If you’ve been a follower of mine you probably know I have always been a fan of Siskel and Ebert and their review show. If this is the first time you ever visited my page….well now you know it.
Siskel died in 1999 and Ebert has been battling cancer, but is still as active a film reviewer as ever. Even though their last film review together was over ten years ago, I still think of their program in the present tense.
Often times I’ll rewatch a clip of a review or an entire episode when I’m surfing around and sit back and enjoy hearing their thoughts and watching them interact. I didn’t always agree with them, but their enthusiasm and passion for film continues to come through those old clips. Plus, they’re unique partnership and the jibes they would throw at each other was extremely entertaining.
The At the Movies Program went through some changes since Siskel’s death. A series of rotating co-hosts alongside Ebert, until Richard Roeper stayed on. Ebert and Roeper departed the show in 2008 and it lasted two more seasons without them before finally being cancelled permanently in August 2010.
Despite my personal taste of the critics I have always thought it was a great thing that the program endured. With dozens of gossip programs that revolve around Hollywood and celebrities, it became such a rare thing for a program to actually look at the art of film the industry is producing, rather than the gossip and disposable news it generates on a daily basis. I was very disappointed to see the program leave the airwaves.
Needless to say, I am very excited to see that Ebert is returning with a new film review program.
Film criticism is not a difficult thing to find these days. Just go onto the internet and you can easily hear amateur critics and regular filmgoers share their opinions about a recent film they saw (Yours truly included). Their focus is on what is on the film and not the behind the scenes nonsense that seems to be the majority of what’s referred to as entertainment news today. I always thought there was room for a program like that on commercial television and there must be other film fans that would welcome it. I certainly will.
I wasn’t sure what to expect from the program. Ebert will be involved, but obviously he won’t have as big a role in the program as he once did because of his currently health condition. He will contribute a weekly segment with the use of a computerized voice. The two critics on the center stage will be 24-year-old Ignatiy Vishnevetsky and 38-year-old Christy Lemire, film critic for the Associated Press.
I wasn’t really familiar with either of them and since its debut I really haven’t warmed up to either of the hosts. They’re obviously big film fans and offer up some interesting opinions and recommendations. However, they lack any real kind of chemistry that I’ve seen and aren’t really as engaging television personalities like Ebert and Siskel had. Which I really kind of expected.
Still, I’m continuing to tune in for the simple fact that there is a program focused on the world of film that once again will be worthwhile to watch, as opposed to the usual Hollywood entertainment shows with the vapid hosts whose lead story is Kim Kardashian’s latest photoshoot. That stuff just makes my brain turn to mush.