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Awake in the Dark: The Best of Roger Ebert: Second Edition

4.20  ·  Rating details ·  517 ratings  ·  41 reviews
For nearly half a century, Roger Ebert’s wide knowledge, keen judgment, prodigious energy, and sharp sense of humor made him America’s most renowned and beloved film critic. From Ebert’s Pulitzer Prize to his star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, from his astonishing output of daily reviews to his pioneering work on television with Gene Siskel, his was a career in cinema cri ...more
Paperback, 544 pages
Published April 6th 2017 by University of Chicago Press (first published September 15th 2006)
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John Orman
Nov 23, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
For the movie lover and nostalgia buff, this book is a gold mine! Forty years of Ebert's movie reviews, essays, and interviews with the stars of cinema.

In his very early critic years, he called both "Bonnie and Clyde" and "2001: A Space Odyssey" masterpieces when the majority of critics were panning them. It was also 1968 when the young Roger interviewed both Jimmy Stewart and Lee Marvin.

Many big films are reviewed here--The Godfather, Apocalypse Now, Sophie's Choice, and Amadeus. But it is Eber
Nov 11, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
Roger Ebert has a way of writing about films that will make you smile, it will make you want to stop what your doing and watch whatever he's gushing about, his enthusiasm is infectious. As a film major I love reading his stuff but I think that even if your remotely interested in movies this will help you see them in a new light and appreciate all that goes into them. ...more
Bogdan Teodorescu
Mar 26, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: film
That was nice. I don't consider the reviews in this book Ebert's best, but by far the reviews of the movies he considered the best. I've read better reviews of Ebert's. Still, I love his style. The best parts of the book to me seemed the "Essays and Think Pieces" part and the "On Film Criticism" part. Loved them. Of course, the "Profiles and Interviews" were great, and I particularly liked the essays on Ingmar Bergman, Spike Lee, Woody Allen, and yes, Tom Hanks. Nice piece of writing. Great expe ...more
Aug 26, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
As Ebert writes in the Coda of this book, there are people who WATCH movies, and people who SEE movies. This book is intended for the latter, the people who define themselves by movies, who are devoted to them. As someone who has only a slightly-higher-than-casual relationship to film, a lot of this book came off as pretentious and in love with its own high-brow perch (Part VII, which includes some essays by other critics especially). And I have to say that the interview section was particularly ...more
Noah Goats
Jun 30, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I didn't read this straight though. I picked what I was interested in, and skipped what, for whatever reason, didn't grab me. I probably read 60% of this book, but I enjoyed that 60% very much. This is a great collection by a great film critic. It includes interviews, profiles, reviews, think pieces . . . a bit of everything that the prolific Ebert wrote over the course of his long career. He writes with intelligence and wit, and isn't unreasonably snobbish in his opinions. Awake in the Dark has ...more
Roz  Milner
Jun 10, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: movie-reads
If pressed to name a movie critic, most people would probably say Roger Ebert.

Even though he hasn’t hosted the show he made famous in some years – indeed, he no longer can speak – he remains (and likely will remain for some time) the most famous critic of his time.

I recently finished a collection of his writings, Awake in the Dark, which reinforces that conclusion. While the book is primarily made of film reviews (which I’ll get to later), it’s the other sections that shine the most.

If Ebert is
Day Rusk
Nov 03, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It’s difficult to review a book such as this. In the world of movie criticism, the late Roger Ebert loomed large, as have many others, like the late Pauline Kael. Whether you find Awake In the Dark: The Best of Roger Ebert – Forty Years of Reviews, Essays and Interviews interesting or not, I suppose, depends on whether or not you value Ebert’s opinion. When it comes to the writing, Ebert was more than competent, writing reviews in a reader-friendly way, accessible to all.

Awake In the Dark is bro
Like all of Ebert's books, this one's going to be reread a couple of times in my lifetime. Reading or rereading, I learn so much from him. Even more important, I ENJOY him! ...more
William Schram
Jun 30, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: essays, movies, criticism
Roger Ebert was a beloved American Film Critic. He had been working at the Chicago Sun-Times since 1967 and gradually built up his craft. Ebert had a love of movies that allowed him to continually see them and enjoy them for what they were. All he asked was that they not waste the viewer’s time.

