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Roger Ebert

Outguess Ebert? I may have them all right

This year's Outguess Ebert contest seems a little like shooting fish in a barrel. For the first time in many a year, maybe ever, I think I've guessed every one correctly.A few years ago, I came across an article about the newly identified psychological concept of Elevation. Scientists claim it is as real as love or fear. It describes a state in which we feel unreasonable joy; you know, like when you sit quiet and still and tingles run up and down your back, and you think things can never get any better.

I tried applying it to that year's Oscar nominees. Did it work any better than any other approach? You need Elevating nominees. An example of Elevation would be when the bone morphs into a space station in "2001." Did I feel Elevation in making any of my Guesses this year. That doesn't mean it was a bad year at the movies. Harvey Weinstein, accepting his achievement award from the Producers' Guild, said he thought 2012 was the best in 90 years. Maybe he felt Elevation when he gazed upon the Weinstein Company's box office figures.

Ebert Club

#151 January 16, 2013

Marie writes: And so it begins!  A new year and another season of Film Festivals and Award shows. The Golden Globes have come and gone and in advance of quirky SXSW, there's Robert Redford's Sundance 2013...

Ebert Club

#145 December 5, 2012

Marie writes: Intrepid club member Sandy Kahn has found another Hollywood auction and it's packed with stuff! From early publicity stills (some nudes) to famous movie props, costumes, signed scripts, storyboards, posters and memorabilia...

Ebert Club

#51 February 23, 2011

Marie writes: In a move which didn't fail to put a subversive smile on my face, works by the mysterious graffiti artist Banksy began to appear recently in Hollywood as Academy Awards voters prepared to judge Exit Through the Gift Shop, which is up for best Documentary. (Click to enlarge.)

The most controversial thus far was painted on a billboard directly opposite the Directors Guild of America HQ on Sunset Boulevard. A poster advertising The Light Group (a property, nightclub and restaurant developer) was stenciled over with images of a cocktail-guzzling Mickey Mouse grasping a woman's breast. As it was being removed, a scuffle broke out between workmen and a man claiming the poster was his "property" - presumably triggered by the fact that an authentic piece by Banksy is worth thousands. To read more visit Banksy targets LA ahead of Oscars at the Guardian.  And to see more pictures go HERE.

Roger Ebert

How to write a screenplay

Frank Cottrell Boyce's teleplay "God On Trial" plays on PBS at 8 p.m. CST Sunday, Nov. 9, and will repeat. It's based on the true story of Auschwitz prisoners weighing the case against God. I met Frank online in the 1980s in my old CompuServe forum. He was in his 20s. Now he has become a leading British screenwriter. His credits follow this piece. After reading my blog "Roger's little rule book," he sent this article that appeared in the Guardian on June 30, 2008.


Wal-Mart and the Priory of Lyin'

"Wal-Mart? I'd like to order another copy of 'The Da Vinci Code.'" Alfred Molina plays Cardinal Fang a bishop with a cell.

The protests against "The Da Vinci Code" are expected to reach their peak this opening weekend. And in reading some of the reactions to the movie and the book (see here), I noticed that much of the heat seems to center around whether people will mistake the book's and movie's fictions for historical realities. You'd think the general public would be smart enough to understand what a novel is, and that such books are different from scholarly works of nonfiction, even when they incorporate actual facts or events.

For example, one of my all-time favorite novels is Joseph Heller's "Catch-22" and it is about a bomber squadron based on the Mediterranean island of Pianosa during World War II, but to my knowledge the titular rule has never been part of U.S. Air Force regulations, nor did Clevinger actually pilot a plane into a cloud and not come out the other side. In part, that is because Clevinger, like Robert Langdon (the hero of "The Da Vinci Code" and Dan Brown's previous novel, "Angels and Demons"), is a fictional character. World War II and the U.S. Air Force and Pianosa, however, are real. And so is the Mediterranean.

Anyway, I was surprised to find that Wal-Mart is (still) selling "The Da Vinci Code" on its web site with this false and misleading description:

Festivals & Awards

Star Power and Small Gems Get Equal Time at Festival

In the autumn march of film festivals, Chicago's comes after Montreal, Telluride and Venice, and is held at about the same time as New York. All of these festivals are essentially fishing in the same pond, so the remarkable thing about the 31st annual Chicago event is how many new or unfamiliar titles have been discovered.