Five for the Fifth: April 2013 Edition


Hello folks, welcome to the 4th Five for the Fifth of the year!

As is customary for this monthly feature, I get to post five random news item/observation/poster, etc. and then turn it over to you to share your take on that given topic. You can see the previous five-for-the-fifth posts here.

1. I had another topic in mind here but I can’t possibly NOT include at least a mini tribute for Roger Ebert... the first movie critic I knew by name and whose reviews I read more than any other critics. It’s a sad day for movie lovers everywhere as a legend has passed away…


Mr. Ebert died today at the age of 70 after a decade of battling throat cancer. Though I don’t always agree with his reviews, I always enjoy reading them. It’s also fun watching talking and debating movies with his late partner Gene Siskel on the Siskel & Ebert show, as their Roman Gladiator-ial style of ‘thumbs up/thumbs down’ become iconic in popular culture. Every time I read his review, I admire Ebert’s amazing breath of knowledge about films and movie history… but more than that, appreciate his honesty in his reviews. Though he’s won the Pulitzer Prize—the first film critic to win the Pulitzer Prize for Criticism back in 1975— he was as much a movie fan as he was a critic. As Allan Gregg said in his interview with Ebert I posted below, no matter how many thousands of movies he’s seen, he didn’t become jaded or crusty as other critics who seem to live to hate everything that opened.

Though he’s had more than his share of health problems for some time, his death came as a shock to me when I read the news via twitter, as I had just read about his Tuesday article that he was going to take “a leave of presence” due to the recurrence of cancer. Even in painful times like that, Mr. Ebert didn’t sound gloomy or feeling sorry for himself, in fact, he made it sound like having to slow down was a good thing, “… I’ll be able at last to do what I’ve always fantasized about doing: reviewing only the movies I want to review” and announced plans to continue working on his website and Ebertfest, his film festival at his Alma mater, the University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign. Alas, he’s no longer with us now, but his rich legacy as a groundbreaking film critic will certainly live on.

Mr. Ebert’s love for movies and the way he popularized movie criticism has inspired me. He not only loves movies, but he also had genuine camaraderie with fellow film fans, perhaps the only major critic who took the time to correspond and encourage movie bloggers. He’ll be sorely missed in the film community, and I definitely would miss reading his reviews.

Thank you Mr. Ebert for your invaluable insights and inspiration. May you rest in peace.

What’s your fondest memory of Mr. Ebert?

FindingDori2. I’m sure you’ve all heard it by now. Seems like Pixar’s creativity well is danger of drought as they seem to be recycling their old stuff. First there’s Monsters University, then the Cars spin-off Planes, and now another character is being spun-off from one of their most popular feature Finding Nemo. Now, I’m not dismissing Finding Dori, I’m sure it could still be a good film, after all Dori is one of my top 10 favorite Pixar characters, but really, I’d rather see Pixar do something entirely new.

Now, that said, it made me think of what of my beloved movie characters I’d love to see getting its own film. I don’t know how often this happens. The only one I could think of is Steve Carrell’s hilarious Evan Baxter from Bruce Almighty (though I actually haven’t seen Evan Almighty) and on the TV front, I LOVE Frasier Crane which was spun-off from Cheers.

Now, which character (either in a live action/animated feature) would you like to see getting a spin-off treatment?


3. Hope you don’t mind me recycling my question that I posted on Reddit but I figure more of my blog friends/readers might not have seen it. It’s a question that I’ve often pondered in a while and I’d think it’d spark some interesting discussions amongst fellow movie fans.


Every time I see in a review “[insert title here] is not a perfect movie but…” or “It’s far from perfect, but …,” it makes me wonder… just what exactly constitutes a PERFECT film for you?

There are 47 comments on Reddit so far, and these are some interesting answers I received:

The amount of personal connection with the movie dictates whether it’s a perfect or not, for you.

As with most things, I think there is no such thing as a perfect movie. Just like you cannot write a perfect essay, or a perfect novel. There is absolutely NO common basis to judge movies on, that’s what makes this impossible. In the end, it all comes down to personal preference.

A perfect movie would most likely be one where not a single second was wasted. Everything had a purpose and helped tell the story the director intended.

I’m curious to hear what you think. Feel free to include YOUR picks of films you consider to be *perfect*.

Remember, there’s really no right/wrong answer as films are so subjective 😀

ByzantiumPoster4. When I first saw the poster of BYZANTIUM, I really like its striking design. My pal Terrence suggested that I featured the trailer on this edition of Five for the Fifth, I was more than happy to oblige. Funny that a couple of editions ago, I featured another unconventional vampire movie, Only Lovers Left Alive, starring Tilda Swinton and Tom Hiddleston.

This one comes from Neil Jordan, the director that brought us Interview with the Vampire (and of course, The Crying Game). Here’s the synopsis and trailer:

Residents of a coastal town learn, with deathly consequences, the secret shared by the two mysterious women who have sought shelter at a local resort.

The reviews from various film festival has been mixed, but I’m curious to check it out as it looks like a deconstruction of the vampire tale mythology, and after the abysmal teen vampire franchise that’s been dominating the box office, it’s nice to see a film that treads new grounds on that genre.


The mostly-British/Irish cast is certainly promising: Saoirse Ronan, Gemma Arterton, Jonny Lee Miller and Sam Riley. It’s supposed to be released in the US in late June, not sure if it’ll make it to my neck of the woods though.

What do you think of this project? Will you be seeing this one?

