Sunday, August 17, 2008

At the Movies with...Lyons and Mankiewicz

I know this is old news, but is anyone looking forward to the new season of At the Movies, which starts September 6th?

I watched the most recent episode (which may have been the last new episode) of At the Movies with Richard Roeper and Michael Phillips. The two seem to be finally creating a sort of rapport, similar to the Gene Siskel and Roger Ebert days. Because of this, I will be tremendously disappointed to see Roeper and Phillips go come September.

Roeper and Phillips will be replaced by Ben Lyons and Ben Mankiewicz, both young film critics with famous surnames. I've heard of their better-known relatives, just not them specifically. By hiring Lyons and Mankiewicz, Disney is attempting to make At the Movies appealing to a younger demographic. Will it work? Will they lose their dedicated older viewers?

The new season will welcome new graphics, music, and even a new set. But I've always preferred the low-key design of the show. I'd love to see At the Movies keep the simple format, but that doesn't seem like the case: In addition to traditional "cross-talk" reviews, they will be adding "Critics Round-Up," which invities other critics to disucss movies via satellite. I hope the balcony will still be in tact.

Well, I, for one, look forward the new season and will be tuning into the two Bens. Are they good enough to even be involved with a show started by their terrific predecessors? Is the new look of the show any good? I'm curious to see how one of my favorite programs will do in its "new direction."

Of course, Lyons and Mankiewicz are enthusiastic to be the new co-hosts of the show:

"I am incredibly excited to be involved with such a prestigious show," said co-host Ben Lyons. "Reviewing films for a living is a thrill, and now that I will be a critic for 'At the Movies,' it is an honor and huge responsibility that I look forward to.”

“I am thrilled and honored beyond words to be joining the series,” added co-host Ben Mankiewicz. “As a movie fanatic, this is my dream job. Without question, I certainly have very big shoes to fill.”

To read more about Lyons and Mankiewicz, head over to Anne Thompson's blog.


  1. I'm pretty interested to see what is done with it, but I feel extremely bummed about all of this. It seems like it these guys might not have the bite that Phillips, Ebert or Roeper have. I don't really care for Roeper all that much to be honest but Ebert is god and with Phillips being on lately I love him almost as much.

    The comments these guys have made about their excitement to be on such a prestigious show seem a little awkward since the show has obviously been hijacked and the geniuses behind the show are no longer going to be at all attached to it.

    So suffice to say, I join you in looking forward to seeing what's done with it, but am extremely saddened that I won't get to see the show in it's usual format with Ebert having a lot to do with it.

  2. I too as just interested in seeing what happens, what's done with it, but I am not especially excited. I think it could be really lame. But who knows.

  3. - Shawn, I agree with you about Ebert, but I do think he's more of a god when it comes to written reviews. I don't think there is any other prominent film critic out there who is able to connect to the average moviegoer like Ebert can. He loves movies and he makes his points with simple yet effective language.

    After watching the archival videos with Siskel and Ebert, Ebert and Roeper's discussions pales in comparison. Roeper constantly appears to be somewhat intimidated by Ebert (who wouldn't?), while Siskel wasn't afraid to tackle Ebert. Roeper and Phillips are comfortable with each other, making their banters fun and entertaining to watch.

    That said, I'm more heartbroken that Roeper and Phillips are out of the picture than Ebert leaving the show. Ebert was a fantastic asset to the show and helped to develop the idea, but his finer days as a TV critic were with Siskel. As much as I'm bummed to see the original format go, the show no longer needs Ebert now.

    I guess all we can all hold our breaths until Sept. 6th.

    - Nick, there are rumors that it'll be a blend of film criticism and entertainment news. I hope it doesn't turn into another trashy celebrity gossip show.

  4. Im not interested in the show anymore. I use to love it and thought it was great, but ever since Ebert left, it hasnt been the same. I think Phillips was a good replacement, but now hes going to be gone too. I think this was a bad choice by Disney/ABC

  5. I still wish they would've kept Aisha Tyler as the co-host. The two times she did the show in 2006 were seriously great. IDK, she was.

    I like Ben Mankiewicz, but I hope he still stays on TCM. Ben Lyons... I hope he just goes away.

  6. I don't know about this show because I'm Scottish but I love Ben Lyons, he has an infectious energy and is a lovely guy.

  7. - Farzan, I actually preferred A.O. Scott over Phillips but Phillips grew on me. I'm not going to judge Disney until I see Lyons and Mankiewicz on the show together, in action.

    - J.D., Aisha Tyler surprised me. She came off as very articulate and intelligent. I wonder why Disney didn't think of a female co-host for "At the Movies."

    I looked up Ben Lyons on Youtube. He's so...fidgety.

    - Kayleigh, I haven't seen enough of Ben Lyons to form a solid opinion on him, so I'll just stick to believing that he's super fidgety, haha.

  8. And he over-panders to his own generation! It's generally sickening.