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Life Itself

Life Itself loads up plot line on top of plot line to imitate emotional depth, and that kind of narrative manipulation doesn’t work for everyone.

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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.


Recent Reviews

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A Simple Favor
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A Simple Favor

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Lizzie

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City of Joy

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Blue Iguana

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We the Animals

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#238 October 29, 2014

Sheila writes: Ebertfest 2015 may seem like a long way off, but it's really just around the corner. I wanted to alert you to the fact that passes for the 17th annual Ebertfest go on sale on November 1, this Saturday! Ebertfest will take place Wednesday, April 15th, through Sunday, April 19th, next year. You can find out more information here, as well as watch the video of Tilda Swinton's now-famous conga line, led through the Virginia Theatre in honor of Roger.

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#237 October 15, 2014

Sheila writes: The New York Film Festival, which ended on October 14, ran a new retrospective of the films of Joseph L. Mankiewicz. In preparation, Adrian Curry (at Mubi) started searching out for cool posters of Mankiewicz's films. Curry writes: "When I started to search for posters for his films I felt a little uninspired myself and wondered whether Mankiewicz’s smart, wordy cinema didn’t really lend itself to inventive visual representation. Some of his best films, like 'The Ghost and Mrs Muir' and 'A Letter to Three Wives', had very mundane American posters. But, digging deeper, I found that there was more than meets the eye, especially among international posters for his films." Go check out the gallery of fantastic posters, one of which, the Japanese poster for "The Barefoot Contessa", is posted below.

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#236 October 1, 2014

Sheila writes: Steven Soderbergh may be retired from movies, but he continues to be a very busy man, primarily with his Cinemax show "The Knick." But in the last couple of weeks, he also launched a conversation-starter on his own site, about the issue of "staging" scenes in film. Soderbergh writes that staging "(roughly defined) refers to how all the various elements of a given scene or piece are aligned, arranged, and coordinated." To show what he means, Soderbergh took a film with a high level of visual staging, "Raiders of the Lost Ark," stripped its sound, made it black-and-white, and overlaid the whole thing with the Trent Reznor/Atticus Finch synethized scores for David Fincher films. The result is a fascinating experiment in visual style. Soderbergh writes, "I operate under the theory a movie should work with the sound off." You can watch Soderbergh's "Raiders" experiment at his site.

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#235 September 17, 2014

Sheila writes: Susan Wloszczyna and Brian Tallerico, from Rogerebert.com, were both at the 39th annual Toronto Film Festival. So many films to see in so little time! I look forward to checking out many of the titles. You can check out all of the reviews here, listed out in the Table of Contents. Rogerebert.com's Odie Henderson also attended the festival and he sent in a a dispatch of his favorites. What films are you looking forward to the most this fall?

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#234 September 3, 2014

Sheila writes: Who doesn't love a good title sequence? I have my favorites. What are yours? The Art of the Title is a wonderful site that focuses on title sequences and in a recent post Ben Radatz and Bill Perkins write, "There are certain narrative, technical, and graphic techniques for which title design is an ideal venue. Because of its short format and creative license — and sometimes because of their budgets — title sequence real estate is often used to explore elaborate, abstract worlds previously unknown or unseen. For this reason — combined with an enduring human fascination with how things tick — Inner Workings is a theme that is frequented by a broad spectrum of genres (though, to be fair, most often by sci-fi and fantasy)." They break down some of their favorite title sequences, and how the sequences work visually and thematically. Lots of food for thought! Here's the whole post. Enjoy!

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#233 August 27, 2014

Sheila writes: Some long takes in cinema are gratuitous and flashy, some connect themselves to the theme of the movie, but all of them are fun to pick apart and deconstruct. The technological challenges are daunting and it's fun to see film-makers rise to those challenges. I came across a video analyzing 12 long takes in cinema, and it should be a fun jumping-off point for discussion. What are your favorite long takes?

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#232 August 20, 2014

Sheila writes: In lieu of the recent release of "Get On Up," the James Brown biopic (check out Odie Henderson's review on Rogerebert.com, and you can also check out the video interview with star Chadwick Boseman and director Tate Taylor), I went scrolling through Youtube the other day, enjoying various James Brown clips. I came across this delight: James Brown giving a dance lesson.

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#231 August 13, 2014

Sheila writes: What a sad week this has been already. We lost both Robin Williams and Lauren Bacall, and the tributes have been flooding the Internet. We have included some link round-ups below with tribute pieces and obituaries, including the two beautiful pieces running on Rogerebert.com. The response has been overwhelming. In case you missed it, here is David Simon's remembrance of a day on the set of "Homicide" with Robin Williams. Please share your favorite roles, favorite moments, favorite memories of these two beloved performers.

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#230 August 6, 2014

Sheila writes: Nelson Carvajal and Jed Mayer, over at Press Play, present a video and an essay about the "scary summer" of 1979. It's a beautiful blend of autobiography and cultural and film memories from that particular summer. Jed Mayer writes: "As tag-lines go, George Romero’s Dawn of the Dead sports a pretty good one: 'When there’s no more room in Hell, the dead will walk the earth.' I stared for weeks at the lurid poster bearing these ominous words. It hung in the front windows of the Maplewood Mall multiplex. Looking back, I think a more fitting tag-line might have come from a speech given by President Jimmy Carter later that same summer: 'Often you see paralysis and stagnation and drift. What can we do?'" Well worth a look!

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