Tag Archive: roger ebert

life itself roger ebert

I was a fan of Roger Ebert for about 15 years, read a few of his books (including his memoir) and followed his blog, so there isn’t much about him in Life Itself that I didn’t know already, apart from some very touching, candid scenes of him during the last four months of his life. But that’s okay.

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The Balcony is Closed

In my tribute to Gene Siskel last year on the tenth anniversary of his passing, I described how At the Movies ignited my enthusiasm for film. Now I have discovered that the venerable series, begun about thirty-five years ago in Chicago and then syndicated nationwide by Disney in 1986, has aired its last episode. It has been years since I watched the TV broadcasts, but I have followed the series online, with Chicago Tribune critic Michael Phillips and New York Times critic A.O. Scott forming the strongest combination since Gene and Roger occupied the balcony. Their last episode — in which they review Eat Pray Love, Scott Pilgrim vs. the World, and The Expendables — is available to stream online, and it concludes with a short but sweet look back at what made the series influential. Its cancellation was announced months ago, but it still comes as a surprise.

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In Honor of Gene Siskel

Gene Siskel and Roger Ebert

Friday, February 20, marked ten years since the death of Gene Siskel in 1999. On February 23 of that year, I began to write film reviews. I remember because I’ve held on to all my writings and wisely dated them for posterity. That first review was of She’s All That; I was fifteen years old when I wrote, “After the heavy-handed Oscar-reaching material like the tepid The Thin Red Line, She’s All That is an excellent change of pace and an altogether well rounded picture.” Not long ago, I came across the film again on cable and it’s not very good at all, but that’s what ten years of moviegoing will teach you. I don’t know if I would hold the same opinion of The Thin Red Line, but I think I got that one right.

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