First Impressions of Steve James’ Film About Roger Ebert: Life Itself

"Drama holds a mirror up to life, but needn't reproduce it."Roger, Roger, Roger. Here I am watching a film about your departure, and I'm still jotting down things you said that will be worth quoting in my own film reviews. … [Read more...]

Roger Ebert and Todd Rendleman: An Unexpected Friendship, A Remarkable Memoir

April 19th will be the one-year anniversary of the publication of Rule of Thumb: Roger Ebert at the Movies, by Todd Rendleman.Rendleman, who works with me at Seattle Pacific University, met me for coffee and we talked for a long time about his correspondence with Roger Ebert, about the development of the book, and about how Ebert himself came to write the foreword for it.That interview is now available at Response, the magazine published by Seattle Pacific University, quite unexpectedly … [Read more...]

Thank You, Roger Ebert. Now, Rest in Peace. [Updated April 6th.]

"A movie is not about what it is about. It is about how it is about it."- Roger Ebert, 1942-2013 … [Read more...]

Roger Ebert on “Les Miserables”

Roger Ebert, who missed out on some of the year's big Oscar-season releases, finally caught up with Les Misérables.What did he think?Well, let's just say I feel a little less lonely this morning. … [Read more...]

Over the Moon: A Critic in Top Form

At this time of year, when film lovers everywhere are posting their top ten lists and talking about which films deserve Oscars, I hear a lot of moviegoers complaining about critics. They talk about critics as if critics purposefully and habitually disdain anything that a "normal person" could enjoy. They speak as if critics deliberately seek out things that are merely complicated or "intellectual."Recently, when I praised The Master, another moviegoer groaned and said, "That movie was made … [Read more...]

A Three-Star Rant About Thumbs (or, Why I Won’t “Rate” Movies)

Have you seen the new film-review site called Letterboxd? I like it. A lot. I need a convenient online moviegoing journal, and it provides that.But most of my colleagues who are chronicling their reviews there are rating movies with stars or "likes." I just can't bring myself to start any such thing. So it's time to say again what I said at Filmwell a few years ago... I think "rating" movies does us all more harm than good.Here's how I explained that at Filmwell in April of 2009...  … [Read more...]

Oscars, Schmoscars.

Look what Roger Ebert's adding to his Ten Greatest Films list. … [Read more...]

“Only a Lover Can Be a Critic.”

Growing up, I loved Siskel & Ebert & The Movies, because unlike the entertainment reporters and talk-show hosts that aired earlier in the day, Siskel and Ebert talked about films. They weren't concerned with gossip or awards or politics. They focused on movies, pure and simple. They argued a film's merits and deficiencies. They praised good stories and lambasted bad ones. They knew what they liked and didn't like, and they had the ability to explain why. From Siskel and Ebert, I began to … [Read more...]

The School Newspaper: The Best Place to Start?

Did you — or do you — write for your school newspaper? … [Read more...]

Wild Things; Robert Clark; Ethix; Elvis Costello; Tom Waits; Darcy James Argue; Vince Vaughn; Moses; Chesterton; and more.

The Browser: News & links to raise your eyebrows & furrow your brow. New headlines may be added as the day goes on. Stay tuned.1.One of the most surreal moments in my adventures online: … [Read more...]