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'The Grey' Affected Roger Ebert So Much, He Walked Out Of NEXT Screening


Roger Ebert

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 NeesonLiam 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

Oscar Nominations Court Controversy


Academy Of Motion Pictures And Sciences Michael Keaton Common John Legend David Oyelowo Ava DuVernay Jake Gyllenhaal Jessica Chastain Amy Adams Jennifer Aniston Roger Ebert

The reaction to this week's Oscar nominations was a loud one, because Academy voters played it so safe in a year when films expanded to explore a diverse array of themes. Throughout 2014, actors and filmmakers bravely took on big challenges, and many were recognised with nominations. But critics have been quick to point out that all of the acting and directing nominees are white, and #OscarsSoWhite was the trending hashtag on Twitter.

Neil Patrick Harris is hosting this year's Academy Awards
Neil Patrick Harris is hosting this year's Academy Awards

The most obvious snub was for Selma, which only received nods for Best Picture and Best Song (for Common and John Legend's 'Glory'), leaving out the acclaimed actor David Oyelowo and director Ava DuVernay, who would have been the first African-American woman ever nominated for Best Director.

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Life Itself Review


Good

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.

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'The Maltese Falcon' Sells For $4 Million, But What's The Most Expensive Movie Item?


Humphrey Bogart Roger Ebert

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).

Maltese FalconThe 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.

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Dance Tribute To Roger Ebert Led By Tilda Swinton, To Barry White Song


Tilda Swinton Roger Ebert

If there’s one thing Tilda Swinton knows how to do (and we reckon she knows how to do far more than just the one thing), it’s ‘create a stir’ and that’s exactly what she did at the late Roger Ebert’s film festival, ‘Roger Ebert’s Overlooked Film Festival.’ Swinton took to the stage, along with Roger’s widow, Chaz and led the audience of some 1500 in a dance, to Barry White’s ‘You’re The First, The Last, My Everything.’

New York Daily News report that Tilda told the audience from the stage “We’re not dancing up here. We’re coming down to dance with you — because if we dance up here, you’re just going to sit and watch us and laugh,” before starting to gyrate her hips. She then ordered the audience to join in: “So, no observers allowed. Participants only.” She then started to weave her way through the crowd at the Virginia Theater and in doing so, encouraged the audience to do the same. Roger Ebert, a renowned movie fan and revered critic, passed away on April 4 this year, after a lengthy battle with cancer that left him unable to speak, some years ago. He founded the film festival event back in 1998.

Tilda Swinton is no stranger to drawing attention to herself. She recently made headlines when she appeared, ‘snoozing’ in a glass box, for an exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art in New York City. The exhibition was titled The Maybe. 

Continue reading: Dance Tribute To Roger Ebert Led By Tilda Swinton, To Barry White Song

Tilda Swinton Kicks Off Spontaneous Dance Party In Memory Of Roger Ebert


Tilda Swinton Roger Ebert

Tilda Swinton might be one of the most respected actresses in Hollywood, but the woman isn’t afraid to get down, yo! At the annual Ebertfest – the affectionate name for “Roger Ebert’s Overlooked Film Festival, which the late critic founded back in 1998. Swinton was there to promote her new flick “Julia”, but ended up mostly promoting spontaneous dance parties, as she appeared on stage with Ebert’s widow, Chaz and prompted to audience to participate in a “No observers allowed” dance party, according to New York Daily News.

Swinton said: “We’re not dancing up here. We’re coming down to dance with you — because if we dance up here, you’re just going to sit and watch us and laugh,” Then Barry White’s You’re the First, the Last, My Everything came on and the rest is history. We can now tick off “party instigator” in Swinton’s already quite impressive resume. Recently, the 52-year-old actress made news by… taking a nap. The location of said nap might have had something to do with it, since most people don’t typically sleep over in a glass box at the MoMa. Tilda’s performance was as part of a piece entitled “The Maybe”. So the actress/ all-round cool lady has been keeping pretty busy lately. We’d venture to assume that the dance break was more fun than her nap in a box though.

Tilda Swinton, Victoria and Albert Museum
For a lady of 51, Swinton sure knows how to get down. 

