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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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Kinski: If not to die for a moment of emotion, what is the use of life?

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CANNES -- The riots were Wednesday. Kinski was Thursday. Relative calm returned by the weekend. But it is safe to say that few entrances in the history of the Cannes Film Festival have rivaled the reception of Nastassja Kinski when she arrived here for the premiere of her latest film, the luridly stylistic "The Moon in the Gutter." The film was not a success, but Kinski was a triumph -- not because of her performance, but because of herself. Has there ever been an actress in the history of the cinema who has so fascinated so many people without yet having appeared in a single truly great movie?

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Interview with Meryl Streep

How does an actress go about preparing to play another human being? And what if the other person's friends are standing by to see what you do? Meryl Streep has played realistic characters before, but they were creations of the filmmakers. Her new role is Karen Silkwood, who really lived and breathed and died a controversial death, and whose lover was standing by to tell Streep what he remembered and suspected about her.

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Interview with Jack Nicholson

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Jack Nicholson gets third billing in "Terms of Endearment," the heartwarming and heartbreaking new movie about 30 years in the lives of a mother and her daughter. He's billed after Debra Winger and Shirley MacLaine, just as, 14 years ago, he was billed beneath Peter Fonda and Dennis Hopper in "Easy Rider." The uncanny thing is how Nicholson's third-billed appearances tend to haunt the memory. They're not "supporting roles," they're great and strange and funny characters who bring whole worlds into the movie with them.

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Interview with Mary Steenburgen

Do Mary Steenburgen and Dudley Moore have romantic chemistry in the new movie "Romantic Comedy"? I think they do. Other people think they don't. On the very same day that I was writing about their wonderful chemistry, other critics were writing about how chemistry was lacking between the two of them.

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