TIME Nepal

Aftershocks Rattle Nepal as Quake Toll Passes 2,200

Saturday's earthquake was the worst to hit the South Asian nation in more than 80 years

(KATHMANDU, Nepal) — Sleeping in the streets and shell-shocked, Nepalese cremated the dead and dug through rubble for the missing Sunday, a day after a massive Himalayan earthquake killed more than 2,200 people. Aftershocks tormented them, making buildings sway and sending panicked Kathmandu residents running into the streets.

The cawing of crows mixed with terrified screams as the worst of the aftershocks — magnitude 6.7 — pummeled the capital city. It came as planeloads of supplies, doctors and relief workers from neighboring countries began arriving in this poor Himalayan nation. No deaths or injuries were reported from the early Sunday afternoon quake, but it took an emotional toll.

“The aftershocks keep coming … so people don’t know what to expect,” said Sanjay Karki, Nepal country head for global aid agency Mercy Corps. “All the open spaces in Kathmandu are packed with people who are camping outdoors. When the aftershocks come you cannot imagine the fear. You can hear women and children crying.”

Saturday’s magnitude 7.8 earthquake spread horror from Kathmandu to small villages and to the slopes of Mount Everest, triggering an avalanche that buried part of the base camp packed with foreign climbers preparing to make their summit attempts. At least 17 people died there and 61 were injured.

The earthquake centered outside Kathmandu, the capital, was the worst to hit the South Asian nation in over 80 years. It destroyed swaths of the oldest neighborhoods of Kathmandu, and was strong enough to be felt all across parts of India, Bangladesh, China’s region of Tibet and Pakistan.

Read more: See the Most Dramatic Rescue From the Nepal Earthquake

By Sunday afternoon, authorities said at least 2,169 people had died in Nepal alone, with 61 more deaths in India and a few in other neighboring countries. At least 721 of them died in Kathmandu alone, and the number of injured nationwide was upward of 5,000. With search and rescue efforts far from over, it was unclear how much the death toll would rise.

But outside of the oldest neighborhoods, many in Kathmandu were surprised by how few modern structures — the city is largely a collection of small, poorly constructed brick apartment buildings — collapsed in the quake. While aid workers cautioned that many buildings could have sustained serious structural damage, it was also clear that the death toll would have been far higher had more buildings caved in.

Aid workers also warned that the situation could be far worse near the epicenter. The U.S. Geological Survey said the quake was centered near Lamjung, about 80 kilometers (50 miles) northwest of Kathmandu, in the Gorkha district.

Roads to that area were blocked by landslides, hindering rescue teams, said chief district official Prakash Subedi. Teams were trekking through mountain trails to reach remote villages, and helicopters would also be deployed, he said by telephone.

Local aid worker Matt Darvas said in a statement issued by his group, World Vision, that he heard that many remote mountain villages near the epicenter may have been completely buried by rock falls.

The villages “are literally perched on the sides of large mountain faces and are made from simple stone and rock construction,” Darvas said. “Many of these villages are only accessible by 4WD and then foot, with some villages hours and even entire days’ walks away from main roads at the best of times.”

Nepal’s worst recorded earthquake in 1934 measured 8.0 and all but destroyed the cities of Kathmandu, Bhaktapur and Patan.

With people fearing more quakes, tens of thousands of Nepalese spent Saturday night outside under chilly skies, or in cars and public buses. They were jolted awake by strong aftershocks early Sunday.

“There were at least three big quakes at night and early morning. How can we feel safe? This is never-ending and everyone is scared and worried,” said Kathmandu resident Sundar Sah. “I hardly got much sleep. I was waking up every few hours and glad that I was alive.”

As day broke, rescuers aided by international teams set out to dig through rubble of buildings — concrete slabs, bricks, iron beams, wood — to look for survivors.

In the Kalanki neighborhood of Kathmandu, police rescuers finally extricated a man lying under a dead body, both of them buried beneath a pile of concrete slabs and iron beams. Before his rescue, his family members stood nearby, crying and praying. Police said the man’s legs and hips were totally crushed.

Hundreds of people in Kalanki gathered around the collapsed Lumbini Guest House, once a three-story budget hotel and restaurant frequented by Nepalese. They watched with fear and anticipation as a single backhoe dug into the rubble.

Police officer RP Dhamala, who was coordinating the rescue efforts, said they had already pulled out 12 people alive and six dead. He said rescuers were still searching for about 20 people believed to be trapped, but had heard no cries, taps or noises for a while.

Most areas were without power and water. The United Nations said hospitals in the Kathmandu Valley were overcrowded, and running out of emergency supplies and space to store corpses.

Plumes of smoke, meanwhile, rose above the capital as friends, relatives and others gathered by the river to quickly cremate loved ones’ remains.

Most shops in Kathmandu were shut; only fruit vendors and pharmacies seemed to be doing business.

“More people are coming now,” fruit seller Shyam Jaiswal said. “They cannot cook so they need to buy something they can eat raw.”

Jaiswal said stocks were running out, and more shipments were not expected for at least a week, but added, “We are not raising prices. That would be illegal, immoral profit.”

The quake will likely put a huge strain on the resources of this impoverished country best known for Everest, the highest mountain in the world. The economy of Nepal, a nation of 27.8 million people, relies heavily on tourism, principally trekking and Himalayan mountain climbing.

