Movie Mom

Movie Mom


Ebertfest Kicks Off With “Life Itself”

posted by Nell Minow

chazSteve James (“Hoop Dreams”) presented “Life Itself,” the documentary about Roger Ebert, last night at the majestic Virginia Theater in Roger’s home town of Urbana, Illinois, where Roger watched films as a boy and as a college student at the University of Illinois.  He told us he had always thought there was “a firewall between filmmakers and critics” until he read Roger’s book, which described his friendships with a very few directors.  He was sorry to miss that opportunity, but thought it made him “freer” to create the candid portrait that Roger would have wanted as a critic, as a journalist, and as a man.

“Film the man, not the icon,” was the direction James got, according to Roger’s widow, Chaz Ebert.  And the movie is frank about Roger’s struggles with alcohol and the transformation of his life when he finally found deep, romantic love with Chaz at age 50. It is also frank about his last days, his courage, resilience during his illness and ultimately his peace with the end of life.  It is moving to see his deep engagement with movies, with his friends and family, with his longtime rival and partner Gene Siskel (the outtake footage of their show is even more hilarious than the appalling 70′s outfits and hairstyles), with his passionate romance with Chaz, with journalism as a craft and writing as an art, and his passionate online presence once he could no longer speak.

Roger always said that a film should be an empathy device to help us understand and connect to each other.  While this movie shows that even the greatest film is a virtual experience compared to genuine in-person interaction, it lives up to his highest standards as a critic.  The entire audience gave it thumbs up.



Previous Posts

Contest: "Lullaby" -- Family Drama With Amy Adams, Richard Jenkins, and Garrett Hedlund
Garrett Hedlund stars as Jonathan in this uneven but moving drama about a family facing the loss of a husband and father. The performances are excellent, especially Richard Jenkins as the father and "Downton Abbey's" Jessica Brown Findlay as Jonathan's sister. I have two copies of the DVD to give

posted 3:50:33pm Jul. 25, 2014 | read full post »

Comic-Con 2014: Day One
Here's what's at Comic-Con, which means here's what's coming everywhere else: affordable 3D printers with hand-held scanners that transmit 360 degree images to your tablet or laptop instantly. GoPro

posted 11:08:17am Jul. 25, 2014 | read full post »

Remembering the Vietnam War: 10 Movies
As we observe the 50th anniversary of the War in Vietnam, here are ten of the best of the movie and documentary depictions of the war and its impact on history and culture in the United States. The best-known films about Vietnam include "Apocalypse Now," "Full Metal Jacket," "Platoon," "The Deer Hun

posted 8:00:34am Jul. 25, 2014 | read full post »

Lucy
I always enjoy Luc Besson's stylish car chases and shootouts. I like his use of locations, his strong female characters, and unexpected flashes of sentiment in the midst of mayhem.  While

posted 6:00:51pm Jul. 24, 2014 | read full post »

And So It Goes
A second marriage is, as Samuel Johnson famously said, "The triumph of hope over experience." And as lyricist Sammy Cahn wrote in the song Bing Crosby sang in "H

posted 6:00:13pm Jul. 24, 2014 | read full post »




Report as Inappropriate

You are reporting this content because it violates the Terms of Service.

All reported content is logged for investigation.