Lights Out has been made with a certain degree of style—enough to make you want to see what Sandberg might be capable of with a…
The place for everything that doesn't have a home elsewhere on RogerEbert.com, this is a collection of thoughts, ideas, snippets, and other fun things that Roger and others posted over the years.
More moviegoers see films on video in some form than ever before -- whether streaming on demand, cable or satellite, instant download services, DVD or Blu-ray. Even high-profile pictures become available to home viewers before or at the same time as their theatrical release. Reviewing them is a job for... The Demanders!
Our Far-Flung Correspondents are cinephiles from all over the world, hand-picked by Roger Ebert to write about movies from their unique international perspectives. They include contributors from (alphabetically) Brazil, Canada, Egypt, Great Britain, India, Mexico, the Philippines, South Korea, Turkey and the U.S. They converge every year at Ebertfest.
Since he started as film critic for the Chicago Sun-Times in 1967, and began covering movies locally and at international film festivals, Roger Ebert has met and interviewed countless movie idols, artists and unknowns -- some of them even before they became famous. There's hardly a major figure in the history of movies, from the last part of the 20th century into the 21st, that he hasn't encountered.
Roger Ebert has attended international film festivals and events for almost half a century, from the Kolkata International Film Festival to the Academy Awards. In addition to his coverage, our contributors report the latest from Cannes, Telluride, Toronto, Sundance and other movie showcases world-wide.
"Life Itself," based on Roger Ebert's memoir and directed by Steve James, will open in theaters and be available On Demand on July 4, 2014.
The Cannes International Film Festival is the most talked-about film festival of the year, where directors from around the world showcase their newest work, from the most challenging art cinema to the big blockbusters. For many years, Roger Ebert and a team of contributors have covered Cannes, and we are continuing that tradition with start-to-finish coverage from around the festival.
A collection of tributes to Roger from various sources.
The opening shot of a movie can tell us a lot about how to view and interpret what follows. It can even represent the whole movie in miniature. The Opening Shots Project collects illustrated analyses of some of Jim Emerson's favorites, and contributions from Scanners readers.
This prickly film haunts me. I am now older than James Dean, Marilyn Monroe, Jimi Hendrix, and Malcolm X. I am at that age where the infinite world of my childhood bedroom is now replaced by a complicated mass of interwoven needs, wants, and concerns. The soundtrack of my youth is a summer of wind blowing through fragile leaves, with katydids buzzing along. The rattling taps of rain on our roof has now given way to the plastic clicking of this keyboard and various other mechanical monsters. Under it all is an ongoing hiss of noise. I also sometimes fall into that trap of looking at today through the telescope of an idealized yesterday; that outlook is a slick valley that is difficult to climb out of and easy to slide back into. Jack Nicholson in Sean Penn's"The Pledge" (2001) is likewise watching the world change. More than that, he is watching his world slip away from him.
When Jeremy Irons won an Oscar for his icy but humorous performance in "Reversal of Fortune" (1990), he thanked David Cronenberg at the end of his acceptance speech. He had a very good reason; in Cronenberg's unforgettable medical drama "Dead Ringers" (1988), he gave a stunning performance, or a pair of stunning performances, as the peculiar but prodigious twin gynecologists who are threatened by real emotions and then plunged into the self-destructive chaos where the only exit for them may be becoming one again, as they were conceived at first in their mother's womb.
"Sexual Chronicles of a French Family" (76 minutes) is available via IFC On Demand.
Let's play a game. It's 3 AM and you can't sleep. A channel roulette session with the remote control stops your TV on a certain network synonymous with softcore erotica. Do you: a) Roll your eyes and keep flipping the dial before falling asleep to some warped infomercial?
b) Realize you need something more substantial and order "Chicks Who Dig Odienator 29" off the Adult On Demand Channel?
c) Drop the remote and make a date with Rosy Palm and her Five Sisters? If you answered a, Alex Trebek is here to say "OOH I'M SORRY!!" We've got some nice consolation prizes for you as you leave this blog. If you answered b, I thank for your $9.95, but you will also have to leave this blog. Today's entry is most definitely not your speed. But if you answered c, have I got a movie for you. It's called "Chroniques sexuelles d'une famille d'aujourd'hui" or "Sexual Chronicles of a French Family," and you can watch it in the privacy of your own home. I won't tell, and I certainly won't cast aspersions. After all, I pitched this movie to review here at The Demanders. After discovering the title, and its French origins, my exact pitch to our editor was "Mmmm! FILTH!" So this sinner casts no stones.
Unfortunately, this sinner has issues with this "Chronicles of Labia," the least of which is how to review a movie like this. I could take the high road, but if you've read this far, you are expecting me to traverse the lowest road possible. To review a comedy, one must admit if it inspired laughter. To review an erotic picture, one must more uncomfortably cop to whether it resulted in the upping of a body part that isn't a thumb. In that regard, I respectfully submit that this film didn't do it for me. I expected something a little less squeamish (read: dirtier) than what I got.
"Sexual Chronicles of A French Family" is Cinemax with subtitles, or "Le Çinemax." It has the same frustrating "hide the good stuff" camera angles as your average straight-to-cable softcore knock-off, and the same repeated positions. In its defense, the film does not contain Cinemax's ubiquitous bad boob jobs, the ones so dreadful that they turn breasts into triangles, squares and other shapes nature never intended for headlights. The boob job in this film looks fine. "Chronicles" also has a more intriguing plot than any sex film on cable at 3 AM, though this is somewhat squandered.
I have a friend who promised himself over a decade ago never to be at the service of his career, and rather, that his career should be at his service. The result is that his wife left him, his family looks down on him, he earns a fraction of what his peers earn--a fraction of what his aptitude would dictate (I think he's a genius). He takes most of his jobs on contract, spanning very short periods of time. And, he is one of the happiest, most calm people I know; at least he seems content. In contrast, J.C. Chandor's "Margin Call" (2011) is the story of a group of high-powered bankers getting set to lose their jobs, and perhaps more.
From Gerardo Valero in Mexico City
19th Annual Chicago Underground Film Festival
When I watched a film directed by François Truffaut for the first time during one Sunday afternoon in 2008, I had a little expectation about the movie, which was shown on TV as "Pocket Money." Although I was already familiar with many of Truffaut's famous works including "The 400 Blows" (1959) or "Day for Night" (1973), I had not heard about the title, and nor did I know that its alternative title in North America region was "Small Change." Funny thing is, I remember that alternative title very well because Roger Ebert said in the introduction to one part of his book Awake in the Dark that he still could not explain how he came to choose "Small Change" as the best film of 1976 instead of "Taxi Driver" (1976), which he placed on No. 2 on his annual list.
When it comes to "Making of" documentaries, I put one above all others. It is "Hearts of Darkness: A Filmmaker's Apocalypse" (1991), a full-length feature about the filming of Francis Coppola's "Apocalypse Now". Nothing quite illustrates its impact like Francois Truffaut's statement: "I demand that a film express either the joy of making cinema or the agony of making cinema. I am not interested in anything in between." That the pain it captures eventually translated into cinematic greatness only serves to make it more compelling.
From Bruce Sheridan in Chicago
I don't like to link to music vidos that are only slideshows, without live performance footage. But this first clip is my favorite Burnside song, and I think it's appropriate for hard times.
R. L. Burnside on Wikipedia.