No Concessions: The Contenders

Remember when the summer movie season began on Memorial Day weekend? When the holiday movie season kicked off on Thanksgiving? No? In our tweet-speed society, I understand. Nowadays summer starts in early May, or even late April, and the holiday crop ...

Film Review: “Last Vegas”

Movie comfort food, no more, no less, Last Vegas unites a quartet of Oscar-winning actors who so far as I can tell have never appeared together in any other movie, in any combination. In a different age, these four men, all ...

“The Counselor”

There are plenty of good movies out there right now: All is Lost, Captain Phillips, Enough Said, Gravity, Prisoners, 12 Years a Slave, and Rush among them. Ridley Scott directing a starry cast in The Counselor, from an original screenplay by ...

Film Review: “Enough Said”

In a world where men still dominate domestic filmmaking, and women are (wrongly) thought by some to be unfunny, it’s a pleasure to report on not one but two fine comedies written and directed by women. I finally caught up ...

Film Review: “Blue Caprice”

The evil twin of Fruitvale Station, Blue Caprice joins that film to rebuke Lee Daniels’ The Butler, which for three weeks topped the boxoffice. A movie that begins with lynchings, a rape, a murder, and Vanessa Redgrave solemnly promising to transform ...

7 Dramatic Actors With Serious Comedic Ability

America will get treated to yet another dark comedy about the Mafia this Friday, when The Family opens. It stars Robert DeNiro, Michelle Pfeiffer, Tommy Lee Jones, the blonde cheerleader from Glee, and some other kid. This is certainly not the first ...

Film Review: “We’re the Millers”

For various reasons, I haven’t written about new movies for some time, but I have been seeing them. A few thumbnail impressions: I regret that the superior Pacific Rim got lost in a tangle of big-budget duds that imploded around it. ...

Exit Lines: The World’s A Stage

The Broadway season doesn’t begin until Aug. 4, with the opening of a musical something called First Date. Off Broadway, the season is demarcated by awards shows; once the last prize is handed out in spring, we’re “off.” And you have ...

Spinning Discs: Enter the Dragons

I recently received a promo mailing from Barnes & Noble, advertising “Great Gifts for Dad.” Translation: Books, DVDs, and other products saturated with guns, terrorism, and revolution. Not for me. Not, at least, if a much better alternative is close ...

Film Review: “Man of Steel”

I don’t pay a lot of attention to press kit material, but a quote from director Zack Snyder in the Man of Steel notes bears repeating. “We knew the action had to be bigger than big, with heart-pounding, edge-of-your-seat thrills. We ...

Top 15 Most Quotable Movies Ever

There are many ways for a movie to worm its way into our collective consciousness. It can dazzle us with mind-blowing special effects, introduce us to unforgettable characters, or move us with great stories. Or it can just be chock full of ...

The Great Summer Movies: Don’t Get Cocky!

18 Observations On Star Wars As It Turns 36, Just As I Did Last July

1. This was one of the first VHS tapes we owned; we had a guy across the street who somehow got us a dub of it, even ...

No Concessions: Memorial Day Movies

A Hollywood summer that blasted off with Iron Man 3 reaches an apex this holiday weekend. I’ve seen 2/3 of the product (err, films) so let’s go to the movies.

This is the time of the year for epic visions, ...

The Great Summer Movies: KHAAAAAAAAN

There’s an old man on a spaceship. He’s cheated death, tricked his way out of death, and patted himself on the back for his ingenuity. He never loses. He’s facing down a madman with a vendetta against him, and he’s literally racing ...

Spinning Discs: Great Escapes

I begin what I hope will be a weekly trot through new, current, and archival Blu-ray and DVD releases with a fifty-year-old favorite, The Great Escape, which has made it to BD. Not, it must be said, in sterling shape; ...

The Great Summer Movies: You Have My Sympathies

In space, no one can hear you scream. On the Nostromo, you can hear almost everything.

Alien is a masterpiece of sound design. Every second is dominated by a dense, carefully constructed soundscape, where the natural noises in the spaceship are a ...

The Great Summer Movies: Keep Believing, Keep Pretending

Summer movies usually demand a great suspension of disbelief. They’re heavy on special effects and deal with outlandish situations, whether superheroes and sci-fi or wacky gross-out extreme comedy.

There is, perhaps, no greater suspension of disbelief than a green felt frog somehow ...

Film Review: “The Great Gatsby”

There will be no hating on The Great Gatsby from this corner. The knives have been out since late last year, when it was bumped from a Christmas release to today, always a suspicious, what are they hiding, move–but, really, ...

The Great Summer Movies: A Perfect Engine

Drunk naked lady ventures into water after dark. Shark eats drunk naked lady. Resort town goes nuts.

Police chief, oceanographer, and batshit crazy fisherman go after shark. They’re gonna need a bigger boat. Batshit crazy fisherman tells batshit crazy story about 700 ...

Film Review: “Iron Man 3″

With Star Trek Into Darkness, Man of Steel, and Pacific Rim all due it’s a promising summer for sci-fi and superhero spectacles. First out of the gate is Iron Man 3, which, for me, had the air of a false start. ...

Film Review: “Mud”

With Shotgun Stories (2007) and Take Shelter (2011), 34-year-old Jeff Nichols has established himself as a leading voice of independent cinema in this country, and Mud gives us another compelling reason to listen. The filmmaker, who hails from Little Rock, AR, sticks ...

Film Review: “To The Wonder”

Terrence Malick’s To The Wonder was the last film Roger Ebert reviewed. I don’t know if it was the last film he saw, but it is an appropriate movie to go out on. It’s full of ethereal imagery of Oklahoma fields ...

No Concessions: The Lineup

Ah, spring break. Remember those magical weeks of cheap drugs, plentiful booze, and abundant sex? Well, I don’t; in college 30 (sigh) years ago I’d fly from thawing Chicago to somewhat less frigid New Jersey and home, usually with course-related reading material ...

On Ebert

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Growing up in the south suburbs of Chicago, there were two kinds of houses: Tribune houses, and Sun-Times houses.

The Tribune families tended to be more erudite, more concerned with the ...