An update of the article dedicating Ebertfest 2018 to Roger Ebert and Mary Frances Fagan. And recognizing Ebertfest Volunteers Leonard Doyle, and Sherren (Sherry) Slade.
Matt writes: The 2017 Toronto International Film Festival just wrapped this past weekend, and screened an enormous array of enticing titles set for release this awards season. Click here for our complete festival coverage, including dispatches from Chaz Ebert, Brian Tallerico, Tina Hassannia, Vikram Murthi and Nick Allen.
Matt writes: One of the most praised films on RogerEbert.com this year has been David Lowery's audacious and unforgettable "A Ghost Story," reuniting the director with his "Ain't Them Bodies Saints" stars Rooney Mara and Casey Affleck. Brian Tallerico praised the picture upon his initial viewing of it at Sundance, and programmed it as the closing night selection at this year's Chicago Critics' Film Festival, where it played to a packed house. Tallerico later interviewed Lowery for the site, while Matt Zoller Seitz awarded the film four stars. Also worth a look is Noah Gittel's recent essay on Lowery and the "cinema of narrative displacement."
Sheila writes: In Roger Ebert's Great Movies review of Martin Scorsese's "Taxi Driver," he writes: "The technique of slow motion is familiar to audiences, who usually see it in romantic scenes, or scenes in which regret and melancholy are expressed--or sometimes in scenes where a catastrophe looms, and cannot be avoided. But Scorsese was finding a personal use for it, a way to suggest a subjective state in a POV shotPOV shot...one of Scorsese's greatest achievements in 'Taxi Driver' is to take us inside Travis Bickle's point of view." I came across a wonderful video that shows Scorsese's storyboards for "Taxi Driver" alongside the actual filmed scenes.
PRESS RELEASE: CHAMPAIGN, Ill. -- Terrence Malick's 1978 film "Days of Heaven" won an Oscar for best cinematography, and Roger Ebert likely found that no surprise. It is "above all one of the most beautiful films ever made," Ebert said in a 1997 review. So it's only appropriate that the film will open the 15th annual Roger Ebert's Film Festival on April 17 in the big-screen, newly renovated Virginia Theater in downtown Champaign.
Sometimes movies provide the moments I empathize with even though I am completely different from their characters. I remember how I sympathetically reacted to one particular scene around the end of "The Hurt Locker" (2008) because I would also be at a loss in its hero's circumstance unless my family or others accompanied me. Several months after watching that movie, I thought about that scene after wandering alone around the aisles of a big supermarket in the suburban area of Des Plaines, Illinois for at least more than 20 minutes until I settled on a loaf of white bread and a bottle of marmalade after lots and lots of hesitation.
Marie writes: Behold a truly inspired idea...Age 8: Eileen's pink creature It started with a simple idea: to make a recognizable comfort toy for her 4 year-old son Dani, based on one of his drawing. His school had asked the children to bring in a toy from home; an emergency measure in the event of a tantrum or crying fit. Fearing he might lose his favorite, Wendy Tsao decided to make Dani a new one. Using a drawing he often made as her guide, she improvised a plush toy snowman. Five years later, Wendy Tsao has her own thriving home-based craft business - Child's Own Studio - in which she transforms the imaginative drawings of children into plush and cloth dolls; each one handcrafted and one-of-a-kind. She receives requests from parents all over the world; there's 500 people on waiting list. Note: kudos to club member Sandy Kahn for submitting the piece.
Another much-anticipated film by one of the big names in this year's Cannes competition premiered this morning -- "Melancholia" by Lars von Trier. It's no secret that this apocalyptic science fiction drama ends with the destruction of the earth, since that is revealed in the first few minutes of the film. The character played by Charlotte Gainsbourg, neatly summarizes von Trier's dark pessimism with the line, "The earth is evil; we don't need to mourn for it." What is rather amazing is that a film about the destruction of all life (and von Trier posits that we are alone in the universe) could be so turgid.
That said, I think I rather prefer von Trier's wacko view of the cosmos in "Melancholia" to Terrence Malick's in "The Tree of Life." With the ingredients von Trier had to work with, it's surprising that he didn't make a better film. Following the various forms of desecration and transgression that are the hallmarks of "Antichrist," it's as if he felt the need to top himself with an even more outrageous concept, but forgot to figure out what the outrageous part would be.
"Melancholia" examines the relationship of two sisters, Justine (Kirsten Dunst) and Claire (Charlotte Gainsbourg) in the final days before the planet named Melancholia is due to collide with the earth. The story falls into two parts. The first is named for Justine, who is blonde, conventionally pretty, and mentally unstable. The second is named for Claire, who is Justine's opposite in every way, not only in her lean, dark-haired appearance, but in her down-to-earth competence in managing the stuff of life.