With Kathmandu airport reopened, the first aid flights began delivering aid supplies. The first to respond were Nepal’s neighbors — India, China and Pakistan, all of which have been jockeying for influence over the landlocked nation. Nepal remains closest to India, with which it shares deep political, cultural and religious ties.

Read more: How Shoddily Constructed Buildings Become Weapons of Mass Destruction

India suffered its own losses from the quake, with at least 61 people killed there and dozens injured. Sunday’s aftershock was also widely felt in the country, and local news reports said metro trains in New Delhi and Kolkata were briefly shut down when the shaking started.

Other countries sending support Sunday included the United Arab Emirates, Germany and France.

After the chaos of Saturday — when little organized rescue and relief was seen — there was more order on Sunday as rescue teams fanned out across the city.

Workers were sending out tents and relief goods in trucks and helicopters and setting up shelters, said disaster management official Rameshwar Dangal. Mukesh Kafle, the head of the Nepal Electricity Authority, said power was restored to main government offices, the airport and hospitals.

Among the destroyed buildings in Kathmandu was the nine-story Dharahara Tower, a Kathmandu landmark built by Nepal’s royal rulers as a watchtower in the 1800s and a UNESCO-recognized historical monument. It was reduced to rubble and there were reports of people trapped underneath.

The Kathmandu Valley is listed as a World Heritage site. The Buddhist stupas, public squares and Hindu temples are some of the most well-known sites in Kathmandu, and now some of the most deeply mourned.

Nepali journalist and author Shiwani Neupane tweeted: “The sadness is sinking in. We have lost our temples, our history, the places we grew up.”

Read more: Your City Might Not Be Ready for the Big Next Earthquake

TIME White House

Watch Obama Perfectly Nail a Key and Peele Skit at the White House Correspondents’ Dinner

He got some help from Luther, his anger translator

The highlight of President Obama’s speech at the White House Correspondents’ Dinner on Saturday was when Keegan-Michael Key of Comedy Central’s Key & Peele made a surprise appearance as Luther, the President’s anger translator.

Playing a character he originated on the sketch comedy show, Key “translated” Obama’s mild-mannered speech into an angry rant, warning the audience to “hold on to your lily-white butts.”

At one point, when Obama was discussing Hillary Clinton’s 2016 candidacy, Key interjected, “Khaleesi is coming to Westeros.”

But by the time he started talking about climate change, Obama let himself get riled up. That was Luther’s cue: “With all due respect sir, you don’t need an anger translator, you need counseling.”

On his way out, he shared a moment with Michelle Obama, during which they seemed to agree the President was “crazy.”

TIME White House

Watch the Funniest Jokes From the White House Correspondents’ Dinner

President Obama and Cecily Strong crack wise in Washington

For 364 days of the year, Washington, D.C. is about as funny as daytime C-SPAN.

But for just one night, the White House and the journalists who cover it put aside their differences, put on their tuxes and gowns, and come together for the White House Correspondent’s Dinner.

Celebrities, journalists, and politicians gathered Saturday night for the annual dinner sometimes known as “nerd prom”—an event so popular there’s even a documentary on Washington’s biggest night.

It’s a chance for the President to relax and crack a few jokes of his own. And in case they fall flat, he is followed by a bit from an actual comedian (this year it was Saturday Night Live cast member Cecily Strong, in the past it’s been other big names like Stephen Colbert and Seth Meyers.) And Keegan-Michael Key made a surprise appearance as Luther, Obama’s anger translator, a character from his Comedy Central show Key & Peele.

Here are the funniest moments from the night.

Obama’s best jokes:

1) On Joe Biden: “The fact is, I feel more loose and relaxed than ever. Those Joe Biden shoulder massages are like magic. You should try one. … Oh, you have?”

2) “Advisers asked me, ‘do you have a bucket list?’ And I said, well, I have something that rhymes with ‘bucket list.’ … Take executive action on immigration? Bucket. New Climate regulations? Bucket.”

3) On how tough it is to be president: “It’s no wonder people keep pointing out how the presidency has aged me… John Boehner’s already invited Netanyahu to speak at my funeral.”

4) On Obamacare: “Today, thanks to Obamacare, you no longer have to worry about losing your insurance if you lose your job. You’re welcome, Senate Democrats.”

5) On the Republicans: “Dick Cheney says I’m the worst president of his life time. Which is interesting, because I think Dick Cheney is the worst president of my lifetime. What a coincidence.”

6) On Hillary Clinton: “I have one friend—just a few weeks ago, she was making millions of dollars a year, and now she’s living out of a van in Iowa.”

7) On his bro-mance with Biden: “We’ve gotten so close that in some places in Indiana they won’t serve us pizza anymore”

8) On the weather and the media: “The polar vortex caused so many record lows they named it MSNBC.”

9) On the possibility of a Bernie Sanders campaign: “Apparently some people want to see a pot-smoking socialist in the White House. We could get a third Obama term after all.”

10) Luther, Obama’s anger translator (played by Keegan-Michael Key) on Hillary Clinton’s campaign: “Khaleesi is coming to Westeros”

Cecily Strong’s best jokes:

1) On the mood in the room: This is “a chance for all of you to unwind, relax, and laugh as soon as you notice someone slightly more powerful than you is laughing.”

