Legendary film critic Roger Ebert passed away today at the age of 70. The opinionated writer is best known for slinging barbs and praises alike in movie reviews in print, on television with Gene Siskel, and then with Richard Roeper. Ebert won a Pulitzer Prize for his work, and is one of the most recognizable critics in the world. He was never one to mince words, and he certainly had a lot to say about fashion films like The Devil Wears Prada, the two Sex and the City movies, and more.
Below are a selection of our favorites — enjoy, and thumbs up to you, Ebert. R.I.P.
“Perhaps it was ‘The Devil Wears Prada,’ based on a novel by one of her former assistants, that motivated Wintour to authorize this documentary. She doesn’t otherwise seem like the kind of woman who craves attention, since, after all, she is the focus of the eyes of everyone who matters to her. She doesn’t throw handbags at her assistants as Streep does in the 2006 movie, but then she knows too much about cameras to make that mistake. What comes across is that she is, after all, a very good editor.”
“Meryl Streep is indeed poised and imperious as Miranda, and Anne Hathaway is a great beauty who makes a convincing career girl. I liked Stanley Tucci, too, as Nigel… But I thought the movie should have reversed the roles played by Grenier and Baker. Grenier comes across not like the old boyfriend but like the slick New York writer, and Baker seems the embodiment of Midwestern sincerity.”
On Sex and the City:
“All of this goes on for nearly two-and-a-half hours, through New Year’s Eve, Valentine’s Day and other Bonding Holidays. The movie needs a Thanksgiving bailout opportunity. But this is probably the exact “Sex and the City” film that fans of the TV series are lusting for, and it may do $50 million on its opening weekend. I know some nurses who are going to smuggle flasks of Cosmopolitans into the theater on opening night, and have a Gal Party. ‘Do you think that’s a good idea?’ one of them asked me. ‘Two flasks,’ I said.
“Some of these people make my skin crawl. The characters of Sex and the City 2 are flyweight bubbleheads living in a world which rarely requires three sentences in a row. Their defining quality is consuming things. They gobble food, fashion, houses, husbands, children, vitamins and freebies. They must plan their wardrobes on the phone, so often do they appear in different basic colors, like the plugs you pound into a Playskool workbench.”
“It glories in its silliness, and the actors are permitted the sort of goofy acting that distinguished screwball comedy. We get double takes, slow burns, pratfalls, exploding clothes wardrobes, dropped trays, tear-away dresses, missing maids of honor, overnight fame, public disgrace and not, amazingly, a single obnoxious cat or dog.”
On the Olsens’ New York Minute:
“They say baseball is popular because everyone thinks they can play it. Similar reasoning may explain the popularity of the Olsen twins: Teenage girls love them because they believe they could be them. What, after all, do Mary-Kate and Ashley do in ’New York Minute’ that could not be done by any reasonably presentable female adolescent? Their careers are founded not on what they do, but on the vicarious identification of their fans, who enjoy seeing two girls making millions for doing what just about anybody could do.”
On embracing smut every once in a while:
“Wild Things is lurid trash, with a plot so twisted they’re still explaining it during the closing titles. It’s like a three-way collision between a softcore sex film, a soap opera and a B-grade noir. I liked it.”
“A delicious pastry of a movie — You see it, and later when you think about it, you smile.”
On the importance of a film’s costuming:
“Immortals” is without doubt the best-looking awful movie you will ever see. Eiko Ishioka’s costume designs alone deserve an Oscar nomination. “They weren’t at all historically accurate,” grumbled a woman in the elevator after the sneak preview, as if lots of documentation exists about the wardrobes of the gods. She added: “I guess that’s what we deserve for using free tickets we got at a Blackhawks game.”
He certainly had a way with words, didn’t he? Suddenly, we’ve got the urge to go to the movies.