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One of the major problems plaguing At the Movies, the syndicated movie review show that was cancelled this week (read Tim Gomez's touching remembrance here) was that it seemed like a relic of another time. Most movie discussion these days no longer happens in print or on the airwaves but on the internet, where there are sites like this one and dozens upon dozens of blogs and message boards to have heated conversations about everything from a Truffaut retrospective to Megan Fox's rack.
The irony of it all is that the man who made At the Movies what it was, Roger Ebert, has wholeheartedly embraced the online movie culture, even though medical complications forced him to leave the show in 2002. An At the Movies with Roger Ebert might have succeeded, and as crazy as it may seem, Ebert is actually going to give it a shot. On his blog yesterday Ebert confirmed that he and his wife, Chaz, are working together to produce a new movie review show, which he promises will have a strong web presence. "We will go full-tilt New Media: Television, net streaming, cell phone apps, Facebook, Twitter, iPad, the whole enchilada. The disintegration of the old model creates an opening for us."
Not only will they talk about the many ways you can watch movies, but they'll talk about many kinds-- the new Almodovar, festivals, micro-budget indies, and yes, Harry Potter 7. As Ebert says in my favorite line of the piece, "What kind of a real movie lover cares who has the "exclusive" first trailer in the newest extrusion of the "Transformer" franchise? It's time to smarten up."
Obviously Ebert won't host the show, but he does hope to appear from time to time, speaking using computer assistance. He writes that the hosts of the show have already been chosen, and they seem to be more along the lines of recent At the Movies hosts A.O. Scott and Michael Phillips than the misbegotten "Bens." And best of all? The show will be called Roger Ebert Presents At The Movies-- and the thumbs will be back. Though it's dressed up with a New Media presence, this sounds like a homecoming to me.