A Letter to Momo
Even scenes that work, such as a climax on a rain-soaked bridge, feel like they could have been trimmed by a few hand-drawn frames. Maybe…
* This filmography is not intended to be a comprehensive list of this artist’s work. Instead it reflects the films this person has been involved with that have been reviewed on this site.
On June 21, 2014, “Life Itself” opened the Hamptons Film Festival at Guild Hall in East Hampton, New York. RogerEbert.com publisher Chaz Ebert and editor-in-chief Matt Zoller Seitz were guests at the event and participated in a post-screening Q&A with Alec Baldwin and Hamptons Film Festival artistic director David Nugent afterward.
The Chicago Sun-Times reports on the 2014 Ebertfest, including appearances by Oliver Stone & Spike Lee.
Cannes releases their lineup; Fargo, the TV show; Landmark anime; Under the Skin and Only Lovers Left Alive; Documentary subjects who don't want to be documentary subjects.
Editor's Note: Filmmaker Gregory Nava wrote the following essay for inclusion in the program book for the 2014 Spirit Awards, where Roger was honored in March.
Members of the Ebert Club remember Roger one year after his passing.
Facets Multi-media director Milos Stehlik remembers Roger at a February 2014 event honoring Roger posthumously with the Illinois Prize.
A collection of quotes from filmmakers and critics honoring Roger's memory.
Michael Mirasol shares what he wants to say to Roger after seeing "Life Itself".
Matt Zoller Seitz interviews Steve James, director of "Life Itself," a documentary adapting Roger Ebert's memoir.
The first recipients of the Sundance Institute's Roger Ebert Scholarship for Film Criticism make their debut at the Sundance Film Festival.
Sheila writes: Exciting news for Roger Ebert fans: Director Steve James ["Hoop Dreams"] is planning a full-length documentary about Roger Ebert called "Life Itself", which will follow the trajectory of Ebert's career as well as examine his vast influence on the movie industry and American culture as a whole. Martin Scorsese is executive producer. The documentary is being financed partially through a fundraising campaign hosted by Indiegogo, and we wanted to let Ebert Club Members know that the "Life Itself" filmmakers are offering a special deal EXCLUSIVE TO EBERT CLUB MEMBERS who pledge to this campaign!
Seongyong Cho's review of "The Act of Killing"
Patrice Chereau, 1944-2013; how Wes Anderson Made 'The Royal Tenebaums': Errol Morris on the Zapruder film; Francis Coppola's "Twixt" Reconsidered; Starbucks cup label fails; Disney's first Black animator
Triceratops never existed; Coppola and DePalma betwixt passions; 8 books every educated person should read; the Syrian rebel problem; The Last Temptation of Christ revisited; Herzog + Morris.
Marie writes: Every once in while, I'll see something on the internet that makes me happy I wasn't there in person. Behold the foolish and the brave: standing on one of the islands that appear during the dry season, kayacker's Steve Fisher, Dale Jardine and Sam Drevo, were able to peer over the edge after paddling up to the lip of Victoria Falls; the largest waterfall in the world and which flows between Zambia and Zimbabwe, in Africa. It's 350 feet down and behind them, crocodiles and hippos can reportedly be found in the calmer waters near where they were stood - but then, no guts, no glory, eh? To read more and see additional photos, visit "Daredevil Kayakers paddle up to the precipice of the Victoria Falls" at the DailyMail.
Los Angeles, CA: Sundance Institute will remember and celebrate journalist and film critic Roger Ebert by honoring him with the Vanguard Leadership Award in Memoriam, in recognition of his advocacy of independent cinema. He was a frequent attendee of the Sundance Film Festival, where he discovered and supported films like Hoop Dreams, Man Push Cart, Come Early Morning, Longtime Companion, Metropolitan, The Brothers McMullen, Crumb, Picture Bride, American Movie, and The War Zone. Sundance alumni who count him as an advocate include Steve James, Spike Lee, Kathryn Bigelow, Steven Soderbergh, Quentin Tarantino, Errol Morris and Werner Herzog.