2) On C-SPAN: “To some viewers watching at home on C-SPAN, hello! To most viewers watching at home on c-span: meow!”

3) On the location: “‘It is great to be here at the Washington Hilton’—is something a prostitute might say to a congressman.”

4) On the media guest list: “BuzzFeed is here, but I can give you a listicle of 17 reasons why they shouldn’t be.”

5) On Brian Williams: “What can I say about Brian Williams? Nothing, because I work for NBC.”

6) On Serial and The Jinx: “Sarah Koenig must be so pissed about the Jinx—its like Serial, but with an ending.”

7) On the President’s absence from Paris after the Charlie Hebdo attack: “Paris is so beautiful—Mr. President, you should really think about going there sometime.”

8) On Sen. Tom Cotton: “Tom Cotton is a Senator, and not a rabbit from an old racist Disney cartoon.”

9) On the 2016 Republican race: “Marco Rubio makes Mitt Romney seem relaxed on the air. I just hope he gets comfortable in front of a camera before he has to go on to endorse Jeb Bush.”

10) On Rand Paul: “Rand Paul announced he’s taking over the family’s not-being-president business.”

11) On Obama’s graying hair: “Your hair is so white now, it can talk back to the police.”

12) On what Obama and Madonna have in common: “You’ve both given this country so much, but in a year-and-a-half you gotta stop.”

TIME Nepal

10 Dead, More Missing in Quake-Triggered Avalanche on Everest

An unknown number of people were missing

KATHMANDU, Nepal (AP) — An avalanche triggered by a massive earthquake in Nepal swept across Mount Everest on Saturday, killing at least 10 climbers and guides, slamming into a section of the mountaineering base camp, and leaving an unknown number of people injured and missing, officials said.

The avalanche struck between the Khumbu Icefall, a notoriously treacherous area of collapsed ice and snow, and the base camp where most climbing expeditions prepare to make their summit attempts, said Ang Tshering of the Nepal Mountaineering Association.

The avalanche plowed into a part of base camp, a sprawling village of climbers, guides and porters, flattening at least 30 tents, Tshering said. With communication very limited at Everest, it was not immediately clear how many of those injured and killed were at base camp, and how many were elsewhere on the mountain.

An official with Nepal’s mountaineering department, Gyanendra Shrestha, said the bodies of 10 people had been recovered and an unknown number remained missing or injured. Their nationalities were unclear as climbers described chaotic attempts to treat the injured amid fears of more landslides and aftershocks that continue to rattle the region. Chinese media reported a Chinese climber and two Sherpa guides were among the dead.

Hundreds of climbers — ranging from some of the world’s most experienced mountaineers to relative novices on high-priced, well-guided trips — make summit attempts on Everest every year. At times, when the weather is agreeable, dozens of people can reach the summit in a single day. But high winds, brutal cold, difficult terrain and massive avalanches can hit the mountain with no notice. Hundreds of people have died on the mountain over the years.

“Right now, it is pretty chaotic and we try to help those injured,” Danish climber Carsten Lillelund Pedersen wrote in an email to Danish news agency Ritzau.

Norwegian climber Teodor Glomnes Johansen told a newspaper in Norway that people at base camp were working on saving lives.

“All those who are unharmed organize help with the rescue efforts. Men, women and Sherpas are working side by side. The job right now is to assist the doctors in the camp here,” Glomnes Johansen told Norway’s VG newspaper.

Carsten Lillelund Pedersen said that he and a Belgian companion were at the Khumbu Icefall, at an altitude of 5,000 meters (16,500 feet), when the earthquake hit.

He said a steady flow of people were fleeing the base camp for more secure areas down the mountain.

Local reports in China said an amateur team encountered an avalanche on the north slope of the mountains at an elevation of more than 7,000 meters (22,965 feet) and safely retreated to a lower camp.

The magnitude-7.8 quake struck around noon Saturday about 80 kilometers (50 miles) northwest of Nepal’s capital, Kathmandu, almost one year after the deadliest avalanche on record hit Everest, killing 16 Sherpa guides on April 18, 2014.

The 2014 deaths occurred at the Icefall, where the edge of the slow-moving glacier is known to crack, cave and send huge chunks of ice tumbling without warning.

More than 4,000 climbers have scaled the 8,850-meter (29,035-foot) summit since 1953, when it was first conquered by New Zealand climber Edmund Hillary and Sherpa Tenzing Norgay. The numbers have skyrocketed in recent years, with more than 800 climbers during the 2013 spring season.

Following the 2014 disaster, guides accused Nepal’s government of not doing enough for them despite making millions in permit fees from Western mountaineers who attempt to scale the Himalayan peaks. The guides protested by refusing to work on the mountain, leading to the cancellation of last year’s climbing season.

TIME Nepal

Hundreds Dead as 7.8-Magnitude Earthquake Strikes Nepal

The damage stretched across the country

A powerful earthquake measuring 7.8 on the Richter scale struck central Nepal on Saturday morning, damaging buildings in the country’s capital, Kathmandu, and sending tremors across northern India, Bangladesh and as far afield as Pakistan. At least 1,805 people were killed, the Associated Press reports.

