The Big Sick
Finds that laughter-through-tears sweet spot, often in the unlikeliest of places.
* 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.
A review of two good new shows: Hulu's "Casual" and Amazon's "Red Oaks".
A TIFF report on the new Jason Reitman film, "Ruth & Alex" and "Boychoir."
Roderick Heath on "We Are the Best!"; The whiplash of journalism; Hollywood's secret sequel economy; Chatting with Seth Meyers; Kirk Douglas on Lauren Bacall.
Sam Fragoso reports on the Eberfest screening of Jason Reitman's "Young Adult" with Patton Oswalt.
A complete guide to the 16th Annual Roger Ebert's Film Festival.
Jason Bateman talks about directing, working with kids, and shaking up his nice-guy image for an R-rated comedy.
Spike Lee will present a screening of "Do the Right Thing" at Ebertfest 2014 to commemorate the film's 25th anniversary.
Ebertfest sneaks the names of a few guests in anticipation of announcing the full lineup.
Author Joyce Maynard talks about teaching Jason Reitman to bake a pie, writing a romance about a mother, and seeing the stories she writes as a film in her imagination.
The Toronto International Film Festival tribute to Roger was a time for tears, laughter and memories.
Sofia Coppola's privilege problem; why "Happy Birthday to You" isn't in the public domain; surveillance in America, and in the movies; five dictators who despise social media.
Marie writes: many simply know her as the girl with the black helmet. Mary Louise Brooks (1906 - 1985), aka Louise Brooks, an American dancer, model, showgirl and silent film actress famous for her bobbed haircut and sex appeal. To cinefiles, she's best remembered for her three starring roles in Pandora's Box (1929) and Diary of a Lost Girl (1929) directed by G. W. Pabst, and Prix de Beauté (1930) by Augusto Genina. She starred in 17 silent films (many lost) and later authored a memoir, Lulu in Hollywood."She regards us from the screen as if the screen were not there; she casts away the artifice of film and invites us to play with her." - Roger, from his review of the silent classic Pandor's Box.
Marie writes: Belgium club member Koen Van Loocke has submitted the following and it's so awesome, I have no words. But first, background..The Cinematic Orchestra is led by composer/programmer/multi-instrumentalist Jason Swinscoe, who formed his first group "Crabladder" in 1990 while a Fine Arts student at Cardiff College. The group's fusion of jazz and hardcore punk elements with experimental rhythms, inspired Swinscoe to further explore the musical possibilites and by the time the group disbanded in the mid-'90s, he was playing DJ at various clubs and pirate radio stations in and around London.
Marie writes: Behold an extraordinary collection of Steampunk characters, engines and vehicles created by Belgian artist Stephane Halleux. Of all the artists currently working in the genre, I think none surpass the sheer quality and detail to be found in his wonderful, whimsical pieces...
Left to right: Little Flying Civil, Beauty Machine, Le Rouleur de Patin(click images to enlarge)
• Toronto Journal #1More than in previous years, I'm noticing the laptops in the audiences here at the Toronto Film Festival. Some of the bloggers seem to be beginning their reviews as the end credits still play. Then you see them outside, sitting on a corridor floor, their computers tethered to an electric umbilical, as they type urgently. Of course many of them share their opinions in quick conversational bursts, and a consensus develops. Most films good enough for an important festival, I think, require a little more marinating.
Australian film critic Adrian Martin has sparked a discussion about the term "realism" with a short piece he wrote for the Dutch publication "Filmkrant," titled "Make Me Feel Mighty Real." Martin contends that the critical success of David Fincher's "Zodiac" (though it was a commercial disappointment) "kick-started a minor trend" -- he includes Steven Soderberg's "Che," Olivier Assayas's "Carlos" and Fincher's own "The Social Network" -- toward a kind of historical realism he describes as "a low-key realistic soap-opera of guns, sex, death, wealth, power... sticking as far as possible to the exact, wayward contours of the original events."
The term "realism" is one I've always had trouble with, because it's so vague and relative. Is cinéma vérité (or, for that matter, a surveillance camera recording) any more "real" than a Stanley Kubrick film? Not necessarily -- all show the results of decisions that have to do with photography: camera placement, lighting, sound recording, editing, etc. How much of the action is taking place because of the presence of the camera(s)? How aware of the camera(s) are the subjects, or the audience? Timestamps, black-and-white video, handheld camerawork -- they're all storytelling devices available to filmmakers. So, isn't so-called "realism" really more a choice of technology, functionality, technique, style?
