Roger Ebert has been writing film reviews for the Chicago Sun-Times for nearly forty years. And during those four decades, his wide knowledge, keen judgment, prodigious energy, and sharp sense of humor have made him America’s most celebrated film critic. He was the first such critic to win a Pulitzer Prize—one of just three film critics ever to receive that honor—and the only one to have a star dedicated to him on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. His groundbreaking hit TV show, At the Movies, meanwhile, has made “two thumbs up” one of the most coveted hallmarks in the entire industry.
No critic alive has reviewed more movies than Roger Ebert, and yet his essential writings have never been collected in a single volume—until now. With Awake in the Dark, both fans and film buffs can finally bask in the best of Ebert’s work. The reviews, interviews, and essays collected here present a picture of this indispensable critic’s numerous contributions to the cinema and cinephilia. From The Godfather to GoodFellas, from Cries and Whispers to Crash, the reviews in Awake in the Dark span some of the most exceptional periods in film history, from the dramatic rise of rebel Hollywood and the heyday of the auteur, to the triumph of blockbuster films such as Star Wars and Raiders of the Lost Ark, to the indie revolution that is still with us today.
The extraordinary interviews gathered in Awake in the Dark capture Ebert engaging not only some of the most influential directors of our time—Martin Scorsese, Steven Spielberg, Woody Allen, Robert Altman, Werner Herzog, and Ingmar Bergman—but also some of the silver screen’s most respected and dynamic personalities, including actors as diverse as Robert Mitchum, James Stewart, Warren Beatty, and Meryl Streep. Ebert’s remarkable essays play a significant part in Awake in the Dark as well. The book contains some of Ebert’s most admired pieces, among them a moving appreciation of John Cassavetes and a loving tribute to the virtues of black-and-white films.
If Pauline Kael and Andrew Sarris were godmother and godfather to the movie generation, then Ebert is its voice from within—a writer whose exceptional intelligence and daily bursts of insight and enthusiasm have shaped the way we think about the movies. Awake in the Dark, therefore, will be a treasure trove not just for fans of this seminal critic, but for anyone desiring a fascinating and compulsively readable chronicle of film since the late 1960s.
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Roger Ebert is the Pulitzer Prize–winning film critic of the Chicago Sun-Times and has cohosted a weekly movie review program on television since 1975, first with Gene Siskel and since 2000 with Richard Roeper. He is the author of numerous books on film, including The Great Movies, The Great Movies II, and Roger Ebert’s Movie Yearbook.Review:
“Roger Ebert loves movies more, and better, than almost any critic I’ve ever met. He also has a keen understanding of the way they work, which you will find out as you make your way through this irreplaceable collection of reviews, reminiscences, and critiques. There’s a lifetime of thought and appreciation between these pages—a life, really—and you simply can’t say that about most other collections of film criticism.” (Martin Scorsese 2006-06-01)
“Roger Ebert understands how to pop the hood of a movie and tell us how it runs, while still enjoying the ride with his box of popcorn or, in some cases, a bottle of aspirin. Awake in the Dark captures both those sides of Ebert and shows him to be a serious friend of film, someone who loves the movies as much as he understands them.”
“Roger Ebert is the grand poobah of them all.” (Robert Altman 2006-06-01)
“Roger Ebert has become a member of our households, our families. He is the one who tells us all about the movies. And, as his passion for the cinema is so deep, and his knowledge so profound, he is the one we can always trust.” (Werner Herzog 2006-06-01)
“This is a fittingly grand and sweeping collection of Roger Ebert’s writing on film. Ebert is the most widely read and most trusted film writer in America because he is still, in some way, an amateur viewer—he goes to the movies as a pilgrim, ready to be amazed, wanting to be enlightened. He believes in the power of the medium, and has not, after all these decades, become the least bit calloused to it. And no one is more eloquent in expressing why and how the best movies work, and why they’re so incredibly necessary.” (Dave Eggers 2006-06-01)
"To love the movies, [Ebert] tells us, 'does not mean to sit mindlessly and blissfully before the screen. . . . The task of every movie is to try to change how you feel and think during its running time,' and the task of the viewer is to participate in the process. He is moral but not moralistic, preferring stories of flawed people who struggle to do the right thing and fail over simplistic heroes facing simplified choices." (Tara Ison Los Angeles Times)
“[Ebert's] writing is top-notch. In Awake in the Dark, Ebert has produced his most personal collection of reviews, essays, and interviews, providing insights into the man as much as the movies he loves. . . . This volume contains some of Ebert's most exciting writing.”
(Gary Kramer Filmbill)
"Always alert to trends and defending film as an art form, Ebert never fails to connect with his readers." (Library Journal)
"[This] excellent new compendium . . . serves as a fine way to remind us that Ebert is, first and foremost, a gifted writer. A survey of his 40 years in the business of loving and explaining movies, it's essential reading for anyone who likes film." (Nik Dirga Blogcritics)
"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 Booklist 2006-09-01)
"One of the few authentic giants in a field in which self-importance frequently overshadows accomplishment. . . . His criticism shows a nearly unequalled grasp of film history and technique, and formidable intellectual range, but [Ebert] rarely seems to be showing off. He's just trying to tell you what he thinks, and to provoke some thought on your part about how movies work and what they can do." (A.O. Scott New York Times)
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