The epicenter of the earthquake was located about 50 mi (80 km) northwest of Kathmandu, according to the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), which said the quake struck Nepal just before noon at a shallow depth of only about 9 mi (15 km) belowground.

More than 6.6 million people are in the area affected by the earthquake, according to the U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs in Bangkok.

“I thought I was going to die,” photojournalist Narendra Shrestha tells TIME. “It was horrifying. How did I get out of this? This is my lucky day.”

Read more: See the Most Dramatic Rescue From the Nepal Earthquake

In Kathmandu, residents congregated on streets and other open areas as the USGS reported a series of powerful aftershocks. Buildings and temples collapsed, and roads across the city were cracked open by the quake. Kathmandu’s historic Dharahara tower—a nine story tall structure dating back to the 19th century—was brought down by the earthquake, with at least 50 people reportedly trapped in the rubble.

Read more: How Shoddily Constructed Buildings Become Weapons of Mass Destruction

An avalanche near Mount Everest triggered by the earthquake killed at least 10 people, and buildings were reported to have been damaged across parts of northern India near the country’s border with Nepal.

“We need support from the various international agencies which are more knowledgeable and equipped to handle the kind of emergency we face now,” Nepal’s Information Minister Minendra Rijal told the BBC.

The U.S. is sending a disaster response team to Nepal and has released an initial $1 million to the country, and British authorities have been in close contact with Nepal over disaster relief.

Speaking to Reuters, Krishna Prasad Dhakal, the deputy head of Nepal’s embassy in New Delhi, said: “Hundreds of people are feared dead and there are reports of widespread damage to property. The devastation is not confined to some areas of Nepal. Almost the entire country has been hit.”

With the arrival of nightfall in Nepal, rescue workers struggled to find the most vulnerable people with no place to sleep as forecasts show the temperature dropping to 54 degrees Fahrenheit in the capital, and likely far colder in higher altitudes, the Guardian reports.

In New Delhi, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi convened an emergency meeting to take stock of the situation, Indian television reports.

Nepal’s capital is located in the earthquake-prone Kathmandu Valley, where the last major disaster occurred in 1934. Then, nearly 11,000 people died when a magnitude 8.4 earthquake struck Nepal and the eastern Indian state of Bihar, which borders the Himalayan country.

Read more: Your City Might Not Be Ready for the Big Next Earthquake

TIME remembrance

The Best Sports Writing of TIME’s Richard Corliss

TIME's late movie critic also wrote, beautifully, about the games

TIME movie critic Richard Corliss, who passed away on Thursday night, was also our best sportswriter. He only dabbled in sports professionally, but truly loved the games. Corliss was especially passionate about baseball, and his beloved A’s, whom he first started following as a boy in Philadelphia, when the team played at Connie Mack Stadium before moving west.

Corliss didn’t spend much time in our midtown offices; he was too busy attending screenings and writing, so prolifically, and so beautifully, at all hours. But on occasion, he’d pop by my desk and talk baseball. The sports talk show hosts on WFAN, the New York City radio station, really got him going. I’d always exit these conversations wondering how a man who was so productive, who had encyclopedic knowledge of so much, possibly found the time to focus on Joe Benigno.

Whenever Richard did write about sports, he brought the same lyricism and breadth that were staples of his film criticism. He’s a writing hero, word-for-word one of the best, if not the best, to ever work at TIME.

I wish I could write sentences like Richard. And I wish he was still here to talk baseball. We could have a nice chat these days about my Mets. But this year, I’ll be keeping special tabs, in my heart, on Richard’s A’s.

Here’s a sampling of his work in sports.

A Beautiful Season For Baseball: The Great Times and Bad Breaks of 2012
October 14, 2012

Corliss reflects on the first round of the 2012 baseball playoffs:

Upsets galore! Perennial losers vaulting to the top! All-stars benched and no-names turned into heroes! Games so close that anxious fans bite their nails down to the knuckle! One future Hall of Famer who breaks a 45-year-old record for batting supremacy, and another who breaks his ankle and must be carried off the field! Wild melodrama that obliges sportswriters to end every sentence fragment with an exclamation point!

Read the entire article here

A Film Critic On the World Cup – You Call That Football?
July 10, 2010

In the great soccer debate, I’m on both sides. As a fan of “American” sports, I confess that I don’t get soccer. The spectacle of alpha males running around, falling down, pretending to be hurt and, all in all, achieving very little — um, when I was in school, that was called recess.

Read the entire article here

Cat ‘N’ The Pat
February 2, 2004

Corliss previews the Super Bowl XXXVIII coaching matchup between Bill Belichick of the New England Patriots and John Fox of the Carolina Panthers:

In pro football, the real game is on the sidelines. There the head coach paces, barking orders into his headset, congratulating or chastising a player, wearing a sociopath’s stern face as he silently prays he’ll be baptized by a tub of Gatorade in the final minute of a winning game. The coach is a chess demon, planning dozens of gambits that depend on whether his quarterback throws for a big gain or gets sacked. He is a video-game whiz kid, and the playing field is his Grand Theft Auto Vice City. He is a field marshal and, sometimes, a counselor—General Patton and Dr. Phil. The quarterback may be the glamour boy, but the coach is the star. The TV camera knows this: during a game it follows Bill Parcells, head coach of the Dallas Cowboys, as avidly as if he were J. Lo with her back turned.

