Friday, September 10, 2010


This just in! Roger Ebert announced this morning that only six months after the demise of At the Movies with A.O. Scott and Michael Phillips, Ebert himself will return to a new syndicated version of the program called Roger Ebert Presents At The Movies. (All the details are available at the link.) According to the press release, in addition to reviewing new movies the new program will "expand into coverage of New Media, special segments on classics, on-demand viewing and genres, and an extended website. It will use the copyrighted "Thumbs Up/Thumbs Down"® format made famous by Siskel & Ebert.”

The program is good news because Ebert has managed to concoct a way to freshen up the format and make room for all the new formats and venues for watching films, and in doing so he has invited a fine roster of colleagues to join him. Elvis Mitchell and Christy Lemire will be the principal co-hosts, with occasional segments by Kim Morgan (Yay!) on Film Noir and San Francisco-based critic Omar Moore, an attorney and member of the San Francisco Film Critics Circle who writes regularly for his website Popcorn Reel. Ebert will co-produce the show and “employ a computer voice to appear on every episode with segments titled Roger's Office devoted to classic, overlooked and new films.” The show’s pilot episode, a sample from which is available to view here, featured reviews of new movies debated by Lemire and Mitchell, and according to Ebert, “a segment with Kim discussing a classic film noir, Omar discussing the growing role of the internet in the success of indie films, a segment with Christy and Kim discussing new women directors, and a segment where I review a new indie documentary."

The new program begins airing January 2011 on PBS.



Stephen Russell-Gebbett said...

This is very good news Dennis.

A great critic returns to our screens and with some talented critics new to the medium too.

There's always a place for this kind of show, no matter what some people say.

Tom said...

Yeah, Kim Morgan is pretty knowledgeable of old movies. My kind of critic is one who has studied and seen alot of old movies and she has.

I think I will like this show but I also like the old one-on-one banter of the old format.

Unknown said...

I'll be petty and say that Kim Morgan was included to make Ebert's mouth appear more normal in comparison.

But seriously, a show like this might get me watching TV again.

Dennis Cozzalio said...

Congratulations, Scott. It’s only September, I know, but I think (I hope) your comment has a good chance of winning 2010 Lowest Point of Discourse honors here at SLIFR.

“I’ll be petty…”

Okay, I'll try not to be. Pettiness is tossing off a snotty remark at someone who accidentally bumps into your grocery cart in a supermarket. Your comment about Kim Morgan was not only pointless and unrelated to her ability as a film critic, but it was cruel and mean-spirited as well. Pretty clever of you, as someone we’ve never seen, to be throwing bombs about personal appearance behind a cybermask of anonymity. Why not dole out some shit to me for having a gut that looks like I swallowed a watermelon? (I’m working on it, but that wouldn’t matter, I guess.) Perhaps you have some words about Elvis Mitchell’s hair, or Christy Lemire’s gender. Roger Ebert has already proven that you don’t even need to be able to speak to carry on expanding the horizons of film criticism, on TV and, most importantly, the Internet, and he’s about to demonstrate that, incredibly, you don’t even need a jaw to be accepted as a valued contributor on a television program. Has anyone done that before?

Of course it’s a tough world in which to clear hurdles like these, and mainly because of attitudes like the one you express, where snide comments about the shape of one’s mouth, or the absence of one, take the place of intelligent conversation about the subject at hand. You obviously don’t care if you hurt someone’s feelings with your wit, but I do, and I’d like to think I’d feel that way even if I didn’t count Kim Morgan as a personal friend. But in the future I’d appreciate it if you kept your comments on point and in the realm of the sensitive.

To Kim I’d like to offer my apologies that this site was used to tarnish what should be a moment of pride and honor for her. I know she won’t let it get her down and she doesn’t need me to defend her—she’s pretty tough, if you haven’t noticed—but I don’t like the appearance of even tacitly approving this kind of junk.

Philip Concannon said...

Neatly stepping over that bit of unnecessary unpleasantness...this is pretty exciting news, and it looks like Roger has assembled a good team for his comeback. It just makes me wish we had some kind of critical discussion of cinema on UK television. Whatever film programmes we do have (Film 2010, Newsnight Review at a push…and that’s about it) tend to be buried at a late hour. I wish one of our major TV channels would make a serious attempt to cater for film fans; even a regular series along the lines of Alex Cox and Mark Cousins’ Moviedrome would be a step in the right direction.

And to briefly address the above comment – Kim Morgan really knows her stuff, and looks great from where I’m sitting.

Dennis Cozzalio said...

Phillip, thanks for high stepping. I debated about just deleting the comment-- something like that is akin, I think, to someone coming into your house and taking a dump on the rug. But I left it up because I thought it was a good example of what I don't want around here, and what I very rarely find.

Anyway, I say turn Alex Cox loose and see what he comes up with at any and every opportunity. My wife and I were vacationing in London in 1993 for our honeymoon, and it happened we were in a B&B on the anniversary of JFK's assassination. Well, late that Sunday night here comes Alex Cox "introducing" The Parallax View on Channel 4, I think it was. Only his introduction lasted a glorious, giddy 30 minutes! It was great. I wish someone could get away with something like that on TV nowadays. That conspirational rant/spoken word essay would be a great addition to any future splashy DVD/Blu-ray edition of Pakula's film that might possibly be in the pipeline.