All posts tagged: Roger Ebert

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FILM REVIEW: “Roger Ebert – Life Itself”

Life Itself is the gripping, heartwarming, detailed and powerful story of the inimitable Roger Ebert, the beloved film critic from the Chicago Sun-Times (as well as scriptwriter, author and all around media giant).  Mr. Ebert passed away in April 2013, but a major part of this film was to document his battle with the cancer that he would ultimately lose. Filmmaker Steve James plays an integral part in keeping Mr. Ebert engaged as he struggles with the deadly disease; at the same time, he has the opportunity to speak with some of Mr. Ebert’s closest friends and colleagues, his beloved wife Chaz, who helped keep him fighting and clips of the now-legendary squabbles with his television partner, the late Gene Siskel.  Amongst the few revelations that would be considered surprising, that Roger Ebert had a serious drinking problem or that he really loved Siskel like the older brother he never had.  This film shows Mr. Ebert in a very human, very frail light – especially going through what he was experiencing, which makes him even …

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PopSmarts: A Reputation For Difficulty

We who take it as a vocation to criticize the efforts of others must take great care to keep our own behavior above reproach. It is particularly bad form to take a fellow critic to task when he or she makes a judgment that seems eccentric or even outright mistaken. Judge not, lest ye be judged; because we all do it — oh, boy, do we ever — and what goes around comes around, and karma’s a bitch, and I would rather not have the razor-sharp critical mind of a Laura Miller or a Matt Zoller Seitz turned to the task of enumerating my failings, thankewverymuch. Which presented me with a bit of a dilemma recently while I was catching up on recent (-ish) films. I had occasion to watch the 2011 adaptation of John LeCarré’s thriller Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy. I was immensely impressed, so much so that I did something that I hardly ever do; I immediately rewatched it. Three times in the space of twelve hours, in fact. It’s a remarkable piece …

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On Ebert

                  Growing up in the south suburbs of Chicago, there were two kinds of houses: Tribune houses, and Sun-Times houses. The Tribune families tended to be more erudite, more concerned with the bigger picture. They indulged in the paper’s annoying habit of featuring national or global news on the front page, while news of local interest was buried beneath the fold. If Chicago was ever really a “Second City,” the Tribune was the Second City’s paper, aching to compete with the New York Times. We were a Sun-Times house. We got the thin tabloid tossed on our porch every morning. Unless someone shot the Pope, that front page was Chicago news every damn day. Flip it over and you got sports. Robert Feder covering the local media beat, Richard Roeper columns, Neil Steinberg and Irv Kupcinet, Jim DeRogatis on music and tips & twaddle from Michael Sneed. And of course, Ebert. Roger Ebert film reviews, every Friday in the paper, casually tossed onto newsprint like they were …

Sugar Water: Those Shoes Were Made for Throwin’

Muntadhar al-Zeidi, the Iraqi TV reporter who threw his shoes at President George W. Bush during a press conference in Baghdad last December, was released from prison on September 15 after serving nine months of a one-year sentence. (Throwing a shoe at a person is considered highly disrespectful in Islamic culture.) Immediately hailed as a hero in the Arab, Muslim, and NPR-listening worlds last winter for his act of defiance — he yelled “This is your farewell kiss, you dog!” and “This is from the widows, the orphans, and those who were killed in Iraq!” as he hurled each shoe at Bush — al-Zeidi emerged from prison into a world with a new American president and a decreased U.S. military presence in his home country. Now, in a loosely translated Popdose exclusive, he speaks out about his experience. When I went into prison last year, I was 29 years old. Now I am 30 years old. I am a man now, and in prison I was the man, as you Americans say. People made T-shirts. …