'At the Movies' gets a makeover

LOS ANGELES Starting in the early 1980s, /*Roger Ebert*/ and the late /*Gene Siskel*/ became fixtures on national television, giving us their often spirited opinions on the movies of the day.

New hosts /*Michael Phillips*/, of the Chicago Tribune, and /*A.O. Scott*/, of the New York Times, have fond memories of watching the show when they were younger and they each happily say they now call Ebert their colleague and their friend.

When Phillips and Scott take over the show this weekend, it won't be a re-invention of the series. What they hope is to return it to its roots and spotlight deep conversations about why a movie may be good, or bad.

"It's the kind of discussion that we started having four or five years ago when we started running into each other in Toronto, Cannes and Sundance," said A.O. Scott. "It happens naturally, you go out for a beer and ask, 'What do you think?' That's what critics do and what movie viewers do, when they come out of the movies. We wanna bring that energy and spontaneity and pleasure in argument to the show."

"I think although our tastes are different, the one thing Tony and I share is this idea that you don't bring to a movie a set of rigid expectations," said Michael Phillips. "It is more about being open to twists and anything fresh, and kind of letting it happen to you."

"I always come in with an open mind and give the picture the benefit of the doubt because I wanna see a good movie," said Scott.

Michael and A.O. (Tony) make their debut "At The Movies" and give us their recommendations to "See It, Skip It, or Rent It," on Sunday night at 6:30 on ABC7.

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