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September 30 2005

(SPOILER) Roger Ebert says Serenity has: '...breathless velocity, much imagination,' and 'the rough edges and brawny energy of a good yarn.' The famous film critic gives Joss Whedon's directorial maiden journey three out of four stars. So there.

Yes, theonetruebix already posted it in the "big review thread #2", but I want to single out Ebert's review because it's a big one. (I'm Dutch and the name 'Ebert' has been synonymous for me with 'famous American film critic' since the late 80's, shortly after learnt about 'Kael'. I can't be the only one in that.) This way the headline will be syndicated all over the web.

Nice review Ebert. Who would've thought.
Ebert is pretty much the only movie critic whose opinion I value. I don't always agree with his opinions, but I almost always respect them. I am beyond relieved.
Interestingly enough Ebert was mentioned prominently today in my Film Studies class. Hmmm. Although I SHAMELESSLY pimped Serenity today (and really shamelessly), this gives me yet more leeway for even more of total Serenity dominance.
Honestly, I was pretty sure he'd like it, I just wasn't sure if it'd be a 2-star like or, a 4-star like. I'm grateful for a 3-star, and relieved. Ringworm is correct, his reviews are fair, and worthy of respect, whether you agree with him or not. Yay!
Excellent! I was eager for his review too. But I would suggest a spoiler tag because it reveals some of the surprises in the movie.
77% on the tomatometer!!! And rising!!!
Excellent. Respectability!

Glad to see I'm not the only one to check the tomatometer. It just bugs me that the featured critic is one of the few negative reviews.

[ edited by kishi on 2005-09-29 22:38 ]
What bugs me ever more is that the Variety review isn't straight-up negative but RT lists it as rotten. Metacritic counts that review as a 70.

Hey, Ebert's review now is included in the metascore: 71!
Hmm, and Into the Blue finally has a metascore: 41. ;-)
(Ack! That seems to include a 3 star review from Ebert!)

[ edited by jam2 on 2005-09-29 22:55 ]
I wonder how many other movies have fans that breathlessly watch each tick of the tomatometer and the metascore.
I knew Rog would understand!
This is excellent. Does anyone know if it is going to be on his television program this week?
I can't stand it I am so excited - read the Chicago Tribune review - it's fantastic!!!
I am so happy to read this, because I know Ebert doesn't watch TV and wouldn't have been familiar with 'Firefly', so it is saying something that he so thoroughally 'gets' it! I know a lot of people who are influenced by Ebert's reviews so this is a very good sign for our success.
Shiney news. Ebert's positive review should help bring in the mainstream audience.
I just answered my own question. Serenity is on the schedule to be reviewed on Ebert and Roeper(sp?) this week. So it will have at least one thumb up...two would be better. ;-)
I have traveled to the tomatometer about 500 times in the past week.
How spoilery is this review?
Very spoilery IMO, but in a different way than other reviews. Don't read this if you want to stay pure. It is so hard not write about the BDM! Can't wait till *everyone* has seen it.
Cool. I needed this. Stalter and Waldorf didn't review the movie :(.
Haven't checked the review thread but we're on a roll: We got the Chicago Tribune ("brash, funny, action-packed"), and Minneapolis Star-Tribune ("solidly hits the mark").
Stalter and Waldorf didn't review the movie

Those old Muppet curmudgeons? We don't want them reviewing the BDM do we? Oh... no sarcasm font. My bad. ;)
Socks, I'll see your 500 and raise you by 750.
My favorite bit?

"[T]he episodes were carelessly shown out of proper order. What a crock, especially considering that Joss Whedon, the TV series' author (and writer-director of "Serenity"), earlier created "Buffy, the Vampire Slayer," and so deserved the benefit of the doubt."

Oh, thank you Roger, thank you!
Loved this line from Colin Covert (MPLS STRIB) "With a blend of solid drama, endearing character comedy and wig-flipping action, they save the day and leave the universe safe for sequels."
My predictions:

- It'll get a 3-star "combined critic" average on Critics.com
(which is a pretty good score). If it gets 3.5, that'll be
great. 4 stars would be incredible.

- Elvis Mitchell will dis it in the New York Times. I
have steeled myself for this.