In that vein, Awake in the Dark is a collection of forty years of essays, interviews, and reviews on movies and movie related topics. The film starts with interviews. I don’t live in Chicago so I never re
Liam Dwyer
May 13, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
There isn't much to review with "Awake in the Dark" by Roger Ebert. Any review of a book by a world class reviewer seems wrong somehow. Suffice to for those interested in film theory, film reviews, the intimate thoughts of past directors and actors of renown, or those who simply were fans of Eberts writing, this is a must-read. This is not a narrative book, its not something you'll feel compelled to read in one sitting or be flipping pages in a flurry to see what comes next. Its the type of book ...more
Lily C.
Feb 12, 2021 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Note to my daughters since this is on my "Books for My Daughter's" shelf:

Something about Roger Ebert's voice, authenticity, rascally-nature, and erudition made me admire him, but more importantly was one of the influences on my life-long love of cinema and the art of filmmaking. But puzzling to me still is that he somehow, thru his writing, became a kind of father-figure to me. Someday I'll analyze why, but for now, I hope you can read his writings and enjoy them and maybe psychoanalyze your mo
Apr 17, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Roger Ebert was one of the few American critics who deserved - and amply repaid - your attention.

I discovered scores of films through him - Barfly, Leaving Las Vegas, Last Exit to Brooklyn, The Mosquito Coast - and thought about scores of others I’d already seen in ways I hadn’t before.

He appreciated everything put before him, whether Bergman or Batman. He was no snob; and his reviews never lost their conversational, easy flow.

His best reviews were models of the form. I cite as evidence his t
Jun 05, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I used this book to pick out movies to watch in order to learn. I don't have any informed thoughts on the author's point of view, however I appreciate his crisp and lucidity in his writing (judging by the movies I have watched in the past). I may return to this book later. ...more
Jun 10, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I have had a terrible time concentrating enough to read, so a book of essays, reviews, etc. was just right. I believe Roger is still the only film critic to win a Pulitzer (he was the first, I am sure of that). Really a good writer and a thoughtful human.
Jake Harris
Nov 24, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Lisa Stemmons
May 01, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A book you need to own. Haven’t read it cover to cover but there’s a lot of gems in there.
Aug 16, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Reading his reviews making me want to watch movies immediately! His passion is contagious. His reviews are always bang on!


From Booklist
Ebert, probably the most prolific film critic of all time, here distills his massive life's work into a single volume. After a nostalgic introduction recounting his initial forays into criticism, he presents reviews of the best films of each of the past 38 years, from Bonnie and Clyde to Crash, and a selection of foreign films, documentaries, and "overl
Erik Kalm
Feb 17, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: All movie lovers
Roger Ebert has always been my favorite film critic. Regardless of his feelings about the movie in question his reviews are always well written and actually SAY something. For example, I will never forget the beginning of his review of Star Wars - The Phantom Menace. Most every other critic was trashing it, but Ebert wrote:

"If it were the first "Star Wars" movie, "The Phantom Menace" would be hailed as a visionary breakthrough. But this is the fourth movie of the famous series, and we think we k
Mar 26, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Best of Ebert: it's a selection of reviews from his favorites and essays on film trends and film criticism generally. His writing style is quick-witted, yet clear and concise, which allows the reader a certain level of comfort and familiarity with his writing. his writing ability, love for the movies (and the University of Illinois and the Chief) make him a favorite writer of mine. of course, he also will skewer a film when necessary, and one of the lines I remember best (from his review of Deuc ...more
Oct 31, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I know I have raved about Ebert's negative reviews before ("Your Movie Sucks" is a must-read for film buffs, or anyone who writes about popular culture or enjoys reading about it), and I was not expecting this anthology of some of his more favorable reviews to be as entertaining. This was one of those rare situations in which I was glad to be proved wrong! I may not agree with all of his positive reviews (Crash was the best film of 2005? Really?), but I always learn something when I read his wor ...more
Tim Hoiland
Jun 19, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: arts-music, essay, 2020
Love him or hate him, Roger Ebert changed film criticism forever. This collection, which spans the length of his career from the 1960s until his death in 2013, chronicles not just half a century of movies but also our changing world. I especially appreciate Ebert’s commitment to engage films on their own merits, judging them on the basis of what (as he understood it) the filmmakers intended to accomplish. He could be blunt and opinionated, like any good critic, but time and again I was struck mo ...more
Jan 04, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Roger Ebert is, by far, my favorite critic and journalist. This book was interesting because he included a few think pieces he wrote about the movie industry. My favorite being his case for and 'A' rating in movies for adults only. His argument isnt that complicated and it completely explained the absurdities of the current movie rating system.

