This is rare, nuanced storytelling, anchored by one of Brad Pitt’s career-best performances and remarkable technical elements on every level. It’s a special film.
* 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.
A review of three horror films from the Sundance 2019 Film Festival.
A tribute to the late actor and Ebertfest favorite, Scott Wilson.
The Passion of Emma González; Elizabeth Wood on "White Girl"; A driverless future; How to trick AI; The next great action director.
The latest in our monthly series looks at Walter Hill's controversial thriller.
A look at the career of Willem Dafoe.
A celebration of "Baby Driver" filmmaker Edgar Wright and his love for movies.
An interview with writer/director Edgar Wright about his heart-pumping action film, "Baby Driver."
A look at the entire "Alien" franchise, and a reappraisal of its unloved installments.
A tribute to the late Powers Boothe.
A tribute to the late actor and director, Bill Paxton.
An interview with "Cult Movies" author Danny Peary.
Lost Marx Brothers film; Remembering "The Warriors"; "Diary of a Teenage Girl" director Marielle Heller; David M. Rosenthal on "The Perfect Guy"; Home for Hollywood dreamers and dropouts.
Highlights of the 2015 Fantasia Fest.
The movie questionnaire and 2015 reviews of RogerEbert.com film critic Peter Sobczynski.
A feature on the films that connect The Road Warrior to Fury Road, the films influenced by the former which, in turn, influenced the latter.
Jim Hemphill on "The Trouble with the Truth"; 1980s Atlanta as a backdrop of the future; How to make Blu-rays relevant again; Recreating Klimt; In defense of Trevor Noah.
The first in a monthly series of video essays about unloved films, Scout Tafoya's video essay is an appreciation of "Alien 3," the debut feature by David Fincher.
Writer Peter Sobczynski responds to our Movie Love Questionnaire.
Nick Schager ponders the new crop of action directors, who bring 'serious film' cred to the genre, but can't seem to show personality where it counts the most.
Bruce Dern and Will Forte reminisce about their father-son road trip in Alexander Payne's "Nebraska."
Judging from the overwhelmingly tepid critical reaction that "To Rome with Love" has been getting since it opened in Poland, European film critics seem to take offense at what they describe as glossy, superficial way of presenting their continent in Woody Allen's recent movies. I know a Spanish film buff who hated (hated, hated) "Vicky Cristina Barcelona," as well as a Parisian who despised "Midnight in Paris." Clearly, there's something about the way Allen shoots European cities that many of their natives object to. They hate how prettified and inane their stomping grounds look on the screen (mere sightseeing folders, they say). And yet they never minded when New York was getting the same kind of Allen treatment back in the day. It seems we're much more comfortable with mythologizing someone else's home than we are with other people sprinkling glitter on ours.
"Dear Mr. Spider;I am profoundly sorry to have taken you from your home in the woods, when I was picking Himalayan Blackberries on Monday afternoon. I didn't see you fall into my bucket and which was entirely my fault; I must have bumped into your web while reaching for a berry. Needless to say, I was surprised upon returning home with my bucket full, to suddenly see you there standing on a blackberry and looking up at me." - Marie
(photo recreation of incident)
I was going to say, up front, that I had some mixed feelings about Nicolas Winding Refn's "Drive," but I'm not sure that "feelings" is the appropriate word. This 1980s pastiche (isn't that the "Risky Business" typeface lit up in neon pink?) is emotionally and narratively stripped down to resemble the sleek, polished surfaces of... well, muscle cars, but also movies by the likes of Walter Hill ("The Driver"), Michael Mann ("Thief"), William Friedkin ("To Live and Die in L.A."), Paul Schrader ("American Gigolo") and others. It even sports an aggressively ersatz-Tangerine Dream synth score of the kind so popular in the early 1980s, though this one also features some Euro-vocals with unfortunate English day-glo-highlighter lyrics ("a real human being and a real hero..."). Emotion, character, story -- they're not so much what "Drive" is interested in. The movie makes fetishistic use of signifiers for those things, but its most tangible concerns have (paradoxically?) to do with dreamy abstractions of color and shape and movement.
I like the red a lot. Not just the blood (which is the heart of the film, and I'll get to that in a minute), but there's so much blue (teal?) and orange and pink that when the red starts gushing in, it pumps some real excitement into what has, by that point, settled into a fairly static picture. (In some respects, I think "Drive" perversely hints at an art-house action movie -- and an erotic movie -- it never quite delivers, after a pretty [and] terrific archetypal getaway chase at the beginning, in which the Driver shows off his skills at using Los Angeles infrastructure to play hide-and-seek with cop cars and helicopters. Thank goodness, though, that it never turns into the racetrack movie it briefly threatens to become.)
So, the red: It excites the eyeballs (and signals imminent danger) in the red-and-white checkered windows at Nino's Pizza. But as I recall, it really gets going at Denny's. The nameless Driver (Ryan Gosling), a movie stuntman who also works as a mechanic and moonlights as a getaway car wheelman-for-hire, sits down with his generic romantic-interest neighbor Irene (Carey Mulligan), who wears a red uniform vest as a Denny's waitress, in a booth with red light fixtures above it and a BIG plastic bottle of ketchup on the table. I don't remember what the conversation is about -- it doesn't matter, but it's probably something about her husband Standard (Oscar Isaac), who's just got out of jail and owes money to some brutal sleazebags who are threatening to physically harm him and Irene and their son Benicio (Kaden Leos), to whom Driver has also taken a shine. What I remember is the red. The film becomes pregnant with red.
Marie writes: Roger recently did an email Q&A with the National Post's Mark Medley, which you can read here: "Roger Ebert's voice has never been louder". And in a nice touch, they didn't use a traditional head-shot photo with the article. Instead they went old school and actually hired an illustrator. Yup. They drew the Grand Poobah instead! And here it is...pretty good, eh?
Illustration By Kagan Mcleod for the National Post(click to enlarge)