Is Ebert losing it?

Discussion in 'Movies' started by Dave Mack, Jun 7, 2006.

  1. Dave Mack

    Dave Mack Producer

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    Last night I listened to Ebert and Roeper give 2 thumbs up to the new "The OMEN" with Ebert even saying that he thought the new version was better than the original! They even discussed how it's almost a shot per shot remake, but that's ok, Roeper said, "it's like a cover band doing a rock classic." ?!?!?!
    Didn't the new "Psycho" get totally blasted for that a few years back. Odd.
    Tonite me and the gf watched "I Robot" which was made by Proyas, (who made Ebert's fave film of 98' or so, DARK CITY. He also loked THE CROW alot. Now I ROBOT is not a classic but I think it's a pretty good summer flick, (yeah, the Will Smith thing, one liners, I know...) but it had some clever bits I thought. Well, Ebert gave it a bad review and then I remember last year he gave a very good review to Van Helsing which virtually every other critic blasted. What he liked about Van Helsing, the CGI imagery which to me was cool but looked like a videogame is what he DIDN'T like in I Robot.
    http://rogerebert.suntimes.com/apps/.../40711001/1023

    http://rogerebert.suntimes.com/apps/...405070306/1023


    Is it me? The new OMEN better than the original? A shot by shot remake that's "OK" when he gave the PSYCHO remake a VERY bad review for the same thing.

    http://rogerebert.suntimes.com/apps/...812060301/1023

    Some consistency would be nice.

    Or maybe it's just me..... Or maybe he and Roeper are getting some nice studio goody bags for certain flicks....

    [​IMG] d
     
  2. andrew markworthy

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    Critics offer a personal opinion, pure and simple. I happen to agree with Ebert's views on I, Robot and Van Helsing - but other people's mileage varies, and I can respect that. In some other cases, I've disagreed strongly with Ebert (e.g. I think he can be a bit of a curmudgeon about some trashy but fun movies). However, even when I've disagreed I've understood why he's taken the stance he has and can even respect his arguments. I think that is what raises him above other critics.

    Unfortunately, Ebert's clarity of expression [which is no easy feat] can be his undoing at times. Because he is so easy to understand, it's easy to take exception to his views when you disagree. In the case of some other critics, use of pretentious 'intellectual' lanugage makes you uncertain whether you got the full gist of their argument, and makes you less sure of what they said. E.g. Pauline Kael (IMHO far more capricious and with some really blinkered views) could wrap up everything in fancy words and quotations and make you have lingering doubts that you might not have fully understood her argument which gut instinct told you was a misguided rant using pretentious language.
     
  3. Stephen Orr

    Stephen Orr Screenwriter

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    I generally agree with most of Ebert's opinions, although there have been a few times I did not. I don't plan to see the Omen, so his review of it is neither here nor there with me.

    He's getting a bit more sentimental, I've noticed, when it comes to many kid and family films (except Hoot, thank goodness). We watched Kicking and Screaming the other day (he gave it a thumbs up), and really had a good time with it.
     
  4. Chris Gerhard

    Chris Gerhard Screenwriter

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    Since Ebert's opinions have never completely agreed with mine, I wonder if the guy never had it to lose. "I, Robot" and "Van Helsing" were entertaining films for me but whether a critic liked or disliked such mind numbing nonsense isn't really very important. I expect most critics to dislike films like those two that don't aspire to be any great achievement. Most discussion I read in these forums was very critical of "Van Helsing" but I particularly liked the homage paid to the old Hammer films. Some of the CGI was poor, some of it was good but overall I would give "Van Helsing" a thumbs up. I thought a remake of "The Omen" was a bad idea but it apparently has turned out better than I would have thought.

    Roger Ebert has been one of the best film critics but with his health problems now, he doesn't appear to be nearly as good as he once was. Consistency for a film critic sounds good in theory but how do you judge consistency? I see no reason to believe a film critic would need to like or dislike all three films "I, Robot", "The Omen", and "Van Helsing" to be consistent. I don't doubt there are film critics that disliked all three. I would be surprised if any well known critic liked all three.

    Chris
     
  5. Kevin Grey

    Kevin Grey Cinematographer

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    Eh, I feel sorry for any critic that feels like he has to remain entirely consistent with every review from his entire career. If you really want to beat Ebert with a stick over this, you can point out that he gave Godfather Part 2 and Van Helsing equal ratings (3 stars).

    But the reality is that he pretty much assigns the ratings specifically for what he feels at the time he sees it without feeling compelled to try and make it consistent with the entire catalog of all films. Consequently he might give a slight comedy that amused him 3 stars while giving a much more ambitious (and arguably important) dramatic effort 2.5 stars because it disappointed him.
     
  6. Scott-S

    Scott-S Cinematographer
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    For the most part, professional critics are too snobby/elitist for me. They can't seem to get the point that a movie is supposed to entertain. Sometimes I just want to sit and be entertained and not have to figure out the imagery and themes of what the writer was trying to get across.

    I use Citizen Cane for an example. Almost all critics hail this movie as some sort of masterpiece. I think it is the most over-rated, boring movie I have ever attempted to watch.

    I also feel that most professional critics just don't seem to like and/or understand Sci-Fi movies. I think they would rather watch snobby movies and think that Sci-Fi, Horror and Comedies are just not "real" movies.
     
