Beloved Film Critic Roger Ebert's Widow Chaz Ebert Is Executive Producing A Film About 1950s Murder Victim Emmett Till.
The movie will be based on the book Death of Innocence: The Story of the Hate Crime That Changed America, which was written by Till's mother Mamie Till-Mobley and award-winning journalist Christopher Benson.
The African-American teenager was murdered in 1955 for allegedly whistling at a white woman.
Ebert says, "The full Emmett Till story needs to be told now and told well as a narrative for our times, given all that is happening on American streets today..."
Continue reading: Chaz Ebert Executive Producing Emmett Till Film
Roger Ebert really really liked 'The Grey'. We think.
Remember The Grey? The Liam Neeson survival-action movie? It passed audiences by in 2011, making little impression box-office and taking just over $70 million on a budget of $25 million.
Liam Neeson starred in the survival epic The Grey
It told the story of a number of oil-men stranded in Alaska after a plane crash, who are forced to survive in the wilderness as a pack of grey wolves stalk them in the ferocious weather.
Continue reading: 'The Grey' Affected Roger Ebert So Much, He Walked Out Of NEXT Screening
Fans of film journalism will love this documentary about the noted Chicago critic Roger Ebert, although the movie is just as much about his battle with the cancer that took his life in 2013. It's a lively, fast-paced doc, but even at two hours it feels oddly truncated as the two topics seem to fight for screen time. Fortunately both are potent: the story of Roger's love of cinema and the footage of his astoundingly cheerful refusal to let illness get him down.
Based around Roger's eponymous autobiography, the film quickly traces his background as a film lover who rose through the ranks at the Chicago Sun-Times to become an unusually resonant film reviewer, able to express opinions and even high-minded cinematic observations in ways that were never cynical or snobbish. He found national (and even global) fame through his TV programmes opposite rival Chicago critic Gene Siskel, which began in 1978 and standardised their "thumbs up"/"thumbs down" verdicts. At age 50, Roger met his wife Chaz at an Alcoholics Anonymous meeting, and her children and grandchildren became his. In 2002, he was diagnosed with thyroid cancer and underwent a series of surgeries that by 2006 made it impossible for him to speak. But he carried on writing reviews and making public appearances (speaking through his computer) until his death.
Filmmaker Steve James had startling access to Roger during the final year of his life, following him to hospitals and rehabilitation centres. Looking at his cancer-ravaged face is difficult at first, but Roger's smiling eyes and constant joking reinforces his optimistic, matter-of-fact approach to life. And he keeps reminding James that this documentary has to show everything, never flinching away from the truth. As a result, the film is a remarkably intimate look at how Roger and Chaz faced the illness and made difficult decisions along the way. This adds an emotional layer to the documentary that's remarkably moving, putting Roger's work into the context of his life and death.
Continue reading: Life Itself Review
'The Maltese Falcon' sold for a monumental $4 million at auction.
The Maltese Falcon, a statuette of a bird featuring in the classic 1941 detective thriller, sold for more than $4 million at Bonhams auction house on Monday (November 25, 2013).
The Maltese Falcon Sold For $4 Million.
The winning bid of $4,085,000 came from a telephone bidder, according to the Guardian. The recognizable black figure was one of the two known statuettes for the movie, which starred Humphrey Bogart as San Francisco private detective Sam Spade and his dealings with three unscrupulous adventurers, all of whom are competing to obtain a jewel-encrusted falcon statuette.
The late writer, who lost his battle with cancer earlier this month (04Apr13), published a scathing review of the comedy, which Stiller wrote, directed and starred in as a male model, branding the comedy "offensive" and "tasteless".
However, Ebert eventually changed his mind about the film, and reached out to make amends when he and Stiller both appeared as guests on U.S. Tv series The Tonight Show.
Roger Ebert has died aged 70, just days after announcing his cancer had returned.
Roger Ebert, the esteemed American journalist, movie critic and screenwriter, has died aged 70 after a long battle with cancer. Ebert worked as a critic for the Chicago Sun-Times from 1967 right up until his death, making him one of the best known film critics in America. He was the first writer of his kind to win the Pulitzer Prize for Criticism and had his columns syndicated to more than 200 newspapers in the United States and many abroad.
