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Tom Luddy

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Barfly (1987)

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Chaz's Journal

Hollywood and Indie Worlds Come Together for Roger Ebert Memorial Tribute

Hollywood and indie film directors, actor John Cusack, actor Chris Tucker, comedian and philanthropist Dick Gregory, former Playboy chair Christie Hefner and the president of Sony Pictures Classics, and the lead critics from Variety, The Hollywood Reporter, and the Chicago Film Critics Association, will join other celebrities, friends and colleagues to pay tribute to iconic film critic Roger Ebert’s life and prolific career at “Roger Ebert: A Celebration of Life,” this Thursday, April 11, at 7 p.m. at the Chicago Theatre, 175 N. State St.

Roger Ebert

The great ecstasy of the sculptor Herzog

A man said to the universe: "Sir, I exist!" "However," replied the universe, "The fact has not created in me "A sense of obligation." --Stephen Crane

That man can be found at the center of Werner Herzog's films. He is Aguirre. He is Fitzcarraldo. He is the Nosferatu. He is Timothy Treadwell, who lived among the grizzlies. He is Little Dieter Dengler, who needed to fly. She is Fini Straubinger, who lived in a land of silence and darkness since she was 12. He is Kaspar Hauser. He is Klaus Kinski. He is the man who will not leave the slopes of the Guadeloupe volcano when it is about to explode. He is those who live in the Antarctic. She is Juliana Koepcke, whose plane crashed in the rain forest and she walked out alive. He is Graham Dorrington, who flew one of the smallest airships ever built to study the life existing only in the treetops of that rain forest.

Interviews

Manny Farber: In memory

Manny Farber has died. The great iconoclast of American film criticism was 91. He coined the term "underground film," contrasted "termite art" with "white elephant art" in a way that started you thinking about movies in such terms, and once described the auteur theory thusly (I quote from memory): "A bunch of guys standing around trying to catch some director pushing art up into the crevices of dreck."

Chaz at Cannes

My Dinner with Clint

Kyle and Alison Eastwood with their father Clint on a big night out in Cannes.

Dear Roger,

I've just returned from the official dinner given by the Festival for Clint Eastwood's movie. I felt like Cinderella at the ball. The dinner was held at the swanky Restaurant La Palme d'Or on the Croisette. I wore my long evening gown just like all the French women wear at night. That's usually the last thing you want to do after watching movies all day, and most of the American women journalists skip the gowns, but I am a hybrid this year, not quite journalist and not quite guest. Besides, this was a special evening and I wanted to make a good showing for you.

Movie Answer Man

Michael Clayton and the case of the three horses

Q: In response to the Answer Man item about the significance of the horses in the field of "Michael Clayton," the reason Clayton stopped at the horses and the tree was because this was a significant image in the red book his son had given him to read -- the book he couldn't find time for. The image of the tree and the horses gave Clayton reason to pause and ponder his son and his life, which ultimately saved him, since it removed him from the vehicle.

Movie Answer Man

The passion of the slump

Q. If this was such a great year for movies, why are box-office receipts so far down from last year, even though admission prices are at an all-time high? Do you feel that there is such a growing disconnect between Hollywood and America that Hollywood had better wake up or face serious consequences? Cal Ford, Corsicana, Texas

Festivals & Awards

A sense of urgency -- and edginess

CANNES, France -- There are two species of journalists at Cannes, described by the festival as critics or chroniclers. The critics review the films. The chroniclers write the gossip, review the fashions, attend the press conferences and pray for scandal. One year, Jean-Claude Van Damme and Dolph Lundgren (remember them?) got in a pushing match on the steps of the Palais, and the chroniclers dined out for a week. The critics, however, savor moments of quieter savagery, as when Dogma founder Lars von Trier didn't win the top prize from a jury headed by Roman Polanski, and accepted his lesser award ''with no thanks to the midget.''

Festivals & Awards

Telluride earns trust of film fans

The autumn movie season begins for me on the night when the curtain goes up on the first screening at the Telluride Film Festival. After a long summer of special effects, explosions, stabbings, shootings, gross-out comedies, supernatural mystifications, horror stories and movies about the alarmingly sophisticated sex lives of teenagers, September brings relief.