In Memoriam 1942 – 2013 “Roger Ebert loved movies.”

RogerEbert.com

Thumb wildlife

Wildlife

One never senses judgment from Dano, Kazan, Gyllenhaal, or Mulligan—they recognize that there’s beauty even in the mistakes we make in life. It’s what makes…

Thumb halloween poster

Halloween

Do you know the biggest sin of the new Halloween? It’s just not scary. And that’s one thing you could never say about the original.

Other Reviews
Review Archives
Thumb xbepftvyieurxopaxyzgtgtkwgw

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…

Other Reviews
Great Movie Archives

Screwballs and grace notes

lhds.jpg

John Krasinski and George Clooney: Which one's the Ralph Bellamy?

My review of "Leatherheads" is in the Chicago Sun-Times and on RogerEbert.com. (Also: "Shelter.") Here's an excerpt:

The script is less than effervescent, but Clooney and his cast are game. Although "Leatherheads" probably has fewer dull moments than your average NFL contest, sometimes you wonder if the clock is still ticking or if somebody's called a timeout. A scene will end and, just as you're moving on to the next one, you may find yourself wondering: Why was that there?

Advertisement

Yet there's always something interesting to notice: a face, a throwaway visual joke, the way the winter rain on a window contributes to the tone of a scene, or the sight of the muscular 1920s Chicago skyline in the distance behind the ballfield.

Even before the opening credits montage is over, Clooney demonstrates the fleetness of his comedic footwork -- getting a better laugh from a cow and a ball than you'd have any right to hope for. He knows how to compose a shot (the retro short-focus camerawork by Newton Thomas Sigel immediately puts you in a classic Hollywood frame of mind) and how to cut comedy so that it doesn't cramp the actors' style.

Best of all are the picture's abundant grace notes. Clooney's a team player, and his generosity toward his collaborators, as an actor and a director, shines throughout the movie....

You'll probably remember the image of a hulking high schooler named Big Gus (Keith Loneker) standing and beaming at a train station. And Belinda (Heather Goldenhersh), the archetypal flapper with a mouth of potty. And a moment in a speakeasy, after a long night and a big brawl, in which soldiers and football players gather drunkenly around the piano (manned by score composer Randy Newman himself) to sing "Over There."

In the final chorus, the camera drifts over to a Bulldog with a buzz-cut named Curly (Matt Bushnell), who finishes the song by himself in a gentle, lingering closeup -- one that reminds you of why we go to the movies.

Popular Blog Posts

Who do you read? Good Roger, or Bad Roger?

This message came to me from a reader named Peter Svensland. He and a fr...

Netflix’s Terrifying, Moving The Haunting of Hill House is Essential Viewing

A review of Mike Flanagan's new horror series based on the Shirley Jackson novel, The Haunting of Hill House.

"It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World" Gets the Deluxe Treatment from Criterion

An epic essay on an epic comedy of the 1960s, now given deluxe treatment on Blu-ray and DVD by Criterion.

Once Upon a Time in Haddonfield: Revisiting John Carpenter's Halloween

Far Flung Correspondent Seongyong Cho revisits John Carpenter's classic Halloween.

Reveal Comments
comments powered by Disqus