Video Review Shows Go Young: Ebert Presents and ComingSoon's FilmPulse

by Anne Thompson
April 19, 2011 12:24 PM
10 Comments
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Thompson on Hollywood
Michael Phillips and Tony Scott, where art thou? Cheers went up among cinephiles when At the Movies dumped the two Bens (callow Lyons and less callow Mankiewicz), but unfortunately the damage was done, and Phillips and Scott were perhaps too intelligently polite to survive in TV land.

But even the great Roger Ebert, who created At the Movies with the late Gene Siskel, placed his TV bet on wet-behind-the-ears critic Ignatiy Vishnevetsky of Mubi.com to co-host with A.P.'s Christy Lemire the new Ebert Presents at the Movies, which launched on PBS stations in January. I've been trying to give the show a chance, but I just don't engage with these two bright film enthusiasts. Here's a recent episode.

They both look like geniuses compared to the latest video review show to hit the internet, ComingSoon.net's FilmPulse, starring two "emerging filmmakers" who aren't identified. Two twentysomething guys cruise through Paul and E.T. and Flickchart, giving us a blow-by-blow on how they choose movies (not by heeding other critics, apparently) before bringing on professional pitchman Morgan Spurlock, who is wily enough to survive any interview. (The first show is below.)

There are a raft of smart young cinephiles out there who can hold forth knowledgeably and entertainingly on film. Off the top of my head they include my Oscar Talk sparring partner Kris Tapley, Slashfilm's podcasters, Badass Digest's Devin Faraci, NextMovie's Matt Patches, IFC's Matt Singer (who has contributed to Ebert's show), and critics William Goss, Aaron Hillis, Alison Wilmore, Eric Kohn, James Rocchi, Kim Voynar and Karina Longworth. All could wipe the floor with these people.

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10 Comments

  • Jack | April 22, 2011 5:00 AMReply

    Dave- How was I going out of my way? Is it going out of my way making a simple comment that I'm not a fan of the show? Go ahead, say "Go listen to plenty of other podcasts"... Sorry if you're only Ok with hearing praise.

  • Justin J. | April 22, 2011 1:54 AMReply

    I must admit that I do enjoy the new Ebert show, though that may be simply out of nostalgic attachment and my unbridled affection for Ebert and his contributions to film criticism. While I definitely agree with mitkid that some more patience is probably needed for the chemistry between these two to finally click (in my opinion, there was a marked difference in quality even for the Phillips/Scott "ATM" from the beginning of their season to the end), I wonder if maybe the shorthand format Ebert is aiming to maintain is inherently a bit too archaic for its own good.

    I see online publications like Slate and the AV Club, shows like Slashfilm, the now-defunct IFC Podcast and, of course, Filmspotting, to be not merely in keeping with the spirit of Siskel and Ebert (discussing film on an intelligent albeit accessible level), but to be the next logical progression of their tradition.

    Lemire and Vishnevetsky are terrific critics, but their 3-4 minute snapshots - through no fault of their own - simply pale in comparison to the tremendously analytical conversations about movies taking place in a medium like the Internet, where the sharing of opinions is democratized more than they are reduced to marketable sound-bites.

  • David Chen | April 21, 2011 4:55 AMReply

    @Jack,
    Thanks for going out of your way just to slag us off.

    @Anne,
    Thanks for the shout out, and keep up the awesome work on the blog.

  • Jack | April 20, 2011 12:59 PMReply

    "Slashfilm’s podcasters?" Eh...

    Agree on "most" of the young, strong reviewers you listed.

  • mitkid | April 20, 2011 7:13 AMReply

    Count me as one of the few who seems to like the new show. Yeah, it's rough, and the hosts are still finding their sea legs, but so were Siskel and Ebert way back in the early years when it was still a local Chicago show.

  • Jerry | April 20, 2011 5:42 AMReply

    Ebert's new show is a bore. The woman looks like she is listening to her son across the aisle patiently waiting for him to shut up, because in her heart, she knows he's wrong. When Ebert does a review, they show the same footage of him week after week while someone off camera reads his review. I have to sit there and readjust my thinking during this segment. There is no real flow from Ebert's segment to the rest of the show. The whole show seems disjointed. I have recorded all the shows, but I have only watched half of them. The only part of the show I do enjoy is at the end when they show old Siskel and Ebert clips during the end credits. If the show lasts out the year, I will be surprised!

  • Chase Whale | April 20, 2011 5:39 AMReply

    I love this article

  • Will | April 20, 2011 5:22 AMReply

    For real, give Matt Singer and Alison Willmore a show. I would watch religiously.

  • sam | April 20, 2011 4:34 AMReply

    i cant understand a single thing that is written here.

  • Ryan | April 20, 2011 4:08 AMReply

    Yeah, I think the critics on Ebert Presents are too polite. What made Siskel & Ebert so great (and I agree that the clips from that show are the best part of Ebert Presents) was that they were competitive with one another and wouldn't just go quietly into the night if they disagreed on a movie.

    I much prefer listening to the Oscar Talk podcast, and Karina Longworth is great, too. That was all I could think when they announced the Ebert Presents hosts: Where's Karina!?

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