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Roger Ebert

I’ve been away for a while, with personal stuff, so this is quite late. Which is probably for the best, as I don’t think I can really say too much about Ebert that hasn’t already been said by so many more eloquent individuals all around the internet.

Roger Ebert meant a lot to me. It’s no real exaggeration to suggest that he was the first real American film critic that I noticed. Obviously, I grew up with British and Irish film critics on television and radio. I was fond of (and am still fond of) Barry Norman, Jonathan Ross, Mark Kermode and Dave Fanning among others. However, Ebert was the first American film critic who really resonated with me.

rogerebert2

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Watch! Top 250 Films, in 2.5 Minutes…

As far as compiling a list of the best films of all times, the IMDb Top 250 films of all time is a fairly populist measure. Some enterprising soul out there decided it would be fun to compile all that into on two-and-a-half minute clip. It’s pretty intense, and kinda brilliant in a surreal sort of way. If nothing else, I never realised that so many movies featured trunk shots. Enjoy.

Non-Review Review: Boyz N The Hood

Boyz n the Hood remains a powerful, moving and depressing piece of cinema. Director John Singleton has arguably failed to match this impressive debut effort, but there’s no shame in that. Most directors will go entire careers without offering a film that so effectively captures a slice of life. Reportedly based on a lot of the director’s own experiences growing up in South Central L.A., it’s a very strong and very personal piece of film, and one that hasn’t been diminished in the years that followed its release.

As happy as Larry?

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Non-Review Review: Fast Five

Fast Five reminds me a lot of the kinds of cars that its leads drive. Now, please excuse me if the metaphor is a bit clunky. I know nothing of cars. However, whenever we cut to inside one of these enhanced driving machines, it’s clear that virtually every unnecessary component has been stripped out in order to make room for more relevant pieces of equipment. The passenger seat, for example, has been removed and replaced with some canisters I can only assume allow the car to go faster. In many ways, Fast Five feels a bit like that. I knows exactly the film that it wants to be, and it knows exactly what it needs to be that sort of film. Anything else – whether wit, sophistication or character development – is all just dead weight between fast one-liners, impressive action sequences and effective stunt work. And, I am not ashamed to admit, I actually quite enjoyed it on its own terms.

Let’s Rock ‘n’ Roll…

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Non-Review Review: Fright Night (1985)

I have a soft spot for the original Fight Night. It feels like an affectionate slice of pulp nostalgia, harking back to a simpler time in cinematic horror. It rejects the growth and expansion of the slasher subgenre to focus on the original celluloid monster. As a result, Fright Night offers a conventional vampire story, told in a decidedly unconventional manner. While it is occasionally just a little bit too cheesy and too dated for its own good, it’s hard not to enjoy the conscious callbacks to an older time.

Don’t cross him…

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That’s Just, Like, Your Opinion, Man: Movie Criticism and Subjectivity…

What do you use movie critics for? What’s their function or role? Is there a distinction between a film reviewer and a film critic? What do their opinions or verdicts mean? It’s getting to the point where the last thing the internet needs is another pretentious self-indulgent meditation on the nature of writing about film, but I’ve been thinking about it a lot of late. The blockbuster season seems to bring with it the classic “audience against critic” debate, not that it’s ever truly gone. Even at the heights of Oscar season, the argument is bristling away in the background, as people lament the relatively low box office if critic-pleasing films like The Artist.

"Yeah, well, you know, that's just, like, your opinion, man..."

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Whatever Happened to Ron Underwood? One-Shots, Wash-Ups & Never-Has-Beens…

I think it’s happened to all of us. We’re flicking through the television channels, and we hit on an old movie we like. In my case, it was the superb 1990 B-movie Tremors. As we’re watching it, and remembering how much we loved it, our mind gets to wondering, “Whatever happened to that guy?” It could be an actor, an actress, a director or a writer. It’s somebody who showed a decent amount of talent (or, in the most frustrating circumstances, a phenomenal amount of talent), but who seemed to fade from view, and who we never heard from again. In this case, it was the director of the film, Ron Underwood. Whatever happened to that guy? Are they still alive? Are they still working? Why haven’t I heard from them since this one really good film I’m watching?

One shot at fame and fortune?

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