In Memoriam 1942 – 2013 “Roger Ebert loved movies.”

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Mr. Turner

Filmmaker Mike Leigh's biography of the landscape painter J.M.W. Turner is what critics call "austere"—which means it's slow and grim and deliberately hard to love—yet…

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Annie

The new version of "Annie" is fashionably artificial and not very well directed, but its unabashed good cheer is very welcome.

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Ballad of Narayama

"The Ballad of Narayama" is a Japanese film of great beauty and elegant artifice, telling a story of startling cruelty. What a space it opens…

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Monsieur Hire

Patrice Leconte's "Monsieur Hire" is a tragedy about loneliness and erotomania, told about two solitary people who have nothing else in common. It involves a…

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Free sample of Ebert Club Newsletter

This is a free sample of the Newsletter members receive each week. It contains content gathered from recent past issues and reflects the growing diversity of what's inside the club. To join and become a member, visit Roger's Invitation From the Ebert Club.


Marie writes: Not too long ago, Monaco's Oceanographic Museum held an exhibition combining contemporary art and science, in the shape of a huge installation by renowned Franco-Chinese artist Huang Yong Ping, in addition to a selection of films, interviews and a ballet of Aurelia jellyfish.The sculpture was inspired by the sea, and reflects upon maritime catastrophes caused by Man. Huang Yong Ping chose the name "Wu Zei"because it represents far more than just a giant octopus. By naming his installation "Wu Zei," Huang added ambiguity to the work. 'Wu Zei' is Chinese for cuttlefish, but the ideogram 'Wu' is also the color black - while 'Zei' conveys the idea of spoiling, corrupting or betraying. Huang Yong Ping was playing with the double meaning of marine ink and black tide, and also on corruption and renewal. By drawing attention to the dangers facing the Mediterranean, the exhibition aimed to amaze the public, while raising their awareness and encouraging them to take action to protect the sea.


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Below, is a video showing how it was installed and what partly inspired it.



Seen any good cat videos lately?  Segue....



TRAILERS


Inside Llewyn Davis (2013) Directed by Ethan Coen, Joel Coen. Starring Oscar Isaac, Carey Mulligan, Justin Timberlake, Garrett Hedlund, John Goodman, F. Murray Abraham, Stark Sands, Jeanine Seralles, Frank Ridley, Adam Driver and Ethan Phillips. Synopsis: the story of a singer-songwriter who navigates New York's folk music scene in the 1960s. Loosely based on Dave Van Ronk's posthumously published memoir The Mayor of MacDougal Street. Release date TBA December 2013.





Everyone's Going to Die (2013) Starring Nora Tschirner, Rob Knighton, Kellie Shirley, Madeline Duggan, Mark Kempner, Stirling Gallacher, Ellie Chidzey and Kylie Hutchinson. Synopsis: Melanie's life in a seaside town is going nowhere until she meets Ray, back in town with a shady job to do. A moment's escape becomes a chance to save themselves, and each other. Everyone's Going To Die is a modern British story about coming home, getting by and the redemptive power of feeling you're not alone. A story where porn hotlines rub shoulders with sexy beavers on rollerskates; where the past is laid to rest, two lives are changed and nobody, finally, is going to die. World Premiere SXSW 2013.





Oh Boy (2013) Directed by Jan Ole Gerster. Starring Tom Schilling, Marc Hosemann, Friederike Kempter, Andreas Schröders, Justus von Dohnányi, Arnd Klawitter, Ulrich Noethen and Martin Brambach. Synopsis: How hard can it be in today's Berlin - hipster hangout no. 1 - to order a cup of coffee? Very hard, actually, as drop-out Niko discovers one day. The day starts off unpromising enough with his ex-girlfriend, and from then on it just gets worse. He loses his driving licence after a bizarre psychological test, his bank account is blocked and an encounter with an old schoolmate goes horribly wrong. Along the way, Niko begins to realize something. Until now, he has managed to get away with pretty much everything thanks to his big beautiful eyes; but now suddenly it's time to grow up. The tragicomic Oh Boy, filmed in sunny black-and-white, is a portrait of a young man on the verge of adulthood. Screening at International Film Festival Rotterdam. Release date TBA.





Wrong (2013) Directed by Quentin Dupieux. Starring Eric Judor, Alexis Dziena, Steve Little and William Fichtner. Synopsis: Dolph Springer wakes up one morning to realize he has lost the love of his life, his dog, Paul. During his quest to get Paul (and his life) back, Dolph radically changes the lives of others - risking his sanity all the while. Screened at Sundance 2013. VOD starting February 1st. Theatrical release date March 29, 2013.