(UPDATED) Stanley Kubrick faked the Apollo 11 moon landing. The Newtown massacre and Boston Marathon bombings were "false flag" government conspiracies designed to take away our guns. Also, black is white, rich is poor, Obama is a foreign-born Muslim, work is freedom, freedom is slavery and Mona Lisa was a man.
A man said to the universe: "Sir, I exist!" "However," replied the universe, "The fact has not created in me "A sense of obligation." --Stephen Crane
That man can be found at the center of Werner Herzog's films. He is Aguirre. He is Fitzcarraldo. He is the Nosferatu. He is Timothy Treadwell, who lived among the grizzlies. He is Little Dieter Dengler, who needed to fly. She is Fini Straubinger, who lived in a land of silence and darkness since she was 12. He is Kaspar Hauser. He is Klaus Kinski. He is the man who will not leave the slopes of the Guadeloupe volcano when it is about to explode. He is those who live in the Antarctic. She is Juliana Koepcke, whose plane crashed in the rain forest and she walked out alive. He is Graham Dorrington, who flew one of the smallest airships ever built to study the life existing only in the treetops of that rain forest.
While he has been called "the Master of Suspense," Alfred Hitchcock has also been called "the Master of the Macabre," and that title is exemplified by his delightful black comedy "The Trouble with Harry" (1955). On the surface, it looks quite atypical compared to Hitchcock's more famous works, but this is a vintage story from a great director with a wry sense of humor, and it is also one of the most liveliest works in his exceptional career. Although somebody is dead, there is no suspense or danger or blond lady in the movie, and all we have to do is leisurely enjoy a pleasant walk with its funny characters as they try to deal with bizarre trouble on one fine autumn day in their ordinary peaceful rural town in Vermont.
Everything reminds me of movies. And movies remind me of everything. My life has been divided into roughly three states of consciousness: the time I've spent awake; the time I've spent asleep (and dreaming); the time I've spent in-between, in the dark, inhabiting movie-worlds. They're all essential, holistic components of what you might call my Total Life Experience. And I find that in some respects they all run together, aspects of one seeping into another: images, patterns, metaphors... So, when I read this re-evaluation of the new Apple iPhone 5 -- the feel of the thing -- it struck me as also being about a quality of certain movies that we don't discuss very often.
OK, this is where it really gets interesting. Forget the consensus Top 50 Greatest Movies of All Time; let's get personal. Sight & Sound has now published the top 250 titles in its 2012 international critics poll, the full list of more than 2,000 movies mentioned, and all the individual lists of the 845 participating critics, academics, archivists and programmers, along with any accompanying remarks they submitted. I find this to be the most captivating aspect of the survey, because it reminds us of so many terrific movies we may have forgotten about, or never even heard of. If you want to seek out surprising, rewarding movies, this is a terrific place to start looking. For the past few days I've been taking various slices at the "data" trying to find statistical patterns, and to glean from the wealth of titles some treasures I'd like to heartily recommend -- and either re-watch or catch up with myself.
I know we're supposed to consider the S&S poll a feature film "canon" -- a historically influential decennial event since 1952, but just one of many. I don't disagree with Greg Ferrara at TCM's Movie Morlocks ("Ranking the Greats: Please Make it Stop") when he says that limiting ballots to ten all-time "best" (or "favorite," "significant," "influential" titles is incredibly limiting. That's why I think perusing at the critics' personal lists, the Top 250 (cited by seven critics or more) and the full list of 2,045 films mentioned is more enjoyable pastime.
It's wise to remember that, although the top of the poll may at first glance look relatively conservative or traditional, there's a tremendous diversity in the individual lists. Even the top vote-getter, "Vertigo," was chosen by less than one quarter of the participants.
