Ebert, indisputably the nation’s most prominent and influential film critic, returns with a third collection of brief essays on 100 movies worthy of further examination. As before, he balances his selection among classics from Hollywood’s golden age (Top Hat, The Band Wagon) and modern era (Godfather: Part II, Groundhog Day), silent movies (Phantom of the Opera, Safety Last), foreign masterworks (Fanny and Alexander, Late Spring), and a smattering of documentaries (Crumb) and animation (three Chuck Jones cartoons). In every case, Ebert offers informed critical appraisals, as well as background on the movie’s making and significance, that make these pieces rewarding for film buffs and ideal introductions for first-time viewers. Ebert views his role as one of education and enlightenment: Citing readers who accused him of snobbery when he disparaged the Transformers sequel, he wagers in his introduction that no one could start out loving that misbegotten effort, “experience the films in this book, and end by loving it.” While few might share his belief that today’s moviegoers can be steered away from Michael Bay and toward Béla Tarr, his populist-based optimism is commendable. High-Demand Backstory: Ebert is the most popular movie critic for the average Jane and Joe Citizen, and public libraries need to stock his collected reviews. --Gordon Flagg
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"Roger Ebert's take-no-prisoners essays packed with insidery insights will send movie lovers back to the sofa for a second look at old favorites like Cool Hand Luke and My Fair Lady while introducing more offbeat picks like Sansho the Bailiff and Pixote." (Parade) "Ebert offers informed critical appraisals, as well as background on the movie's making and significance, that make these pieces rewarding for film buffs and ideal introductions for first-time viewers." (Booklist) "No one has done as much as Ebert to connect the creators of movies with their consumers. He has immense power, and he's used it for good, as an apostle of the cinema." (Richard Corliss, Time)"