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Posts Tagged ‘Roger Ebert’

Roger Ebert Has Passed Away

Legendary film critic Roger Ebert died today, days after taking a “leave of presence” from his job at the Chicago Sun-Times. More info as it comes in.

*Update: The Sun-Times just posted its obit of Ebert. No real mention of the details of his death, other than that he was 70 years-old and that his passing came after a long battle with cancer.

Ebert reviewed films for the Sun-Times for 46 years. After losing parts of his jaw to cancer in 2006, losing his ability to eat or speak in the process, he somehow managed to become even more relevant by embracing social media. He was one of the few old-school journalists who truly got the brave new world of online media. His nearly 900,000 Twitter followers are a testament to that.

True to form, in his final week, he managed to pen not just one, but two lengthy reviews–one of the Stephanie Meyer adaptation The Host and the other of the indie doc The Iran Job, which played the LA Film Festival last Spring. He gave both two-and-a-half stars. Hopefully he was able to see something he liked a little better before he passed.

RIP.

Roger Ebert’s Cancer Returns

Sad news to start the day: Roger Ebert says that his cancer has returned, and that he’s going to take what he calls a “leave of presence” while undergoing radiation treatments.

“My intent is to continue to write selected reviews but to leave the rest to a talented team of writers handpicked and greatly admired by me,” wrote the Pulitzer winner. “What’s more, I’ll be able at last to do what I’ve always fantasized about doing: reviewing only the movies I want to review.”

Ebert, who previously battled with cancer in his thyroid and pituitary glands, said that he will take this moment to write more about his illness.

“At this point in my life, in addition to writing about movies, I may write about what it’s like to cope with health challenges and the limitations they can force upon you. It really stinks that the cancer has returned and that I have spent too many days in the hospital. So on bad days I may write about the vulnerability that accompanies illness. On good days, I may wax ecstatic about a movie so good it transports me beyond illness.”

Ebert is an icon in the media and film industry, so needless to say, we’re sending positive thoughts his way.

Indian Media Having a Field Day with Topic of College Student Thanked by Spielberg

The best headline, by far, belongs to Calcutta’s Telegraph newspaper. For their report about Krishna Bala Shenoi, the 19-year-old Bangalore student who received a scanned handwritten letter of thanks from Steven Spielberg on Tuesday, the headline reads: “Close Encounter of Written Kind.”

This all started last Sunday, when Roger Ebert blogged about the 70-second animated tribute to Spielberg’s work made by Shenoi, one of the journalist’s “far-flung correspondents.” As the Ebert item made its way through social media, make-up artist Lois Burwell (Lincoln) saw it and forwarded it on personally to Spielberg’s attention. The filmmaker’s response came in overnight Tuesday to Shenoi in the form of an email attachment, with FedEx hard copy to follow.

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Latest OC Register Hire Comes to Paper by Way of Chicago

During his 12 years as a copy and layout editor with the Chicago Sun-Times, Christopher Woldt (pictured) got to massage the copy of Pulitzer Prize winning film critic Roger Ebert. Now, as a member of the Orange County Register news desk, he’s performing similar duties.

“I’m only in my fourth week,” he tells FishbowlLA, “but I’d say this is my best headline at the Register so far. It was for a story about saving money by getting massages at massage schools instead of at spas:”

Meeting your kneads for less
Massage schools can loosen you up at prices that won’t rub you the wrong way.

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Twilight Finale Generates Usual Array of Critic Objections

Here’s one of our favorite ways to use Rotten Tomatoes:

1) Click into the main page for a new movie;
2) Sort the amalgamated reviews by “Rotten” first;
3) Scroll and read what the “Top Critic”-rated journalists on the stink-side are saying.

Just about all of the Team Rotten reviewers admit that Breaking Dawn – Part 2 will greatly please the franchise’s hardcore fans. Still, critics in this group can’t help but also highlight some of the inherent problems:

Michael Phillips, Chicago Tribune:
“With so many scenes of well-dressed vampires sitting or standing, stiffly, while Taylor Lautner or Robert Pattinson or Kristen Stewart passes another micro-slab of dialogue like a kidney stone, Michael Sheen’s overacting’s greatly appreciated, thanks.”

