I knew he was a science fiction geek through and through (he had a penchant for giving science fiction films an extra star if they were especially groovy in the departments of effects and atmosphere). I wanted to sign the book to him and let him know how much his work meant to me — and for him to have the experience of the book before the movie, whenever that might. I tried getting in touch with one of his editors at the. Sun-Times, who i used to freelance for in college, to get it to him, but never heard back from her. Later it would turn out he and I had the same film/tv agent, who offered to forward on the book for. I kept meaning to send off the book. I regret it now. Although he cant know it now, i still think its worth saying: Thank you, roger Ebert, for being my teacher and for being such a good writer, critic and observer of the world.
7 of Roger Ebert's Most Brutal movie reviews time
Much of that had nothing to do with film criticism, but was a matter of him writing essay well, whatever. Which meant it was something I could identify with to a significant degree, since that is what I do here. It would be foolish to say that Ebert losing his physical voice freed him to find his voice elsewhere. What I think may be more accurate was that losing his physical voice reminded Ebert that he still had things he wanted to say before he ran out of time to say them. His Web essays have a sharp, bright but autumnal quality to them; the leaves were still on the trees but the colors were changing and the snap was in the air. It seemed to me Ebert wrote them with the joy of living while there is still life left. I loved these essays but they also made me sad. I knew as a reader they couldnt last. And of course they didnt. I had always meant to send Ebert a copy. Old Mans War, for no other reason than as a token of appreciation.
By the end of the summer, i loved film too. And I wanted to do what he did: Share that love and make people excited about going to the movies, sitting there with their popcorn, waiting to be entertained in the way only film can entertain you. I left newspaper film criticism — not entirely voluntarily — but even after I left that grind I still loved writing about film and went back to it when I could. I wrote freelance reviews for newspapers, magazines and online sites; ive published two report books about film. Every year I make predictions about the Oscars here on the site. And I can tell you (roughly) the domestic box office of just about every studio film since 1991. All of that flows back to sitting there with Roger Eberts words, catching the film bug from him. There are other great film critics, of course (I also have a soft spot for pauline kael, which is not entirely surprising but Ebert was the one i related to the most, and learned the most from. In these later years and after everything that hed been through with cancer and with losing the ability to physically speak, i read and was contemplative about the essays and pieces he put up on his Web site.
Even when proposal a movie was bad, you could tell that at least part of the reason Ebert was annoyed was because the film failed its medium, which could achieve amazing things. But as passionate as he was about film, he wasnt precious about. Ebert loved film, but what I think he loved most of all was the fact that it entertained him. He loved being entertained, and he loved telling people, in language which was direct and to the point (he worked for the. Sun-Times, the blue collar paper in town) what about the films was so entertaining. What he taught me about film criticism is that film criticism isnt about showing off what you know about film, it was about sharing what made you love film. I saw how much Roger Ebert loved film that summer, through his reviews and his words.
After the movie was done i rode down in the elevator with him. And that was my brush with greatness, film critic style. For all that I consider Ebert to be one of my most important writing teachers. He was my teacher in a real and practical sense — i was hired at age 22 to be a newspaper film critic, with very little direct practical experience in film criticism (not withstanding. Farewell to the king, i mostly reviewed music for my college paper). I was hired in may of 1991, but wouldnt start until September, which left me the summer to get up to speed. I did it by watching three classic movies a night (to the delight of my then-roommates and by buying every single review book roger Ebert had out and reading every single review in them. He was a great teacher. He was passionate about film — not just knowledgeable about films and directors and actors, but in love with the form, in a way that came through in every review.
Awake in the dark: The best of Roger Ebert
The documentary shows how jovial and texas agreeable he remains in spite of that condition, and how he manages to persevere in the face of such adversity. Having seen the doc, i can promise you it's an aching and meaningful film. If you grew up with Roger Ebert, you will be touched. Magnolia films is releasing, life Itself on the fourth Of July, where it should be the perfect counterprogramming. Transformers: Age Of Extinction. Instead of seeing Michael bay's vision of the world, filled with anger, derision, violence and commercialism, instead here's a portrait of a man who loved the cinema, who ate, slept and breathed.
The" that ends this trailer is Roger Ebert claiming, "For me the movies are like a machine that generates empathy. It lets you understand hopes, aspirations, dreams and fears. It helps us to identify with the people that are sharing this journey with." Ebert didn't believe in segregating movies, he didn't believe in isolating one foreign film from another blockbuster. Life Itself is available in theaters and on-demand, you can also examine the picture not only as one of the year's most touching documentaries, but just another movie, another journey into the unknown, another one of Roger Ebert's treasured adventures. I cant say that i ever spoke to roger Ebert, but I can say i was once in the same room with him — specifically, the critics screening room in Chicago, where as the entertainment editor for my college newspaper I watched a terrible movie. Farewell to the king, and he and Gene siskel were there as well, sitting, if I remember correctly, in the back of the little theater. Other critics were snarking and catcalling the screen (I mentioned it wasnt a very good film and either Siskel or Ebert (it was dark and I was facing the screen) told them to shut.
