No one needs awards coverage this deep
Reading through his thoughts on my personal top 10
Roger Ebert receiving his star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame
Credit: Mario Anzuoni/Reuters
I always found that my taste tended to line up quite a bit with Roger Ebert's, particularly when it came to our favorite movies of all time. His list of 10 best ever overlapped with mine in three instances, while other films he loved -- such as "Aguirre, the Wrath of God" -- were certainly among those I held sacred.
With the unfortunate news of his passing this afternoon, I thought I'd go back and read his thoughts on the films that popped up on my list, which I published for the first time last May. Many of them were a part of his "Great Films" series and soaking up his insight seemed like the best way to remember him today. Check out blurbs on each, linked to his respective pieces, below.
Focus will be on what AMPAS does 'the other 364 days of the year'
Credit: AP Photo/Frank Wiese
When the news landed two days ago that a meeting of the entire AMPAS membership had been scheduled in May, with "the future of the Academy" as its theme, Kris speculated that it likely wasn't as dramatic as it sounds. "One should not expect major issues like the number of Best Picture nominees or the Academy's calendar to be on the table in any significant way," he reminded us. "Those decisions are left to the elected Board of Governors."
The legendary film critic leaves an invaluable legacy
Legendary Chicago Sun-Times film critic Roger Ebert stepped away from his perch but two days ago. Calling it a "leave of presence," he wrote that he was taking time away from the usual to work on a number of projects, and also noted a recurrence of the cancer that he had already fought off once (which silenced his voice in speech, but certainly not in print). It was as if it was the job that was keeping him here, the work at hand. And so today comes the news: Roger Ebert is dead.
Trailer also features new cuts from Beyoncé, Lana Del Rey and Florence Welch
A scene from "The Great Gatsby."
Credit: Warner Bros. Pictures
I was already eager to see Baz Luhrmann's take on "The Great Gatsby" when it was scheduled for a December release last year, so at this point my impatience could hardly be greater. As a die-hard Baz Luhrmann defender -- yes, I liked "Australia" -- I remain more curious about this 3D spectacle than any other summer release, which is not to say I'm necessarily expecting an unqualified success.
The all-star political thriller opens in theaters tomorrow
Robert Redford and Shia LaBeouf at the Venice Film Festival.
Credit: AP Photo/Joel Ryan
I confess I haven't thought much about Robert Redford's "The Company You Keep" -- which finally opens in theaters tomorrow -- since reviewing it at the Venice Film Festival seven months ago. Though it takes on the potentially incendiary subject matter of the Weather Underground, the film's political ideas are handled as softly as the lighting on its veteran stars' faces -- but as an old-school Hollywood entertainment with a classy, cannily cast ensemble, it mostly delivers the goods. I'd call it Redford's strongest directorial effort since 1994's Oscar-nominated "Quiz Show," though films like "Lions for Lambs" and "The Conspirator" have admittedly set the bar pretty low.
Will we see this one at Cannes?
Ryan Gosling in "Only God Forgives"
Nicolas Winding Refn's "Only God Forgives," the follow-up to his 2011 genre thriller "Drive," ranked pretty high up on Guy's recent wishlist of Cannes entries. It wouldn't be outrageous to anticipate a bow there, seeing as "Drive" was so warmly received on the Croisette, translating to a Best Director prize for Refn. Pity, though, that the awards season yielded a mere single Oscar nomination for the film, albeit in the unexpected (though no less deserving) field of sound editing.
The film's upcoming 3D release reminds why it is one of his greatest achievements
Sam Neill and Ariana Richards in an iconic shot from "Jurassic Park"
Credit: Universal Pictures
To tell you the truth, I wasn't all that interested in seeing "Jurassic Park" in the summer of 1993. The movie that had me riled? "Last Action Hero." No, seriously. (And I'm a pretty big apologist for that Arnold Schwarzenegger actioner to this very day.) So I didn't even see Steven Spielberg's dinosaur spectacle in the theater when it was released.
Of course awareness was high. You couldn't escape it. TV commercials, toy stores, fast food tie-ins, it was everywhere. And in short order, it became the second-highest grossing film of all time, behind "E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial," giving Spielberg the one-two punch atop the domestic chart. This was before "Star Wars" saw a re-release four years later, which would take George Lucas's space epic past both Spielberg films, before "Titanic" would come along later and blow everything out of the water.
But back to "Jurassic Park," I caught up with it on VHS. And of course, I fell in love with it. For those in my generation, it was a pretty undeniable element. For my part, I gave that tape a workout, watching it countless times over the years. And when a chance came to see it projected on 35mm in film school, I leapt at the opportunity.
With 'Jurassic Park 3D' on the way, we wade into sacrilegious waters
Steven Spielberg's "Jurassic Park" is getting the 3D treatment this weekend on the occasion of the film's 20th anniversary. We'll circle back later this week with some thoughts on the film and the conversion, but with it in mind, the HitFix team started pondering what other films we might consider seeing converted to 3D.
Script was penned by 'Ed Wood' writers Scott Alexander and Larry Karaszewski
And should we expect anything major to come out of it?
Whatever the Academy is set to discuss, it's under wraps at the moment.
Credit: AP Photo
Over the weekend, The New York Times broke the news that the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has invited its 6,000-strong membership to a May 4 session to be held in Los Angeles, New York and San Francisco to discuss…something. "Please join us for a special event: The future of the Academy," the invite read, somewhat mysteriously.