Roger Ebert:
“The depiction of little Renesmee is rather curious… Her grandfather Charlie Swan (Billy Burke) observes, “My, how you’ve grown! You must be six inches taller!” And so she seems, although by my reckoning, it happened between Thanksgiving and Christmas. A human child like that, you take to see a specialist.”

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Publicist-Turned-Filmmaker Ava DuVernay Gets Glowing AP Profile

A year that began with Ava DuVernay claiming the first-ever win by a black woman of Sundance’s Best Director prize continues apace this month for the former film publicist. As she told AP entertainment writer Sandy Cohen, “I’m living my dream.”

DuVernay’s sophomore effort Middle of Nowhere has received Twitter seal of approval from Oprah Winfrey. Her previous, first effort was endorsed by Roger Ebert. With that kind of Chicago backing, it’s no surprise that DuVernay is already hard at work on her next project – a documentary about Venus Williams – and palns to make a movie a year. From Cohen’s profile piece:

There’s a massive congratulatory bouquet of orchids on the desk in her small office overlooking Van Nuys Boulevard… A magnum of Moet with a big gold bow on top sits on the floor…

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Stephanie Zacharek Dismissal a Sad, Familiar Plotline

How perilous have things become for journalists paid handsomely to review movies?

Put it this way. The ongoing dismissal of full-time film critics, to which the name of Movieline’s Stephanie Zacharek can be officially added July 13, grew into such a somber death march that Movie City News’ David Poland stopped formally tracking the print side of the trend a year and a half ago. “It was so depressing,” he tells FishbowlLA, “but my guess is that we’re down to around 80 full-time print film critics in the U.S.”

Indiewire’s Matt Singer first broke the news of Zacharek’s tweeted dismissal, eliciting comments of condolence from such notables as Roger Ebert and David Edelstein. Poland says people typically skip over a critical big picture element when discussing the dumping of marquee critics. Namely, that daily newspapers never took them that seriously in the first place.

“I think the most overlooked element in all these conversations is how abusive print was to criticism,” Poland says. “That the attitude about film criticism from traditional media – for decades – was that they could move someone from the city or obits desk, anywhere, and make them a film critic.”

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Kevin Smith Blows Up Movie Critic TV Show Format

With Roger Ebert’s valiant attempt to revive At the Movies having faded into the sunset, writer-director Kevin Smith is aiming to kick-start the critics-talking-heads format on Hulu beginning June 4 with a fundamentally different approach. In each episode of Spoilers, he will have 50 citizen co-hosts.

The hoi polloi popcorn chompers will be chosen via a website launching today and get to chime in about big summer blockbusters like The Dark Knight Rises and Rock of Ages. Ahead of the first taping at his new SmodCo Studios facility on Universal City Walk, Smith teased some of the other content in an interview with Wired:

“We’re going to do a beat called Movie Goon where like I’ll have on my friend Malcolm Ingram, who hates everything. He’s one of these nihilists. If it’s popular, he can’t stand it. He represents the Internet. So we’ll bring him on and let him have his say and then we’ll beat him up verbally and tell him why he’s wrong — have a good old-fashioned debate.”

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Finalists Announced for 2012 National Society of Newspaper Columnists Awards

The National Society of Newspaper Columnists announced the finalists for its annual awards yesterday. Among those honored: LA Weekly‘s Gendy Alimurung in the “General Interest (print) over 50,000 circulation” category. She’s up against Derrick Z. Jackson of The Boston Globe and Dave Lieber of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.

For the second year in a row Roger Ebert is up for an award in the “Blog and Multimedia over 100,000 monthly unique visitors” category. He took the honor last year.

Winners will be announced May 5.

Full list of finalists after the jump:

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National Society of Newspaper Columnists Announce Finalists

The National Society of Newspaper Columnists (NSNC) have announced the finalists for its 2012 awards. The winners will be honored May 5. The finalists, in alphabetical order, are below.

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