Read the entire article here

My Team: The Oakland A’s
October 10, 2003

Every true sports fan is a manic depressive. When our team wins, we’re in heaven; when they lose, we reach for a kitchen knife and stare meditatively at our radial artery. And there is usually more agony than ecstasy. Susan Sontag defined science fiction as “the imagination of disaster”; she might have been describing the mind of a sports fan. We try to live by the old Ukrainian proverb — “Expect the worst and you’ll never be disappointed” — but for that ray of hope with which we lash ourselves each spring, then see glimmer turn to tumor as the season plods downward for six months.

Read the entire article here

The Summer Olympics: Gold Medal Grudges
September 11, 2000

A short history of the grudge match: The Hebrews invented it. Cain was the first winner, but God disqualified him on the grounds of poor sportsmanship. Abel was awarded the gold posthumously.

A longer history of the grudge match: The ancient Greeks invented games as a way of allowing men to fight one another without all that messy killing. Sport was literally a lifesaving idea: I hit you, you hit me, and an impartial observer determines who wins. (This became known as boxing.) I insult you, you trip me and the rest of the clan decides who played dirty better. (This became known as politics.)

Read the entire article here

Baseball: Dream Of Fields
August 22, 1994

Corliss imagines that the 1994 baseball strike ends quickly:

Fans packed the stadiums on the first day of the “second season.” Atlantans heralded the return of Greg Maddux by ringing the pitcher’s mound with roses; the Montreal faithful threw small packets of money (Canadian money, but still . . .) toward their low-paid, first-place stars; and a few of Philadelphia’s famously cranky spectators actually applauded their own team. In Kansas City, Vince Coleman was greeted with affectionate firecrackers; Cleveland stalwarts shied welcome-back corked bats at Albert Belle.

Read the entire article here

Going, Going, Not Quite Gone
June 13, 1994

Corliss explains baseball’s offensive explosion

This spring, baseball has been bustin’ out all over. Home runs have increased 26% over last year; runs batted in are up 11%. And a cluster of young stars threatens to smash offensive records set when George Burns was still in Little League. Seattle’s Ken Griffey Jr. is on a pace to hit 65-plus homers. So is Frank Thomas, the Chicago White Sox’s baby-faced behemoth. Thomas scored 59 runs by June 1, a record, and Toronto’s Joe Carter set an April standard for rbi’s. Even pencil-necked pipsqueaks are crushing the ball.

Read entire article here

Not Again!
November 22, 1993

Corliss writes on Notre Dame’s 31-24 win over Florida State.

If Rodney Dangerfield had 109 heads and weighed 11 tons, he would be the Florida State University football team. F.S.U. has won 10 games or more six years in a row; it is undefeated in its past 11 bowl games; it gobbles up most opponents like Homer Simpson at an all-you-can-eat restaurant. Yet for years the Seminole team had the reputation of a pigskin bridesmaid because it somehow managed to find a way to lose to those cross-state behemoths at the University of Miami. Even the F.S.U. press book repeats the phrase “can’t win the Big One,” like a mantra. It’s meant ironically but still reveals an open psychic wound.

Read the entire article here

The Last Shall Be First
October 28, 1991

In the American League championship, the Twins shrugged off Toronto in a five-game series that for most TV viewers was overshadowed by a sorrier sporting spectacle on Capitol Hill: the Senators vs. the dodger. Truth to tell, the AL snoozathon didn’t need the Clarence Thomas hearings to upstage it; a church social could have done the job. Here, after all, were two teams from above the timber line playing in domed stadiums of spaceship sterility on synthetic carpets that made the games look like Brobdingnagian billiards. Only one contest was close all the way. Only one rooting interest tickled fans’ fancies: seeing the Twins earn their spot in baseball’s unlikeliest finale.

Read the entire article here

Just Like In The Movies
February 26, 1990

Corliss on Buster Douglas’ upset of Mike Tyson

Two rounds later, Douglas returned the punishment, and then some, to Tyson: an uppercut followed by a sturdy combination that felled the champ. Another slow count could not save Tyson. He rose to all fours, grabbed for his mouthpiece and pathetically placed its end between his teeth, like a dazed dog with an old toy.

Read the entire article here

MONEY Internet

Ten Years of YouTube Is More Than Just Kylie Jenner Challenge Videos

YouTube started 10 years ago with a simple video from a zoo. A decade later, some have described it as “the most valuable storytelling outlet our planet has ever seen.”

TIME remembrance

An Appreciation: The Endlessly Curious Richard Corliss

"He loved movies, but he loved them knowledgeably, judiciously, scrupulously"

Richard Corliss was a jovial, bearish man who was almost always to be found in signature footwear – custom-made sneakers imprinted with the logos of the major Hollywood studios. Can there be such a thing as a rumpled dandy? That would be one way to describe him, his nice mix of informality and urbanity.

Those sneakers used to make me think of NASCAR jumpsuits with corporate logos all over them, with the difference that Corliss wasn’t owned by any of them. He loved movies, but he loved them knowledgeably, judiciously, scrupulously. He could have a fanboy’s enthusiasm for his favorite genres – he was big on Bollywood before Bollywood was cool – but he never checked his brains at the popcorn stand. He was of a generation of critics who disputed cinema the way Lutherans and Papists once faced off over theology. But he was nothing if not a sporting polemicist. He held strong opinions, but he wanted to hear yours, even if — especially if — they differed from his.

