Film Criticism

Discuss films and filmmakers of the 20th century (and even a little of the 19th century). Threads may contain spoilers.
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Michael Kerpan
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#51 Post by Michael Kerpan » Thu Aug 02, 2007 1:24 pm

Antoine Doinel wrote:Michael Wilmington has left the Chicago Tribune to focus on other writing projects.
He was dumped.

From Gerald Peary's latest column in the Boston Phoenix:
Had Michael Wilmington, a long-time film critic at the Chicago Tribune, quit his job? “Not exactly,â€

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souvenir
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#52 Post by souvenir » Thu Aug 02, 2007 2:08 pm

For fun, look at Ebert and Roeper's reviews of In the Mood for Love and 2046. They split on both films, thumbswise, but Roeper goes from scratching his head at the former to recommending the latter.

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#53 Post by kevyip1 » Thu Aug 02, 2007 6:22 pm

Gene actually gave thumbs down to "Silence of the Lambs", and Roger did the same to "Blue Velvet", and now we can see the proof.

Check out their heated exchange for a film called "Don't Be a Menace to South Central While Drinking your Juice in the Hood". It was so heated that Roger actually had to bring up Gene's Jewish ethnicity to argue a point about the film's alleged racist tone. Very startling and memorable.

For Gene's last TV appearance with Roger, search for reviews for At First Sight, Another Day in Paradise, The Hi-Lo Country, Playing by Heart, and The Theory of Flight.

The most valuable thing about these videos is that they resurrect Gene's reviews, as very few of his writings are available in any form anymore. Roger's writings, otoh, are already widely available in print and online. Their often spirited exchanges show how good Gene really was as a critic, at least miles better than Richard Roeper.

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#54 Post by colinr0380 » Thu Aug 02, 2007 7:08 pm

kevyip1 wrote:Check out their heated exchange for a film called "Don't Be a Menace to South Central While Drinking your Juice in the Hood". It was so heated that Roger actually had to bring up Gene's Jewish ethnicity to argue a point about the film's alleged racist tone. Very startling and memorable.
They did seem to fight the most over some poor films that didn't really deserve half the energy they expended on them, for example Alaska and Always, and there's also a heated exchange between Ebert and Roeper over The Affair of the Necklace (yes, I'm concentrating on the 'A' section at the moment!)

EDIT: There are some very strange flip flops between films - for example Blue Velvet is panned by Ebert for the way Isabella Rossellini is treated, yet later he gave a good review to Fat Girl. The Don't Be A Menace To South Central film is attacked by bringing up the question of whether it would be as funny if the comedy were about Jews - the same argument is also used as an argument with a reviewer about the South Park film. Roeper gives a glowing review to Team America for its satirical content yet pans Dogville for 'Anti-Americanism'! That is what makes comparing the reviews over the years so interesting though.
Last edited by colinr0380 on Sat Mar 01, 2008 9:12 pm, edited 3 times in total.

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domino harvey
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#55 Post by domino harvey » Thu Aug 02, 2007 7:35 pm

I think it's been well-documented on this board that Siskel didn't know as much about film as he probably should, but I will say he had a slightly more eclectic taste with regards to comedies, as opposed to Ebert's sort of tone-deaf understanding of good recent comedies (see his disastrous take on Wet Hot American Summer-- or don't). I remember Siskel being the only major critic upon Kids in the Hall Brain Candy's release to praise the film (in fact in print he gave it 3 1/2 stars!) and he also placed Kingpin on his year end best list.

I bet digging up the original episode where they both discuss how much they hate North would be well worth watching again.

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#56 Post by kevyip1 » Thu Aug 02, 2007 8:20 pm

A lot of their reviews are still not online yet, such as the one for "Maya Lin: A Strong Clear Vision", in which Roger apologized to the filmmakers because, as shown on the "Hoop Dreams" Criterion DVD supplements, Roger had accused them of basically stealing the Oscar from "Hoop Dreams". But after he viewed "Maya Lin", he was so impressed with it he thought it deserved the Oscar.

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#57 Post by tavernier » Thu Aug 02, 2007 9:21 pm

Shouldn't there be a separate Siskel/Ebert/Roeper thread? One-minute-long snap judgments and a quick thumbs up or down is not my idea of film criticism.

How did these un-critics hijack this thread? (I'm talking strictly of their TV show because I know S&E also wrote somewhat more substantial reviews.)

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#58 Post by domino harvey » Thu Aug 02, 2007 10:48 pm

I agree, they're not real "critics" but man were they entertaining

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Jeff
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#59 Post by Jeff » Thu Aug 02, 2007 11:06 pm

tavernier wrote:Shouldn't there be a separate Siskel/Ebert/Roeper thread? One-minute-long snap judgments and a quick thumbs up or down is not my idea of film criticism.
Well that wouldn't be my idea of criticism either, but as you point out, Siskel and Ebert were also legitimate critics. I would venture a guess that Roger Ebert has written more full-length film reviews than just about anyone. They were hardly making "snap judgements." It's not like they were formulating their thoughts about the films for the first time during taping and offering their observations about them off the cuff. They were basically summarizing their print reviews and then quickly debating when necessary.

The thumb is a necessary evil that both Siskel and Ebert wanted to do away with. The show's producers have always insisted on it as it lets the viewing public quickly see whether the two are recommending the film or not.

Roeper sucks and the show is long past its prime, but it's still the only place on television where you can see people actually discussing films instead of telling you which star is fucking who. I also admire the fact that it is one of the few programs on television that has the balls to say when a film is awful. Even when that film is produced by the guys at Disney who are signing the critics' checks.

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#60 Post by malcolm1980 » Thu Aug 02, 2007 11:37 pm

I've watched a few and it's painfully obvious that Siskel is probably the smarter of the two. I think the reason Ebert picked Roeper was because he wanted to be the smarter one for a change.