Cool Posts From Around the web: ZergNet). Click above for your first look. Life Itself, the Steve james-directed documentary about Roger Ebert. The doc chronicles the life of the famous movie critic, as the voice of the Chicago Tribune and later as the world's most famous film critic, appearing on television as one half of the iconic Siskel And Ebert duo. But a large chunk of the film also deals with his final days, as Ebert was battling cancer of the thyroid and salivary glands.
The movie takes its title from Ebert's final book, the memoir of the same title. In that book, he recounts his childhood and the early days of his career, revealing what shaped him as a film lover and eventual titan in the industry. As the trailer shows, the film takes bit and pieces, and often entire chunks of prose, from the book in illustrating the paths Ebert took, the places he's been, and the people he's met, in and out of the industry. Werner Herzog makes an appearance, but so do his many barfly buddies. Where, life Itself breaks from the book, and what may startle some viewers of the trailer, is that it also showcases Roger Ebert's final days of surgery and struggle with rehab, his death being an unexpected tragedy during production. In the later stages of surgery, ebert had to have his jaw removed, and for the uninitiated, it's a difficult visual. Not only because of the absence of a jaw, but because it's difficult to see such a major, beloved figure so altered and disfigured.
The Great movies: Roger Ebert
These interviews turn into several funny and touching moments such as Ebert giving Bahrani an incredible memento just before his passing. As good as almost every professional moment in the film is, every once in a while, one stands high above from the rest. In particular, theres a devastating moment where Ebert acknowledges his health is deteriorating and he likely wont get to see the final product were currently watching. Rather than staying in that dark place, life Itself goes on to show how Ebert turned his health into a positive motivator, pouring himself into online writing and becoming one of the leading voices in social media. The whole film is based around this kind of dichotomy and it leads to a rewarding emotional response. To any lover of film, roger Ebert was an icon. Steve james has made a film not only about that, but also about his humanity, his legacy, and his passion. Life Itself is a complete look at Eberts incredible life that elicits laughs, tears and gasps. Most of all, though, it drives us to one particular phrase: /Film rating: Two Thumbs way.
Fellow film critics. Scott and Richard Corliss discuss his contributions to the field and, eventually, we get to the tv show. The segments on the show allow James to break out one of the films biggest surprises, a focus on Eberts rival-turned-friend Gene siskel. There are scenes of Siskel at the Playboy mansion, on vacation with his family and eventually on the air with Ebert. The point being, one was the ying to the others yang; the film showcases their relationship with plenty of their hilarious, signature arguments. One of the best is an episode where Ebert gives. Full Metal Jacket a thumbs down, and, benji The hunted a thumbs up, which infuriates Siskel. To further illustrate the scope of Eberts life, james turns to filmmakers like martin Scorsese (also an exec producer on the film Errol Morris, werner Herzog and Ramin Bahrani to talk about what an Ebert review could resume do and what he meant to them.
then goes back to the start of filming in 2012, then back to his youth. This is how James begins to build empathy for Ebert, while also setting up the audience to learn about a man described by his own wife as macabre. We see ebert (who lost his ability to eat, drink or talk in 2006 due to cancer) being fed through a tube in his throat, going through intense physical therapy and inappropriately joking throughout the whole thing. Friends reminisce about long nights drinking, Eberts suicidal tendencies, and even an incident with a hooker are discussed. James opens up Eberts life in a way few have ever seen. Those biographical bits are then juxtaposed with Eberts love of, and influence on cinema. Scenes from some of his favorite films, like. Bonnie and Clyde or, cries and Whispers, are shown with excerpts from Eberts review floated on top.
Ebert had that effect on a lot of people. If Ebert opened up that world to people then. Steve james latest documentary, life Itself opens Ebert to the world. Based on Eberts autobiography of the same name, the film tells Eberts life story, yes, but it does so via the framework of our own love of the movies. Great care is taken to specifically illustrate not only how Ebert changed the face of film criticism, but how he helped us all discover surgery our own passion for the movies. Make no mistake though, this isnt some simple love letter. Life Itself is a warts and all dissection as well as a beautiful tribute. Issues such as alcoholism, struggles with weight, ego and sex are all part of his story.
Roger Ebert's Final List of His Top 10 favorite films
Editors Note: The following review was originally published on January 20th 2014 after a screening at the sundance film paperwork Festival. The review is being republished as the movie is hitting theaters. A movie about the life of a film critic might sound a tad indulgent, but theres never been another film critic with the influence and character. Almost anyone whos ever seen a movie in the us (and many other countries) has heard his name or taken one of he and partner Gene siskels patented Two Thumbs Up recommendations to the box office. As a young film fan, i remember scouring the. Tv guide searching for the sunday morning broadcasts. Siskel ebert, and devouring every episode. In particular, Ill never forget an episode where Ebert dissected quentin Tarantinos camerawork. It opened my eyes to a whole new world of film language.