This is one of the year’s best films.
Read her answers to our Movie Love Questionnaire here.
Sheila writes: The great Japanese animator Hayao Miyazaki has enthralled audiences for 40 years with his beautiful and sensitive films, filled with supernatural elements, dream-like images, and a vibrant sense of the small moments that make up human existence. Video-essayist Lewis Bond (you can view more of his work here) created a short documentary about Miyazaki called "Hayao Miyazaki: The Essence of Humanity." Here it is, in full. Enjoy!
Sheila writes: Many of you have probably already heard the exciting news that Guillermo Del Toro's stunning "Crimson Peak" has been chosen as the opening film of this year's Ebertfest (from April 13th, through Sunday, April 17th), with Del Toro attending as the honorary guest. Seeing "Crimson Peak", in all its visual splendor, on the gigantic screen at the Virginia Theater in Champaign, Illinois, will be thrilling. You can read more information here (with links to purchase Ebertfest passes). The other films that will play at Ebertfest have not been announced yet, but stay tuned!
A tribute to Alan Rickman on his passing.
Sheila writes: Happy New Year! In the wake of "Star Wars: The Force Awakens," I came across a video put together by violinist Taylor Davis, where she plays the famous themes from John Williams' original score, both "light" and "dark." Arranged, orchestrated and performed by Davis, it's a fun and rousing celebration of the possibilities inherent in that music. Have a look!
An interview with writer/director/editor Stephen Cone about "Henry Gamble's Birthday Party."
An interview with "Night Owls" co-writer/director Charles Hood.
Sheila writes: Mike D'Angelo over at the A.V. Club has written a very interesting article called "What I learned from watching the first 10 minutes of 500 movies". He speaks of the challenge, as a film critic, to see as much as he can in any given year, not just the hits but the secondary films, the ones that don't generate any "buzz." In doing so, he started thinking about "the first 10 minutes" of films and how crucial they are. D'Angelo writes, "Basically, I give the movie 10 minutes to grab my attention. Most of them fail, and get turned off at that point. If I’m still interested, though, I’ll watch for another 10 minutes. There are two more potential bail-out points at 0:30 and 0:40; if I still want to keep going after 40 minutes, I commit to watching the entire film, even if it turns awful later." His essay has a lot of observations about screenwriting, first of all, but also the nuts-and-bolts of storytelling.
Sheila writes: To all the American readers of The Ebert Club, I hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving! To spread a little joy, here is a glorious and fun "dance mash-up" of classic dance scenes from Hollywood films, to the soundtrack of "Uptown Funk." Mark Ronson was the superb editor, and he has noted that none of these clips have been sped up or slowed down to match the music. Beautifully done! Enjoy!
A chronological commentary celebrating the performances of Gena Rowlands.
Sheila writes: With the release of "Spectre," the latest in the James Bond franchise, it's been impossible to avoid the accompanying chatter about 007 in all of his various incarnations. Over on Vox, Phil Edwards and Estelle Caswell got creative and put together a chart of every country James Bond visits in his espionage duties: James Bond’s career, in one map. Along with the chart, there's an accompanying video. It's great, check it out!