Matt writes: The twentieth anniversary of Ebertfest, the film festival co-founded by Pulitzer Prize-winning critic Roger Ebert and his wife Chaz Ebert at the University of Illinois, College of Media, is slated to run from Wednesday, April 18th, through Sunday, April 22nd, next year. Passes for the festival are now on sale at the official sites of Ebertfest and its main venue, The Virginia Theatre, 203 W. Park Ave., Champaign, Illinois.
Matt writes: This year's film festivals in Venice, Telluride and Toronto offered plenty of enticing titles set to open over the next few months, and RogerEbert.com publisher Chaz Ebert decided to highlight some of her favorites. In an essay entitled "Cupid Pierced My Tender Heart at the Movies," Ebert provides numerous recommendations, including captivating romances by Guillermo del Toro ("The Shape of Water"), Wim Wenders ("Submergence"), Paul McGuigan ("Film Stars Don't Die in Liverpool") and Luca Guadagnino ("Call Me by Your Name").
A look back at this past weekend's Telluride Film Festival, which included 9 in the main program directed by women.
Premieres at this weekend's Telluride Film Festival include the latest from Alexander Payne, Errol Morris, Greta Gerwig, Angelina Jolie, Guillermo del Toro and more.
Marie writes: Last week, in response to a club member comment re: whatever happened to Ebert Club merchandize (turned out to be too costly to set up) I had promised to share a free toy instead - an amusement, really, offered to MailChimp clients; the mail service used to send out notices. Allow me to introduce you to their mascot...
The grand Poobah writes: I have been assured by many posters on my video games blog entry that it took decades for the cinema to gain recognition as an art form. Untrue. Among the first to admire it was Leo Tolstoy, and I reprinted his late 19th-century reaction in my Book of Film. In 1908, Tolstoy and his family appeared in an early motion picture, and if you saw The Last Station (2009) you may want to compare your memories with the real thing. Here is some information about those in the film.
The Last Station (2009) Director Michael Hoffman. Cast: James McAvoy, Helen Mirren, Christopher Plummer, Paul Giamatti and Kerry Condon."The Last Station" focuses on the last year of Count Tolstoy (Christopher Plummer), a full-bearded Shakespearian figure presiding over a household of intrigues. The chief schemer is Chertkov (Giamatti), his intense follower, who idealistically believes Tolstoy should leave his literary fortune to the Russian people. It's just the sort of idea that Tolstoy might seize upon in his utopian zeal. Sofya (Helen Mirren), on behalf of herself and her children, is livid." - Ebert. You can read Roger's full review HERE.
After a career as a leading actor that began with "The Last Picture Show" in 1971 and has included four Academy Award nominations, Jeff Bridges seems poised to be nominated again for his pitch-perfect performance as Bad Blake, a broken-down country singer in "Crazy Heart." His performance has been singled out in the best actor category of many film critics' year-end awards. In my review elsewhere in this section, I note: "It's like Bad has lived so long and been through so much that he's too worn out to add any spin to exactly the way he feels."
Since Moses brought the tablets down from the mountain, lists have come in tens, not that we couldn't have done with several more commandments. Who says a year has Ten Best Films, anyway? Nobody but readers, editors, and most other movie critics. There was hell to pay last year when I published my list of Twenty Best. You'd have thought I belched at a funeral. So this year I have devoutly limited myself to exactly ten films.