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La La Land

This is a beautiful film about love and dreams, and how the two impact each other.

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There are two movies in "Jackie." One of these movies is just OK. The other is exceptional. The first one keeps undermining the second.

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Ballad of Narayama

"The Ballad of Narayama" is a Japanese film of great beauty and elegant artifice, telling a story of startling cruelty. What a space it opens…

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Newcity's Film 50 2015 Features Chicago Screen Gems

I was honored once again to be included in Newcity's list featuring 50 Chicago "Screen Gems," notable figures in the movie industry currently residing in the Windy City. Although I must confess that I was dropped from Number 12 in the previous edition to Number 30 in the current one, I don’t begrudge my fellow “Screen Gems,” because I am just happy to be included at all. (Our mayor, Rahm Emanuel, is listed as Number 41.) So thank you Ray Pride and publisher Brian Hieggelke. 

Rounding out the top five Screen Gems in Chicago were William Schopf, president of the Music Box Theatre and Music Box Films; Alex Pissios, president of Cinespace Chicago; Barbara Scharres and Martin Rubin, Director of Programming and Associate Director of Programming at the Gene Siskel Film Center; Rich Moskal, director of the Chicago Film Office; and Forager Film producers Peter Gilbert, Eddie Linker and Joe Swanberg

Other key people on the list include Bruce Sheridan, Chair of  Cinema Art + Science at Columbia College Chicago; Steve Cohen and Paula Froehle, Chairman of the Board and Executive Director of the Chicago Media Project; George Lucas, director, philanthropist and financier of the Lucas Museum of Narrative Art; and Milos Stehlik, Mary Visconti and Charles Coleman, Director, Associate Director and Film Program Director (respectively) of Facets Multimedia.

In addition to Barbara Scharres, a longtime contributor at RogerEbert.com who writes for us from the Cannes Film Festival, the list also included James Bond, projection guru and President of Full Aperture Systems. Bond, (and yes, that is his real name), is the celebrated projectionist at Ebertfest. And the article included a testimonial from none other than Scharres: “We maintain that James Bond is the best projection booth designer in North America, which is why we have relied on his inspired solutions to our technical needs for close to twenty years. There’s no doubt about the fact that he is a superb technician and designer, but the key ingredient as far as we’re concerned is that James thinks like an artist. He brings enormous imagination to the problem-solving process, which is an incredibly valuable factor, especially in this time of rapidly evolving projection technology.” 

I am especially grateful that in praising my website RogerEbert.com, Newcity mentions some of our writers who always deserve praise like: Brian Tallerico, Matt Zoller Seitz, Glenn Kenny, Matt Fagerholm, Scout Tafoya, Simon Abrams, Peter Sobczynski and Nick Allen. They could have named them all as far as I am concerned, but they had space constraints. 

To read the full article, "Film 50 2015: Chicago's Screen Gems," visit the official site of Newcity.

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