Case in point. In 1974, when he was 30, Corliss published his indispensable book Talking Pictures, his definitive study of American screenwriters. (Dedicated, like him, to his beloved wife Mary.) He intended it as a corrective to the rapid rise of the auteur theory and its central belief that a film was almost always chiefly the product of the man or woman who directed it. This may seem self-evident now, when we take for granted that a movie is “by” Stephen Spielberg or Martin Scorsese or Wes Anderson. But in the early 1960s, when auteurism was new to the U.S., imported from France by the great American critic Andrew Sarris, few Americans could name more than a small handful of director-showmen – Alfred Hitchcock, Orson Welles, maybe Otto Preminger. The arrival of Sarris, flourishing his first articles and books, put critics like Pauline Kael on high boil. They thought he was too quick to find profound stylistic and psychological unity in the work of minor directors and to diminish the role of everybody else in what is after all a collaborative art. Corliss, who was open to their points but declined to use them to draw blood, wrote his book to bring the best screenwriters back into the picture. But it was typical of him that the man he invited to supply the introduction was…Andrew Sarris, his friend and former professor. And the book only benefits from the nuanced preface from the very man whose philosophy it sets out to adjust. With Corliss, even earnest controversy was just another big tent.

There was something eternally boyish about Richard, even after he hit 70, and not just because of the sneakers. When he wrote on Time.com most weeks about the box office take for last weekend’s releases, he still seemed like the kid he once was in Philadelphia who used to obsess over major league batting averages. But film criticism isn’t moneyball. It’s a calling that requires judgments where mere numbers may or may not correlate with the quality, nuance, power and, hey, why not, the magic that movies can possess and deliver. Having at his disposal the magnificent resource he once called “that moldy old library of film trivia, my brain,” he was, as a critic, trenchant, vigorous, witty and surprising. His reviews, like his conversations – and he loved to talk almost as much as he loved to write – were free of cant, herd thinking and jargon, full of grace notes, the beau ideal of critical writing. And he was endlessly curious about whatever was coming next. A decade ago, he wrote that “Life is a continuing film education. And I remain a very impressionable lad.” How many of us there are this morning, his countless friends and admirers, who wish he was still here, at the head of the class.

Read more about Richard Corliss here

TIME remembrance

25 Great Movie Reviews by Richard Corliss

A small sampling of the critic’s work

In the 35 years he spent as TIME’s resident expert on all things Hollywood, Richard Corliss, who died Thursday at 71, reviewed more than 1,000 movies. He offered insight into a generation’s great works of cinematic art, he applauded real emotion on screen and he wasn’t afraid to speak up when he disagreed with the crowd. (His Titanic pan remains legendary, but he stood by his opinion.) He helped us decide how to spend our Friday nights. He encouraged us to look deeper or to look again. Above all, he reminded us why we love the movies.

Here are 25 of Richard Corliss’s most memorable reviews:

Raging Bull: Animal House

“[Jake] La Motta was an animal, a bull in the ring and a pig outside, and [Martin] Scorsese is true to both Jakes. The boxing sequences (which amount to barely a dozen minutes of the movie’s two hours plus) are as violent, controlled, repulsive and exhilarating as anything in the genre. Scorsese layers the sound track with grunts and screams, animal noises that seem to emanate from hell’s zoo. The camera muscles into the action, peering from above, from below, from the combatant’s point of view, panning 360° as a doomed fighter spins toward the canvas. Smoke, sweat, flesh and blood become Jackson Pollock abstractions as they pound home the essential blood lust of those sweet sciences, prizefighting and moviemaking.”

Read the full review here

E.T.: Steve’s Summer Magic

“Not since the glory days of the Walt Disney Productions—40 years and more ago, when Fantasia and Pinocchio and Dumbo first worked their seductive magic on moviegoers of every age—has a film so acutely evoked the twin senses of everyday wonder and otherworldly awe. With astonishing technical finesse and an emotional directness that lifts the heart, E.T. spins its tale of a shy, lonely boy in desperate need of a friend—when suddenly one falls out of the sky. The movie is a perfectly poised mixture of sweet comedy and ten-speed melodrama, of death and resurrection, of a friendship so pure and powerful it seems like an idealized love. None of this can be the result of computerized calculation; instead it stems from a seamless blend of writing, direction, casting and celestial good luck. Even its creator [Steven Spielberg] seems pleased: ‘I put myself on the line with this film, and it wasn’t easy. But I’m proud of it. It’s been a long time since any movie gave me an “up” cry.’”

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Blade Runner: The Pleasures of Texture

Blade Runner, like its setting, is a beautiful, deadly organism that devours life; and [Harrison] Ford, the cockily engaging Star Warrior of Raiders of the Lost Ark, allows his heroic stature to shrivel inside it. In comparison, [Rutger] Hauer’s silver-haired superman is more human than human, and finally more complex than Ford’s victimized flatfoot. Because of this imbalance of star roles, and because this drastically recut movie has a plot that proceeds by fits and stops, Blade Runner is likely to disappoint moviegoers hoping for sleek thrills and derring-do.”