5. Ok, last but not least, here’s a brand spankin’ new casting news that piqued my interest. Benedict Cumberbatch joins Guillermo Del Toro’s Crimson Peak. It’s apparently a haunted house thriller and though plot details are still under wrap, Del Toro described it as… “…very set-oriented, classical but at the same time modern take on the ghost story. It will allow me to play with the conventions of the genre I know and love, and at the same time subvert the old rules.”  [per Collider] Cumberbatch would join Emma Stone and Charlie Hunnam (Sons of Anarchy) who’ve already been cast.


Though horror is not my cup of tea, I’m slightly curious about this project, though time will tell if it’s something I’d see on the big screen. I’m just glad the massively talented Brit is getting more and more roles in Hollywood. I can’t wait to see him in Star Trek Into Darkness next month, and looking forward to seeing his portrayal of Wikileaks founder Julian Assange in The Fifth Estate. He’s also filming the third season of BBC’s Sherlock, yay!

Well, now my last question to you is two-fold: Are you enthused about this project with this cast? And secondly, which TV-actor would you like to see get his/her big break on the big screen?

For those with a Reddit account, would you be so kind as to submit this post?
I’d sincerely appreciate it folks! 😀

That’s it for the APRIL 2013 edition of Five for the Fifth, folks. I’d love to hear your thoughts on any of these subjects.

84 thoughts on “Five for the Fifth: April 2013 Edition

  1. Great post as always, Ruth. Some good questions in there as well.

    I’m trying to think of my favorite Roger Ebert moment, and I’m not able to quite pin it down. I think it might just be the way he completely let loose when he watched a truly awful, 0-star movie. The whole “Freddy Got Fingered doesn’t scrape the bottom of the barrel… it doesn’t deserve to be mentioned in the same sentence as barrels” spiel and rants like that.

    Strangely, what came to mind first isn’t exactly an Ebert moment, but at least much a Rob Schneider moment. Schneider had taken out a full page ad blasting another critic who had panned his Deuce Bigalow: European Gigolo movie; the critic had said, sarcastically, that it wasn’t in danger of any Oscar nominations, and Schneider blasted back that the critic hadn’t won any awards either. In his review, Ebert related the incident, and then said “In my capacity as a Pulitzer-winning critic, Mr. Schneider, your movie sucks.” Shortly after that was when Ebert went into the hospital for his first bout with cancer. He later related that he received a basket of flowers from Rob Schneider while he was in there, with the tag “From your least favorite actor, get well soon.” I just thought it said a lot about human nature that a series of exchanges that had started with such a classless snit fit could end on such a classy note, from the same person.

    Regarding Pixar… I’m not sure they’re really running the well of creativity dry just because they’re making sequels. I mean, look at their first three films. Toy Story. A Bug’s Life. And then Toy Story 2. They’ve been in the recycling business as long as they’ve been making films; the bulk of their most creative films have come after their first sequel. I think if they put the same care into things as they typically do, it’ll be all right. Mind you, I’m in no hurry to see Planes (which is technically under the Disney banner, oddly enough), but then, I haven’t seen the first two Cars films either.

    1. Thanks Morgan! Yeah, I like that Ebert is not a snob, y’know. I mean he’s a scholar and all that but he still appreciates even what people would call *dumb* or *trashy* movies and he even admitted he enjoyed some of them.

      Oh wow, thanks for sharing that story about Schneider, I hadn’t heard about that. Ahah, I LOVE that he mentioned his Pulitzer Prize, well I’m glad Schneider was in a good sport, that’s such a sweet story!!

      I love Pixar and I do still have high hopes for Dori. Perhaps they’ve still got it, I do hope so as I LOVE most of their films, I don’t know if the bulk of creativity comes from the sequels though, I think BRAVE is very creative as they tread new grounds w/ a female heroine. Hey, I haven’t seen the first two Cars films either, not sure if I’ll be interested in Planes.

      1. Oh, I didn’t mean to imply their sequels were more creative than the non-sequels; I was just trying to say that most of their non-sequels came after they’d already started doing sequels.

  2. 1. I feel like a bad amateur critic because I didn’t read his review much, but it’s clear to me that he loved movies very much. and why I movie blog is because I want to review the movie that I love. So I couldn’t help but feel the loss. I hope he’s gone to a better place.

    2. There’s so many spin-off and sequels and prequels today and I feel a bit numb on this one. But since it’s Pixar, perhaps it will be as good or better than before.

    3. Fascinating question! A perfect movie to me is a movie that have something to us learn, inspiring without being too cliche (or make us forget about it), and feels sincere. And since I pay attention to other elements, I also thought costume, sound and soundtrack are great support for a movie, so it has to be in sync and excellent, even better when it suits my taste.

    1. Oh no you’re not a bad critic just because you haven’t read a professional critic’s work, ahah. I’ve only read a small number of critics but Ebert is the one I read most because it’s fun to read ’em, he’s not mean-spirited either even if he didn’t like a particular film.

      Yeah, it is indeed mind-numbing how many recycled ideas out there!!

      I love your answer about a perfect film. In sync and excellent, nice line. I guess like you said, it all comes down to personal taste.

  3. What a sad news to hear about the passing of Roger Ebert. He inspired me so much 😦
    And yes, eventhough I was not always in the same page with his reviews, but his writings are very fun to read. I love the fact that he was like the sole supporter of Crash when it surprisingly won Best Picture, and he backed that underrated and highly misjudged film, IMO. So sad to know that most people hate Crash because it was supposedly stole Brokeback’s Oscar (I love both films actually, and I know I’m a minority here). May he rests in peace.