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#61 Post by domino harvey » Thu Aug 02, 2007 11:44 pm

decide amongst yourselves who wins:

Ebert vs Siskel

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#62 Post by souvenir » Thu Aug 02, 2007 11:50 pm

Roger Ebert is also the only film critic to ever win the Pulitzer Prize for criticism, I believe. In the New York area, there's a show called Reel Talk, with Jeffrey Lyons and Alison Bailes, which apes the Siskel & Ebert format. It's incredibly non-controversial and safe, but basically the equivalent of Roeper and his guest. I agree, though, that American television is sorely lacking any kind of film criticism.

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#63 Post by domino harvey » Thu Aug 02, 2007 11:52 pm

can we stop calling the act of reviewing "criticism," that's why I believe the other poster in this thread wanted it split into a Siskel/Ebert thread: they're reviewers not critics. I still love talking about them, but clearly not the same arena.

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The Elegant Dandy Fop
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#64 Post by The Elegant Dandy Fop » Thu Aug 02, 2007 11:55 pm

souvenir wrote:Roger Ebert is also the only film critic to ever win the Pulitzer Prize for criticism, I believe. In the New York area, there's a show called Reel Talk, with Jeffrey Lyons and Alison Bailes, which apes the Siskel & Ebert format. It's incredibly non-controversial and safe, but basically the equivalent of Roeper and his guest. I agree, though, that American television is sorely lacking any kind of film criticism.
We have that show overt here in Los Angeles, but they show it in the hours when people aren't watching T.V., usually Sunday afternoon and late nights on Saturday. Jeffrey Lyons really pisses me off, and I can't put my finger on it why.

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souvenir
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#65 Post by souvenir » Thu Aug 02, 2007 11:56 pm

sorry domino, that's what the Pulitzer category is called though. It looks like Ebert isn't the only film critic to win one any more, but I know he was for a few decades.

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#66 Post by tavernier » Thu Aug 02, 2007 11:57 pm

The Elegant Dandy Fop wrote: Jeffrey Lyons really pisses me off, and I can't put my finger on it why.
Because he's a Red Sox fan?

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#67 Post by The Elegant Dandy Fop » Thu Aug 02, 2007 11:57 pm

tavernier wrote:
The Elegant Dandy Fop wrote: Jeffrey Lyons really pisses me off, and I can't put my finger on it why.
Because he's a Red Sox fan?
That's part of it.

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Andre Jurieu
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#68 Post by Andre Jurieu » Tue Aug 07, 2007 11:30 am

Jeff wrote:The Ebert & Roeper website has just posted a massive collection of TV reviews from the past 20 years. Highlights include ... Martin Scorsese joining Ebert to name the best films of the 90s.
I thought that one has been available on the Ebert & Roeper website for a while now? I remember watching it a couple years ago.

I still can't believe Siskel liked Bullworth.

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#69 Post by Antoine Doinel » Sat Aug 25, 2007 9:29 am


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#70 Post by Antoine Doinel » Fri Dec 28, 2007 10:48 am

Jonathan Rosenbaum will be retiring from Time Out Chicago as of February 27th, but will continue to write on his own website.

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#71 Post by jguitar » Fri Dec 28, 2007 2:02 pm

Antoine Doinel wrote:Jonathan Rosenbaum will be retiring from Time Out Chicago as of February 27th, but will continue to write on his own website.
Just to be clear--Rosenbaum is retiring from the Chicago Reader. When I first read your post, Antoine, I thought "whoa--I've been away from Chicago for too long if Rosenbaum has left the Reader for Time Out, and is now retiring."

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Jeff
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#72 Post by Jeff » Tue Jan 08, 2008 2:37 am

Gropius wrote:I couldn't find an existing YouTube thread (if there is one, move this post as appropriate), but I thought this might interest some forum members.

The Reel Geezers are a pair of impromptu film critics in their eighties who have started to receive some news coverage over the past week (see LA Times article). The male half of the duo used to be a screenwriter for the Batman TV series and films such as The Parallax View, while the woman is still an occasional producer. Their disputes as they discuss current releases - he snappy and Variety-esque, she somewhat moralistic - are rather amusing. Their Superbad review is currently on the YouTube front page.

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#73 Post by Fletch F. Fletch » Fri Feb 29, 2008 1:52 pm

Veteran San Francisco Chronicle film reviewer Mick LaSalle recently wrote an article about some of the classic films he has never seen in his 20+ years as a professional critic. It raises some interesting issues about how well versed a film critic for a national publication should be. I never really cared too much for his reviews but take a look at his casual dismissal of 2001.

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#74 Post by domino harvey » Fri Feb 29, 2008 2:18 pm

Fletch F. Fletch wrote:Veteran San Francisco Chronicle film reviewer Mick LaSalle recently wrote an article about some of the classic films he has never seen in his 20+ years as a professional critic. It raises some interesting issues about how well versed a film critic for a national publication should be. I never really cared too much for his reviews but take a look at his casual dismissal of 2001.
Outside of 2001, none of the films he sees are considered "classics" by anyone I've ever met

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#75 Post by Mr Sausage » Fri Feb 29, 2008 2:19 pm

domino harvey wrote:
Fletch F. Fletch wrote:Veteran San Francisco Chronicle film reviewer Mick LaSalle recently wrote an article about some of the classic films he has never seen in his 20+ years as a professional critic. It raises some interesting issues about how well versed a film critic for a national publication should be. I never really cared too much for his reviews but take a look at his casual dismissal of 2001.
Outside of 2001, none of the films he sees are considered "classics" by anyone I've ever met
You've never met anyone who considers Blade Runner a classic?

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