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Geez what is with Ebert? 
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Post Geez what is with Ebert?
First he gave Watchmen a 4 star review (which the text I didn't think matched very well) and now he has given Knowing a 4 star review. I think he is going a little too easy on the scores these days. What does everyone else think? I'm not saying he is a bad critic either. I still respect him alot. I just think he is getting too soft these days.


Thu Mar 19, 2009 4:07 am
Post Re: Geez what is with Ebert?
How long have you been reading Ebert? It's not uncommon for him to give lavish praise to a film panned by other critics. He gave Femme Fatale 4 stars because he liked the look of the film while every other review I read trashed it.


Thu Mar 19, 2009 5:07 am
Post Re: Geez what is with Ebert?
I've never paid much attention to Roger Ebert's star ratings. From his writing, it is quite clear that he doesn't really like star-type ratings at all. The reviews themselves are still very informative and it is always clear, where he's coming from.

Regarding Watchmen: There was a blog entry on Roger Ebert's blog which shed some more light on his positive view of the film. I understand that he hadn't read or even heard of Watchmen (the comic book) before and was positively surprised that Superhero fiction could touch on deeper issues.


Thu Mar 19, 2009 5:23 am
Post Re: Geez what is with Ebert?
Ebert's star rating system is no longer relevant. As pointed out above, he has frequently referred to the star ratings as the very bane of his job description. He does it because it's expected and the stars reflect "how well the film works" relative to the goals it sets for itself rather than a mark of absolute significance. Four stars for Watchmen isn't equal to four stars for The Godfather, say.

But he's gotten very charitable... if the special effects or "visual wonder" of a film is something he's never seen he tends to look upon it kindly. The Golden Compass, for example, got the coveted four stars despite the general mediocrity of it all... the special effects really impressed him. It isn't that he's looking for outsider status; he's simply really delighted by films that go about things differently than they could have.

He's a good critic; read his reviews and ignore the star ratings. One of his better reviews in recent years was for The Devils Rejects: it received 3 stars and he makes it absolutely clear how no film can be described by star ratings alone.


Thu Mar 19, 2009 5:57 am
Post Re: Geez what is with Ebert?
Ebert is not just far and away the best film critic of all time, he is one of the better non-fiction writers America has right now. He's admitted, often, that he's gotten more charitable with his star ratings. So this is not exactly new information. He's still every bit as valuable as a critic as long as you read his actual reviews.

Also, it's worth noting that this is not a "soft" 4-star review. It's not one of those where the review doesn't match the rating. He calls it one of the best sci-fi movies he's ever seen. I have every confidence this particular film would have received the same review and rating ten years ago.


Thu Mar 19, 2009 7:17 am
Post Re: Geez what is with Ebert?
Roger Ebert is probably the most important film critic of the last 25 years. I love his writing and agree with what's been said already in this thread. I'd add that his reviews seem to have become more charitable since his recent flirtation with death through illness.

Ultimately the reason to like Ebert is for his writing style and his penchant to go against conventional wisdom. For me, he seems to be able to view a film and pick out ideas and themes that others miss. He's not the critic to read if you search a summary of the plot, commentary on the key components and an objective star rating.

His journal / blog is a great read and probably more interesting than his recent film reviews.

I wish I could find the piece he wrote about star ratings where he discusses that the rating for a film is aimed at the person who is likely to be interested in such a film and then compares it to similar films in that area. i was bemused at first, but then had to agree that he was absolutely right.

Rob


Thu Mar 19, 2009 9:18 am
Post Re: Geez what is with Ebert?
I think Evenflow said it best that his 4-star ratings could just be he was grateful for life while watching some movie.


Thu Mar 19, 2009 11:06 am
Post Re: Geez what is with Ebert?
Obviously I am in the minority but I was never a huge Ebert fan. The Siskel & Ebert combo was always more important to me than Ebert himself. I lived in the Chicago area for a decade and read his reviews on a regular basis but he never stood out to me more than other critics. But I do respect him for going against the grain and praising films that are panned by other noted critics. His year end Top Ten list is always one of the most interesting even if I don't agree with his final list.


Thu Mar 19, 2009 8:28 pm
Post Re: Geez what is with Ebert?
Patrick wrote:
I think Evenflow said it best that his 4-star ratings could just be he was grateful for life while watching some movie.



Yeah, I always read whatever Evenflow writes. What a charmer :)


Thu Mar 19, 2009 8:47 pm
Post Re: Geez what is with Ebert?
ugh he gave knowing a four star review? come on.

p.s. i haven't seen the movie but I already thought it looked lame, and after reading berardinelli's review...i'll pass.


Thu Mar 19, 2009 8:52 pm
Post Re: Geez what is with Ebert?
moulton4 wrote:
ugh he gave knowing a four star review? come on.

p.s. i haven't seen the movie but I already thought it looked lame, and after reading berardinelli's review...i'll pass.



Hi Moulton4

Roger gives lots of movies 3+ stars and a high percentage of 4 star reviews

It's the text that shines the light :-)

Rob


Thu Mar 19, 2009 10:24 pm
Post Re: Geez what is with Ebert?
moulton4 wrote:
ugh he gave knowing a four star review? come on.

p.s. i haven't seen the movie but I already thought it looked lame, and after reading berardinelli's review...i'll pass.


He gave The Usual Suspects 1 1/2 stars and Knowing 4 and both reviews are persuasive enough to merit the star ratings. He's plenty credible.


Thu Mar 19, 2009 10:36 pm
Post Re: Geez what is with Ebert?
i'm not discrediting him, although that post sounded like i was haha. I read and enjoy him, I just wonder if he is sometimes influenced by studio pressure. any thoughts?