    Regarding Finding Dory…. I was like ‘???’ when I heard about the news. I thought it was an April Fool’s joke lol. I do concern about Disney-Pixar not making more original films. But I still believe they can pull it off well *here’s hoping Monsters University is not gonna be a disappointment*

    1. Ted S.

      Fariz, I don’t think Crash is considered underrated since it won best picture of that year, most big named critics loved it and performed quite well at the box office. But I’m one of the few who hated it. 🙂 Not because it won best picture over Brokeback Mountain but I just thought it was a weak film about a serious subject.

      1. Haha well maybe underrated was not really the right way to describe the film. I was aiming at the harsh criticism of the win, in my opinion. And like you, some of my friends also had already hated the film long before it won Oscar. But there are also people who hate it because of that reason. I agree with Ruth, the film might be a bit manipulative, but I like it . To each their own I guess 🙂

    2. Yeah, I like his passion for movies, and I remember Crash got so much backlash for winning. I did not hate it like Ted vehemently do, ahah. I actually quite like it, though yes it’s manipulative and over-dramatize such a controversial topic, but still I don’t think it was badly-made.

      Let’s hope Pixar could still deliver Monsters U and Finding Dori, if anything, at least I adore those characters!

  4. 1. To be really honest, I never really read much of Ebert’s stuff. I could be wrong here but I don’t think he made quite as much of an impact here in the UK as he has elsewhere. Some may disagree with me on that one though. I do appreciate how much of an influence he has had on others though, and it is sad when someone so treasured passes away.

    2. I have absolutely no interest in Finding Dory whatsoever. I wasn’t even the biggest fan of Finding Nemo and I share your worries about Pixar recycling old ideas. I’m quite surprised none of the Toy Story gang have had spinoffs, some of those could probably work.

    3. Very interesting question, this one. I think it’s impossible to make a perfect film for everyone as everyone’s definition of perfect is different. For me, a perfect film is a film that I can’t find anything major wrong with and I can watch over and over again and still enjoy it as much or more than the first time. There really aren’t many movies that fall into that category for me – Wayne’s World, On The Waterfront, The Godfather, Toy Story are all films I might consider perfect.

    4. I’m with you on Byzantium. I wouldn’t say I’m hugely excited for it but it looks interesting. I like vampire lore and all that so it looks like an interesting take on it.

    5. I would definitely be interested in seeing this. Love Del Toro and love Cumberbatch so I will be keeping an eye on this!

    1. Ebert is definitely not as big a deal over here I agree Chris. Nice to see so many bloggers I read pay their tributes though, strange he has affected some people so deeply.

      1. I think even if people have not read his reviews, movie fans would’ve at least heard of Mr. Ebert, or they should anyway. His passion for movies is inspiring and his breath of knowledge on the subject is something a lot of movie fans aspire to.

    2. I think Mr. Ebert is more well-known in the US than elsewhere, but I’ve read a bunch of tributes from UK sites as well yesterday so I don’t know.

      Not a fan of Finding Nemo?? 😦 Well I’m glad Pixar hasn’t spun-off any of the Toy Story characters, though they might in the future. I hope they won’t though.

      Great answer, Chris! I agree that films that I love to watch over and over again is darn near perfect for me. Sense & Sensibility fits into that category for me. Oh man I still need to see On The Waterfront!!

      I like the vampire lore too, that’s why I’d at least give Byzantium a rent.

      Del Toro & Cumberbatch combo would certainly entice a whole lot of movie fans!! 😀

  5. 1. Lovely piece on Ebert, I’m sure he will never be forgotten by the movie world. In a way it’s a good thing he passed away, given his illness and how much pain it cost him. I’m sure he is in a better place now.

    2. I always wanted a separate movie detailing what exactly happened to Beth (Winona Ryder) in Black Swan.

    3. Oh, that’s a tough question! I think for me perfect movie is the kind of movie where I adore the story and characters so much, that world created there in that film, that I wouldn’t mind if it was 5 hours along. It’s when the film pulls me in so much I never want to stop being in its universe.

    4. I think Jordan’s Interview with a Vampire is one of the best films, best vampire films and best adaptations I’ve seen, but this one doesn’t look too good. I’ll see it on DVD though, I like this sub-genre, Saoirse and Gemma.

    5. Well, it’s Dell Toro so it’s tricky, but I hope it will be good. As for the next question – Lee Pace and Richard Armitage!

    1. Thanks Sati! You’re right that I’m glad he’s not in pain anymore, I do hope he’s in a better place. He’ll be sorely missed for sure.

      Oooh, that’s a good one Sati! I’d love to see what happen to her too, it’d be like what happen to Bertha, Rochester’s wife, in Jane Eyre!

      I like your answer! Yeah, I think you could say a movie is perfect if we don’t want it to end!! I could easily watch Sense & Sensibility until I’m blue in the face, to see more of those wonderful Austen characters come to life 😀 I feel that way about North & South [hint, hint] You’ll know why once you see it. More Mr. Thornton please!!

      I love Interview with the Vampire, not sure that this one could match that but yeah, I do like the cast.

      Yeah, I’m not a big Del Toro fan but LOVE Benedict. Oh well of course yes, Lee and Richard get my votes too! Come on Hollywood!!

      1. Bertha was the crazy chick right? I was kinda sad we didn’t actually see the backstory in new version, only heard about it instead.

        I’m starting watching North & South tonight! I may die, so if you don’t hear from me know that I died happy 😀

        1. Yep, she’s the one locked in the attic. Yeah, the Fukunaga Jane Eyre is like the cliff notes version. That’s why I still like the 1983 BBC version w/ Dalton, they had some scenes of him, Jane and Bertha where they showed her being deranged. It made me feel even more sorry for Rochester for wanting a new life with a woman he loved.

