Matt writes: Hello, Ebert Club subscribers! I'm Matt Fagerholm, Assistant Editor at RogerEbert.com, and I'll be taking over the Ebert Club newsletter. My inimitable predecessor, Sheila O'Malley, has gotten me up to speed on what you'll be expecting from this membership, and I'm very excited to provide you with a sneak peek at some of the most enticing titles in both current and classic cinema.
Marie writes: As some of you may have heard, a fireball lit up the skies over Russia on February 15, 2013 when a meteoroid entered Earth's atmosphere. Around the same time, I was outside with my spiffy new digital camera - the Canon PowerShot SX260 HS. And albeit small, it's got a built-in 20x zoom lens. I was actually able to photograph the surface of the moon!
(click to enlarge)
Marie writes: It's no secret that most Corporations are evil - or at the very least, suck big time. And while I have no actual proof, I'm fairly certain there is a special level of Dante's Hell reserved just for them. (Map of Dante's Hell.)That being the case, when my younger brother Paul wrote me about a cool project sponsored by Volkswagen, I was understandably wary and ready to denounce it sight-unseen as self-serving Corporate shyte. As luck would have it however, I was blessed at birth with curiosity and which got the better of me and why I took a look. For what I found was nothing less than extraordinary....
Look at it this way. We have the chance to see virtually every American film that's released, and many of the English language films in general. But with the crisis in U.S. distribution, the only foreign-language films are those someone paid hard cash for, and risked opening here. "You always like those foreign films," I'm told, often by someone making it sound like a failing. Not always, but often. They tend to involve characters of intelligence and complexity. If
I always try to find at least one film at Toronto that's way off the beaten track. I rarely stray further afield than I did Tuesday night, when I found myself watching "Wake in Fright," a film made in Australia in 1971 and almost lost forever. It's not dated. It is powerful, genuinely shocking, and rather amazing. It comes billed as a "horror film," and contains a great deal of horror, but all of the horror is human and brutally realistic.
Donald Pleasence in "Wake in Fright"
The story involves a young school teacher in the middle of the desolate wilderness of the Outback. The opening overhead shot shows a shabby building beside a railroad track, the camera pans 360 degrees and finds only the distant horizon. and then returns to find a second building on the other side of the tracks. One building is the school. The other is the hotel. To get to either, people must have to travel a great distance.