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Scarface: Say Good Night to the Bad Guy

“Through this underworld [Al] Pacino stalks like a panther. He carries memories of earlier performances (the bantam bombast of Dog Day Afternoon, the nervous belt tugging from American Buffalo, the crook’d arm from his Broadway Richard III), but creates his freshest character in years. There is a poetry to his psychosis that makes Tony a figure of rank awe, and the rhythm of that poetry is Pacino’s. Most of the large cast is fine; Michelle Pfeiffer is better. The cool, druggy Wasp woman who does not fit into Tony’s world, Pfeiffer’s Elvira is funny and pathetic, a street angel ready at any whim to float away on another cocaine cloud.”

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The Breakfast Club: Is There Life After Teenpix?

“[John] Hughes must refer to this as his ‘Bergman film': lots of deep talk and ripping off of psychic scabs. But this filmmaker is, spookily, inside kids. He knows how the ordinary teenagers, the ones who don’t get movies made about them, think and feel: why the nerd would carry a fake ID (‘So I can vote’), and why the deb would finally be nice to the strange girl (‘ ‘Cause you’re letting me’). He has learned their dialect and decoded it for sympathetic adults. With a minimum of genre pandering–only one Footloose dance imitation–and with the help of his gifted young ensemble, Hughes shows there is a life form after teenpix. It is called goodpix.”

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The Princess Bride: Errol Flynn Meets Gunga Din

“As for the Princess Bride, she is flat-out lovely. [Robin] Wright’s grave blond beauty makes her the wedding-cake figure around which all the movie’s clowns cavort. As you watch this enchanting fantasy, feel free to be thrilled or to giggle, as you wish. This time, Happily Ever After lasts 98 minutes.”

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Bull Durham: I Sing the Body Athletic

“Ron Shelton, who spent some years in the minors, has made a movie with the loping narrative rhythm of a baseball season. This is, after all, a game of anticipation: waiting to gauge an opposing pitcher’s heat, waiting for a seeing-eye grounder or a play at the plate. Shelton locates the tension and the humor between pitches, between ball games, between the sheets. It helps too that he has written the wittiest, busiest screenplay since Moonstruck, and that his three stars do their very best screen work.”

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Do the Right Thing: Hot Time in Bed-Stuy Tonight

“[Spike] Lee’s movie bravely tries both approaches. It gives you sweet, then rancid, but without explaining why it turned. He holds the film like a can of beer in a paper bag—the cool sip of salvation on a blistering day—until it is revealed as a Molotov cocktail. The morning after igniting the riot, Mookie slinks back to demand that Sal pay him his week’s wages. Behind the camera, Lee wants the same thing: to create a riot of opinion, then blame viewers for not getting the message he hasn’t bothered to articulate. Though the strategy may lure moviegoers this long hot summer, it is ultimately false and pernicious. Faced with it, even Mister Senor Love Daddy might say, ‘Take a hike, Spike!’”

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Goodfellas: Married to the Mob

“Most Scorsese movies are all exposition. The characters don’t grow or learn, they just get found out. Same, in spades, here. So it is Scorsese’s triumph that GoodFellas offers the fastest, sharpest 2 1/2-hr. ride in recent film history. He has said he wanted his picture to have the speed and info overload of a movie trailer. Two great labyrinthine tracking shots—at a neighborhood bar and the Copacabana—introduce, with lightning grace, about a million wise guys. Who are they? What are they doing, and who are they doing in? Just to catch all the ambient wit and bustle, you have to see GoodFellas twice—not a bad idea.”

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Edward Scissorhands: Shear Heaven

“The film exists out of time—out of the present cramped time, certainly—in the any-year of a child’s imagination. That child could be the little girl to whom the grandmotherly [Winona] Ryder tells Edward’s story nearly a lifetime after it took place. Or it could be [Tim] Burton, a wise child and a wily inventor, who has created one of the brightest, bittersweetest fables of this or any-year.”

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Groundhog Day: Bill Murray’s Deja Voodoo

“But this Chinese-puzzle-box movie has a deeper message inside. It says that most folks’ lives are like Phil’s on Groundhog Day: a repetition, with the tiniest variations, of ritual pleasures and annoyances. Routine is the metronome marking most of our time on earth. Phil’s gift is to see the routine and seize the day. Murray’s gift is to make the appalling appealing.”

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Forrest Gump: The World According to Gump

“You see them—folks of all ages and both sexes—floating out of the movie theater on waves of honorable sentiment. The kids look thoughtful, the grownups wistful. Couples are holding hands. This is not a Speed crowd; these people haven’t just exited a roller-coaster movie—they’ve completed an upbeat encounter session with America’s recent past. No question: one more audience has been Gumped.”

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Pulp Fiction: A Blast to the Heart

Pulp Fiction is [Quentin] Tarantino’s show-and-tell extravaganza. It towers over the year’s other movies as majestically and menacingly as a gang lord at a preschool. It dares Hollywood films to be this smart about going this far. If good directors accept Tarantino’s implicit challenge, the movie theater could again be a great place to live in.”

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Toy Story: They’re Alive!

“Like a Bosch painting or a Mad comic book, Toy Story creates a world bustling with strange creatures (check out the three-eyed alien-children toys in the Pizza Planet) and furtive, furry humor. When a genius like [John] Lasseter sits at his computer, the machine becomes just a more supple paintbrush. Like the creatures in this wonderful zoo of a movie, it’s alive!”