Many will remember Ebert for his barbed war with rival critic Gene Siskel, often verbally sparring whilst discussing films in public. The pair created the trademark 'Two Thumbs Up' when both hosts gave the same film a positive review. As a director, if you had the two thumbs up from either Ebert of Siskel, you were invariably onto a good thing. In 1999, Ebert launched his own annual film festival called Ebertfest and six years later became the first critic to receive a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. His colleague Neil Steinberg said Ebert was "was without question the nation's most prominent and influential film critic." A positive review from the Chicago native could boost a movie's box-office takings, though a mauling could ruin everything. Ebert gave out plenty of those during his long and distinguished career, though a few stick out:
Continue reading: Roger Ebert Dies Aged 70: The Five Movies He Hated The Most
When the last 007 movie, Quantum of Solace, opened in 2008, critics railed at the decision to turn Bond into an action hero. He is too good for that! remarked Roger Ebert in the Chicago Sun-Times. He is an attitude. Violence for him is an annoyance. Peter Howell commented in the Toronto Star: This is the contrarian's 007, the Bond for people who would rather watch The Bourne Identity. Now, four years later, Ebert writes in his review of Skyfall, I don't know what I expected in [Solace], but certainly not an experience this invigorating. And Howell remarks that Skyfall could make you fall for James Bond all over again, or to discover him at the moment of his vital rebirth. Most of the other reviews from the major newspaper critics are equally enthusiastic. Manohla Dargis in The New York Times comments that the movie plays like something of a franchise rethink, partly because it brings in new faces and implies that Bond, like Jason Bourne, needed to be reborn. [A most subtle pun, if that's what it is.] That is the theme of many reviews -- that Skyfall has revived a fading franchise effectively. In the Los Angeles Times, Kenneth Turan praises director Sam Mendes for turning out a thrilling new chapter in a franchise that by all rights should have been gasping for air -- which really makes him the hero of this saga. Saving Bond, after all, is rather like saving the day. There are a few dissents. Skyfall, writes Rafer GuzmÃ¡n in Newsday, is so busy recapturing the past that it has trouble moving forward. Wesley Morris in the Boston Globe makes a similar point, noting that Mendes must have felt obligated to follow the road map laid out in previous Bond movies. The result, he writes, is that the franchise has atrophied into the kind of nostalgia that calls into question going on with this enterprise at all.
Is 'The Dark Knight Rises' immune from criticism? Some of its fans certainly seem to think so. It would appear that some of Christopher Nolan's supporters have been getting a little carried away with upholding the quality of this movie which, let's face it, hasn't actually been released properly yet. In fact, some users of the review aggregator site Rotten Tomatoes were so upset by the minority of reviews that dared to be negative about the film, that they sent abusive messages and even death threats to those who had written them.
So, what has caused such over-protective behaviour from fans of Nolan's Dark Knight franchise? Could it be that they are simply upset at having to wave goodbye to Christian Bale and his raspy-throated, heroic ways? Or is it more complex than that? Should we be looking at the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences for someone to blame? After all, it was the omission of The Dark Knight from the Best Picture category in 2009 that many believe to be the reason the Academy expanded the category, to include more films. The response to Nolan's snub was overwhelming and shortly afterwards, the Academy's rules changed. Then they changed again. Perhaps Nolan's fan-base feel that he should be a rightful shoe-in for an Oscar win this year, thus obliterating any allowance for criticism, in the process? It's not a theory than many rationalists would subscribe to but it may go some way towards explaining the death threats.
It's worth remembering of course, that the majority of the reviews for Dark Knight Rises have been largely positive. The film has received a healthy 87 per cent rating on Rotten Tomatoes and has a nice, plump, fresh looking tomato next to its score, which we all know to be a good thing in the world of movie reviews. And the top, professional critics have hardly been reticent in their praise. The respected movie critic Roger Ebert praises the movie for its "sensational climax" (which will, no doubt, have everyone screaming "DOES BATMAN DIE???" at their laptop screens) and Salon.com's review describes the movie as "Arguably the biggest, darkest, most thrilling and disturbing and utterly balls-out spectacle ever created for the screen."
Continue reading: Is 'The Dark Knight Rises' Immune From Criticism?
