"At the Movies, with two people you've never heard of"

They sure didnt take their time announcing who would replace Roeper and Ebert.

Yesterday, we reported that Roger Ebert was leaving his balcony seat, along with his partner Richard Roeper from their film review show "At the Movies with Ebert and Roeper." Now today, Disney-ABC Domestic Television has quickly announced who their replacements will be.

Part of this "new direction" we keep hearing about will invlove new hosts Ben Mankiewicz, a host with Turner Classic Movies and Ben Lyons, a reporter and critic for "E! News"

But as the AP reports (and whom I dare not quote, lest I get smited by the quote police) the new direction will not be including the famed (and really rather silly) "thumbs up/down" rating system as Roger Ebert and the widow of late partner Gene Siskel own a trademark on it and they are not giving it up. The show has since gone with a simple "see it or skip it" approach to new films reviewed.

Mankiewicz said that they were going to try to reach an audience that cares about movies. The same audience as before, but perhaps bigger.

Well thats a rather silly thing to say, don't you think? Its fair to say that most people who would want to watch a movie review show probably already care about movies already.

Their basis for this opinion is that Lyons is the son of WNBC film critic Jeffrey Lyons and Mankiewicz is the grandson of cinematographer Herman Mankiewicz who lensed Citizen Kane.

Big deal. You may be related to Cecil B. Demille, but it doesnt mean you know squat about filmmaking.

The problem is that even with the two Bens occupying the place that Roeper and Ebert vacated, the opinions of two guys most people have never heard of really doesn't amount to much when you compare it with online systems like Rottentomatoes.com. Why have the opinion of two people, when you can instead get the honest and unfiltered opinions of thousands?

Ah, but thats part of that "new direction" we've been hearing about. One of the things that Disney is planning on doing to revamp the show - along with the expected music, graphics and set changes - is to have other critics on the show via satellite to argue about the finer points of mis en scene and whatnot. What a fantastic idea. So we can have three people trying to talk over eachother, all clamoring to pucker up and kiss whatever studio's ass they happen to have on the screen at the time.

The new season of (presumabably) "At the Movies" will being Sept 6th.

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