Trial by Fire
The film plods at points, trudging along, and there are a few misguided narrative "devices" tacked on, but still, "Trial by Fire" bristles with anger.
We thought you may want to watch Steve James' "Life Itself" today, on Roger Ebert's 73rd birthday, and have some new information on how to do so internationally. Every day, we get letters or emails responding to "Life Itself," or asking how it can be seen. And so we thought it appropriate to respond today, and asked Magnolia Pictures for some help. They told us that in the United States it can be seen on Netflix, iTunes, Amazon and most other VOD (video on demand) rental services. The rest of the international details are below.
On Sundance Channel:
ASIA (excluding Japan and China)
In ISRAEL on DBS Pay TV
In ITALY - on VOD platforms and Pay TV (soon)
China - VOD platforms
It also seems like a great time to remind you of critical response to one of the best documentaries of 2014. Read more here.
“Far more than just a tribute to the career of the world’s most famous and influential film critic, the often revelatory “Life Itself” is also a remarkably intimate portrait of a life well lived — right up to the very last moment." - Bruce Ingram, Chicago Sun-Times
“It's a work of taste and generosity, in keeping with its subject, and James ensures that it avoids the hometown-hero ‘attaboy!’ attitude some feared might come of such a project, especially so soon after the 70-year-old film critic's death in April. … Anyone who cared about Roger Ebert will find it necessary viewing." Michael Phillips, Chicago Tribune
“Watching ‘Life Itself,’ what strikes me most about the way that Ebert lived out his final days, when his body was disintegrating yet his mind was purified, is that it truly was a continuation of the way that he had always lived: at full spiritual volume, hungry for the taste of experience. His ego was so implacable that it was truly at peace. In a lifetime at the movies, Roger Ebert consumed a lot of empathy, so there’s something almost luminous about seeing him take that empathy and shine it back on himself.” - Owen Gleiberman,Entertainment Weekly
“The number one thing that comes through in ‘Life Itself’ is the distinctive, clean voice of his prose, a voice that was both full of love and trained by writing on deadline, expansive as the world of film and concisely shaped and sharpened by the physical constraints and physical nature of newspaper publishing. Ebert’s genius was, as Trilling said of Orwell, that he was not a genius — his insights and ideas were always articulated simply, strongly and perfectly in the plain-spoken language of newspapers and lobby conversation.” - James Rocchi, Film.com
“The main takeaway here is Ebert’s unsinkable passion which lasted until the very end: he was a person who cared tremendously about the power of cinema as an art form, and that love will never die. Herzog refers to him as a true soldier of cinema and, by the end of this documentary, it’s hard not to agree with the sentiment. The power of his influence reverberates to this day with a new generation of online critics (myself included) who will remember and cherish his legacy for many years to come.” - Raffi Asdourian, The Film Stage
“No film in the festival is as critic-friendly; watching it, I finally understood how football players must feel about ‘Brian’s Song.’” - Jason Bailey, FlavorWire
“Even the best relationship in Ebert's life isn't viewed through some gauzy filter. Chaz Ebert, often depicted as an eternally patient angel, gets to be tough and feisty here, standing up to her husband and fighting for him. It's not an idealized relationship, even if there's something swoon-worthy about two people who found soulmates a little bit later in life.” - Daniel Feinberg, HitFix
“Even those in journalism, the film business and elsewhere who knew Roger Ebert fairly well will learn a lot through James’ richly satisfying film, and while some will flinch at what he went through in his final years, many more will admire the strength and perseverance that contributed to his becoming a genuinely resolved man.” - Todd McCarthy, The Hollywood Reporter
“A large portion of the film takes place in the hospital during Ebert's last act in life. James gets up close and personal, showing the audience how much Ebert smiled through his tough, final days and managed to still enjoy his life. It's devastating and beautiful, sad and poetic, all at the same time, exactly what Ebert wanted.” - Chase Whale, IndieWire
This message came to me from a reader named Peter Svensland. He and a fr...