Mud (2013) Directed by Jeff Nichols. Starring Matthew McConaughey, Reese Witherspoon, Sarah Paulson, Michael Shannon, Sam Shepard, Ray McKinnon, Joe Don Baker and Paul Sparks. Synopsis: Mud is the powerful, redemptive tale of a charismatic fugitive named Mud and his unlikely friendship with fourteen year old Ellis. Ellis is determined to help his new friend escape from both the law and some very serious bounty hunters, in order to reunite Mud with his soul mate, Juniper. Release date April 26th, 2013.





The Brass Teapot (2012) Directed by Ramaa Mosley. Starring Juno Temple, Michael Angarano, Alexis Bledel, Alia Shawkat, Bobby Moynihan, Stephen Park, Billy Magnussen and Debra Monk. Synopsis: An impoverished young couple stumble upon an antique teapot that magically dispenses cash whenever either of them feels pain, inspiring them to ever-greater extremes, as they ascend the ranks of the nouveau riche. Director Ramaa Mosley eschews violence for a more whimsical, Tim Burton-esque treatment in this offbeat, darkly funny satire. In limited release April 5, 2013.





The End of Love (2013) Directed by Mark Webber. Starring Mark Webber, Shannyn Sossamon, Michael Cera and Jason Ritter. Synopsis: A struggling actor deals with his two-year-old son after the death of the boy's mother. In limited release March 1, 2013





The Iceman (2013) Directed by Ariel Vromen. Starring Michael Shannon, Winona Ryder, James Franco, Ray Liotta and Chris Evans. Synopsis: The true story of Richard Kuklinski, the notorious contract killer and family man. When finally arrested in 1986, neither his wife nor daughters have any clue about his real profession. Release date May 3, 2013.





King Curling (2013) Directed by Ole Endresen. Starring Atle Antonsen, Linn Skaber, Ane Dahl Torp, Kare Conradi, Jon Oigarden, Steinar Sagen, Harald Eia and Bard Tufte Johansen. Synopsis: Ten years after a nervous breakdown forces him to leave the game, Norwegian curling star and obsessive-compulsive Truls Paulsen finds himself over-medicated and stuck at home with a slobbering dog and an overbearing, neurotic wife. With his former coach now dying in hospital and the national curling championship on the line, Truls decides to get back on the ice. Will anything - his marriage, his sanity, his professional pride - survive his return? Screened at PSIFF 2013. Currently making the Festival rounds. Screening at Bright Lights (2013) on March 1, 2013.





Austenland (2013) Directed by Jerusha Hess. Starring Keri Russell, JJ Feild, Jane Seymour, Bret McKenzie and Jennifer Coolidge. Synopsis: Keri Russell plays Jane Hayes, a single thirty-something year old obsessed with Jane Austen's famous 1813 novel - along with the BBC production of "Pride and Prejudice" - who travels to a Jane Austen theme park in search of her perfect gentleman. Premiered at Sundance 2013. Release date TBA Summer 2013.





Dead Man Down (2013) Directed by Niels Arden Oplev. Starring Colin Farrell, Noomi Rapace, Terrence Howard, Isabelle Huppert and Dominic Cooper. Synopsis: Noomi Rapace stars as Beatrice, a woman who is witness to a contract hit by professional killer Victor, played by Colin Farrell. She decides to blackmail the hitman, dragging him into a revenge plot against the pair of criminals that maimed her in a violent heist. In theaters March 8th, 2013.





The East (2013) Directed by Zal Batmanglij. Starring Brit Marling, Ellen Page, Alexander Skarsgard and Patricia Clarkson. Synopsis: Sarah Moss is an operative for a private intelligence firm called Hiller-Brood that is hired by corporations to protect their interests. She is sent to infiltrate an anarchist collective known as The East that has executed attacks on corporations. While she lives among them, she finds herself falling for the group's charismatic leader. Release date TBA 2013.





The Incredible Burt Wonderstone (2013) Directed by Don Scardino. Starring Steve Carell, Steve Buscemi, Olivia Wilde, Jim Carrey, Alan Arkin and James Gandolfini. Synopsis: Burt Wonderstone (Carell) and Anton Marvelton (Buscemi) are a successful magic act in Las Vegas. Their partnership comes to an end when Anton is injured by Burt during their hotbox trick, and Anton moves to the Far East. When Burt is overshadowed by popular street magician Steve Gray (Carrey), he must convince Anton to return to the act to regain his standing by all means necessary. In theaters March 8, 2013.





