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Thread: EBERT AND ROEPER'S BEST of 2002

  1. #46
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    Hmmm...

    I don't know if I feel any better knowing that he gave 3 1/2 stars to "The Pianist." I came out of the theatre thinking of the film as far away in style in most of any films I've seen of recent memory. Of course, I do understand why Ebert didn't give as much recognition to "Frida" or "Chicago." But the funny part is that Ebert gave a higher rating to "The Grey Zone" than "The Pianist," both dealing with the Holocaust in some particular way. I myself find "The Pianist" to be more moving than "The Grey Zone."

    However, one thing I can say is that Ebert does in fact have good taste in cinema. Of course its true. Ebert gives lots of support for foreign and independent films.

    But I'm still baffled on why Ebert gave "The Pianist" 3 1/2 stars instead of 4.

  2. #47
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    Yes, but...

    I think it's good to know other people consider our favorites are worth considering, but we can't expect them to rate them the same way. We all have a different set of preferences and what movies we rate highest isn't written in stone -- or maybe it is, but that writing came somewhat as a matter of the chance elements of when and how we watched what. I know other people who thought The Gray Zone was a better movie about the Holocaust than The Pianist. I have yet to see The Gray Zone so I can't comment.

    I hope in the Forums we can soon get into a larger discussion of movie critics and movie criticism and then we can talk about Roger Ebert. Meanwhile: he may get a little bit more attention than he deserves, especially after the untimely loss of Gene Siskel, but it couldn't happen to a nicer guy. Ebert writes good and perceptive and wonderfully openminded reviews

    I haven't found anybody whose Ten Best Lists coincide with mine, and I don't expect to. As long as there's a certain degree of overlapping, I'm happy. There's a lot to talk about and "Vive la différence!"

  3. #48
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    Oh no doubt about Ebert

    Of course people's opinions are different but at the same time "The Pianist" seemed as if it would be likely to have been on Ebert's Top Ten list of 2002. Then again, "The Grey Zone" didn't appear on his list so it doesn't really matter.

    However, I still think Roger Ebert is a great supporter and commentator on cinema. "I Hated This Movie" is probably my favorite out of his books because he really makes criticism such a joy to read. I highly recommend this book to those of you who love reading film criticism.

    Going a bit off topic, I must say that I miss a lot of Siskel & Ebert. I felt criticism was a lot stronger and less rushed. Now with Roeper, I feel that while watching the show is fun, I sense that everything seems to be done in a hurry. Not only is Roeper cocky, he also seems to talk too fast, trying to jam in every possible thought he has. It's as if he's looking at the clock and critiqing. Plus I feel that with Roeper, the show tries to finish up quickly. I remember when Ebert & Roeper reviewed "Bloody Sunday," they didn't spend more than 10 seconds on it. Of course, they gave it "Two Thumbs up" but whether it's a positive or negative criticism at least spend more time reviewing it. This prompted me to read Ebert's review of "Bloody Sunday" in the Chicago Sun-Times website and I got more out of it than the actual review Ebert and Roeper did on their show.

  4. #49
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    TV vs. PRINT

    Well, needless to say, print reviews are infinitely better than TV ones, which are just a string of soundbites.

  5. #50
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    I actually love Ebert more than Siskel, so I can't say I wish Gene dead. There are scores of other critics I would rather see on tv than "geek" Roeper and "jolly" Roger. Where are the hip film freaks? It's about time we had an alternative to Entertainment Tonight and the loathsome E! network.

    I value Ebert's opinion, but only so far as I know that he can sway into the "but I liked it!" plea category a little too often.
    "Set the controls for the heart of the Sun" - Pink Floyd

  6. #51
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    Film Criticism

    Most film writers are hired on the basis of their ability to reflect the presumed, existing public taste. The public taste is dependent on advertising budgets, press junkets, publicity disguised as journalism, crass infotainment, and professional blurb writers. We are drowning in puff pieces written by folks who don't know what a lap dissolve is or what was new about the French New Wave. A basic knowledge of the medium and its history is no longer required. Result: Many great films, most foreign, are barely shown,written and talked about. These films are shown in festivals, play briefly in large cities if at all, and disappear. I wish more had seen George Washington, Trans and Sleepy Time Gal. I wish I could watch The Believer but someone decided it wasn't commercially viable. These are American narrative films, my friends, not subtitled experiments. Mr. Ebert has managed to maintain some integrity, and more importantly, a passion for cinema. Given the lamentable state of affairs, he deserves my respect.

  7. #52
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    Hip film freaks and integrity in film criticism

    Well, I liked Roger Ebert more than Gene Siskel but Siskel still was a good critic nevertheless. Like Ebert, he cared a lot about films and whenever he believed in some that deserved recognition, he'd defend himself very well. Siskel really put emphasis when he spoke on Siskel & Ebert.

    As for Richard Roeper, he's pretty much a critic who leaves a lot to be desired. I highly doubt film is in his soul although at times he seems as if he knows what he's talking about.