- Any chance of Tom Shales reviewing it for The Washington
Post
? Not only would he write a loving review (and probably go apeshit over it), but since he hardly ever likes anything, his rare positive review grabs a lot of attention.

As to Ebert's review, I thought he played it safe (i.e., he ends it with the equivalent of "You'll like it if you like this sort of thing"), But I'm not a fan of his, and he's certainly entitled to his opinion.
Stalter and Waldorf didn't review the movie


That's because Puppet Angel got to them first and dusted their asses.
bookrats, why do you think Elvis Mitchell will dis Serenity in the NY Times? How do we know Mitchell will review Serenity? Honest questions both, coming from a place of ignorance.

As a Post reader, I doubt Shales will review Serenity. He's too big of a cheese.

[ edited by phlebotinin on 2005-09-30 00:18 ]
And, Mitchell didn't get the review, it seems. Manohla Dargis did, and it wasn't too bad. It's here now
The reason I love Ebert's reviews is because he's not a "film" snob and loves all movie genres and judges them accordingly.

Very nice review and I think it will draw some folks into the theatre who were intrigued but wavering.
I'm so glad to see a good review from Ebert. His was the review I've been anxiously awaiting. Even when I don't agree with him, I can usually see his point. His is always the first review I click on when I'm deciding which movie to see or rent, and I'm sure I'm not alone in that.
Didn't read the review because I don't want to be spoiled but this was the review I've been waiting to hear about. I don't always agree with his views but he gave thumbs up to the Star Wars movies so I figured he'd have to love Serenity! And it sounds like he's a Buffy fan so I guess I'll have to like him better now too!

I've been watching Ebert & Roeper the last few weeks hoping to hear that they'd be doing Serenity so I'm glad to hear they will be reviewing it on their show. Hopefully Roeper will like it too.
YES, this makes me so happy! Like others said, Ebert is the only movie critic who I truly pay attention to and I respect his opinions. Were there any more shiny, non-spoiley quotes by Ebert or were they pretty much covered in this thread?
bookrats, Shales is a TV critic. I think he may have reviewed a movie or three in his 25 or so years at the Post, but he doesn't do movie reviews. It's Stephen Hunter or Anne Hornaday or Desson Howe, and I'm hoping for the Hunter. He's a novelist and really appreciates clever dialogue, and, as I think I've mentioned on Whedonesque, a healthy dose of feminine pulchritude, especially when it's laced with intelligence and wit.
"The reason I love Ebert's reviews is because he's not a "film" snob and loves all movie genres and judges them accordingly."

Well, having written the screenplay for Russ Meyers's "Beyond the Valley of the Dolls,", I should hope not!
As has been making the rounds, Adam Baldwin and Chris Buchanan have been playing coy in the "New Reviews" thread over at the old Prospero boards for Firefly. Specifically, Chris has been dropping certain hints.

Remembering that it's a reviews thread, consider comments like this, from AffableChap (Chris Buchanan):

"It's just that the good news is such a high interest item for Adam & I (or should I say 'Baldwin & Buchanan')."

and

"Am I being two cryptic?"

Yes, there's a reason I'm posting this in this particular thread.
theonetruebix, I'm, er, mystified. And intrigued. Adam is from Chicago, I believe. And this is an Ebert thread. Are we meant to think that something great is forthcoming from a Chicago-based source? Something more from Ebert and/or Roper? (sp?) Does the "two" in "two cryptic" refer to a forthcoming "two thumbs up" from Ebert/Roper? Or am I totally off base?

[ edited by phlebotinin on 2005-09-30 01:38 ]
As has been making the rounds, Adam Baldwin and Chris Buchanan have been playing coy in the "New Reviews" thread over at the old Prospero boards for Firefly. Specifically, Chris has been dropping certain hints.

Remembering that it's a reviews thread, consider comments like this, from AffableChap (Chris Buchanan):

"It's just that the good news is such a high interest item for Adam & I (or should I say 'Baldwin & Buchanan')."

and

"Am I being two cryptic?"

Yes, there's a reason I'm posting this in this particular thread.