The Deflowering of Eva Van End (2012) [De ontmaagding van Eva van End] Directed by Michiel ten Horn. Starring Vivian Dierickx, Abe Dijkman, Tomer Pawlicki, Jacqueline Blom, Ton Kas and Rafael Gareisen. Synopsis: The ugly duckling of a fraught middle-class household has her life turned upside-down by the arrival of a handsome German exchange student, in this caustic, absurdest satire of petit-bourgeois family life. In theaters February 14, 2013.





The Best Offer (2013) Directed by Giuseppe Tornatore. With Geoffrey Rush, Jim Sturgess, Sylvia Hoeks and Donald Sutherland. Music score by Ennio Morricone. Synopsis: The film tells an unusual love story set in Vienna, in the world of auctions, among luxury hotels and fine restaurants. The story revolves around a loveless elderly man who intersects with an astute young man and a mysterious woman in a South Tyrol setting. UK release January 3, 2013. US release date TBA.





Wrong Cops (2013) Directed and written by Quentin Dupieux. Starring Mark Burnham, Marilyn Manson, Steve Little, Daniel Quinn, Isabella Palmier, Hillary Tuck and Alyssa Preston. Synopsis: Duke, a crooked and music-mad cop, patrols in Los Angeles' streets, music blasting and meets a young techno lover, David Dolores Frank. Appalled by the musical tastes of the young adolescent, Duke decides to give him a good music lesson. Shot in stand-alone chapters as it is being financed, screened, and released, Wrong Cops is gonzo film-making with a unique online strategy. Release date TBA 2013.





Sightseers (2012) Directed by Ben Wheatley. Starring Alice Lowe, Steve Oram. Synopsis: Chris wants to show Tina his world and he wants to do it his way - on a journey through this sceptred isle in his beloved Caravan. Tina's led a sheltered life and there are things that Chris needs her to see - the Crich Tramway Museum, the Ribblehead Viaduct, the Keswick Pencil Museum and the rolling countryside that separates these wonders in his life. But it doesn't take long for the dream to fade. Litterbugs, noisy teenagers and pre-booked caravan sites, not to mention Tina's meddling mother, soon conspire to shatter Chris's dreams and send him, and anyone who rubs him up the wrong way, over a very jagged edge. In theaters February 21, 2013, 2012.





The Host 2 (2013) Directed by Park Myeong-Chan. Starring N/A yet. Synopsis: Currently in production, the film is a sequel to South Korean cult-horror movie "The Host" (2006) directed by Bong Joon-ho. This is the first clip released by the new production. In it, a monster attacks a group of children, followed by a "Before and After" featurette showing off the film's CGI. "The Host 2" takes place in Cheonggyecheon, a large creek running through the downtown of Seoul that leads to the Han River. The creek was covered with concrete in the 1950s to build a road, but restored in 2005. The film takes place earlier in 2003 when the restoration was at an early stage and results in the release of underground monsters. Release date Summer 2014.





Trance (2013) Directed by Danny Boyle. Starring James McAvoy, Vincent Cassel and Rosario Dwason. Synopsis: A fine art auctioneer mixed up with a criminal gang joins forces with a hypnotherapist to recover a lost painting. As boundaries between desire, reality and hypnotic suggestion begin to blur, the stakes rise faster than anyone could have anticipated. In theaters March 27, 2013.





Stoker (2013) Directed by Park Chan-wook. Starring Mia Wasikowska, Matthew Goode, Nicole Kidman, Dermot Mulroney and Jacki Weaver. Synopsis: After India's father dies in an auto accident, her Uncle Charlie, who she never knew existed, comes to live with her and her emotionally unstable mother Evelyn. Soon after his arrival, she comes to suspect this mysterious, charming man has ulterior motives, but instead of feeling outrage or horror, this friendless girl becomes increasingly infatuated with him. In theaters March 1, 2013.





Now You See Me (2013) Directed by Louis Leterrier. Starring Jesse Eisenberg, Woody Harrelson, Melanie Laurent, Mark Ruffalo, Isla Fisher and Morgan Freeman. Synopsis: The Four Horsemen, a magic super-group led by the charismatic Atlas, perform a pair of high-tech magic shows, first astonishing audiences by robbing a bank on another continent, and then exposing a white-collar criminal and funneling his millions into the audience members' bank accounts. FBI Special Agent Dylan is determined to make the magicians pay for their crimes - and to stop them before they pull off what promises to be an even more audacious heist. In theaters June 7, 2013.