Jason Reitman is not only a gifted director, but a forthright and thoughtful one. After three features ("Thank You for Smoking," "Juno" and "Up in the Air"), he has achieved, at the age of 34, firm standing on the A List.
He visited Chicago on Jan. 29 to appear on the Oprah program, and stopped off at my house on his way to the airport. Having only just discovered the video capability of a new camera, I took these videos. They are hand-held, shaky and need editing. But what Reitman says is perceptive and worth sharing.
Also in the room: My wife Chaz, off camera to the left. Reitman's wife, the actress Michelle Lee, to his right. Chicago publicist Janet Hillebrand on the sofa in front of the windows. The voice on my MacBook is sometimes heard.
The sculpture is "Warrior Woman," which Chaz and found in a London gallery that holds an exhibition called "Not in the Spring Exhibition," for works not accepted in the annual show of new works by the Royal Academy of Arts. In other words, Refuseniks. Jason and Michelle are standing in front of an abstract by the British expressionist Gillian Ayres. RE • • •
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if (WIDGETBOX) WIDGETBOX.renderWidget('502fed1c-392e-46ca-9f0e-ade724d131dc'); Get the rogerebert.com :: Movie reviews, widget and many other great free widgets at Widgetbox! Not seeing a widget? (More info)
Congratulations to Cartoon Caption winner Howard DiNatale, whose just won himself a special book prize from Roger! Contact the Grand Poobah to claim it. And thank-you to everyone who submitted a caption and or voted; we're sorry it took a while to announce a winner and appreciate your patience.Ebert: Grace Wang created this mosaic of all of us at our Far-Flung best.note: "right click" on photo and open in new window to see total enlarged imageTom Dark poured forth his Journal entries on Ebertfest, and since the poor sod lacks a blog of his own, I have created a special page for it that resides here..
Ebert: I met Howie Movshovitz in 1970 in my first year at the Conference on World Affairs in Boulder. He was an English major, about to transfer into film studies. We've been friends ever since. He went on to become a film critic for the Denver Post and NPR, a professor at the Univ. of Colorado, a film evangelist who treks to small Colorado towns to hold outdoor screenings of classics, and the head of the Starz Cinema Center in Denver. He was a guest at Ebertfest 2010, and filed this report via Colorado Public Radio Colorado Public Radio.
A gift from Hawaii for Club members!
From the Big Kahuna: One of our dear friends for more than 25 years has been Jeannette Hereniko, the founder and for many years director of the Hawaii International Film Festival. Jeannette is a key figure in the world of Asia-Pacific Films in general, and several years ago began the smashingly successful AsiaPacificFilms.com. As you can see at the link, she offers a treasure trove of streaming films from all over the region--and as she defines it, it's a very large region indeed.
Jeannette (above) is a member of the Club, and writes: "An idea: Would you like to offer your members one free month of streaming movies on AsiaPacificFilms.com? It can save them $8.99 for one month and they can cancel at any time. We can figure out a coupon code for the members to enter that allows them free access for a month. If you like this idea, I'll set the coupon up to start working to coincide with the day you announce it. Anytime after your Festival."
Yes, I like it. This is typical of Jeannette, who was instrumental in my discovery that the Aloha Spirit was something very real, and not a tourist slogan. We'll have a follow-up.
Click here to enter the Outguess Ebert contest and mark your picks for the Oscar winners.
Talking with Jason Reitman is uncannily like talking to a real person and not the director of an Oscar contender. He's not on autopilot. He's not using sound bites. He's just talking.
After commenting on George Clooney as Hollywood star, and as star of the very excellent Jason Reitman film UP IN THE AIR, I decided to shift attention to a similar figure in Bollywood cinema: Aamir Khan. Aamir Khan is the star of the most successful Bollywood movie in history, the comedy THREE IDIOTS. Like Clooney (and perhaps Redford before him) he uses his star power to make serious movies, with the most famous being LAGAAN. Here, in MANGAL PANDEY: THE RISING we look at this story of one of the respected heroes of Indian cultural memory.
On the surface, the film continues the popular David vs. Goliath anti-imperialist genre we find in such films as THE TEN COMMANDMENTS, KING OF KINGS, LION OF THE DESERT, THE BATTLE FOR ALGIERS, some revisionist westerns like THE OUTLAW JOSEY WALES, the TV miniseries MASADA, BRAVEHEART,