Full review upcoming, but after watching it again late last night, I peeked at Roger Ebert's review and was brought up short, as I am about 30% of the time with the Rog's reviews the last ten years or so, with one paragraph that contains two factual errors.
The leaning high-rise contains Beth (Odette Yustman), who Rob feels duty-bound to rescue from her 49th-floor apartment near Central Park. The others all come along on this foolhardy mission (not explained: how after walking all the way to Columbus Circle they have the energy to climb 49 flights of stairs, Lily in her high heels). Part of their uptown journey is by subway, without the benefit of trains. They're informed by a helpful soldier that the last rescue helicopter leaving Central Park will have "wheels up at oh-six-hundred," begging the question of how many helicopters it would take to rescue the population of Manhattan.
She's on the 39th floor, see, and Lily's walking with her high heels in her hand. Also, this is a pretty major league spoiler. More on that later. The tone of the review is generally snarky which, obviously, I endorse whole-heartedly - yet when you're writing this kind of review, I feel pretty safe in saying, you'd better be pretty nailed down on your facts.
And I'm not talking about casual errors; I'm talking about Ebert making mistakes about what he remembers of the film and then making a wisecrack about it. Two of them. But he's misremembered, see? And mocking something for something that it hasn't done is really a problem - it's a bad thing for the film because the film's only rebuttal is itself and, presumably, if you read Ebert, you might not give it the chance (Ebert's review of The Rules of Attraction was so factually inaccurate, in fact - at least before it was revised without asterisk in the archive - that I'm medium-convinced that it single-handedly doomed the picture upon release). And it's a bad thing for Ebert because it obliterates his credibility. By extension, right, if Ebert is the voice of film criticism in the modern era it obliterates the credibility of this whole mess as a profession engaged in by serious professionals. Listen - again - it's not a tiny factual error, it's a serious, big-ass, dumb-ass error. And he does it twice.
Let me revise, too, my stance on spoilers not mattering the least - spoilers matter when they're just tossed out there to fill up column inches. Ebert's review gives the specs on the monster, on one particularly nasty surprise of its biology that I liked quite a lot, on what happens to the "narrator", on what happens to all the characters, on and on - and he does so not to set-up his analysis but to just, you know, tell you what happens. That's irritating. I get it, now. Let's say that spoilers are bad when they're just used to spoil for lack of anything better to talk about.
I'm pissed. And I'm disappointed. What kind of moron must I be for it still to be possible for me to be disappointed with this dude? I got a few emails after Ansen revealed his buy-out blaming "me" (I'm presuming the collective me of Internet-based crix) for his demise. Well, man, I blame Ebert. Then again, if "we're" responsible for this kind of garbage going the way of the dodo then: guilty, and thank you.