          Ahahaha… I think you will survive, girl! Thornton is super HOT but it’s not like he’s shirtless all the time like in Strike Back. Yet somehow, even the simplest thing he does like opening his cravat or unbuttoning his shirt even just a bit is soooooo sexy. Lots of hyperventilation watching that show, ahah.

  6. Hi Ruth 🙂
    1. Well, there are times when I was stuck finding the exact phrase that described my opinion about certain movies, and Ebert’s site on Sun Times is always in my reference list. I was not that inspired by him (in fact, I know him since-like-a year ago when I started movie-blogging), but of course this is a great loss for the movie industry as well as the movie critics.

    2. Seriously, when I first heard of this news, I was hoping that this is an out-of-date April Fools’ prank. “Finding Dory” just sounds… ridiculous. Well, “Finding Nemo” is nice, but I don’t hope any more spin-off from this movie.

    3. Simple. A perfect movie is a movie that is so impressive that it keeps attached in my mind for days or even weeks. Sometimes there is this indescribable feeling I feel about certain movies that although are not highly acclaimed by critics, widely mentioned by awards, or becoming box-office hit, but easy to be my favorites. “The Social Network” is one of them. P.S: I haven’t watched that much, ‘though. 🙂

    1. Hello Akbar!

      Yeah, I love going back to his site on Sun Times as he reviewed sooo many movies and it’s pretty easy to navigate.

      I do hope Pixar keeps the spin-off, sequels, remakes to a minimum, but of course if there’s money to be made, it’ll continue 😦

      I think the lingering effect of a movie makes us think it’s a *perfect* piece, I feel that way about certain films, even thinking about ’em for days. But not all of them I’d consider even being close to perfect though.

  7. Hearing about his death floored me. I had noticed that most of the reviews on his site were by other people, but I guess I never clued in. Usually, celebrity deaths don’t bother me much at all, but his did. My love of film is such a big part of my life and he was instrumental in shaping that for me.

    2. I don’t like the insistence on sequels for Pixar either. I had heard about some interesting projects they were planning, like a dinosaur movie and a movie that takes place inside a guys brain. Hopefully this Nemo sequel doesn’t bump those out at all.

    3. A perfect movie, well… I honestly don’t know. Is there one? I do take issue with you saying movies are “so subjective” though. They are somewhat subjective, but as much of an art as they are, they are also a craft. And craft can be critiqued quite readily. So in that sense I think that there are certainly bad films and good films that can be agreed on by the majority of people who know quite a bit about film. But there is also that subjective part which involves the connections we make to the characters, the design, the visual style, etc.

    1. His reviews on the site were from other people?? Man I must’ve not looked closely to notice the byline. I just assumed it’s his. I think he’s more than the typical *celebrity* because he somehow felt real to me, like he’s a movie fan like the rest of us, he didn’t put himself on a pedestal. That’s part of his appeal I think and it made me like him more.

      A dinosaur Pixar movie sounds good! With a great concept that could be another animated classic!

      True, there’s a certain invisible bar so to speak for us to judge the craftsmanship, but I feel that with a film, just like any other art form, it’s hard to separate that from the emotional aspect. How a film impacts us, how it speaks to us on a personal level, that’s tough to quantify. There are films that I think are fantastically crafted but somehow it just left me cold, so I won’t consider it a *perfect* film. Does that make sense?? I guess it’s a tricky question, ahah.

  8. Ted S.

    1. I first started watching Siskel & Ebert show back in the summer of 1990, they reviewed all of the big summer films from that year. Ever since then I always looked forward to watching their show at 6:30pm on Saturday nights. I tend to agree with most of Ebert’s reviews, although I definitely disagree with him on Crash and Dark City, I believe he named those two films as the best of their respective year. I was bummed after learning that he got cancer and he couldn’t appear on his show anymore, even though Roeper wasn’t as good of a co-host as Siskel, he still holds his ground with Ebert.

    The funny thing is though, he wrote one of the worst films I’ve ever seen, Beyond Valley of the Dolls. After that film came out, he never really pursue his career as a screenwriter, guess he prefer criticizing films instead. He’s definitely one of the most influential critics in the business, so many big named publications and even tech companies wrote an article about his death yesterday. May he rest in peace.

    2. I remember liking Finding Nemo but I don’t think I’m excited to see the sequel though, I’m sure my niece would love it. As far as which character I want to see a film spin-off? It’s just wishful thinking but I want to see a movie of Javier Bardem’s Anton Chigur from No Country for Old Men, maybe do a film about what he does after the events of the first film.

    3. I just believe there’s no such thing as a perfect film, all of my favorite films have flaws. It’s argument that no one will win on this subject since we all have different taste in movies.

    4. Never heard of this movie before, but I’m curious about it.

    5. There seems to be a lot of haunted house films lately, I’m curious to see what Del Toro has to offer. It’s nice that he’s going back to making films he’s well known for. I still think his earlier film, The Devil’s Backbone is one of the scariest films I’ve ever seen.

    1. I actually never watched the show on TV, just on Youtube. They are entertaining, I enjoyed their bantering. Well now they can talk about movies all the time in the afterlife 😀 I didn’t know he wrote a screenplay, eh it’s not something I’m interested in watching though, ahah.

      Ahah, boy I don’t think I want to see a movie on Anton Chigurgh but I’m sure some people agree w/ you Ted!

      It’s darn near impossible to create a flawless film, but *perfection* is again, subjective as it comes down to taste. What one considers beautiful might actually be annoying to others.

