One of the great things about Roger Ebert, who died April 4 at age 70, is that he wrote — or seemed to write — about every movie ever made.
The man was encyclopedic. In his last blog post, two days before he died, he reported that he typically wrote 200 reviews a year, and that in the previous 12 months he had reviewed no less than 306 films, in addition to other writing. Going through his archives you can find out what he thought about pretty much every film released since the start of his career, and many that came before. Reading Roger Ebert is to take a comprehensive survey of the history of film, as seen from the front row.
When I heard that Ebert died I couldn’t help but poke through his writings again, curious to see what he had to say about movies that are canonic or just interesting to me, of longstanding enjoyment or more recent fascination. As homage to a great critic, here are some of the best bits that I came across, arranged in chronological order.
Nichols stays on top of his material. He never pauses to make sure we’re getting the point. He never explains for the slow-witted. He never apologizes…. Benjamin’s acute honesty and embarrassment are so accurately drawn that we hardly know whether to laugh or to look inside ourselves.