  7. dany

    dany Supporting Actor

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    I think he's going in for more C treatment.
     
  8. Chris Gerhard

    Chris Gerhard Screenwriter

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    Ebert's explanation of inconsistency in rating films has never made any sense to me. If you are going to use a star rating system, I would think that indicates a 3-star film should be better than a 2-star film. Rating "Van Helsing" and "The Godfather, Part II" the same is really silly in my opinion. The later is in the 4-star range and the former in the 2-star range by any objective measurement I could come up with and I own both on DVD but only saw the 1975 Oscar winner in a theater.

    Chris
     
  9. Chuck Mayer

    Chuck Mayer Lead Actor

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    I love Ebert, though we disagree more often now than ever before. But he's HONEST with himself and his readers, and that's a joy in modern journalism/criticism.

    I just watched Van Helsing for the first time (Netflix) about 10 days ago, and it was way worse than even I expected from my disdain in 2004. It was a turgid pile of excrement, made only barely tolerable by Jackman's charms. I grew up on Castlevania, and I love a good adventure movie. But I actually like the film to be believable within it's own rules. VH sucked ass. I wouldn't even give it one star. Too bad, so sad.

    I, Robot was OK. Two times I disagreed with Ebert, but life goes on [​IMG]
     
  10. Kevin Grey

    Kevin Grey Cinematographer

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    Movie reviews aren't objective.
     
  11. TheBat

    TheBat Producer

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    I agree with you completely about VH.. it was the worse movie I have ever seen in my life.

    made batman and robin look like an oscar winner in comparasion.

    Jacob
     
  12. Holadem

    Holadem Lead Actor

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    Very well said Kevin. I function much the same way with the HTF film lists, although I do try to maintain some consistency within any year since I rank the stuff at the end of the year.

    For many like Ebert, ratings are not absolutes, they must be seen in context.

    The one which seems to stick in everyone's craw is his Star Wars Episode I rating (he gave 3 stars to SW:TPM but 2 stars to ????!!!!! Rhaaaaaahhhhhhhhh)

    --
    H
     
  13. Chuck Mayer

    Chuck Mayer Lead Actor

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    The biggest version of Holadem's Ebert sucks! point was AOTC. When it got two stars, SW fans went nuts (or were they already there...hmmmmm [​IMG] ). They felt it was objective proof that Ebert was teh bias because AOTC was "so obviously" better than TPM. I actually agreed with Ebert at the time (TPM was about a 3 star film for me, and AOTC was at best a 2 star film for me in 2002), so I took those catcalls and swipes personal. The old threads tell the tales [​IMG] It's merely worth a chuckle now.

    But that doesn't mean I was right because I agreed with Ebert. Or that you are wrong when you disagree. It's ALL subjective.

    He is the most well known critic, so he takes the most potshots. I love the guy for his fun writing and knowledge of film.
     
  14. RobertR

    RobertR Lead Actor

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    I ceased paying attention to Roger Ebert years ago. His inconsistency and poor reasoning for his reviews make him worthless as a critic to me. Reading a film review should give me more than just "fun writing". It should be a genuine analysis of why a film is good or bad, and Roger Ebert isn't the place to go for that.
     
  15. JeremyErwin

    JeremyErwin Producer

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    Stars are for people who don't enjoy film criticism.
     
  16. Bryan Beckman

    Bryan Beckman Second Unit

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    One thing I love about Ebert is he's very aware of his reviewing quirks. Read his reviews for "The Longest Yard" (2005) and "Basic Instinct 2" for proof of this. The great thing is he has fun with it. I love that humanity about him.

    He has addressed the issues that were raised here in his "Answer Man" columns, which I always enjoy reading.

    On being "soft" with star ratings:
    http://rogerebert.suntimes.com/apps/...512250310/1023

    On abandoning the star ratings altogether:
    http://rogerebert.suntimes.com/apps/...604160303/1023

    One more thing I love about Ebert is that he is often able to describe the complex web of emotions I feel after watching certain movies with greater clarity than I can. I especially think of "Million Dollar Baby" and "Batman Begins," but there are others as well.
     
  17. MichaelBA

    MichaelBA Supporting Actor

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    Ebert lacks Siskel!

    But I can excuse any wrong-headed Ebert review simply for the rip-roarin' fun he has skewering Rob Schneider.
     
  18. Bryan Beckman

    Bryan Beckman Second Unit

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    That's where A.O. Scott and Manohla Dargis of The NY Times come in for me. I enjoy reading Ebert for connecting with movies on a gut level, that place where complicated emotions don't easily find adequate expression in words.
     
  19. Chris Atkins

    Chris Atkins Producer

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    I still find Ebert's AOTC review very odd, because he had given a glowing review to TPM. I figured if he loved TPM, he would at least love AOTC. But, as Chuck said, that didn't happen.

    I also find myself in agreement with him much less now than I did, say, four years ago.
     
  20. Jack Briggs

    Jack Briggs Executive Producer

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    Really? Always? Please. And that sums up your comments on Citizen Kane as well. Look, you prefer films to be "movies" that entertain and nothing more. Not everyone has that as her or his sole reason for looking at film.

    But, whatever.
     

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