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Monster Hunt 2

A small, but noteworthy amount of charm sets this disposable bauble apart from other films that came before it.

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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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"Don't mess Malcolm up"

May Contain Spoilers

From its incendiary opening to its somber but exultant conclusion, Spike Lee's grand and important film "Malcolm X" captures the life of a complex, charismatic and gravely misunderstood man who fought for human rights and justice for Africans and African-Americans. The film, based on The Autobiography of Malcolm X as told to Alex Haley, is arguably Mr. Lee's best and most universal film, and one of the great American film biographies.

For context, "Malcolm X" had extraordinary publicity leading up to its 1991 production. Numerous black activists in New York City and elsewhere had forecasted that Mr. Lee's film would not accurately depict the essence of Malcolm. "Don't mess Malcolm up," was a refrain the director heard over and over again.

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A brave film about a fake miracle

May Contain Spoilers

Regardless of how one feels about the Vatican and its handling of its recent crises, one cannot help but doubt how much we feel let down. Religion of any sort has long been regarded as our moral authority. Some today will think it is outdated, others still necessary.

Everyone should be able to believe want they want to, but there is no doubt that when it comes to belief, there is nothing quite as dangerous as blind faith.

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The most memorable verdict

May Contain Spoilers

Courtroom dramas count for some of Hollywood's best movies and, among their finest stands Sidney Lumet's "The Verdict."

Even when comparing it to other greats such as his own "Twelve Angry Men" or "To Kill a Mockingbird", "The Verdict" stands in my opinion as the one with the most memorable, well, verdict, one which I believe to be as fresh, as satisfying and as powerful in your first viewing as it is in your twentieth.

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The Way Morgan Freeman was

May Contain Spoilers

Legendary movie critic Pauline Kael formally recognized Morgan Freeman's talents in her review: "Morgan Freeman may be the greatest American actor." It's hard to argue with that title now, but it was in 1987 when she wrote her review for "Street Smart."

From the perspective of more than 20 years after its theatrical release in the US, it's rather surprising to think that this small, flawed movie boosted the career of one of the great American actors of our time. It garnered him his first Oscar nomination (he lost to Sean Connery in "The Untouchables") and that was just the start. He has been nominated for an Oscar five times in total and received the Oscar for best supporting actor for "Million Dollar Baby". He is now one of the most formidable actors in Hollywood and is consistently watchable on the screen.

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"Brief Encounter": A matter of the heart

May Contain Spoilers

Marital infidelity is a favorite subject in films. It's one of many taboos which audiences can explore without having to live through its challenges nor worry about its consequences. The emotional and social tumult that comes with it always provides filmmakers and actors with complex and often fiery material to work with. But because it is a social ill, it tends to be viewed through an illicit lens.

The very way these kinds of love affairs are defined speak for themselves. Adultery. Infidelity. Cheating. Marriage is a sacrament, hence anything that goes against it is cast as

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Taking the last train home

May Contain Spoilers

Why do we go to the movies? I expect the reasons vary. Some people may go to be wowed by an interesting plot, spectacular special effects, tight action sequences. Some may go for an escape, wanting to be absorbed in a world other than their own for a little while. Some may go for the company, for a date, for some bonding time with parents, siblings, friends. Some may go out of boredom, loneliness, or both. Some may go to simply see a good movie, a work of art. The cinema never judges.

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"The Chaser," a great thriller from South Korea

The movie I want to talk about is Korean Movie "The Chaser". I watched it in early 2008 and I hadn't had much expectation since watching its trailer. However, after watching the movie, I chose it as one of the best Korean movies of 2008.

Several weeks ago, Mr. Ebert gave enthusiastic review to this terrific film and I decided to talk about it as one of Korean audience.

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The mesmerizing masterpiece "Memento"

May Contain Spoilers

In the wake of the disappointing "Shutter Island", it's especially gratifying to look back at Christopher Nolan's feature film "Memento" (2001), an indie mystery starring Guy Pearce as a San Francisco man in Los Angeles suffering from anterograde amnesia, or short-term memory loss.

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Memo to Spielberg: Hands off "Jaws!"

May Contain Spoilers

Recent years have seen the world's two most successful film directors in history do the unthinkable by tinkering with some of their most classic work.

First up George Lucas decided to update his original "Star Wars" trilogy, I imagine with the purpose of standardizing its look with the new three films he was working on at the time.

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"Black Narcissus," which electrified Scorsese

May Contain Spoilers

Post World War II British Cinema was one of the richest periods in film history. Finally free from budget and stylistic constraints saddled during wartime, some of the greatest filmmaking talent the filmdom had arisen. John and Roy Boulting, David Lean, Laurence Olivier, and Carol Reed were just a few of the notables whose directorial prowess had struck the scene. But a pair which was the period's most prolific was Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger; The Archers.

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