANSKI:
Roman Polanski's "Chinatown" is a Panavision color film noir--a ghost story, really--about flawed vision and the inescapable resurgence of the past, made in 1974 and set in 1937. Private eye Jake Gittes (Jack Nicholson) thinks he knows what's going on, but as Noah Cross (John Huston) tells him, "Believe me, you don't." We see what Jake sees, and it's invariably filtered or blocked--viewed from a distance through binoculars, or from outside through a door or window that obscures a more complete perspective. Photographs--snippets of time recorded on film, one of the tools of the detective trade--are potentially misleading because they don't--can't--capture what's going on outside of the frame, beyond the moment.
This video montage is a hymn of praise to a film that had a profound effect on me when I first saw it as a 16-year-old in 1974, and that I've lived with, haunted, ever since. It's also an unabashed love poem to the desperate, damaged and determined Mrs. Mulwray (Faye Dunaway).
Like "close-up," which I did in 2007, it's a free-associative critical essay/dream sequence, based on themes and images (and sound and music) from the movie. Although, like a lot of creative pursuits, the process of assembling it (from pieces of film that were already floating around in my head) was largely unconscious, I now (at least in retrospect) think I understand why each fragment is where it is.
So, I thought I'd turn around and look back at "Chinatown" through the lens (or frame or door or window, if you will) of my video essay, using it as a way of translating the film's images into critical prose. Because, in "Chinatown," every image is loaded with meanings, associations, resonances. If you're familiar with the film, you'll immediately see that this reflection on "Chinatown" isn't structured chronologically. Scenes, themes, moments and images keep circling back in fragments... not unlike they do in the film, but in a more condensed and less linear form...