AirTalk for April 5, 2013

Remembering Roger Ebert: The movie critic who was a star

Film critic Roger Ebert gives his trademark thumbs

J.P. MOCZULSKI/AFP/Getty Images

Film critic Roger Ebert gives his trademark thumbs-up as he arrives for the premiere screening of Denzel Washington and Ethan Hawke's new film "Training Day" at the Toronto International Film Festival Sept. 7, 2001.

Influential film critic Roger Ebert died yesterday at age 70 after a public battle with cancer that lasted a decade. His friend and iconic filmmaker Martin Scorsese said it's a personal loss for him and for many more, "[Ebert's death is] an incalculable loss for movie culture and for film criticism."

The Chicago Sun-Times writer rose to national popularity in the early 1980s as co-host of "Siskel & Ebert" - a weekly, movie-review television show. His counterpart at the Chicago Tribune, Gene Siskel, was the perfect co-star. As the Sun-Times obituary illustrates, "the trim, balding Siskel, perfectly balanced the bespectacled, portly Ebert."

Still it was really his passionate and prolific writing on film that won respect. He wrote hundreds of reviews a year. After his cancer diagnosis, he scheduled treatments around film premieres and screenings. His energy never seemed to flag until earlier this week when he announced a leave from regular writing due to further cancer illness.

On AirTalk, we'll remember Ebert's life and work and also talk with our film critics about their major influences as critics, as well as the different schools of film criticism pioneered by icons like Pauline Kael, Andrew Sarris and others.

What did Ebert and his on-screen partner, Roger Ebert, bring to the genre? What influence did he have on movies and movie reviews?

Guests:
Tim Cogshell, film critic for KPCC and Alt Film Guide

Claudia Puig, film critic for KPCC and USA Today

Henry Sheehan, film critic for KPCC and dearhenrysheehan.com

Peter Rainer, film critic for KPCC and for the Christian Science Monitor


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