Critics have given the fourth Ice Age movie, Continental Drift , a mostly cool-to-cold reception. Sean O'Connell in the Washington Post , suggests that viewers are nonetheless likely to overlook its faults. "Logic [in the plot] may be extinct, but, boy, do these movies whiz by like ice cubes zipping across a linoleum floor." Moreover, he writes, "What Continental Drift lacks in character development ... it makes up for in visual wizardry. The animation is spectacular, and the 3D is some of the best I've seen this year." And Betsy Sharkey in the Los Angeles Times points out that the movie is "all geared to be easily consumed by little ones" and concludes, "The dialogue is sometimes too sluggish and definitely too preachy, The Ending is a little too sappy, yet somehow this strange collection of prehistoric critters and their completely illogical life are consistently likable, if not quite lovable." Most other critics are not so generous. A.O. Scott in The New York Times , while remarking that Continental Drift "is much too friendly to dislike," Nevertheless expresses his dislike for the film's preachiness, which, he suspects, could inspire "a new theory of prehistoric extinction All those species clearly died from the hot air that gathered in the atmosphere as a result of their inability to shut up for even a minute." Roger Ebert in the Chicago Sun-Times notes that the kids in the theater where he saw the film seemed delighted. However, he continues, "Watching this film was a cheerless exercise for me. The characters are manic and idiotic, the dialogue is rat-a-tat chatter, the action is entirely at the service of the 3D, and the movie depends on bright colors, lots of noise and a few songs in between the whiplash moments." Several critics comment that Ice Age 4 is pretty much a reworking of each of the other Ice Age films. "You know what I feel like doing right now?" asks Michael Phillips in the Chicago Tribune. "I feel like digging out an old review of an earlier Ice Age movie and 're-purposing' it." Claudia Puig in USA Today echoes that sentiment. "There's far too little here that's fresh," she writes. Several critics observe that the real star of the show is not the feature but the short that precedes it, featuring The Simpsons. "Don't be late," advises Kyle Smith in the New York Post. "The best part of Ice Age 4 happens before it begins." Amy Biancolli in the San Francisco Chronicle notes that the cartoon is "only a few minutes long, but those few minutes boast more imagination, pathos and suspense than the entire film that follows." Scott in the New York Times comments that the short should audiences "cause to rejoice" -- calling it "witty and touching and marvelously concise, part of a series that has managed to stay fresh and inventive after many years in the pop-culture spotlight." Unfortunately, he remarks, you have to buy a ticket for Ice Age Continental Drift if you want to see it.
Continue reading: Movie Reviews Ice Age Continental Drift
There's nothing quite like an Oliver Stone movie to set the critics off in all directions like ants when a stone is dropped on their anthill. Savages is no exception. It's often Stone's liberal politics that whips up argument, however, and there's little of that here. The New York Post 's conservative film critic Kyle Smith, who once called Stone's take on George Bush ( W ) "ignorant and fatuous" and described South of the Border, his documentary on leftist leaders Hugo Chavez, Raul Castro and Evo Morales as bordering on the "ludicrous," calls Savages "nasty, vicious fun." Smith concludes "The run time is more than two hours, yet it's also tight no drag, no waste, no message." A.O. Scott in The New York Times describes Stone as "an incurable cinema romantic" and his new movie as "And also an incurable cinema romantic. Savages is a daylight noir, a western, a stoner buddy movie and a love story, which is to say that it is a bit of a mess. But also a lot of fun." Roger Ebert in the Chicago Sun-Times comments that Savages marks "a return to form for Stone's dark side." In the New York Daily News Joe Neumaier writes that "Stone's landscape of corrupt innocents is beautifully nuanced, allowing every character, no matter how drug-war-weary, a chance to be shell-shocked. (One of those characters is portrayed by Taylor Kitsch, the star of two major flops this year, John Carter and Battleship . Kitsch, Neumaier remarks, "finally reverses a bad year." And Ty Burr in the Boston Globe calls the movie "Oliver Stone's strongest work in years -- a stylish, violent, hallucinatory thriller with both a mean streak and a devilish sense of humor." But there are at least an equal number of critics who savage Stone and the movie. Rafer Guzmán in Newsday regards the movie as "so hollow and hypocritical that it can't even decide on an ending. You'll get more than one, but it's no bargain." Peter Howell in the Toronto Star also takes aim at the multiple endings and concludes that at least one needs to be cut. "Yeah, Savages is that kind of story too dumb even to know when to finally sheath the blade," he observes. Claudia Puig in USA Today remarks that "the story ricochets among ironic humor, brutal violence and awkward stabs at genuine emotion. While Savages aims for provocative and dynamic, it comes off as predictable and strained." And Kenneth Turan in the Los Angeles Times writes that Stone is "a director who has often felt that anything worth doing is worth overdoing, and his weakness for bloody excesses of all sorts undermines much of his good work."
Continue reading: Movie Reviews Savages