9: Title Cards

You’re standing in the middle of a strange landscape, and in the distance, there’s a strange figure walking towards you. As your vision improves and the mist gives way, you see that it’s none other than American film critic Roger Ebert.

“Hi,” he says. “I’m American film critic Roger Ebert.”

“Am I dreaming?” you ask.

“Of course you’re dreaming,” he says. “Would you think for one second that I would have anything to do with a site that posts Magic: the Gathering puzzles?”

You have to admit that he has a point. “So,” you say, a little disappointed, “you’re not really American film critic Roger Ebert.”

“No,” Roger says. “I’m just a figment of your imagination, here to introduce today’s puzzle.”


Roger waves his hand, and a card appears. It’s about as large as a movie poster, floating in the air.

Raging Bull,” you say.

“Yes,” Roger says. “In 1998, I wrote that it was ‘not a film about boxing but about a man with paralyzing jealousy and sexual insecurity, for whom being punished in the ring serves as confession, penance and absolution.'”

“That’s a grand way to say it.”

“It was a great film, and it was a good review. As a Magic card… well, not so good.”

“So why am I talking to you right now?”

“Ever thought of how many Magic cards share their name with a movie title?” Roger asks, completely ignoring your question. “The truth is, there aren’t that many. Not when you consider how many cards have been printed for the game in total.”

“Er… okay.”

“I wrote reviews for some of those movies, you know.”

“Um… I know?”

Roger smiles. “So does that mean that you’ll be able to identify a card based solely on the review I wrote for the movie that shares its name?”

“Yes. Wait… I mean no. What?”

Roger waves his hand again, and this time ten pieces of card art appear in front of you, and a scroll drops into your outstretched hand

“This is the worst setup for a puzzle ever,” you say.

“I can always bust out my infinite-turns EDH deck,” Roger says. “I finally managed to win a copy of Temporal Manipulation from Siskel…”

“Gimme that scroll.”

Each review excerpt below refers to a movie that shares its title with a Magic: the Gathering card. Can you match each movie review to its corresponding card’s art?

  1. (1974, Directed by Michael Winner) “Alone in his apartment, Bronson examines snapshots from his recent Hawaiian vacation with his wife. Then he examines the gun. He goes out into the night, is attacked by a mugger and shoots him dead. Then he goes home and throws up. But the taste for vengeance, once acquired, has a fascination of its own.”
  2. (1989, Edward Zwick) “And everything in the film leads up to the final bloody battle scene, a suicidal march up a hill that accomplishes little in concrete military terms but is of incalculable symbolic importance.”
  3. (2005, Joss Whedon) “As the battle continued and the heroes were hurled about inside their own spaceship, which at times looked curiously like the interior of a loading dock, I made a note: ‘More banging than in your average space movie.'”
  4. (1958, Alfred Hitchcock) “A man has fallen in love with a woman who does not exist, and now he cries out harshly against the real woman who impersonated her. But there is so much more to it than that. The real woman has fallen in love with him.”
  5. (1992, John Musker and Ron Clements) “The genie is the best thing in the movie…”
  6. (2004, Zack Snyder) “When the survivors devise a risky way to escape from the mall (which I will not reveal), a chainsaw plays a key role.”
  7. (1998, Michael Bay) “OK, say you do succeed in blowing up an asteroid the size of Texas. What if a piece the size of Dallas is left? Wouldn’t that be big enough to destroy life on Earth? What about a piece the size of Austin? Let’s face it: Even an object the size of that big Wal-Mart outside Abilene would pretty much clean us out, if you count the parking lot.”
  8. (1997, Luis Llosa) “The movie looks great, and the visuals and the convincing soundtrack and ominous music make the Amazon into a place with presence and personality: It’s not a backdrop, it’s an enveloping presence.”
  9. (1991, Ron Howard) “…A batallion of stunt men and visual experts allow the camera to plunge into the center of roaring fires, so convincingly that there is never a moment’s doubt that we are surrounded by flames.”
  10. (2012, Robert Zemeckis) “Acting on instinct, seeming cool as ice, the veteran pilot inverts the plane to halt its descent, and it flies level upside-down until he rights it again to glide into a level crash-landing in an open field.”
  11. (1989, Phil Alden Robinson) “There is a speech in this movie about baseball that is so simple and true that it is heartbreaking. And the whole attitude toward the players reflects that attitude.”
  12. (2011, Steven Soderbergh) “Yes, we must often wash our hands. Yes, ‘hand sanitizers’ are all over the place these days. Yes, shaking hands with strangers can be annoying — although they are no more likely to carry viruses than we are. Yes, there is really not much we can do.”


All of the above reviews were written by American film critic Roger Ebert. These and many other reviews may be found at http://www.rogerebert.com. See a movie at your local theater today.