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Awake in the Dark: The Best of Roger Ebert Paperback – September 15, 2006
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Ebert, probably the most prolific film critic of all time, here distills his massive life's work into a single volume. After a nostalgic introduction recounting his initial forays into criticism, he presents reviews of the best films of each of the past 38 years, from Bonnie and Clyde to Crash, and a selection of foreign films, documentaries, and "overlooked and underrated" works. More compelling are longer "think pieces" on such topics as colorization, the movie-ratings system, digital projection, and Star Wars' deleterious effect on Hollywood. Those, and a selection of star profiles and interviews, allow him to share his expertise and voice his passion in a fashion that daily reviewing seldom permits. The volume's final selection, a 2004 piece about the healing effect of viewing movies--and of writing about them--during his convalescence from cancer treatment, may well serve as his valedictory. As film criticism becomes more marginalized, Ebert may come to be seen as the last of a kind--the critic who actually has the power to influence a national audience. Gordon Flagg
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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But forty years of reviews? Hey! That's not bad!
Obviously, what I'm trying to say is that I enjoyed this collection immensely. I find nothing really wrong with it at all. I don't always agree with Ebert's take on a film but over all, I find him a reliable guide. More important, he is intelligent and passionate and always has something interesting to say.
Some people will use this book as a reference book. I probably will at times. (Just like I do with the various editions of The Penguin Guide to Jazz Recordings, which I find invariably fascinating.)
Others, including me, will read these reviews primarily for interest and pleasure. They'll find a lot of both in it.
Two observations -- there are a number of four star movies missing since the book was published about six years before Ebert's death, and he published reviews during that period, many quite good. I will update this Review as I discover them.
This would be a very useful resource if the movies were organized by the date of their release, a very valuable history of cinema by an excellent reviewer.
Nonetheless, priceless for this movie lover who is on a great voyage of discovery.
Robert C. Ross
One of the great critics of the 20th century, Ebert never condescends, never laps into academic pomposity, never makes you think you have to have a PhD in film theory before you can begin to understand his reviews. Read him now before you can't.
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