Another great piece was his review of the Color Purple and his writings on why it was snubbed at the Oscars. The politics of the Oscars are so interesting
Mar 25, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2009
I think Roger Ebert is an informed and generous critic, and I like that about him. He tries not to be mean just for the sake of it, but if something needs a hammer applied, well. Anyway, this is a book that includes his original reviews--not the ones in his Great Movies series--for his best films of the past 35 years or so, along with celebrity interviews, a few documentary reviews, and some essays.

I didn't read every bit of this--I am profoundly uninterested in criticism on film criticism (mak
Ken Lindholm
Oct 03, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A very enjoyable book about movies, consisting of both essays and columns on individual films. Roger Ebert was not my favorite film critic because our tastes didn't align as closely as they did with other critics, but he was a terrific writer so I enjoyed reading about movies that I had not seen for many years (causing me to go and revisit some of these films). The essays cover directors, stars and Roger's general ponderings on film. I've found the book a great late evening read, best savored in ...more
Nov 29, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book by one of the most famous film critics is terrific. With a career spanning over 50 years, Ebert's interviews with top directors and actors are so conversational and unforced that a very personal and human quality comes forward. Favourite interviews are with Woody Allen who confesses that he wishes he was the 'the genius' Marlon Brando and Ebert's rare interview with Ingmar Bergman on the Swedish island of Faro. ...more
Apr 14, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
From the time I was sixteen until his death I read Roger Ebert's new reviews every Thursday before the movies came out. For the longest time I wanted to be Roger very badly. I've always loved Roger's writing, and found that his digressions away from films and musings on life tend to be his best work. This book reminds me that films can be exhilarating, and life changing, and most of all this book has made me miss very dearly being able to read Roger every week. ...more
Aug 24, 2007 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: movie buffs
I enjoy movies and have enjoyed Roger Eberts reviews. This book is a collection of his reviews through the years. I like the collection of best movies of the year and best movies of the decade that he lists at the end. It provides a list of worthwhile movies to see. Many of them have reviews in the book so that you can see why Roger liked them.
Apr 07, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Very enjoyable - avoids the trap of a lot of nonfiction/essay collections I've read recently where you get 3 samey variations on the same theme (probably because Ebert was writing for so long). The section on film criticism at the end feels very off and inside-baseball compared to the rest of the collection, but doesn't sour the experience totally. ...more
Mike Everleth
May 04, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I skipped around this book, reading the sections in the order I thought I'd find them most interesting. Ebert was just such a great writer and it's fun to see how his passion and enthusiasm for movies never waned over his lengthy career. He repeats only a few of the same stories, but this book is great for reminding the reader of what movies you need to see again or for the first time. ...more
Feb 03, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Rereading Ebert's reviews in this format (back to back, chronologically) really reminds you of how informed, passionate, and articulate he was. One forgets how succinct he had to be, while also conveying why you should see a movie without giving away any spoilers. I especially enjoyed the film criticism essays regarding the ratings system, colorization, and Oscar politics. ...more
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Roger Joseph Ebert was a Pulitzer Prize-winning American film critic and screenwriter.

He was known for his weekly review column (appearing in the Chicago Sun-Times since 1967, and later online) and for the television program Siskel & Ebert at the Movies, which he co-hosted for 23 years with Gene Siskel. After Siskel's death in 1999, he auditioned several potential replacements, ultimately choosing

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