Ebertfest Day Two Continues To Celebrate The Legacy Of Roger Ebert


Roger Ebert

The passing of Roger Ebert earlier this month was met with unanimous respect for one of the movie industries' most revered critics and essayists. Over the course of the week, Ebkert will have his praises sung again and again as the 15th Annual Roger Ebert Film Festival, held at Virginia Theatre in Champaign, Illinois, looks to continue despite the untimely passing of its founder.

Roger Ebert
Roger Ebert and his wife Chaz Ebert, who is in charge of this years festival

The tributes continued to pour in yesterday, the festival's first official date, and this was the case again today, but as Roger would have wanted, the films on show were to take centre stage at the five day event. Haskell Wexler's Days Of Heaven and the short I Remember were the two showcases from yesterday, but today there was a more familiar picture for the Ebertfest patrons to enjoy, the Jack Black-staring Bernie being tonight's main feature. Also being played today include the Paul Cox directedVincent: The Life and Death of Vincent Van Gogh, followed by the short To Music and the moving In The Family, all of which are being aired before Bernie.

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Late Film Critic Roger Ebert Laid To Rest At Chicago Cathedral


Roger Ebert

Roger Ebert funeral was held today in his native Illinois, with the great film critique laid to rest in front of family, friends and well wishes at Chicago's Holy Name Cathedral. The only man to win a Pulitzer Prize for a film review died last week after a ten year long battle with cancer.

Roger Ebert
Roger Ebert was known for his 'thumbs up, thumbs down' rating

Ebert was remembered as a man who "had a heart big enough to love all," as remembered his wife Chaz Ebert, who led a moving tribute to her late husband, the Chicago Tribune reported. His step daughter remembered Ebert to the mourners, that including Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, as a man who was "transformative" and "a world-class human being."

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Richard Roeper Remembers The Late Roger Ebert


Roger Ebert

Before his death on Thursday after a reoccurrence of cancer, Roger Ebert forged a reputation as a stellar film critic. His honest, brash style made his reviews thoroughly entertaining, and despite his unflinching style, he won a lot of friends in the business.

His fellow Sun-Times columnist, Richard Roeper, has been talking to Entertainment weekly about his friend and colleague. He says, of Ebert’s death, “it still came as a shock, and when the moment comes, it still comes far too soon, and I feel it first and foremost as a loss of my friend, a wonderful friend and family man.” With decades in the game under his belt, Ebert became one of the most film-savvy people in the business. According to Roeper, “he had a scholar’s knowledge of film and this amazing capacity to discuss films in the most minute, sophisticated detail, but he also had this very every-man appeal, and he never wrote down or talked down to movie-goers. I think a lot of people who saw him when he first started coming on television [would] see him and Gene Siskel and they’d say, ‘Hey, they don’t look like movie stars. They look just like regular people. They look like my uncle or my dad or my grandpa.’ He had that universal appeal where you just felt like you were having a conversation with a friend.”

Ebert’s take on modern films saw him become somewhat of a cult figure. He would draw on fantastic metaphors to talk about films he thought of as awful, and appeared to have more fun when describing bad films that good ones.

Continue reading: Richard Roeper Remembers The Late Roger Ebert

Remembering Roger Ebert – The Late Critic Who Made Reviewing Films His Art


Roger Ebert

It’s not often actors and film directors combine to praise a film critic. But – such was his influence to cinema – it’s hard to find a bad word for Roger Ebert, who passed away on Thursday following an announcement that he was re-battling cancer.

Ebert was famed for many things; his honest, unflinching approach to film reviewing; his thumbs up, thumbs down gesture; becoming the first film critic to win the Pulitzer Prize. "Roger was the movies,” said Obamba of Ebert. “When he didn't like a film, he was honest; when he did, he was effusive – capturing the unique power of the movies to take us somewhere magical. Even amid his own battles with cancer, Roger was as productive as he was resilient – continuing to share his passion and perspective with the world. The movies won't be the same without Roger, and our thoughts and prayers are with Chaz [Ebert's wife] and the rest of the Ebert family."

