Ebert has been out of the criticism game for a couple of months, recovering from serious surgery. In fact I had no idea just how serious – he has written a note to his readers from physical rehab saying he barely even remembers the months of July and August. Yikes.

But the good news is that Ebert is recovering and expects to be back full time early next year, but will be doing some reviews here and there in the meantime. His return review will be for The Queen*, the movie that’s going to win Helen Mirren an Oscar*.

I’ve always thought of Ebert as a CHUD kind of guy, and not just because he name-checked Nick Nunziata in his review of Equilibrium. Ebert has always been the kind of critic who can enjoy high art as well as low, which is really what this site is all about. And most of all he really just loves the movies. There are too few “reviewers” (they’re not critics any more than the guys who write for Consumer Reports are critics) who have that serious passion for the medium.

Click here to read Ebert’s message to his readers.

* In his message, Ebert says that his intellect has been unaffected by his illness and surgery. Imagine my surprise when I clicked on the link to his review of The Queen and found a 1969 review about a drag queen documentary. I imagine this is the webmaster’s error.

** Don’t say that too loudly! Mirren is THE front-runner… but it’s just October. By the time the ballots go out everyone could be very burnt out on her, leaving Mirren tragically statue-less.