      I can’t say I’m into haunted house films as they tend to give me nightmares! But it’s so popular filmmakers just continue making them!

  9. I have great memories of Ebert. My mom (who passed away from cancer as well) and I used to watch Siskel & Ebert religiously when I was a kid. We both had a passion for film and we just loved to watching that show together. It was our little half an hour of bonding time. He will be missed but never forgotten.

    1. Thanks for sharing Chris, sorry to hear your mom died of cancer too. That’s sweet to have a show that made you bond with your mom. For me it was Dallas, my late mom loved that show and we’d rent all those VHS tapes, ahah.

    1. Oh my word!! No I don’t mind at all Andrew!! I’m so flattered! Are you on Twitter? I just shared it over there but didn’t know your Twitter handler. THANK YOU for that, I’ll be over to read it.

      1. I’m not on Twitter, unfortunately. I’m so out of this social media loop, but one of these days I’ll get into the swing. I can’t wait to see what you have to say about my answers 😀

  10. Love me some ‘5 for the Fifth’!

    1. It’s really hard for me to say there’s one fondest memory with Ebert. I was a Siskel man but honestly you can’t separate the two. Both were brilliant film guys and both were vital to making me such a film fan. I watched them religiously growing up. I’ll always be indebted to Ebert and Siskel for that!

    2. I actually have a Spin-off Phenomenal 5 in the works Ruth! 🙂 I don’t know if this would make a reasonable spin-off but I LOVED Tom Hardy’s Eems (spelling) character in “Inception”. I think it would be fascinating to give him 2 hours of movie time!

    3. Casablanca is simply perfection to me. The acting, the story, the filmmaking technique. It’s glorious.

    4. Hmmm, I just don’t know about this one.

    5. I’m not the best at answering this question because I don’t watch any dramatic TV shows regularly. Boooo me!!! 🙂

    1. Hello Keith!

      That’s awesome that you’re a big fan of Sisket & Ebert. I was just listening to a snippet of them on MPR and was tearing up a bit, those two really are passionate about movies. I like Siskel and respect him a lot, too.

      Oooh, I LOVE your answer of the spin-off question. I’d LOVE to see Tom Hardy getting a prominent role as Eames, I actually like him more than Leo in Inception. Good one!!!

      I’d think Casablanca is as close to perfection as a film could possibly achieve, no argument there.

      Not a vampire film fan, are you? Or are you just bored with the genre.

      Ahah, that’s ok Keith. Thanks for answering, my friend!

  11. Wow, lots of great questions this time around, Ruth.

    1) Forgive the humblebrag, but my fondest memory of Ebert was the night last summer that he tweeted two things I’d written. It says a lot about how important he was to people like us- to film nerds- that it meant so much to me that he did it.

    2) I’m cheating a little by including TV, but I want to see a Sopranos movie made entirely about Tony’s father and a young Uncle Junior. It could have Dickie Moltisanti and a young Feech LaManna and… the possibilities are endless. Basically a Sopranos prequel all the way back in the 50s and 60s.

    3) To quote Wilder’s “Some Like it Hot”, “Nobody’s perfect”. But I have said that certain films are perfect. Citizen Kane is pretty close, if not perfect. Sunset Blvd. Fargo. The Godfather (1 and 2). Those are all the first ones that come to mind for me.

    4) I honestly don’t know much/anything about it.

    5) I’m VERY excited about it. I love Del Toro and I love haunted house movies. And everything Del Toro does, horror-wise, is from a place of love, which means it should be at least respectable.

    1. Ahah, so the previous questions were crap John? 😉

      Oh wow, Ebert tweeted you? That’s awesome!! Can’t say I’m surprised though, your blog is worthy to be noticed by the likes of him.

      Somehow I knew you’d answer someone from a mob genre, he..he.. I never saw The Sopranos but I reckon there’d be some interesting characters there.

      I still need to see Citizen Kane and Sunset Blvd, definitely by end of year 😀

      Sounds like Crimson Peak is right up your alley then John!

  12. Hi, Ruth and company:

    Happy Fifth of April!

    I always preferred Gene Siskel to Mr. Ebert. Though he did point me away from the Blockbuster craze of the late 1970s and beyond. And got me interested in the far superior films of the 1940s to 70s. Their leading men, women, directors, writers and wardrobe designers.

    “Perfect” is a grossly overused word, today. I’m even guilty of using it in describing Howard Hawks’ ‘The Thing From Another World’. It’s when writing, cast, direction, editing, costumes cinematography and everything else meshes, fits well and aid in telling a story well, memorably and with as few lags or dull spots as possible.

    ‘Casablanca’ fills the bill with room to spare. With David Lean’s ‘The Bridge on the River Kwai’ a very close second.

    1. jackdeth72


      I’d also like very much to see Jacob Pitts (Deputy Marshall Tim Gutterson of ‘Justified’) in an old time tough, gritty Chris Copper kind of role in a major film. Preferably as Cooper’s son.
      The physical resemblance, voice and vibe is strong with this one!

    2. Hi Jack, always glad to see you stop by as I’ll likely learn something new 😀

      Interesting how Siskel and Ebert influenced your movie watching, they really did know their stuff and I’m glad people realize what an important role they played as movie critics.

      Great answer, Jack, I think when those elements you mentioned come together, it’s like magic. Perfect or not, it certainly would be a worthwhile piece of cinema.

      As for the spin-off answer, well I haven’t seen Justified, I’d have to look up Jacob Pitts now.

  13. Siskel and Ebert were my first exposure to film criticism and folks talking about film in general.

    Not sure about this Nemo incident, maybe because it was for a time the only film my boy wanted to watch, sort of ruined it for me.