Why not fold documentaries into my list of the "Best Films of 2011?" After all, a movie is a movie, right? Yes, and some years I've thrown them all into the same mixture. But all of these year-end Best lists serve one useful purpose: They tell you about good movies you may not have seen or heard about. The more films on my list that aren't on yours, the better job I've done.
That's particularly true were you to depend on the "short list" released by the Academy's Documentary Branch of 15 films they deem eligible for nomination. The branch has been through turmoil in the past and its procedures were "reformed" at one point. But this year it has made a particularly scandalous sin of
God's Angry Man (1980) Herdsmen of the Sun (1989) Les Blank's "Werner Herzog Eats His Shoe," Part One (1980) Werner Herzog Eats His Shoe, Part Two Nobody Want to Play With Me, Part One (1976)
Nobody Want to Play With Me, Part Two
The Unprecedented Defence of the Fortress Deutschkreuz (1967) Herakles (1962)
My blog entry The Ecstasy of the Filmmaker Herzog, with videos of him discussing the 3D Cave documentary. A conversation between Errol Morris and Werner Herzog. From Ebertfest 2004, a conversation with Werner Herzog. Photo of Herzog at Boulder 2010 by Ebert.
Above: Joyce McKinney and Errol Morris at a screening of "Tabloid" at the Vista Theatre in Los Angeles (Los Feliz), July 13, 2011. I believe that's her dog's leash she's holding. (photo by Tiffany Rose)
"Joyce and I are getting along just fine. (Another Q&A in LA with an extraordinary woman.)" -- @errolmorris, Twitter, July 14, 2011
At the end of my review of Errol Morris's "Tabloid," I quoted from a New York Times story about his "Tabloid" subject and primary storyteller, Joyce McKinney, appearing at pre-release screenings in Austin (SxSW), Sarasota, San Francisco, Seattle and New York, to protest the film's portrayal of her. In the Times piece, she said:
"I sat till the audience started to leave and waited for the precise moment, and then jumped up and yelled, 'I'm Joyce McKinney!' " she said, with considerable glee. "They went crazy."
I quoted one of the producers of "Tabloid" (in which he called the picture "a Looney Tunes 'Rashomon'") and concluded: "Do these people know how to sell a movie or what?"
In recent interviews, Morris has been asked about these appearances and he's professed some bewilderment -- not only about her motivations, but how she's financing her transportation. Morris told Matt Singer at IFC.com:
From my piece on Errol Morris's latest, "Tabloid," at Press Play:
Ripped from today's headlines, Errol Morris's sensational "Tabloid" uncovers outrageous stories of sex, bondage, Mormons, kidnapping, cloning, drugging, buggery (or at least bugging) and betrayal circa 1977, and features more than one dog named Booger. The movie premiered almost a year ago, at the 2010 Telluride Film Festival--yet, between the surveillance scandals at Rupert Murdoch's gossip rags and the Tony-sweeping Trey Parker-Matt Stone missionary-position musical phenomenon "The Book of Mormon," "Tabloid" could hardly be more of-this-very-moment.
Given the timing of its release and the nature of its subject, you might say "Tabloid" suggests that history doesn't have to begin as tragedy and repeat itself as farce; it can be farce every time. The lurid reports recounted here swirl around Joyce McKinney, a blonde 1970s beauty queen (Miss Wyoming) with an IQ of 168 who goes all-out to win the man of her dreams, a clean-skinned Mormon missionary named Kirk Anderson. When they met, she says, "It was like in the movies." Long story short, she and a (besotted slave?) accomplice wind up accused of kidnapping and sexually abusing the object of her desire. The way Joyce tells it, her beloved suddenly disappears without explanation as they are planning their wedding. With the help of a private eye and a good platonic friend, she tracks him down in England, rescues him from his Mormon "cult" brainwashers, and takes him to a cottage in Devon where she ties him to a bed, ravishes him (consensually) for three wonderful days of fun, food and sex. And love, too. Preparing to give him a warm cinnamon-oil back rub, she rips off his Mormon underwear and burns the "smelly" garments in the fireplace, an act both practical and symbolic.