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Freeheld stumbles over too many hurdles to recommend it. The film’s heart is in the right place, but its focus is not.



Cassel’s latest movie that smartly keeps his innate menace on a slow, low simmer, isn’t nearly as convincing or compelling as its star.

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"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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Ebertfest photoblog: Day 3

Meta: Writer-director Charlie Kaufmann ("Synecdoche, New York," right) watches David Bordwell (left) take a photo of the "Far-Flung Correspondents" panel (center, rear).


Roger Ebert introduces the " Far-Flung Correspondents" panel, moderated by Omer Mozaffer (Pakistan via Chicago, right).


Mo' correspondents: Ali Arikan (Istanbul), Michael Mirasol (Philippines), Omar Moore (London via Chicago).


Even more correspondents: Gerardo Valero (Mexico City), Grace Wang (China via Toronto), Seongyong Cho (South Korea).


Chaz Ebert welcomes another audience to the Virginia Theater.


The audience welcomes Japanese director Yojiro Tokita after a screening of his Oscar-winning comedy-weepie, "Departures."


David Bordwell, perpetual expert Ebertfest panelist -- which is something you should try saying six times real fast. See Manohla Dargis's feature on DB in the New York Times.


Alloy Orchestra members join Ebertfest panelists onstage for a discussion after the screening of Dziga Vertov's Soviet avant-garde silent film "Man with a Movie Camera" (1929).

All photos by jim emerson

A taste of today's tweets (most recent at top):

RT @aliarikan Roger just presented Charlie Kaufman with a Golden Thumb for Synecdoche for best film of the decade.

RT @SunsetGunShots Tonight #ebertfest: Synecdoche, New York. Is That All There Is To A Fire?

Roger welcomes the Alloy Orchestra. #Ebertfest

Alloy Orchestra setting up for Man with a Movie Camera. "Departures" - like a Bill Forsyth comedy that evolves into Capra or Bozage weepie: death, food, seasons, ritual...

Egyptian correspondent [Wael Khairy] eluded volcano and is on his way from O'Hare!

Foreign panel: Piracy/torrent may be only option for var. reasons: Diving Bell & Butterfly, Brokeback Mt., Singin' in the Rain

@aliarikan: Most popular film among young people in Istanbul is probably "Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind."

Far-flung Internet correspondents from Seoul, Mexico City, London, Pakistan, China, Philippines (via Chicago, Toronto, Malaysia) Roger introducing a panel of his "foreign correspondents." Panel: Do filmmakers need to take production classes? Or is liberal arts a better way to learn about story, character, metaphor? Classic archivist line "Digital/DVD will last forever or five years, whichever comes first."

David Bordwell: Distinction between film as medium and film as form. E-books are still books. Q from audience: Has the term "film" become like "dial tone," where people don't really understand what it means?

Live-streaming a panel from the Illini Union.

D.Bordwell: There's something interesting to learn or be said about nearly any film if you know how to ask the right questions.

Howie Movshovitz: Charles Burnett DISCOVERED his personal vision via Neorealists, Renoir, Sembene - absorbing not imitating them.

Panel: Do film students need to know the classics? History teaches experience, options. No need to reinvent the wheel.

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