…we’ve barely got our heads above water. But while we bob around, do check out Anthony Kaufman’s jab at Roger Ebert’s overly kind reviews at Time Out Chicago. Kaufman, who also writes for indieWIRE and the Village Voice, among others, would be picking his second fight with a fellow critic of the year here (the first, and far more interesting, would be the Sundance "Jacket" scandale with the San Francisco Chronicle‘s Ruthe Stein). It’s no Pauline Kael and Andrew Sarris, but these days we’ll take what we can get.
Ebert, Kaufman points out, is "downright promiscuous with the three-star rating, awarding it to almost a third of the movies he reviews." But, as Kaufman concedes, he does agonize over them, as he did, post-Cannes, over the three stars he gave "The Longest Yard." We often don’t agree with Ebert, but we’ve always felt that he rates films based on exactly what he thinks about them, even if it comes across as a little odd in the constraints of the four-star rating system (which at first glance appears to equate "The Longest Yard" with, say, "The Godfather II", to which he also gave three stars). He’s certainly more of a populist than many of the other critics we frequent, but then Anthony Lane at the New Yorker, as much as we enjoy his writing, sometimes comes across as incapable of enjoying films at all. They’re still both great reads.
We wish Ebert would drop that goofy star thing, though. The thumbs we’ll accept are probably here to stay.
+ Thumbstruck (Time Out Chicago)