This is rare, nuanced storytelling, anchored by one of Brad Pitt’s career-best performances and remarkable technical elements on every level. It’s a special film.
Thumbnails is a roundup of brief excerpts to introduce you to articles from other websites that we found interesting and exciting. We provide links to the original sources for you to read in their entirety.—Chaz Ebert
"Still grieving, Anton Yelchin's parents try to move forward with new documentary": Amy Kaufman of The LA Times reports on "Love Antosha," scheduled to premiere at Sundance.
“Perhaps the biggest revelation in the film is just how much Anton struggled with cystic fibrosis — a diagnosis he hid from the public and the entertainment business. As a precocious kid, he was pink-cheeked and enthusiastic, shooting short films with childhood friends and constantly performing impressions for his parents. He never seemed sick and barely demonstrated any signs of someone with the progressive disease, which causes mucus to form in the lungs. In fact, he appeared so healthy that his parents decided not to tell him the full details of his diagnosis — CF patients have a life expectancy of around 37 — until he was 17. ‘I didn’t want to introduce him exactly to what it was, because he was so artistic and so sensitive,’ said Irina. ‘I was just afraid that he would go into it and he would get panicked or get affected by it too much. He didn’t even know what it was for real, how difficult and dangerous that illness was. Only after 17, 18, that’s when we talked, because I said: ‘You can’t go to this club. They are smoking there.’ You feel good, but it doesn’t mean you cannot get worse.’’ Upon learning about his illness, Anton worked hard to stay healthy, constantly running up and down the stairs and researching herbal remedies to try on top of his prescribed medications. Before long days on set, he’d wake up two hours early to put on an inflatable vest that helped him to clear his airways.”
"John Fricke on the 80th Anniversary of 'The Wizard of Oz'": The Emmy-winning Oz historian/author chats with me at Indie Outlook, in anticipation of the film's return to the big screen January 27th, 29th & 30th, courtesy of Fathom Events.
“For the last half century, you could start talking about ‘The Wizard of Oz; to just about anybody over the age of three, and there would be an immediate, shared reference point. People levitate from their chairs when they start discussing the movie. About six or seven years ago, The Weather Channel did a special on the 100 Most Pivotal Moments in Weather History, and at number 53, they listed the tornado in ‘The Wizard of Oz.’ That sequence actually inspired people to become meteorologists. There’s no question that the film has impacted all ages on a multitude of levels. If you grew up watching it on TV, every time you revisit the film, you think, ‘That was the one night we were able to stay up late, put on our pajamas and have popcorn and orange soda with our family, and we all watched it together.’ I remember one poignant story about a man who grew up in a very troubled house. He said that the ‘Oz’ broadcast was the one very peaceful night of the year, because both of his parents loved that movie. As you say, Margaret Hamilton nailed it, as did Ray Bolger when he was a guest on ‘The Judy Garland Show.’ He spoke of growing up with the Oz books, and the great philosophy that they expressed. His mother had pointed out to him the message of these books: ‘Everybody has a brain, everybody has a heart, and everybody has courage. These are the gifts that God gives people on earth, and if you use them properly, they lead you home. And home isn’t a place. It’s the people you love and the people who love you. That’s a home.’”
"Stephen Reinhardt (1931-2018): The Liberal Judge With a Fighting Spirit": Politico's Lara Bazelon eulogizes the late judge, who passed away in December, while honoring his extraordinary legacy.
“Judge Stephen Reinhardt, 87, reigned for 38 years as the liberal lion of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit, the nation’s largest appellate court with jurisdiction over nine states. Nothing, it seemed, could kill him. Not triple bypass surgery in 1982, not quadruple bypass surgery in 2001. Not the execution—over his fierce objection—of individuals he believed had been wrongfully convicted, nor the Supreme Court’s numerous other reversals of his most famous decisions—decisions upholding the right to die, striking down the requirement that students recite the Pledge of Allegiance, declaring unconstitutional a law prohibiting late-term abortions. Not the slow loss of his beloved wife, Ramona Ripston, to dementia, and the stress, sadness and loneliness that came with it. Not even the election of President Donald Trump, whose rhetoric and policies targeted the very people—immigrants, the criminally accused, the powerless—whose rights the judge had done everything he could to protect. But in March, after he had gotten a clean bill of health from his cardiologist, Reinhardt’s heart stopped suddenly. His death left the hundreds who knew and loved him—his family, his law clerks, his colleagues and large circle of friends—grief stricken and in shock.”