Olympus Has Fallen (2013) Directed by Antoine Fuqua. Starring Gerard Butler, Aaron eckhart, Morgan Freeman, Dylan McDermott, Angela Bassett, Ashley Judd, Antoine Fuqua, Melissa Leo and Rick Yune. Synopsis: North Korean terrorists led by Kang take over the White House and hold President Benjamin Asher hostage, threatening to execute him if the U.S. government attempts to retake the building. Mike Banning, a former Special Forces officer recently removed from the Secret Service for failing to save the First Lady in a car accident months prior, finds himself being the only one capable of confronting the terrorists and saving President Asher. Release date March 22, 2013.





Oblivion (2013) Directed by Joseph Kosinski. Starring Tom Cruise, Andrea Riseborough, Morgan Freeman, Olga Kurylenko and Melissa Leo. Synopsis: A court martial sends a veteran soldier to a distant planet, where he has to destroy the remains of an alien race. The arrival of an unexpected traveler causes him to question what he knows about the planet, his mission, and himself. Release date April 19, 2013.





Star Trek: Into Darkness (2013) Directed by J.J. Abrams. Starring Chris Pine, Zachary Quinto, Benedict Cumberbatch, Zoe Saldana, Anton Yelchin, John Cho, Simon Pegg and Karl Urban, Alice Eve, Peter Weller and Noel Clarke. Synopsis: When the crew of the Enterprise is called back home, they find an unstoppable force of terror from within their own organization has detonated the fleet and everything it stands for, leaving our world in a state of crisis. With a personal score to settle, Captain Kirk (Chris Pine) leads a manhunt to a war-zone world to capture a one man (Benedict Cumberbatch) weapon of mass destruction. As our heroes are propelled into an epic chess game of life and death, love will be challenged, friendships will be torn apart, and sacrifices must be made for the only family Kirk has left: his crew. In theaters May 15, 2013.





Pain and Gain (2013) Directed by Michael Bay. Starring Dwayne Johnson, Mark Wahlberg, Bar Paly, Tony Shalhoub, Anthony Mackie and Rob Corddry. Synopsis: Based on the true story of a group of bodybuilders who get caught up in a criminal enterprise, including kidnapping, extortion and murder, in Florida. In theaters April 26, 2013.





Future Weather (2013) Directed by Jenny Deller. Starring Perla Haney-Jardine, Amy Madigan, Lili Taylor and Marin Ireland. Synopsis: When her single mom runs off to California, Lauduree, a passionate environmentalist, clings to her rural home and a carbon sequestration experiment. But her grandmother Greta, a caustic nurse on the verge of moving in with her long-distance boyfriend, has other plans. Thrust into each other's lives, the two women must learn to trust each other and leap into the unknown. In theaters February 22, 2013.





Ginger and Rose (2012) Directed by Sally Potter. Starring Timothy Spall, Alice Englert, Oliver Platt, Jodhi May, Alessandro Nivola, Christina Hendricks, Elle Fanning and Annette Bening. Synopsis: A look at the lives of two teenage girls - inseparable friends Ginger and Rosa - growing up in 1960s London, and the pivotal event the comes to redefine their relationship as the Cuban Missile Crisis looms. In limited release March 15, 2013.





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Marie writes: I couldn't help but notice the song they were using in the trailer for "Everyone's Going To Die". Curious, I went looking for it. It's called "Two Cousins" by Slow Club, from their album Paradise. I think it's brilliant, so too the video for it, as directed by Lucy Needs. Official website.




Ever the Miss Marple, I snooped around some more, and which ultimately led me to yet another awesome curious find. Key & Peele: Slow Brotion




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Vera Farmiga and Freddie Highmore star in Bates Motel


Bates-Motel_280pix.jpg"The new series "Bates Motel," serves as a contemporary prequel to the genre-defining film, "Psycho," and promises to give viewers an intimate portrayal of how Norman Bates' psyche unravels through his teenage years. Fans will have access to the dark, twisted backstory and learn first hand just how deeply intricate his relationship with his mother, Norma, truly is and how she helped forge the most famous serial killer of them all." "Bates Motel" is produced by Universal Television for A&E Network. Carlton Cuse ("Lost") and Kerry Ehrin ("Friday Night Lights") serve as executive producers for Carlton Cuse Productions. "Bates Motel" will premiere on A&E on Monday March 18, 2013. To learn more visit the Official Website at A&E.Marie writes: I heard the series is being shot around Vancouver. Specifically, in Aldergrove BC - where the set for the Bates Motel is located approximately an hour's drive from my apartment. Thus adding yet one more to a growing list of TV shows which include the X-Files, Millennium, Dead Like Me, Reaper, The Dead Zone, Supernatural, Fringe, etc. Needless to say - I avoid the woods at night.






