Abacus: Small Enough to Jail
A remarkable tale of immigrant success, wrapped around a crime story.
* 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.
The staff pays tribute to Jonathan Demme.
Our TV critic picks the best shows of 2016.
David Paterson on "The Great Gilly Hopkins"; Rise of magical realism on TV; Missing found-footage masterpiece; The rom-com is dead; Sarah Paulson and Mark Duplass.
A review of NBC's "The Slap."
Marie writes: As the dog days of summer slowly creep towards September and Toronto starts getting ready for TIFF 2013, bringing with it the promise of unique and interesting foreign films, it brought to mind an old favorite, namely The Red Balloon; a thirty-four minute short which follows the adventures of a young boy who one day finds a sentient red balloon. Filmed in the Menilmontant neighborhood of Paris and directed by French filmmaker Albert Lamorisse, The Red Balloon went on to win numerous awards and has since become a much-beloved Children's Classic.
This is a free edited sample of the Christmas Newsletter.
For Roger's invitation to the Club, go here.
From the Grand Poobah and Mrs. Poobah:
Seasons Greetings Everyone!
From the Poobah: Chaz and Roger Ebert wish you Peace in the New Year!
Every semester, I ask my students this one simple question. "Can you honestly say that you are happy?" In a class of 40 students, maybe only six will raise their hands. And that is pretty sad.
Are they plagued by those uncertainties of youth? Are they wondering if they will find a career, love, or meaning? Are they terrified by the threats of terrorist attacks, financial collapse, climate change and, well, the Apocalypse? Or, have they decided that the "American Dream" was not Thomas Jefferson's vision, but is instead a sappy Hollywood fantasy? Or, maybe they just hate my class? Sure.
In answering this question, Gabriele Muccino's "The Pursuit of Happyness," takes many usual directions that Hollywood movies take. At first, he seems to answer the question the way we would expect a Hollywood filmmaker to answer:
Marie writes: allow me to introduce you to Travel Photographer, founded by Chris and Karen Coe in 2003 and their annual contest "Travel Photographer of the Year".After years spent working in the travel industry as a professional photographer and finding it was mostly conventional images making it into print, Chris decided to create a way to showcase great travel photography and broaden people's perception of what it can encompass - namely, that it can be much, much more than a pretty postcard image.The contest is open to one and all; amateur and professional photographers compete alongside each other. Entrants are judged solely on the quality of their photographs. There's a special competition to encourage young photographers aged 18 and under; Young Travel Photographer of the Year. The youngest entrant to date was aged just five, the oldest 88. The competition is judged by a panel of photographic experts, including renowned photographers, picture buyers, editor and technical experts.And the 2010 winners have now been announced. Here's a few random photos to wet your appetite - then you can scroll through the amazing winners gallery!
Enal is around 6 years old and knows this shark well - it lives in a penned off area of ocean beneath his stilted house in Wangi, Indonesia. Photo: James Morgan, UK (Portfolio Encounters: Winner 2010) [note: click images to enlarge]
From the Grand Poobah: Netflix is great, but they don't have everything and seem to be weak on silent films. Here's a pay site streaming a large and useful selection of high-quality films, world-wide....
Marie writes: when Roger told me about this place, I signed-up to see if I could watch one their free movies? Yup! I can stream MUBI in Canada; though content will vary depending on where you live (that's also case with Netflix Canada) and so nothing new there. And after looking through their current catalog, I can report that they do indeed have some rare movies - stuff I've never found anywhere else. I even read that Martin Scorcese is a member.
From: Josey Foo, Farmington, NM
I was reading Charles Dickens the other day, and realized in a different way why "Crash" is such a good and useful film. Dickens is the best storyteller in the history of the novel, and although I've read him pretty much from end to end, I got into an argument about the character in "The Squid and the Whale" who tells his son that A Tale of Two Cities is "minor Dickens." I thought this opinion was correct, but I re-read it for the first time since I was a child, and found that it was not minor Dickens after all.
Although I agree with you that Paul Haggis’ film "Crash" has redeeming social value and tackles the still tenuous if not overt racism in this country, I don’t agree it is a great movie. The actors and the interweaving storyline are on point but the constant barrage of clichéd dialogue accompanied by melodramatic music was almost comical. The scene where Matt Dillon’s character is holding Thandie Newton in his arms while a biblical car fire raged against the sweeping soundtrack hit me over the head so hard I had two pop three Advil.
While I respect your optimism in your recent column, "In Defense of the Year’s ‘Worst Movie,’” I feel very strongly that “Crash” is not only misguided but dangerous, and so I can only say the same for your column. The film’s presentation of racism is so superficial, so painfully clichéd, that it threatens to actually close people’s eyes to the ways in which racism most frequently and most dangerously presents itself. Almost immediately your column falls into the trap of which many critics of this film are so wary.
Selections from the RogerEbert.com reader mail inbox regarding “Crash” and Roger Ebert’s defense of his top movie of 2005 against attacks from some critics:
Having selected "Crash" as the best film of 2005, I was startled to learn from Scott Foundas, a critic for LA Weekly, that it is the worst film of the year. Writing in the annual Slate.com Movie Club, a round table also involving Slate's David Edelstein, the Chicago Reader's Jonathan Rosenbaum and A.O. Scott of the New York Times, he wrote:
TORONTO -- Sometimes it's good to sit down in a quiet corner and take a deep breath and stop running as fast as you can. This year at the Toronto Film Festival, I've averaged three to four films a day and talked about movies in interviews, at lunch, in hotel lobbies, in elevators, corridors, standing next to hot dog stands, waiting in line for coffee, lingering on theater sidewalks and walking down the street. The phone is ringing right now.
Between Memorial Day and Labor Day, the best films fell into three summer traditions, plus some unclassifiable but memorable titles.
After she finished reading Toni Morrison's novel Beloved, Oprah Winfrey said, "I called Toni and said to her, `You know, I loved this book - but do people tell you they have to keep going over it?' And she said, `That, my dear, is called reading.' "
PARK CITY, Utah--Europeans tend to view Americans as perpetual teenagers, and maybe they have a point. If you were to judge the world on the basis of the movies at this year's Sundance Film Festival, the typical American is a troubled teenager and the typical European or Japanese is an adult confronting basic questions of life.
PARK CITY, Utah -- The most important little film festival in America opened here Thursday. The Sundance Film Festival, the annual trade fair for filmmakers working outside the studio system, will screen more than 100 films before industry-savvy audiences. People who got off the plane flat broke may fly out of town, clutching contracts. Maybe if we're lucky, there will even be another shoving match in a restaurant, like the one last year between guys from Fine Line and Miramax who both thought they bought the rights to the same film.
Q. In the ads for "GoldenEye," someone named Bonnie Churchill of something called the National News Syndicate is quoted as saying, "On a scale of one to four, 'GoldenEye' gets seven stars!" What is your reaction to this new critical math? (Charlie Smith, Chicago)
Ebert's Best Film Lists 1967 - present