    Perfect film? Drive was as close to perfect as any film I have seen recently.

    To be honest I am not informed enough about #’s 4&5 to comment.

    1. Yeah I think they’re both my first exposure to film criticism too, but yet they weren’t film snobs.

      Ahah, I could see that some parents get sick of seeing certain animated films if their kids are obsessed with ’em. I hear ya, man.

      I’m astounded by how much people love Drive. I haven’t seen it yet but not really all that interested in it to be honest. I’m not a big fan of Gosling either, sorry 😀

      1. I did not care for Gosling till I saw Drive 😉

        A few real violent scenes that I could see you not being a fan of.

        Nemo was one of two animated films we owned for a long while. I rectified that situation in order to get Nemo out of heavy rotation.

        1. Ah I see. Well, I’ve seen Gosling in The Notebook and Gangster Squad so far, he does absolutely nothing for me for some reason. If anything he actually kind of annoys me, ahah. So nah, I don’t think I’ll be missing out not seeing Drive 😀

  14. 1. First catching the program on PBS in the 70s before it became popular. Both Ebert and Siskel had that rare passion that came across the screen. But, I immediately began siding with Roger almost from the start. Something about him. So unpretentious but with an intellect to match that passion I just mentioned. Though I’d disagree on a occasion, well, a lot, his views were always on point (so much so you’d learn something) and without any enmity. Pleasant then, but needed much more now. He will be missed.

    2. Not any spin-off, but I’d love if there were an Incredibles sequel (with Brad leading the charge once more).

    3. It’s kinda indescribable… so I’ll leave this be.

    4. Doesn’t intrigue at first sight. Might change my mind, though.

    5. I’m up for anything Guillermo del Toro has to offer. Bar none.

    Thanks, Ruth.

    1. Hi Michael! I envy you for catching the two critics before they became popular. After watching the episodes on Youtube, I go back and forth between the two of them in terms of whose opinion I agree w/, but I like both for their passion and articulate way of voicing their feelings about movies. There’s really not many critics as knowledgeable and also entertaining like Mr. Ebert.

      Oooh, I could see The Incredibles’ follow-up could be good, but yeah, Brad Bird has to do it again.

      Thanks for the video clip! Always fun to listen to them banter. MPR was covering them last night, I really enjoy listening to Ebert interviewing famous filmmakers too.

  15. I used to love watching At the Movies when I was a kid, I suppose those are my “fondest memories” of Roger Ebert…

    I’m not surprised Pixar is going to the well again on Finding Dori. I’d rather see them go original, but, hey, they gotta make money too. Meanwhile, I have to answer James Franco’s Alien from Spring Breakers for my spinoff character 😀 (<- That smiley needs a grill, LOL)

    I wonder if that Del Toro project is replacing his project based on Disney's Haunted Mansion. When I saw him at Comic-Con he spoke as if that was a passion project for him and that it was underway. But I cant see him doing TWO Haunted House movies…. Hmmm 😦

    1. That’s awesome Fogs… I wish I had been around in the US to watch it on tv. Oh I think Finding Dori would make tons of dough, I mean she’s a popular character!

      I have to see which character you’re referring to now 😀

      I don’t know if this one is a haunted house per se, did it actually say that? I think it’s a ghost story, but maybe it takes place elsewhere? In any case, I like the casting choice 😀

  16. 1.Watching him on Siskel and Ebert would probably be my fondest memory of him. me and my dad watched it pretty regularly.
    2.Not sure. I do remember when i finished watching Man with the Iron fist,i felt like madame Blosso(Lucy Liu’s chracter) was the only one with any depth or complexity to her. So i guess i will go with her,as no one else is coming to mind right now.
    3.Looks interesting. I think the vampire genre could use some stuff off beat like it.
    4.I like Del Toro, so this one is on my radar. And as for the second part, i think you know my answer already 😉

    1. Just realized i skipped your question about what makes a perfect film(and mislabeled my last 2 answers). I think for me a perfect film manages to be thoughtful without hitting you over the head with its message/theme. Films that i would consider perfect are Eyes Wide Shut,American Psycho,and Do the Right Thing

    2. That’s cool that you used to watch Siskel & Ebert together. I bonded with my mom over Dallas and w/ my grandma over MacGyver, go figure! I sort of missed out on the Ebert show whilst it was on TV 😦

      I’ve never seen Man with the Iron Fist, probably never will. I do like Lucy Liu though, from her stint at Ally McBeal and also in Kill Bill.

      I have a feeling you’d like Byzantium, Julian. Yeah, I like that it’s not the typical vampire flicks.

      Ahah, seems like the dark and twisted films fit your idea of perfection eh, Julian? 😉

      1. Unfortunately Man with the Iron fists is kind of bleh. And i am hoping Byzantium lives up to its potential, as i think it has the potential to be a great and original vampire flick. And i will admit i have gotten a certain…preference for he dark and twisted 😛 although Do the Right Thing isn’t really twisted. A bit dark perhaps, but that’s only because its trying to address racism in a very head on type of way.

        1. I’m surprised to see Russell Crowe in Iron Fists. I think from the reviews I’ve read, Byzantium didn’t quite live up to its potential. That said, I still might rent it as it’s certainly going to be much more compelling that Twilight!!

  17. Great Five for the Fifth once again, Ruth. I love this segment every month.

    1. Sad to hear of Ebert’s passing. I watched him from time to time but didn’t really learn to appreciate what he did until about 5 or so years ago (a few years before I started blogging). One of the best memories I have of him isn’t even movie related. I remember watching some NAACP event on tv years ago and was surprised to see him in the audience sitting next to his wife. I was surprised to even learn that he was married, and such a beautiful couple they were. (a lil personal here, but I had just been dumped by a new gf in highschool because her father didn’t approve of interracial dating. It was a sad time. and Ebert and his wife gave me delight and hope!)