    I still think Harry Knowles was the best guest critic before Roeper came on board. Now while he still needs to loose quite a bit of weight, he has true passion in talking about film. I've been a reader of Ain't It Cool News for a long time and when I saw Harry Knowles on Ebert's show, I was shocked. I believe that Knowles has come closer to a real critic like Siskel than any of those other would-be critics. He's got an incredible knowledge of film, much greater than even Roeper's.

  8. #53
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    Siskel, Ebert, Roeper, and the others

    I would still maintain that though we may all watch Ebert and Roeper as we watched Siskel and Ebert, TV movie criticism in this country even at its best is very lightweight stuff compared to print reviews. Siskel was very passionate about movies, not that Ebert isn't, but Siskel cared if anything more deeply, and others who were guests doubtless had more depth than Roeper. Ebert needed somebody he could work with easily and Roeper turned out the be his choice. Because they go so fast to get through their quota of movies for the week and still leave time for the ads, you really don't get a very good idea of what it's like to have a real discussion of a movie. You'd have to have them spend the entire show talking about just one movie, and even then it would just be a start Hopefully through watching Ebert's show a few young people do nevertheless get the bug, see that you can care about movies and be deeply well informed about them and get into great debates about their relative merits. But it's all soundbites and snatches, and doesn't encourage any depth. That can only come through your own discussions -- our discussions here -- or reading movie critics in depth and thinking about your own movie experiences.

  9. #54
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    Siskel and Ebert

    Years ago, when the gruesome twosome decided to go for more money, they began changing over from PBS, where they started, to being owned by (I think it's Disney, but I'm not sure... maybe it's Tribune). I was at the Broadcaster's Convention in Las Vegas. I had come over with a friend of mine, who worked for the Hollywood Reporter to cover the show.

    Who should be there but Siskel and Ebert in the flesh, trying to get stations to pick up their show. They had such a small following then. Ebert was very aloof, but Gene was very approachable. We talked about how this film influenced American cinema, directors and so on. It was really funny to see them become celebrities after that, because they were so down to earth at this show.

    Anyway, I repect Ebert, but I loved Gene. He was a down to earth guy who wasn't afraid to tell you what he thought. He didn't care about what other people would think of him if he spoke his mind. He was a gutsy family man who liked a good story. We all like good stories. Movies...books...journalism... its all about the story, isn't it.

    I miss him. I also miss Pauline Kael. No sharper wit ever graced a pen to paper with the exception of Dorothy Parker.

  10. #55
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    Siskel, Ebert and Kael

    I never met Siskel, but I remember the show about him after he passed away that brought out his passion about movies and other things in his life. He was more critical than Ebert, but wise in his choices of what to champion against Ebert's Thumbs Downs. He has not been adequately replaced and couldn't be. Still I think Ebert has grown into his role of most visible movie critic. Though the one book of his that I've read was peppered with small factual errors, in general his column reviews are graceful and well informed far above the average. But Pauline Kael is beyond comparison with any of the others. The extent of her movie knowledge, the precision of her specific observations, the scope of her intelligence and interests, the clarity of her positions, the decisiveness of her point of view, her provocativeness, her energy, her passion were all and shall remain unique. Moreover, she reigned during a sublime moment in American movie history.

  11. #56
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    It is sad that Pauline is gone- I loved her reviews even though I disagreed with her 90% of the time. She was one keen kitty.

    Her excuse for stopping in 1991?: "I can't sit through another Oliver Stone film". Her review of Barry Lyndon (a coffee table movie? geez Pauline!) has been lovingly photocopied & framed.

    She's been accused of style over substance, but who cares. She LOVED movies. Especially Last Tango in Paris (My fave Brando film)
    "Set the controls for the heart of the Sun" - Pink Floyd

  12. #57
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    It was the only reason I used to buy the snobby New Yorker Magazine (well, that and the cartoons). If Kael's review wasn't in that month's issue, I didn't buy it. The one she did of Jaws is framed on my wall. I saw Jaws 50 times the summer it came out. After the first month, it went to the dollar cinema on the near north side. I'd take the bus up there and watch it again and again, for one buck. That was when I really fell in love with the movies. I was in film school and...

    Well, that's another story... by the way, she said that "Chinatown" was the greatest American movie ever made. I tend to disagree. I think it was Treasure of Sierra Madre, or The Maltese Falcon... no, no, I changed my mind.... it was.....

  13. #58
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    Well, at least Pauline Kael didn't pick "Citizen Kane." I personally have nothing against that film but too many critics have believed it to be the greatest film made in history. It's almost as if we're supposed to believe everything about the film is perfect. I happen to think "Citizen Kane" is a marvelous motion picture but I don't believe it's the greatest.

    If you think "Citizen Kane" is the best film, that's ok. Just don't think it's so because all these other well known critics claim it's perfect versus any other film.

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