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The English Patient: Rapture in the Dunes

“The film is, in an old phrase, beyond gorgeous: a feast whose splendor serves Almasy complex passions. The cast is superb: [Juliette] Binoche, with her thin, seraphic smile; [Kristin] Scott Thomas, aware of the spell she casts but not flaunting it; [Ralph] Fiennes, especially, radiating sexy mystery, threat shrouded in hauteur. Doom and drive rarely have so much stately star quality.

All year we’ve seen mirages of good films. Here is the real thing. To transport picturegoers to a unique place in the glare of the earth, in the darkness of the heart—this, you realize with a gasp of joy, is what movies can do.”

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Titanic: Down, Down to a Watery Grave

“Tales of this film’s agonizing gestation and tardy birth, though already the stuff of legend, will mean little to moviegoers, who will pay the same $7 or $8 to see Titanic that they spend on films made for a thousandth its cost. Ultimately, Titanic will sail or sink not on its budget but on its merits as drama and spectacle. The regretful verdict here: Dead in the water.”

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There’s Something About Mary: Diaz-zling!

“Any review is irrelevant to this movie; it is either above criticism or beneath contempt. But for those who park their sense and sensibility at the ‘plex door, there’s plenty to enjoy in the performances, the rowdy innocence of the whole thing, the closing sing-along of ‘Build Me Up Buttercup’—and the vision of Cameron Diaz in giggly, gangly bloom.”

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Shakespeare in Love: If Movies Be the Food of Love…

“But the true, rare glamour of the piece is its revival of two precious movie tropes: the flourishing of words for their majesty and fun, and—in the love play between [Joseph] Fiennes and his enchantress—the kindling of a playfully adult eroticism. Let the kids toy with their Rugrats and hold their Sandler high. Shakespeare in Love is a movie to please the rest of us, parched for a game of dueling, reeling romance.”

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Erin Brockovich: Erin Go Bra

“Look, we think it’s neat that this story, about folks poisoned by water laced with hexavalent chromium, caught the eye of studio execs who haven’t drunk tap water in years. And it’s fine if today’s only female box-office magnet wants to do Norma Rae Takes a Civil Action. (Her teary phone call alone will guarantee an Oscar nomination.) But does the film, written by Susannah Grant, have to be both heckling and truckling?”

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Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind: Do I Love You? (I Forget)

“Each love affair is its own life. And whether its span is that of a mayfly or a Galapagos tortoise, it has a life cycle of birth, growth, maturity, decay, death. And possibly rebirth? Or just instant replay?

That’s the question, the double theory, posed in Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, the latest and loveliest alternative universe created by Charlie Kaufman, America’s most—we should probably say only—intellectually provocative screenwriter.”

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Mulholland Drive

“Viewers will feel as though they’ve just finished a great meal but aren’t sure what they’ve been served. Behind them, the chef smiles wickedly.”

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The Dark Knight: Batman Is Back

“For a good part of the film, when the two embrace in a free fall of souls—one doomed, the other imperiled—you may think you’re in the grip of a mordant masterpiece. That feeling will pass, as the film spends too many of its final moments setting up the series’ third installment. The chill will linger, though. The Dark Knight is bound to haunt you long after you’ve told yourself, Aah, it’s only a comic-book movie.”

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The Hurt Locker: Iraq, With Thrills

The Hurt Locker has a few longueurs, and once or twice it spells out in dialogue what the images have eloquently shown. But short of being there, you’ll never get closer to the on-the-ground immediacy of the Iraq occupation, its sick tension, its toxic tang. This is one of the great war films, and our own Medal of Honor winner for 2009.”

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Fast Five: The First Great Post-Human Movie

“In a film that is sure to blast open the box-office vault this weekend, these two amazing chase scenes provide a little epiphany about modern movies. It’s this: in the kind of picture Hollywood makes best, the old cinema verities—sharp dialogue, rounded characters, subtle acting, a certain camera eloquence—are irrelevant.”

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Boyhood: A Thrilling Epic of Ordinary Life

“Parents forget; kids remember. Or is it the other way around? We all recall what is or was important to us, and are astonished when it slips other people’s minds. Perhaps we dismiss as irrelevant matters of crucial concern to those we love. That’s life as most of us experience it, and which few movies document with such understated acuity as Boyhood does. Embrace each moment, Linklater tells us, because it won’t come again—unless he is there to record it, shape it and turn it into an indelible movie.”

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TIME apps

TIME Launches Apple Watch App for News

Flick through 12 of the day's biggest headlines and tap for a faster look at the news

TIME is on the Apple Watch. TIME’s new mobile app brings the latest headlines right to your wrist. An intuitive user interface allows readers to swipe through The Brief, TIME’s up-to-the-minute collection of the most important stories of the moment.

Tap a headline to open the full article on your phone within the TIME Mobile App or play the audio version of The Brief to have the news read aloud while you’re on the go. Users of the app—developed by Time Inc.’s Seattle-based mobile engineering team—can adjust the volume using audio controls on the watch, the phone or a car via the dashboard.

The Brief has more than 850,000 subscribers. Now they can get it with just a glance at the wrist. Download it here.

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