Variety’s Scott Foundas Remembers Roger Ebert: A Mentor to the End

Variety’s Scott Foundas Remembers Roger Ebert: A Mentor to the End
The first message I ever received from Roger Ebert came nearly 20 years ago, in the form of a reply to a fan letter I’d sent him with little hope of hearing back. At the time, I was a high-school student in Tampa, infatuated with movies and making my first stabs at writing about them in the school paper — reviews written with the latest edition of Ebert’s annual “Movie Home Companion” close at hand. Then there was the weekly broadcast of “Siskel & Ebert” (or “At the Movies with Siskel & Ebert” or “Siskel & Ebert and the Movies,” as it was variously known over the years) — requisite viewing in our house, even if it was sometimes challenging, in the pre-Internet, pre-TiVo era, to follow its frequent shifts of airtime and day throughout the syndication universe.

I can’t recall the exact contents of Roger’s letter, which I still have tucked away in a drawer somewhere,
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"The Interrupters," "Iron Crows" and More Docs

  • MUBI
Following scans of the documentary lineups for the upcoming Toronto and New York film festivals, let's glance at a few docs in theaters right now. Melissa Anderson in the Voice: "Inspired by a 2008 New York Times Magazine article by Alex Kotlowitz, Steve James's commanding documentary The Interrupters, about 'violence interrupters' in Chicago, who intervene in conflicts before they escalate into gunshots, unfolds as deeply reported journalism. Much like Hoop Dreams (1994), James's in-depth examination of the athletic aspirations of two African-American high school students, The Interrupters reminds us of the powers and pleasures of well-crafted, immersive nonfiction filmmaking — a genre vitiated within the past five years by a glut of cruddy-looking, poorly researched and argued titles."

The Interrupters has left New York [no, it hasn't! It's at the IFC Center through Tuesday — thanks, Thor!], but its cross-country tour extends into November. It opened last week in the UK, where more than a few reviewers noted the film's relevance to the recent London
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Posters. Goings on in San Francisco, La, Chicago and Elsewhere

I'll leave the commentary on poster design to the far more knowledgeable Adrian Curry, but in rounding up notes on events happening around the Us (outside of New York, which'll have its own roundup in a bit), a handful of posters caught my eye, starting with this one for Other Cinema's Fujiyama in Red, a live program aimed at raising funds for Japanese Tsunami Relief and named "after the 1990 Kurosawa movie that foresaw the catastrophe." Tomorrow night in San Francisco; scroll down for details.

Brian Darr: "It's hard to imagine a better time for a San Francisco movie lover to partake in the by-now almost subversive act of watching a great classic film in a cinema, than when our city's architectural pride and joy, the Castro Theatre, devotes its screen to a 70mm film series, as it will for eight days starting this Saturday night, when it plays West Side Story,
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"Illuminating the Shadows" + "When Movies Mattered"

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Illuminating the Shadows: Film Criticism in Focus is a free three-day event kicking off this evening at the Block Cinema at Northwestern University when Chicago Tribune film critic Michael Phillips introduces a screening of Errol Morris's Tabloid (2010). The panels start rolling out tomorrow when Nick Davis moderates a discussion of the history of film criticism with Farran Smith Nehme (whom many will know as the Self-Styled Siren), Jonathan Rosenbaum, Fred Camper, Dave Kehr and Gabe Klinger.

Dave Kehr will then introduce a screening of Raoul Walsh's Sailor's Luck (1933). When he presented the film at the Museum of the Moving Image last month, Moving Image Source ran the essay on Walsh that appears in Kehr's new book, When Movies Mattered: Reviews from a Transformative Decade: "I can think of no other case of a filmmaker whose work was so widely, and rightly, perceived as important, but yet received so little intelligent attention.
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cinemadaily | Despite “Second City Syndrome,” Chicago Fest Prevails

The awards may have already been handed out, but the 45th Chicago International Film Festival doesn’t officially wrap until tomorrow. Catch up with the coverage coming out of the festival: “For its trouble, Ciff has always struggled with the second-city syndrome that swept through Daley Plaza last Friday,” notes J.R. Jones, Cliff Doerksen, Andrea Gronvall and Joshua Katzman in their overview of the festival for the Chicago Reader. “Unlike the big …
See full article at Indiewire »

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