The first thing that caught my attention about this first episode of the so-called Look of the Week is the rather creative way we are introduced to the host, Sara Vizcarrondo, before the credits: Instead of a banal formal introduction, it's staged as if we're dropping in on private pre-show moments, ones that happened to include the host talking about herself to others.
And towards the middle of this inaugural episode, another inventive feature pops up: a "Letter to an Unknown Director" (a play on Max Ophüls's 1948 classic Letter from an Unknown Woman?), in which a guest reads aloud a letter he/she has written as a tribute to a director close to his/her heart. Here, it's film critic Fernando F. Croce expressing, with his characteristic eloquence, his deep admiration for Fritz Lang, in closing out a discussion he's had with the host about Lang's Hollywood films (to correspond with the recently completed Film Forum survey of the German filmmaker's U.S. career). What a nice way to mix in-depth film criticism with passionate movie love!
Granted, I've only seen one episode so far of the new incarnation of Ebert Presents At the Movies...but based on that one episode, frankly, I find Look of the Week's more relaxed format far more preferable.
I found immense pleasure, then, in this half-hour mix of film criticism and inside dish, and am looking forward to seeing more episodes. However, the show needs financial help in order to produce more episodes! So take a look at the episode above, and if you like what you see, I would encourage you to go to the PayPal link offered on this page and give whatever you can.
By the way: I have never met any of the parties involved in this show in person, but I do read their writing and follow them all on Twitter, and they all seem like amiable and intelligent people. And I have interacted with them online. For what it's worth.