    2. a great question. I’d love to still see Deadpool get an R-rated spin-off movie!

    3. The perfect movie? Tough question. Don’t think I know the answer, but a perfect movie must at least INCLUDE elements like emotional investment, excitement, good pace, good characters that give us something to cheer for or against. Some come pretty close. I’m not certain what I’d call perfect though.

    4. Byzantium is interesting to me for several reasons. I like the time period portion and I am interested in seeing Gemma Arterton in a darker/more serious role. I like a good vampire film. Thanks for spotlighting it. I was hoping for a bit more discourse on the film to see everyone else’s thoughts, but it looks as if most chose not to answer question#4. :-/

    5. I like the cast so far, but, (and I know people will “boo” me for this) I’m not really sold on Cumberbatch yet and don’t like hearing abt him so much. I reserve judgment until I see him in a more leading role in a full feature like Star Trek Into Darkness. Granted I haven’t watched his tv show, but I’m just not sold yet. Perhaps I will be greatly surprised but I’m not yet.

    I’d like to see more main actors take their turn at tv shows actually. That seems to be more and more the trend, and I like it. William Macy, Don Cheadle, Mads Mikkelsen, Jamie Chung, etc. But, I wouldn’t mind seeing the cast from SCRUBS keep moving forward in their movie careers!

    1. Thanks T! I’m thrilled that people respond to my monthly series, always fun to see you drop by and opine 😀

      Yeah, I had no idea Ebert was married. I read that Chaz was the love of his life. They looked lovely together, it warms my heart to see such a tremendous support he got from someone he cared about so deeply. I’m so sorry to hear about your ex-girlfriend’s family not being open-minded enough about interracial romance. Seriously, it’s sad that in many ways we probably still haven’t come a long [enough] way from the time of Dr. Martin Luther King 😦 I know my mom and grandma wouldn’t mind if I ended up with someone who isn’t Indonesian. In fact, I was sure I’d marry an American when I came here to college, but God had a different plan for me as when I met Ivan who grew up within 10 min of each other in Jakarta, I couldn’t imagine being with anyone else 😀

      Great answer about a perfect movie… yeah emotional investment is one of the main criteria for me too. Sometimes a well-crafted movie has everything going for it but it leaves me cold, so can’t say I’d call it a perfect film.

      Thanks for suggesting Byzantium! I had seen that a while back and was intrigued. I think people might just be jaded by the vampire genre. For me, I’m still curious about it if they do a good job with it. One popular genre I don’t really care for is Zombie movies, ahah.

      Ahah, not a fan of Benedict eh? I take it you don’t watch BBC Sherlock? He’s so brilliant in it, but I had already noticed him since Amazing Grace. I think there are enough movie actors going to TV these days. I think it’s becoming more popular and it doesn’t carry a stigma like before where actors going into TV seemed to be seen as a career downgrade.

  18. As always…your FFTF is very interesting.

    The character I want to have a spin off is Donna Noble, she is my favorite Doctor Who companion. very independent a bit annoying .

    a perfect movie for me is the one that left me awed at the end. Like The Matrix.

    TV stars I want to have a chance to be big are David Tennant and Matt Smith…the tenth and eleventh Doctor. I also want to see my 3 favorite people known, Julian Barratt, Noel Fielding and Richard Ayoade.

    I have no complain for Crimson peak 😉

    1. Thanks Nov, nice to see you stop by! Ahah, I thought you’re gonna answer something Noel-related, but I forgot you love Doctor Who, too.

      I love The Matrix too, one of my fave sci-fis ever.

      I’m surprised David Tennant still isn’t a superstar in the movie world. He’s good looking and talented, hopefully he’d do more movies, just like Richard Armitage 😉

      I knew you’d be thrilled for Benny, he’s got such a unique face and I adore his voice!

      1. Funny thing is, part of me wants Noel and his friends to be really famous but the other part wants them to be exclusive 😉

        I like his acting…his acting makes him cute (Benny)

  19. 1.) RIP Roger Ebert. I agree his breath of knowledge about films was outstanding. Ebert’s writing style was always a pleasure to read, even though I didn’t always agree with him 100% of the time.
    A shame Ebert won’t get to see upcoming documentary Life Itself (2014), which is based on Ebert’s memoir. It seems they are still going ahead with it, according to The Playlist.

    3.) Good discussion topic! The perfect movie is dependent on mood and circumstances for me. Fight Club I gave 10/10 at age 18, but if my mood or age was different when I first saw the film, it might not be as precious to me. Nowadays, I never give 10/10, because I think perfection is impossible. For me, you can strive towards perfection, but never reach it.

    1. Hello Chris! Yeah, his writing style makes it enjoyable to read. He didn’t use big words and that’s one reason he didn’t come across like a movie snob. Oh I’d love to see that doc on him, thanks for letting me know about it.

      I’m surprised not more people mention Fight Club. I don’t see it as a perfect film, but a very good one as it prompts so much discussion. I’m more like you, there are only a handful films I consider darn-near-perfect, like Ben-Hur, Casablanca, and Sense & Sensibility.

  20. 1) Nice tribute, Ruth. I still can’t believe he’s gone. It’s hard to pick a favorite memory of him, but I’ll especially miss logging onto Facebook and/or Twitter and not seeing new posts from him. He always linked to such interesting material, whether they were about movies, politics, life or whatever.

