In Memoriam 1942 – 2013 “Roger Ebert loved movies.”

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Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom

This is a movie that’s annoying in part because it doesn’t care if you’re annoyed by it. It doesn’t need you, the individual viewer, to…

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The Catcher Was a Spy

Paul Rudd plays against type, though not effectively, in this true story of a baseball catcher who was also an OSS agent.

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Ballad of Narayama

"The Ballad of Narayama" is a Japanese film of great beauty and elegant artifice, telling a story of startling cruelty. What a space it opens…

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Sheila O'Malley

Sheila O'Malley

Sheila O'Malley received a BFA in Theatre from the University of Rhode Island and a Master's in Acting from the Actors Studio MFA Program. Along with Rogerebert.com, her work has also appeared in Film Comment, The Dissolve, Masters of Cinema, Movie Mezzanine, Flavorwire, Capital New York, Fandor, Press Play, and Bright Wall/Dark Room.  She has contributed video and print essays for various releases from The Criterion Collection. O’Malley wrote the narration (read by Angelina Jolie) for the Governors Awards Lifetime Achievement tribute reel to legendary actress Gena Rowlands. O’Malley also wrote the narration for the Governors Awards tribute to editor Anne Coates’, played at the 2016 Governors Awards. O’Malley writes about actors, movies, and Elvis Presley at her personal site, The Sheila Variations. A short film she wrote, "July and Half of August,” premiered at the 2016 Albuquerque Film and Music Experience.


Read her answers to our Movie Love Questionnaire here.


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#195 November 27, 2013

Sheila writes: Exciting news for Roger Ebert fans: Director Steve James ["Hoop Dreams"] is planning a full-length documentary about Roger Ebert called "Life Itself", which will follow the trajectory of Ebert's career as well as examine his vast influence on the movie industry and American culture as a whole. Martin Scorsese is executive producer. The documentary is being financed partially through a fundraising campaign hosted by Indiegogo, and we wanted to let Ebert Club Members know that the "Life Itself" filmmakers are offering a special deal EXCLUSIVE TO EBERT CLUB MEMBERS who pledge to this campaign!

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#194 November 20, 2013

Sheila writes: This week is the 50th anniversary of the assassination of American President John F. Kennedy. The following piece is an interesting side view of that historic event, told by an eyewitness. An opening excerpt from the piece: "And on Friday November 22, 1963, at the top of a concert by the Boston Symphony Orchestra that happened to also be a WGBH radio broadcast and so was captured for posterity, the BSO’s revered music director Erich Leinsdorf broke some unimaginable news to a crowded symphony hall. What was to have been a routine concert became a memorial to the 35th President of the United States, reduced audience members to tears and in some ways redefined what music could be for those present. It is also, surely, one of the most emotional pieces of radio ever recorded." Read the whole thing here, and listen to the broadcast concert below.

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#193 November 13, 2013

Sheila writes: Animators Doug Bayne, Ben Baker and Trudy Cooper were approached by the Australian sketch show "The Elegant Gentleman's Guide to Knifefighting" to create some animations. They were asked, "You guys like Terry Gilliam, right?" Clearly, they do. Here is one of their extremely amusing creations: Famous Paintings, animated.

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#192 November 6, 2013

Sheila writes: I love this gallery of the first issues of now-famous magazines. Here is the first issue of People, which debuted on March 4, 1974, with a lovely image of Mia Farrow in full Daisy-Buchanan-mode on the cover. But you can check out more here.

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#191 October 30, 2013

Sheila writes: Today, October 30, is the 75th anniversary of the historic 1938 "War of the Worlds" broadcast, presented by Orson Welles and his merry band of Mercury Theater friends. In Peter Bogdanovich's book "This is Orson Welles", Welles tells Bogdanovich: "Six minutes after we’d gone on the air, the switchboards in radio stations right across the country were lighting up like Christmas trees. Houses were emptying, churches were filling up; from Nashville to Minneapolis there was wailing in the street and the rending of garments. Twenty minutes in, and we had a control room full of very bewildered cops. They didn’t know who to arrest or for what, but they did lend a certain tone to the remainder of the broadcast. We began to realize, as we plowed on with the destruction of New Jersey, that the extent of our American lunatic fringe had been underestimated." Bogdanovich later says to Welles, "The Martian broadcast didn’t really hurt you at all. Would you say it was lucky?" Welles replied, "Well, it put me in the movies. Was that lucky? I don’t know." Here is the original radio broadcast in all its mockumentary glory.

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#190 October 23, 2013

Sheila writes: There's something heartbreaking about a dilapidated movie theater. With the whole world going multiplex, the quirky independent movie theaters are quickly disappearing. Moscow photographer Sergey Novikov spent two years traveling around in Moscow and St. Petersburg, seeking out the abandoned movie theaters built in the Constructivist style of architecture, so familiar to him in his youth. The result is a series of haunting photographs he calls "Breathless". In a fascinating email interview, Novikov says: "I perceive them as rare, unique objects and often the movie theater is the only handsome building in a district so my urge was just to keep them in a time, place and memory through documenting. These cinemas are frozen in time, being parted from movies but their identity preserved; a frontispiece and a name. Destruction sometimes happens quickly - yesterday it was in front of you and today it is already demolished. They are breathless. Vanishing scenery."

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#189 October 16, 2013

Sheila writes: We're all familiar with the horror movie cliche: someone (usually a woman) is alone, creeped out, and investigating a sound she finds ominous. Naturally, it turns out to be just a cat, but that cat can give a pretty good scare. Thankfully, we now have "Supercut: It's Just a Cat" to get our feline scare-fix all in one place.

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#188 October 9, 2013

Sheila writes: As the daughter of a librarian, I grew up surrounded by books. It was a treat to go visit my father at the university library where he worked, since he had such a passion for books (a passion he passed on to his children). For some reason or another, I've seen a couple of photos over the past week of the Book Mobiles of yore on various vintage photo sites, and while they all pre-date me by a good decade or so, there is something beautiful about the idea of a traveling library bringing books to people who want them. I've had Book Mobiles on the brain. So I was pleasantly surprised to come across an entire post devoted to photos of them. Heaven! Included are photos of the now-defunct Book Mobiles, rusting away in people's yards, lovely and bittersweet reminders of a bygone era.

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#187 October 2, 2013

Sheila writes: BAFTA-award winning "Pitch Black Heist" is a 13-minute film directed and written by John Maclean, starring Michael Fassbender and Liam Cunningham (reunited after their 28-minute one-take scene in Steve McQueen's 2008 film "Hunger"). Here, they play two criminals hired to crack a safe. The only catch is that they must do their work in the dark: any light at all will trigger the alarm. Elegantly filmed in black-and-white, it's a taut fun little thriller with a twist ending. In case the video doesn't work here, you can also view it at Cinephilia and Beyond.

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#186 September 25, 2013

Sheila writes: Todd Sanders is a self-taught neon sign artist. Roadhouse Relics, the gallery of his work in Austin, Texas, is filled with his beautiful vintage-inspired signs. His designs are all hand-drawn. He collects old magazines from the 1920s, 1930s, etc., to get inspiration for his neon signs. He does custom signs as well. You can check out Sanders' work, bio, and press kit at Roadhouse Relics. Neon brings up all kinds of automatic images and associations: seedy hotels, burlesque joints, cocktail bars. His signs evoke those images, but much more. For instance, look at his beautiful "Fireflies In a Mason Jar".

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