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Disney/ABC To Close At the Movies Balcony

Photo of Anne Thompson By Anne Thompson | Thompson on Hollywood March 24, 2010 at 12:36PM

Driving another nail into the coffin of genteel film criticism, Disney/ABC is finally closing down the At the Movies balcony for good. Started by Gene Siskel and Roger Ebert, continued by Ebert and Richard Roeper, then a series of guest critics ending with Michael Phillips, At the Movies was cut off at the knees by the idiotic idea of putting two young would-be critics, Ben Lyons and Ben Mankiewicz in the show. At the Movies came back to life--as far as I was concerned--with the return of Michael Phillips and A.O. Scott. But I guess these two gentleman critics couldn't turn the ship around in time.
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Thompson on Hollywood

Driving another nail into the coffin of genteel film criticism, Disney/ABC is finally closing down the At the Movies balcony for good. Started by Gene Siskel and Roger Ebert, continued by Ebert and Richard Roeper, then a series of guest critics ending with Michael Phillips, At the Movies was cut off at the knees by the idiotic idea of putting two young would-be critics, Ben Lyons and Ben Mankiewicz in the show. At the Movies came back to life--as far as I was concerned--with the return of Michael Phillips and A.O. Scott. But I guess these two gentleman critics couldn't turn the ship around in time.

Last show: August 14.

Damn. A weekly ritual to which I am truly addicted will not be replaced. I am truly bummed.

"Rotten Tomatoes has claimed another victim," writes The Hollywood Reporter.

As @ebertchicago tweeted this afternoon: "RIP, 'At the Movies.' Memories."

UPDATE: Here's Ebert's blog post about his new "Roger Ebert Presents At the Movies" show. The two hosts are already picked: it will be TV, internet, multi-media. Roger and Chaz Ebert will produce and he'll occasionally narrate segments, using his computer voice, but interplay with another host is not possible. THR's Andrew Wallenstein adds smart analysis for the future of criticism.

This article is related to: Stuck In Love, Reviews, Roger Ebert Fellowship , Critics


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Thompson on Hollywood

Born and raised in Manhattan, Anne Thompson grew up going to the Thalia and The New Yorker and wound up at grad Cinema Studies at NYU. She worked at United Artists and Film Comment before heading west as that magazine's west coast editor. She wrote for the LA Weekly, Sight and Sound, Empire, The New York Times and Entertainment Weekly before serving as West Coast Editor of Premiere. She wrote for The Washington Post, The London Observer, Wired, More, and Vanity Fair, and did staff stints at The Hollywood Reporter and Variety. She eventually took her blog Thompson on Hollywood to Indiewire. She taught film criticism at USC Critical Studies, and continues to host the fall semester of “Sneak Previews” for UCLA Extension.