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Just Getting Started

Just Getting Started never really gets going. It only kept me thinking, “Is this ever just going to finish?”

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The Rape of Recy Taylor

A documentary with a great subject and powerful testimony, undone by its unnecessarily obtrusive style.

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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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* 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.

"This is where we came in..."

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I grew up in a time (the 1960s and 1970s) when commercial, technological and artistic conventions accustomed us to listening to music on LPs and watching movies in theaters. For the most part, we listened to one side of an album at a time (eventually, CDs -- although more easily programmable -- would play 70+ minutes of uninterrupted music, which changed song-sequencing priorities). And we saw movies from start to finish. I'm too young to remember the original ad campaign for Alfred Hitchcock's "Psycho" in 1960, but later on (when I got my hands on some original lobby cards -- those were the 11"x14" images displayed with the posters at the entrances or in the lobbies of theaters) I noticed it was built around the apparently novel pitch that audiences had to see the movie from the start.

Now, if, like me, you were in college (or university, as they say back East) when Alvy Singer (Woody Allen) in "Annie Hall" announced that he had to see a picture "exactly from the start to the finish," and you thought that made perfect sense, it seemed bizarre to imagine a time when people had to be encouraged to show up before the feature started: "No one... BUT NO ONE... will be admitted to the theatre after the start of each performance..." (It turns out Paramount had done something similar with Hitchcock's "Vertigo" just two years earlier: "It's a Hitchcock thriller... You should see it from the beginning!") As the proprietor of the Opening Shot Project, which emphasizes the importance of the first shot in setting up and framing certain films, the idea that somebody would watch a movie without having seen the beginning is incomprehensible to me. Why cheat yourself of the joys of discovery and development? Or just knowing what's going on in the story?

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He's his mother's right arm. And her left.

May Contain Spoilers

I have a small childhood memory indirectly associated with Alejandro Jodorowsky's "Santa Sangre"(1989). I remember well about how it drew the attention of people when it was introduced in South Korea in 1994. One tagline was simple brutal honesty that I still recall with smile: "This is no doubt the cult!" And here is another nice one that makes my eyeballs still roll: "Today, You will be infected by the cult!"They were blatant enough to draw the attention from an 11-year-old boy, but the problems were that (1) I was too young to get the chance to watch it, and (2) my hometown was a local city far from Seoul. However, that was a blessing in disguise. They showed the audiences the butchered version with a considerable amount deleted due to local censorship. In those days, bold, controversial films like "The Cook, The Thief, His Wife, & Her Lover" were never introduced to South Korean audiences unless they were heavily chopped. You probably think it is kind of weird considering some uncompromisingly violent South Korean movies made nowadays, but it did happen a lot when I was young.

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