Ebert, 'At the Movies' and those all-powerful thumbs have been resurrected on PBS, making their return Friday in 'Ebert Presents at the Movies.' The show reflects in part the classic format -- two critics debating the latest releases -- and is even being filmed at the Chicago studios the first Siskel and Ebert movie review show was shot. Except this time, there are some new primary hosts: Associated Press film critic Christy Lemire and 24-year-old Ignatiy Vishnevetsky, a virtually unknown blogger Ebert personally plucked for hosting duties -- as well as fresh features and new guest contributors.
I've got to admit, I was so excited about the return of a show I've followed through all its iterations for 15 years, I practically plopped down on the couch thumbs extended upwards, and truth be told, I have nothing but thumbs up to give all around for this show, although I do have some notes.
On Aug. 14, the 'At the Movies' balcony will officially be closed for good.
According to the Live Feed, Disney-ABC Domestic TV has canceled the long-running series after 24 years in syndication.
"This was a very difficult decision, especially considering the program's rich history and iconic status within the entertainment industry, but from a business perspective it became clear this weekly, half-hour, broadcast syndication series was no longer sustainable," the distributor said in a statement.
The show that Roger Ebert and Gene Siskel started so many years ago is a victim of the modern age. People get their movie reviews from so many places now, half-hour syndicated shows like this aren't as plentiful as they used to be, and this show went through so many changes in the past few years that it was easy to see that it would be gone soon.
It's actually a miracle that the show survived the whole Ben Lyons debacle, so we should be glad that we got a year with Michael Phillips and A.O. Scott.
This is a tribute from The Nostalgia Critic, and he covers the history of the show, from the start on PBS to the death of Siskel in 1999 to the hosts that eventually replaced them. He probably needs to get a better microphone, but it's well-done.(Slightly NSFW.)
Disney and ABC film-canned Ben Lyons and Ben Mankiewicz this week. The show's now-dismissed young, hipster critics never really showed any particular cinema savvy besides the ability to unfurl sarcastic reviews. And their writing credentials won't be mistaken for the bylines Ebert and Siskel piled up in their careers.
To reverse course in hope of saving At the Movies, executives are turning to two guys with established chops.
"Several months ago, Disney offered to extend my contract, which expires at the conclusion of the 2007-08 season," Roeper told the Associated Press.
In a letter to his fans, Roger wrote: "I am at last returning to the movie beat. After my current stay at the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago, I'm looking forward to opening night of my annual film festival at the University of Illinois on April 23, and I will resume writing movie reviews shortly thereafter. Are you as bored with my health as I am? I underwent a third surgery in January, this one in Houston, and once again there were complications. I am sorry to say that my ability to speak was not restored. That would require another surgery."
Film critic Roger Ebert was reported hospitalized in serious condition Sunday after emergency surgery was performed on him Saturday evening.
The operation was needed to correct damage that was caused by an earlier procedure that took place back on June 16th to remove a cancerous growth on his salivary gland. Repaired was a blood vessel that broke near the area where the June operation took place. Ebert has had a series of operations to remove cancers. Back in 2002 he underwent surgery for papillary thyroid cancer. One year later he went under the knife to remove an earlier growth on his salivary gland.
Richard Roeper, Ebert's current co-host on their nationally syndicated movie-review show, told the Chicago Sun-Times that Roger was stable after the emergency procedure and that he was expected to make a full recovery. Roeper replaced Ebert's former partner, Gene Siskel, back in 2000 after Siskel passed away a year earlier.
This is both hysterical and bittersweet. Someone has found footage of film critic Roger Ebert and his late partner in crime, Gene Siskel, shooting promos for their syndicated program Siskel & Ebert & the Movies. Listen as they both go off on a hilarious tongue-in-cheek rant about WASPs and Protestantism, laugh as they try to get through yet another promo while lobbing insults at one another, and try not to wet your pants when Gene explains that Roger's answer to every question he's asked at McDonald's is "yes."
Funny as all of this is, it does make me miss watching these two guys lock horns with one another. Richard Roeper does okay holding his own against Roger, but it's nothing compared to how he and Gene used to go after one another in what often seemed like an extremely vicious and callous manner. And yet, when it was all said and done they still remained friends.
Note: Links above contain swearing, so probably NSFW.
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