Sundance 2013: How did a newbie make

an unapproved film in Disney parks?


escape-from-tomorrow-still.jpg"PARK CITY, Utah -- About three years ago, Randy Moore, a struggling screenwriter living in Burbank, had an out-there idea: What if he took a tiny camera and, without asking permission, began shooting a narrative movie at Disney theme parks?Moore had been visiting Disney World in Orlando, Fla., with his now-estranged father since he was a child, and he'd also begun taking his two children, then 1 and 3, to Disneyland. He thought that juxtaposing the all-American iconography of Mickey Mouse with a dark scripted tale would be cinematic gold, or at least deeply weird.So with the help of an extremely small Canon camera and some very game actors and crew, the director began shooting a movie guerrilla-style." - by Steven Zeitchik. To read the full article, visit Sundance 2013: How did a newbie make an unapproved film in Disney parks?





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"The greatest of the silent clowns is Buster Keaton, not only because of what he did, but because of how he did it. Harold Lloyd made us laugh as much, Charlie Chaplin moved us more deeply, but no one had more courage than Buster. I define courage as Hemingway did: "Grace under pressure." In films that combined comedy with extraordinary physical risks, Buster Keaton played a brave spirit who took the universe on its own terms, and gave no quarter." - Roger, The Films of Buster Keaton

Keaton_Goat_1921_poster.jpgThe Goat (1921) Directed by Buster Keaton, Malcolm St. Clair. Written by by Buster Keaton and Malcolm St. Clair. Starring Buster Keaton, Virginia Fox, Joe Roberts, Malcolm St. Clair, Edward F. Cline and Jean C. Havez. Cinematography by Elgin Lessley.

Synopsis: Buster Keaton is walking by and peers through a barred window while captured murderer "Dead Shot Dan" is having his picture taken. Seeing that the photographer is looking away, Dan moves his head to the side and snaps a picture of Buster without anybody noticing. Thus, when Dan escapes, the wanted posters all show Buster with his hands on the bars. Buster is chased by various policemen, including a persistent Police Chief. Despite his desperate predicament, Buster notices a pretty young woman and wrangles an invitation to dinner, only to discover her father is the Police Chief. This short contains one of Keaton's more memorable images: A distant, speeding train approaches the camera, and stops with a close-up of Keaton who has been sitting on the front of the train. Public domain film available for download at the Internet Archives.





the-hands-of-orlac-poster.jpgThe Hands of Orlac (1924) Directed by Robert Wiene. Written by Ludwig Nertz (play), Maurice Renard (book). Starring Conrad Veidt, Fritz Kortner, Alexandra Sorina, Carmen Cartellieri, Fritz Strassny and Paul Askonas. Cinematography by Hans Androschin.

Synopsis: Concert pianist Paul Orlac (Conrad Veidt) loses his hands in a horrible railway accident. His wife Yvonne (Alexandra Sorina) pleads with a surgeon to try and save Orlac's hands. The surgeon decides to try and transplant new hands onto Orlac, but the hands he uses are those of a recently-executed murderer named Vasseur. From that point forward, the pianist is tortured by the presence of a knife he finds at his house, just like that used by Vassuer, and the desire to kill. He believes that along with the murderer's hands, he has also gained the murderer's predisposition to violence. He confronts the surgeon, telling him to remove the hands, but the surgeon tries to convince him that a person's acts are not governed by hands, but by the head and heart.Orlac's new hands are unable to play the piano, and in time he and his wife run out of money. Creditors give them one more day to pay their bills. Yvonne goes to Paul's father for money, but is refused. Orlac himself then goes to see his father, but finds he has been stabbed to death with the same knife like Vasseur's. He starts to think he himself committed the murder, and goes to a café for a drink. There he meets a man who claims he is Vasseur, who tells Orlac the same surgeon who did the hand transplant also transplanted a new head into Vasseur's body. He then tells Orlac he wants money to keep quiet about the murder... Available for free download at Internet Archives.




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