Since I pretty much only read Whedonesque, I'm completely clueless as to what you're talking about! How do you play coy about reviews? Did he and Adam buy a newspaper? What's an Old Prospero board??

Does the 2 refer to a sequel??

[ edited by Rogue Slayer on 2005-09-30 01:52 ]
Rogue Slayer, listen to phlebotinin. ;)
FYI Box Office Mojo finally has exact theater counts --

Into the Blue (Sony) / 2,789
Serenity (Universal) / 2,188

I loved the Ebert review -- his "affection" for the special effects/foley work and this great "horse opera" really tickled me pink.
So the big news is we're waiting for two thumbs up? Is that really big enough to be all cryptic-like??

Wow, what a let down. Got me all excited...

[ edited by Rogue Slayer on 2005-09-30 01:59 ]
I got something right? Me? Well. I dunno, Rogue Slayer, a two thumbs up is pretty amazing stuff. It's probably the most recognizable seal of approval in US moviedom. With that on a Serenity ad, plus all choice quotes from the NY Times, Village Voice, Chicago Tribune, etc., etc., we're sitting very *very* pretty.
So the big news is we're waiting for two thumbs up? Is that really big enough to be all cryptic-like??

Yes, for all the reasons phlebotinin gives. With the reviews it's been getting, "Two Thumbs Up!" might not have been strictly required for promotional purposes. But the hurdle of getting the film noticed by people becomes much much lower when you DO have the "Two Thumbs Up" brand plastered on your ads and posters.
how about the other half of that tv show "ebert & roeper"... though I havent looked around. Is his review going to show up on the tv show?
Don't get me wrong, another positive review from another respected critic is always great, and I know the 'masses' will be more attracted to something that says 'two thumbs up', but with all the cryptic I was hoping for something bigger. I guess I'm a little numb from all the reviews, so the 'two thumbs up' thing is a bit less for me. That and I never care what those two guys say anyway because I don't read movie reviews.

It's great news, but not 'sequel' great. I guess my mind always jumps to the far end of 'good news'! :~P I gotta stop thinking the best...
how about the other half of that tv show "ebert & roeper"

Uh, you realize that's what we've been discussing for the last several posts, yes?
I'm just.....euphoric. Out of all the reviews I've read, Ebert's I've been waiting for anxiously. Sometimes I don't get him, sometimes I don't agree, but I'll usually read what he has to say, because he writes smartly, sees beyond the surface of a film (if there's something to see, and in Serenity's case there is, which a lot of reviewers have missed), and he'll respond to his readers criticisms and address them in a polite manner.

This is huge. Great score, glad to see he was a Buffy fan, and his comment about non-sci-fi fans not getting into it, is fair, I think. I don't know whether or not that'll be the case, and I hope it isn't,but at least he didn't say, "Non-fans of the television show might not get it, and....oh yeah, it shows its television roots. Bah."

Cause Jeebus knows I'm sick of reading that. But that's it, no more reviews for me.

[ edited by pat32082 on 2005-09-30 03:53 ]
Ebert and Roeper will be reviewing Serenity this Sunday, though I kind of wish they had done an early review of it.

So we are assuming Evert gives it a thumbs up, let's hope Roeper does too?

I don't really like their program but if it helps to get people to the film- two thumbs up!
Rogue Slayer wrote:
Since I pretty much only read Whedonesque, I'm completely clueless as to what you're talking about! How do you play coy about reviews? Did he and Adam buy a newspaper? What's an Old Prospero board??


It's the Prospero-hosted official Firefly board (originally Fox network, now Fox Home Entertainment). Specifically, it's Adam Baldwin to Chris Buchanan (AffableChap) in the "New Reviews" thread:

A little birdy passed along some more good news today! :- ).

[ edited by Ying on 2005-09-30 08:00 ]

[ edited by Ying on 2005-09-30 08:00 ]
bookrats, Shales is a TV critic. I think he may have reviewed a movie or three in his 25 or so years at the Post, but he doesn't do movie reviews.


Well, he does movie reviews -- he just does them for NPR (or used to). But you're right -- he doesn't do them for the Post, normally.

I'd hoped that, with Firefly begatting Serenity, they might feel like letting him do the write-up.
He wrote Angel too. I hate when they don't include that.

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