Film

The Balcony Is Open: The Return of 'At the Movies'

Less than one month after film geeks everywhere mourned the death of At the Movies, the revolutionary movie review show pioneered by legendary Chicago critics Gene Siskel and Roger Ebert, Mr. Ebert has announced that the balcony will soon be re-opened, albeit in a substantially modified form. The new program, entitled Roger Ebert Presents at the Movies, is scheduled to air nationally on public television starting in January 2011. Christy Lemire, film critic for the Associated Press, and Elvis Mitchell, NPR and TCM contributor, will be the principal co-hosts, although film bloggers such Kim Morgan and Omar Moore will also appear regularly. Mr. Ebert himself will appear in a weekly segment called “Roger’s Office", in which the famed film critic will use a computer-generated voice to review a classic, independent, or documentary film.

Fortunately, potential audience members need not wait until January to satisfy their curiosities regarding this experiment in criticism. Chicago’s WTTW has made clips from the show’s pilot episode available online. Based upon the seven-minute excerpt, it is clear that Roger Ebert Presents at the Movies has the potential to bring back relevance and intellectual vigor to a unique critical genre, movie reviews on television. While it is unfair to jump to conclusions about the co-hosts based upon such limited clips, we see that Mitchell and Lemire are articulate and passionate about movies. Some of the review excerpts feel a bit dry and mechanical, but it understandably took Mr. Ebert and Mr. Siskel a while to find their grooves. Mitchell and Lemire are clearly unafraid to disagree with one another, and there is hope that they may capture some of the cheerful and respectful professional antagonism made famous by the show’s original reviewers.

The fact that the program will regularly feature bloggers, respectable film critics who do not live financially by reviewing alone, suggests that Ebert and his production team are in touch with the distinct direction of modern film criticism. The show will also feature regular discussions of uniquely 21st century topics as new media, alternative film distribution methods, and cinema on demand. So far, the signs are good that Ebert and company will produce the type of program that At the Movies in the post-Siskel era tried somewhat unsuccessfully to remain, a relevant and intelligent exploration of movies that casual film-goers and cineastes alike can embrace and treasure.

Music


Books


Film


Recent
Books

How the Template for Modern Combat Journalism Developed

The superbly researched Journalism and the Russo-Japanese War tells readers how Japan pioneered modern techniques of propaganda and censorship in the Russo-Japanese War.

Film

From Horrifying Comedy to Darkly Funny Horror: Bob Clark Films

What if I told you that the director of one of the most heartwarming and beloved Christmas movies of all time is the same director as probably the most terrifying and disturbing yuletide horror films of all time?

Music

The 50 Best Songs of 2007

Journey back 13 years to a stellar year for Rihanna, M.I.A., Arcade Fire, and Kanye West. From hip-hop to indie rock and everywhere in between, PopMatters picks the best 50 songs of 2007.

Music

'Modern' Is the Pinnacle of Post-Comeback Buzzcocks' Records

Presented as part of the new Buzzcocks' box-set, Sell You Everything, Modern showed a band that wasn't interested in just repeating itself or playing to nostalgia.

Music

​Nearly 50 and Nearly Unplugged: 'ChangesNowBowie' Is a Glimpse Into a Brilliant Mind

Nine tracks, recorded by the BBC in 1996 show David Bowie in a relaxed and playful mood. ChangesNowBowie is a glimpse into a brilliant mind.

Music

Reaching for the Sky: An Interview with Singer-Songwriter Bruce Sudano

How did Bruce Sudano become a superhero? PopMatters has the answer as Sudano celebrates the release of Spirals and reflects on his career from Brooklyn Dreams to Broadway.

Music

Inventions Conjure Mystery and Hope with the Intensely Creative 'Continuous Portrait'

Instrumental duo Matthew Robert Cooper (Eluvium) and Mark T. Smith (Explosions in the Sky) release their first album in five years as Inventions. Continuous Portrait is both sonically thrilling and oddly soothing.

Music

Esperanza Spalding and Fred Hersch Are 'Live at the Village Vanguard' to Raise Money for Musicians

Esperanza Spalding and Fred Hersch release a live recording from a 2018 show to raise money for a good cause: other jazz musicians.

Music

Lady Gaga's 'Chromatica' Hides Its True Intentions Behind Dancefloor Exuberance

Lady Gaga's Chromatica is the most lively and consistent record she's made since Born This Way, embracing everything great about her dance-pop early days and giving it a fresh twist.

Love in the Time of Coronavirus

Street Art As Sprayed Solidarity: Global Corona Graffiti

COVID-19-related street art functions as a vehicle for political critique and social engagement. It offers a form of global solidarity in a time of crisis.

Music

Gretchen Peters Honors Mickey Newbury With "The Sailor" and New Album (premiere + interview)

Gretchen Peters' latest album, The Night You Wrote That Song: The Songs of Mickey Newbury, celebrates one of American songwriting's most underappreciated artists. Hear Peters' new single "The Sailor" as she talks about her latest project.

Music

Okkyung Lee Goes From Classical to Noise on the Stellar 'Yeo-Neun'

Cellist Okkyung Lee walks a fine line between classical and noise on the splendid, minimalist excursion Yeo-Neun.

Reviews
Collapse Expand Reviews

Features
Collapse Expand Features
PM Picks
Collapse Expand Pm Picks

© 1999-2020 PopMatters.com. All rights reserved.
PopMatters is wholly independent, women-owned and operated.