"You ain't seen nothin' yet, but there's nothin' aplenty": Martha P. Nochimson reviews Adam McKay's Oscar-nominated satirical drama, "Vice," for Eye on Media.
“‘Vice,’ Adam McKay’s interpretation of Dick Cheney’s reign of terror, comes to a false ending in the middle of his film. The music rises to a mock triumphant crescendo, and credits roll over a montage of happy family scenes in which the actors we have seen portray the infamous Dick (Christian Bale) and his wife Lynne (Amy Adams) luxuriate in the lap of domestic affluence as they cavort with children and dogs. The credits are the actual credits of Vice, but prematurely displayed. The faux closure falsely celebrates the Cheneys’ permanent exit from politics when, after Carter’s win as president and the loss of Gerald Ford, Cheney’s prospects for running for and winning high political office began to seem impossible. What? It’s a tease. The movie isn’t ending; rather it winks at us about how stories work, and continues on to document the most destructive period of Cheney’s political life. It’s a mysterious rhetorical move by McKay. But it isn’t the only one, and it isn’t the first one. ‘Vice’ is a film about Dick Cheney and his partner in crime Lynne, to be sure, but it’s also about the way we talk about history, how we know what we know, how we fill in the gaps in our partial knowledge with our own fictions, and who has a voice in creating historical narratives.”
"Aaron Sorkin remembers William Goldman: 'He was the dean of American screenwriters and still is": An exclusive essay from the Oscar-winning screenwriter, published at The LA Times.
“When I was starting out in my 20s, Bill Goldman saw something in me and took me under his wing, where I’ve remained and where I’ll continue to remain despite his death. I’m not the only writer he mentored — Scott Frank, Tony Gilroy, Ben Affleck and Matt Damon are just a few he tutored personally, and countless others have been and will continue to be taught by his examples. ‘Kid, the next time I say, ‘Let’s go someplace like Bolivia,’ let’s go someplace like Bolivia.’ ‘They could always surrender.’ ‘For a second there I thought we were in trouble.’ Those three quotable lines aren’t just from the same movie (‘Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid’), they’re from the same scene. ‘You keep thinkin’, Butch, that’s what you’re good at.’ ‘Who are those guys?’ ‘Well we tried goin’ straight, what should we try now?’ ‘The fall’ll probably kill you!’ A movie about two outlaws coming to grips with a world that’s changing around them won Bill his first Academy Award. Deep Throat never said, ‘Follow the money.’ It was a line Bill wrote for the character of Deep Throat in his screenplay ‘All the President’s Men,’ for which he won his second Academy Award.”
At Vanity Fair, Donald Liebenson hails Thelma Todd and Zasu Pitts as the greatest female comedy team of classic Hollywood, and explains "why they still pack a punch."
The invaluable YouTube channel, Be Kind Rewind, has a wonderful series of videos dissecting that circumstances that resulted in various Best Actress triumphs at the Oscars. The video embedded above focusing on Joan Crawford's 1946 victory, where she finally won the accolade for "Mildred Pierce," also serves as an exceptional introduction to the icon's career bereft of camp.
A review of Netflix's The I-Land, the worst show in the streaming service's history.
EDITOR'S NOTE: Sometimes, Roger Ebert is exposed to bad movies. When that happens, it is his duty -- if not necessari...
This message came to me from a reader named Peter Svensland. He and a fr...
A review of the new film by Roman Polanski, which premiered at the Venice Film Festival.