Fri Mar 20, 2009 12:52 am
Post Re: Geez what is with Ebert?
Not really, I don't think he has ever taken a piece of the marketing pie just to stay afloat, and he's never had to. He gives high profile movies the same shot as any other he sees; note his 2.5 for Die Hard and Full Metal Jacket. He didn't bow down to the blockbuster or the impressive force of Kubrick's legend. He just saw, and wrote what he felt. That's what he's been doing since the beginning, like it or not, and if he's guilty of anything, it's making his top 100 a marketing tool for recently released Criterions and DVDs on numerous occasions. This is the only time where I feel he morally falters, and even then it could just be that the DVD release opened his eyes to what made the film so great after a fresh viewing.


As for his writing, well, that's not up for argument. He is the best. The pen master, if you will.


Fri Mar 20, 2009 1:45 am
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Post Re: Geez what is with Ebert?
Bondurant wrote:
Obviously I am in the minority but I was never a huge Ebert fan. The Siskel & Ebert combo was always more important to me than Ebert himself. I lived in the Chicago area for a decade and read his reviews on a regular basis but he never stood out to me more than other critics. But I do respect him for going against the grain and praising films that are panned by other noted critics. His year end Top Ten list is always one of the most interesting even if I don't agree with his final list.


I have never been a fan either. I do not read as much of his stuff as some of you have, I just get the vibe that he wants to be part of review not write the review. Review writing is always going to be subjective but it doesnt mean one's personal opinions have to overwhelm the review.


Sat Mar 21, 2009 11:01 am
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Post Re: Geez what is with Ebert?
I've been reading Ebert for at least 10 years, and I really think his writing in his reviews was slipping until his recent illness. Since his online comeback, his writing is as good or better than I can remember it, and the blog is better than just about anything of its kind I can think of.

If you actually read his reviews of Watchmen and Knowing, as opposed to just looking at the stars, I think it's pretty obvious that he's not being "influenced" by any pressures, but responding honestly to his experience with the films. And even if one were tempted to think he's giving Alex Proyas a pass because he loves The Crow and (especially) Dark City so much, remember that he pretty much trashed I, Robot.


Sat Mar 21, 2009 11:33 am
Post Roger Ebert Has Completely Lost His Edge
Yes, indeed folks it’s a sad state of affairs. The most renowned and respected film critic, Mr. Roger Joseph Ebert has entirely lost his edge. The same critic that poetically told Mr. Schneider that his “Movie sucks” and who once handed out expletives “Hated, hated, hated, hated, hated” like gumdrops is now giving the cultural dystopian oeuvre, Confessions of a Shopaholic and the latest Cage Crap Fest The Knowing positive reviews. One longs for the days pre-injury when Roger doled out his critical venom for the most deserving and we all held a sigh of relief as the latest Adam Sandler cringe worthy comedy or Michael Bay cinematic disaster was put rightfully in its place. Alas no more, a great era has now ended and we all await that one shining moment when even dear, dear old Roger sings, errr, digitally synthesizes his appreciation for the likes of Uwe Boll.


Sat Mar 21, 2009 5:43 pm
Post Re: Roger Ebert Has Completely Lost His Edge
Even if Roger has lost his edge, then this statement is equally old news. I still say rating a critic on stars, and not actual writing skills, is a criticism on the person who dares comment.

And your ending comments on Roger's ailment are ugly, and subhuman. This is a bad way to make a first impression.


Sat Mar 21, 2009 5:52 pm
Post Re: Roger Ebert Has Completely Lost His Edge
Fist Firmly In Air wrote:
Yes, indeed folks it’s a sad state of affairs. The most renowned and respected film critic, Mr. Roger Joseph Ebert has entirely lost his edge. The same critic that poetically told Mr. Schneider that his “Movie sucks” and who once handed out expletives “Hated, hated, hated, hated, hated” like gumdrops is now giving the cultural dystopian oeuvre, Confessions of a Shopaholic and the latest Cage Crap Fest The Knowing positive reviews. One longs for the days pre-injury when Roger doled out his critical venom for the most deserving and we all held a sigh of relief as the latest Adam Sandler cringe worthy comedy or Michael Bay cinematic disaster was put rightfully in its place. Alas no more, a great era has now ended and we all await that one shining moment when even dear, dear old Roger sings, errr, digitally synthesizes his appreciation for the likes of Uwe Boll.


Hi everyone,

It's totally OK to criticize Roger Ebert (and James for that matter) regarding their reviews, and opinions on movies., etc.

However, what is not acceptable is to convert criticism into a personal attack. Roger Ebert, as many will know has battled cancer and other physical problems for quite a few years. One of the results has been that he has lost his voice. Despite that he remains one of the most respected and admired film critics.

Evenflow8112 was right, so can we please avoid comments like the one highlighted above, even if they may be misplaced attempts at humor.

Thanks
Rob


Sun Mar 22, 2009 11:45 am
Post Re: Geez what is with Ebert?
well, ive been only reading ebert for 3 odd years, so i dont even know his pre-illness phase. and all these recent movies he's praising, i haven't seen em so i cant judge him on that. so, i dont even know "what is with ebert". he seems ok to me.
also, regarding the whole disease thing, i think its very disrespectful to attribute the intellectual work a man does to his physical condition. or personal problems for that matter.
even if it were the case, to me the only people who could be able to make such a call would have to know the guy personally.
so, i dont ever try to analyze the analyst. especially if i am not interested in him but the things he analyzes.

by the way, nicely done, phil.


odd thing - this made me check out your music. better than i expected. quite good, to be honest.


Sun Mar 22, 2009 2:28 pm
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