Roger Ebert became film critic of the Chicago Sun-Times in 1967. He is the only film critic with a star on Hollywood Boulevard Walk of Fame and was named honorary life member of the Directors' Guild of America. He won the Lifetime Achievement Award of the Screenwriters' Guild, and honorary degrees from the American Film Institute and the University of Colorado at Boulder. Since 1989 he has hosted Ebertfest, a film festival at the Virginia Theater in Champaign-Urbana. From 1975 until 2006 he, Gene Siskel and Richard Roeper co-hosted a weekly movie review program on national TV. He was Lecturer on Film for the University of Chicago extension program from 1970 until 2006, and recorded shot-by-shot commentaries for the DVDs of "Citizen Kane," "Casablanca," "Floating Weeds" and "Dark City," and has written over 20 books.
Q. I just saw a TV commercial for the new kids' movie "Big Fat Liar." The voice-over said it had won an "Award of Excellence" from the Film Advisory Board. Since the movie doesn't exactly look like "Citizen Kane"--who's on the board and what's with the award? (Ramin Setoodeh, Stanford CA)
I told Halle Berry this story.
Q. The wife in the Coen Brothers' "The Man Who Wasn't There" works for a department store named Nirdlinger's. That is the surname of the man who is murdered in James M. Cain's novel "Double Indemnity." (John R. Simon, City of Salt. UT)
PARK CITY, Utah -- "Personal Velocity," a film by Rebecca Miller telling the separate stories of three women, won the Grand Jury Prize for best feature film here Saturday night at the Sundance Film Festival.
PARK CITY, Utah--From despair to victory, the South African documentary "Amandla!" has the widest range of emotion of any film at this year's Sundance. It follows the history of the struggle for freedom in terms of the movement's music--which was, as one singer observes, a weapon the apartheid government could not disarm.
PARK CITY, Utah--The man in the audience was angry. "How could you," he asked the director, his voice trembling with sincerity, "despite your talented cast and great production values, make such a bleak, negative, amoral film? What kind of a portrait is this of Asian Americans? Don't you have a responsibility to paint a more positive and helpful portrait of your community?"
PARK CITY, Utah--Good films but no great films. As the Sundance Film Festival heads into its final weekend, last year's exhilaration fades into a kind of contentment: We've enjoyed ourselves, we've seen films of originality and quality, but where is this year's equivalent of "Memento"? "The Deep End"? "In the Bedroom"? "Waking Life"?
PARK CITY, Utah -- "The Laramie Project," the opening-night film at Sundance this year, was an HBO made-for-cable movie. So is "Hysterical Blindness," Mira Nair's new film starring Uma Thurman and Gena Rowlands.
PARK CITY, Utah--I walked out of the screening of "Gerry" and was pounced on by three women who had just seen the film.
Q. Sometimes I'll take a look at the Internet Movie Database (imdb.com) to see how people are reacting to a recent release. To my disbelief, people have rated "Lord of the Rings" the best movie of all time on IMDb's Top 250 list! I thought it was a good action/fantasy adventure but I wouldn't have even included it in my personal Top 100 list. After speaking with many people, I realize that most of those who consider it the best film are also fans of the books. I noticed the same reaction for "Harry Potter:" If the book is great, the movie must be great. Is it possible that movies in the future will simply be visualizations of a book? Will books in the future simply be "test script runs?" Will people rate movies based on how close the visuals and characters look and act like people think they are supposed to? I'm scared. (Bruce M. Arnold, University of Arizona, Tucson, Ariz.)