    2) That’s a good question, but nothing comes to mind for me. It seems that most spinoffs are quite terrible, so maybe it’s best to avoid them altogether. 🙂

    3) Oh wow, I don’t know. Out of countless films, I have probably only given a 10/10 to 20-30 of them. I’m probably too strict, as it usually takes multiple rewatches for me to truly consider a film a favorite (as in perfect score).

    4) Another vampire flick? No thanks.

    5) I like most of Del Toro’s work, so I’ll be keeping my eye on this. As for the second part, I would like to see Michael C. Hall take on more movie roles. Maybe that’s in the forecast now that Dexter is near the end?

    1. Thanks Eric. Oh that’s gotta be even more sad for Chicago residents… I’m sure the Ebertfest this year would be especially bittersweet.

      It’s true that we change our minds about certain films don’t we? There are only a handful that I consider *near perfect* too, and that’s after I rewatched ’em a few times.

      Ahah, not a vampire film fan eh? I didn’t know that.

      I don’t know much about Michael C. Hall but he’s quite popular so who knows he might get a big break on the big screen soon.

  21. 1. My fondest memory of Ebert is his review of Poltergeist III with Siskel on their show. He hated the film, and he (and Siskel) just couldn’t help poking fun at it. It’s a classic clip from their show.

    2. I’d love to see a Catwoman spin-off with Anne Hathaway, but only if Christopher Nolan is attached.

    3. For me, a perfect movie is a film that gets everything right. The storytelling, direction, performances, pacing, technical aspects, etc. But it still comes down to personal preference, because what I think works well might not work for others. So, I’d say it’s a film in which I wouldn’t change a thing, even if others might.

    4. Ooh, this is one of my most anticipated films of the year! Can’t wait to see how Ronan and Arterton fare with Jordan at the helm.

    5. I’m intrigued, but I’m not excited about it yet. I’m more excited about more Sherlock. 🙂

    1. Ahah, I’d imagine it’d be a fun episode. They often disagree but it must be fun to see them when they actually agree on something, esp if it’s on an awful movie.

      Ah yes Catwoman, I’m surprised nobody has mentioned her. I personally prefer Michelle Pfeiffer though.

      Great answer Josh …”it’s a film in which I wouldn’t change a thing” I like that. But if that’s the measure, then there’s no film I consider perfect as even my most favorite film, there’s still at least one scene I’d like to see done in a different way.

      Hey, glad to hear you’re enthused about Byzantium. I think most people are meh about it.

      Yeah, I’m excited about Sherlock 3 too!

  22. PrairieGirl

    IMHO the best thing Roger ever did was the commentary for Citizen Kane. And not only the best by Roger, one of the best commentaries ANYONE has done, ever. We’ll miss him, surely.

    1. Ah yes, I should watch Citizen Kane and the commentary one of these days. I’m sure you’re right about that Becky. Btw, thanks for taking the time out of your London sightseeing to comment 😀

  23. 1. I will also miss Roger Ebert. I was an avid reader, probably the one critic I would go to the most, not because I agreed with him more often, but because his prose was honest and approachable. Ebert, unlike critics like the loud and obnoxious Peter Travers from Rolling Stone was never set out to find the bad in Hollywood. On the contrary, he was an optimist in life and with his overall expectations of cinema.

    2. I actually don’t mind that Pixar is doing a sequel of Finding Nemo for two reasons:
    – The film is my favorite out of all Pixar films, and I’ve seen them all except for Cars 2.
    – Dory is my favorite character and choosing to focus on her is actually a good thing.
    What concerns me is exactly what you pointed out. Pixar now seems to be on the business of recycling old ideas. This may have more to do with the total creative control of Disney and the dissappearance of Steve Jobs, than with their lack of creative input. Truth be told, Brave wasn’t the best “new” idea they have had. In fact, I think their last peak in quality was reached with Wall-E in terms of brand new storylines.

    3. The question you pose about perfection is certainly an interesting one. Of the three comments you chose to highlight, I’m going to say I most adhere to #2 and #3. Like the fellow film enthusiasts suggested, I don’t think perfection is achievable because any artistic pursuit is human and subject to taste, which renders any discussion about perfection completely pointless. If perfection were measured numerically, say with a perfect rating (which I’ve given to only a dozen films of which I’ve reviewed only one in my blog), I would agree with the statement that you can’t add or substract anything from perfection. In the words of Ebert himself, bad movies are never short enough, and great movies are never long enough.

    – N

    1. Hi Niels. Yeah, Ebert’s style is very welcoming indeed. I too didn’t like a lot of other prominent critics’ snobbish vibe, and Travers is one of them. I think when Allan Gregg said about crusty and jaded critics, maybe he was thinking of Travers, ahah.

      Well, let’s hope Pixar won’t butcher its own character. I LOVE Dori too, she’s just soo adorable. But then again her story in Nemo is more of a subplot, I don’t know how it’d work if she’s the main focus.

      Great point you’ve got there Niels, you’re right that sometimes the word *perfection* is quite abstract and in a way, impossible to pinpoint. I like that quote from Ebert, there are some films I don’t mind if it goes on forever 😀

  24. 1. Love his Titanic review and though I don’t agree with it, his Fight Club review.
    2. Brodie from Mallrats
    3. Fight Club and City of God
    4. Great cast, sound better than the average recent vamp movie!
    5. Hadn’t heard of this yet… sound up my street and again, good cast! The guy who plays Jesse Pinkman in Breaking Bad should be a big movie star!

  25. Pingback: » Movie Review – Star Trek Into Darkness Fernby Films

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