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…
* 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.
Robert Cameron Fowler, a Roger Ebert Scholarship recipient, reports on ten memorable characters in films form the 2014 Sundance Film Festival.
Different as these two features may be, "Listen Up Philip" and "The Better Angels" both manage to respectfully pay homage without stripping themselves of their own voices.
Twenty years ago, promising actor River Phoenix died at 23. His last, unfinished film was "reconstructed" and shown at festivals earlier this year. The making of that film was already difficult before his death.
Marie writes: Christmas is almost upon us, and with its impending arrival comes the sound of children running free-range through the snow, while grown-ups do battle indoors in the seasonal quest to find the perfect gift...
Marie writes: "let's see what happens if I tickle him with my stick..."(Photo by Daniel Botelho. Click image to enlarge.)
HAPPY BELATED BIRTHDAY TO THE EBERT CLUB!
Marie writes: Recently, we enjoyed some nice weather and inspired by the sunshine, I headed out with a borrowed video camera to shoot some of the nature trails up on Burnaby Mountain, not far from where I live. I invariably tell people "I live near Vancouver" as most know where that is - whereas Burnaby needs explaining. As luck would have it though, I found a great shot taken from the top of Burnaby Mountain, where you can not only see where I live now but even Washington State across the Canadian/US border...
(click image to enlarge)
"I realize that most of the turning points in my career were brought about by others. My life has largely happened to me without any conscious plan. I was an indifferent student except at subjects that interested me, and those I followed beyond the classroom, stealing time from others I should have been studying. I was no good at math beyond algebra. I flunked French four times in college. I had no patience for memorization, but I could easily remember words I responded to. In college a chart of my grades resembled a mountain range. My first real newspaper job came when my best friend's father hired me to cover high school sports for the local daily. In college a friend told me I must join him in publishing an alternative weekly and then left it in my hands. That led to the Daily Illini, and that in turn led to the Chicago Sun-Times, where I have worked ever since 1966. I became the movie critic six months later through no premeditation, when the job was offered to me out of a clear blue sky."Visit "I was born inside the movie of my life" to read the opening pages from Roger's forthcoming memoir to be published September 13, 2011.
I have long had trouble enjoying live sporting events, concerts, and stage shows for three reasons. First, I would tire from watching the show from one single angle. Conditioned by movies, I need the variety of angles, the intimacy of close-ups and the sweep of tracking shots. Second, live events will never have the polish of a polished movie. And, third, (more applicable to large stage shows) the dialogue is always too enunciated and thus distant, even when it is "realistic."
The grand Poobah writes: I have been assured by many posters on my video games blog entry that it took decades for the cinema to gain recognition as an art form. Untrue. Among the first to admire it was Leo Tolstoy, and I reprinted his late 19th-century reaction in my Book of Film. In 1908, Tolstoy and his family appeared in an early motion picture, and if you saw The Last Station (2009) you may want to compare your memories with the real thing. Here is some information about those in the film.
The Last Station (2009) Director Michael Hoffman. Cast: James McAvoy, Helen Mirren, Christopher Plummer, Paul Giamatti and Kerry Condon."The Last Station" focuses on the last year of Count Tolstoy (Christopher Plummer), a full-bearded Shakespearian figure presiding over a household of intrigues. The chief schemer is Chertkov (Giamatti), his intense follower, who idealistically believes Tolstoy should leave his literary fortune to the Russian people. It's just the sort of idea that Tolstoy might seize upon in his utopian zeal. Sofya (Helen Mirren), on behalf of herself and her children, is livid." - Ebert. You can read Roger's full review HERE.
The Festival International du Film, held annually in Cannes, France, has become the world's most prestigious film festival—the spot on the beach where the newest films from the world's top directors compete for both publicity and awards.
Ebert's Best Film Lists1967 - present
Q. We saw "The Madness of King George" the other night. Pretty good. However, the first scene showed some heavy wooden doors. As the camera panned in you could read the graffiti carved on the doors. The most prominent was the date "1867." It bothered the heck out of me to start the movie with this obvious continuity issue. Was this a director's idea of a joke or an IQ test ? (John T. Bear, Atlanta, Ga.)
Q. I understand Warner Bros. was forced to suspend plans for the release of a new 70mm print of the restored "director's cut" of Sam Peckinpah's "The Wild Bunch" after the MPAA rated the film NC-17. I would very much like to hear Jack Valenti explain why "The Wild Bunch" gets an NC-17 when even more violent films like "Total Recall" get an R. Violence is okay only so long as it occurs among cardboard characters in a cartoon script? --Robert Lauriston, San Francisco