Roger EbertEbert and that trademark smile

Continue reading: Remembering Roger Ebert – The Late Critic Who Made Reviewing Films His Art

Film Buffs Mourn Roger Ebert's Death At Age 70


Roger Ebert

The world of cinema mourns the death of Roger Ebert today. The most influential film critic and the man, who taught a generation to love “the movies” died yesterday at the age of 70.

Ebert had struggled with cancer of the thyroid and salivary gland previously and it was another bout of the disease, which reportedly took his life in the end. “We were getting ready to go home today for hospice care, when he looked at us, smiled, and passed away,” said his wife, Chaz Ebert. “No struggle, no pain, just a quiet, dignified transition.”

On Tuesday, Ebert blogged that the cancer had returned following a hip fracture in December and, in his characteristic way of expression, announced that he would be taking “a leave of presence.” In the blog essay, marking his 46th anniversary of becoming the Sun-Times film critic, Ebert wrote “I am not going away. My intent is to continue to write selected reviews but to leave the rest to a talented team of writers hand-picked and greatly admired by me.”

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Roger Ebert Dies Aged 70: The Five Movies He Hated The Most


Roger Ebert Rob Schneider Bruce Willis Elijah Wood Keanu Reeves

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:

North

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A Leave Of Presence: Movie Critic Roger Ebert Scales Back His Work, As Cancer Returns


Roger Ebert

The famed movie critic Roger Ebert has been forced to scale back his reviewing work, after a “painful fracture” in his leg has been re-diagnosed as a cancer. “The 'painful fracture' that made it difficult for me to walk has recently been revealed to be a cancer. It is being treated with radiation, which has made it impossible for me to attend as many movies as I used to,” writes Ebert, who is unable to speak, following previous bouts of cancer.

On his blog for Chicago Sun-Times, for whom he has written for 46 years, Ebert revealed that it has become necessary for him to slow down. He describes this next phase in his lengthy career as a “leave of presence.” He explained what he meant by the term, by writing “this means I am not going away. My intent is to continue to write selected reviews but to leave the rest to a talented team of writers handpicked and greatly admired by me. What's more, I'll be able at last to do what I've always fantasized about doing: reviewing only the movies I want to review.” He reassured readers that he will continue to work as a film critic, as well as working on other elements of the ‘Ebert brand,’ including his annual film festival, Ebertfest.

Ebert went on to say that he will be relating his movie reviews to his life dealing with a difficult illness. “It really stinks that the cancer has returned and that I have spent too many days in the hospital. So on bad days I may write about the vulnerability that accompanies illness. On good days, I may wax ecstatic about a movie so good it transports me beyond illness.” 

Continue reading: A Leave Of Presence: Movie Critic Roger Ebert Scales Back His Work, As Cancer Returns

Fractured Hip, But No Surgery: Roger Ebert Tweets After Hospitalization


Roger Ebert

The renowned film critic Roger Ebert is in hospital with a broken hip, Chicago Sun-Times reports today (December 7, 2012). Doctors have told the press that Ebert – who has been reviewing movies for the Chicago Sun-Times for over 40 years - had fractured his hip after feeling “a sharp pain in his leg.” When the pain did not subside, he sought medical advice and after conducting tests, doctors discovered that it was fractured.

Ebert has confirmed via his Twitter page that although the hip is fractured, he is not expecting that it will need surgery. “Details to follow,” he ended his tweet. His wife Chaz Ebert also took to Twitter to update followers on her husband’s condition, saying “Roger in hospital with hip fracture (tricky disco dance moves) but he is doing well, asking for computer, will probably tweet.”

Roger has been reviewing movies for the Sun Times since 1967. In 1975, he won a Pulitzer Prize for criticism. He also reviewed movies on TV with Gene Siskel, until Siskel’s death in 1999. Ebert lost his ability to speak, after undergoing surgery for cancer. He is a popular blogger and writes about social issues, as well as the latest blockbusters. In 2007, he was labelled the most powerful pundit in the USA by Forbes magazine.

Picture - Roger Ebert Toronto, Canada, Friday 9th September 2011

Roger Ebert Friday 9th September 2011 36th Annual Toronto International Film Festival - Celebrities out and about Toronto, Canada

Roger Ebert
Roger Ebert

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