June 18, 1942 – April 4, 2013
Roger Ebert has died, age 70, from cancer
The only film critic to (yet) win a Pulitzer Prize, Ebert was a movie critic for the Chicago Sun-Times for 46 years, was famous for his TV show with fellow critic Gene Siskel ("Sneak Previews"), and bridged the trend from print film criticism to his own digital mini-kingdom within the online Chicago Sun Times newspaper domain.
The author of many books (mostly collections of his film criticism) Ebert could help a film make it by the weight of his advocacy ("thumbs up"), and could also severely hurt a film's box office by his "thumbs down."
After Siskel died, Ebert continued on with "Ebert & Roeper" which continued with the same rating system that had become a legal trademark.
Ebert was also quite wealthy, having benefited from his early backing of Google, and from being well-connected within the Chicago media world.
From the Chicago Sun-Times online obit:
"Roger Joseph Ebert was born in Urbana on June 18, 1942, the son of Walter and Annabel Ebert. His father was an electrician at the University of Illinois, his mother, a bookkeeper. It was a liberal household — Ebert remembers his parents praying for the success of Harry Truman in the election of 1948. As a child, he published a mimeographed neighborhood newspaper, and a stamp collectors’ newspaper in elementary school.
In high school, he was, as he later wrote, “demented in [his] zeal for school activities,” joining the swim team, acting in plays, founding the Science Fiction Club, co-hosting Urbana High School’s Saturday morning radio program, co-editing the newspaper, being elected senior class president.
He began his professional writing career at 15, as a sportswriter covering the high school beat for the News-Gazette in Champaign-Urbana.
Ebert went on to the University of Illinois, where he published a weekly journal of politics and opinion as a freshman and served as editor of the Daily Illini his senior year. He graduated in 1964, and studied in South Africa on a Rotary Scholarship.
While still in Urbana, he began free-lancing for the Sun-Times and the Chicago Daily News."
Roger Ebert's Top Films of the Year
1967: Bonnie and Clyde
1968: The Battle of Algiers
1970: Five Easy Pieces
1971: The Last Picture Show
1972: The Godfather
1973: Cries and Whispers
1974: Scenes from a Marriage
1976: Small Change
1977: 3 Women
1978: An Unmarried Woman
1979: Apocalypse Now
1980: The Black Stallion
1981: My Dinner with Andre
1982: Sophie's Choice
1983: The Right Stuff
1985: The Color Purple
1987: House of Games
1988: Mississippi Burning
1989: Do the Right Thing
1992: Malcolm X
1993: Schindler's List
1994: Hoop Dreams
1995: Leaving Las Vegas
1997: Eve's Bayou
1998: Dark City
1999: Being John Malkovich
2000: Almost Famous
2001: Monster's Ball
2002: Minority Report
2004: Million Dollar Baby
2006: Pan's Labyrinth
2008: Synecdoche, New York
2009: The Hurt Locker
2010: The Social Network
2011: A Separation
Original page April 2013
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- Central Park - 1932 - Joan Blondell has trouble on her hands when she gets suckered into helping a gangster to rob a charity event. Though this film stars Joan and Wallace Ford, it also features the American Great Depression which is the background for the hunger and desperation that flavors the film.
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- Torchy (Glenda Farrell) Gets Her Manand solves crimes faster than her boyfriend (a policeman) and the whole police force.
- Get Smart - 2008 - Maxwell Smart is back in action with Agent 99 (Anne Hathaway) on a mission into Russia which turns into a hunt for a traitor within CONTROL's ranks - - and everyone is starting to think it might be Agent 86.
- Ernest Saves Christmas - 1988 - Florida seems like the wrong place to find a missing Santa Clause, but taxi driver Ernest locates him there all the same.
- Jeopardy 1953 - - A Mexican vacation goes off the rails when escaped American convict (Ralph Meeker) hijacks Barbara Stanwyck.
- Zorba The Greek 1964 - Alan Bates and Anthony Quinn are on Crete, with Irene Papas
- Frankenstein Island - 1981 - The plot moves slowly and often doesn't seem to make sense in this legendary bad film featuring a projected image of John Carradine that rattles off incoherant dialogue.
- The Lady Vanishes - 1938 - Hitchcock's famous film about a disappearing lady aboard a trans-continental train. Except for one stubborn young female passenger [who is consequently accused of mental instability] no one aboard can remember the vanished elderly Miss Froy.
- White Zombie - 1932 - Bela Lugosi likes making zombies, and this comes in handy when a local plantation owner on Haiti decides if he can't woo a certain girl to be his wife, he'll have Lugosi turn her into a mindless slave that he can command.