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Life Itself, 2014
Directed by Steve James
Documentary about the life of master Film Critic, Roger Ebert.
Writing for the first time in 2008, I remember the initial advice I was given: read Roger Ebert. Of course, I knew of Roger Ebert. Unlike our friends across the Atlantic, watching Siskel and Ebert wasn’t easy and my knowledge of him was primarily through special features on DVD’s I’d seen. Nevertheless, the more I read, the more I realised how important his voice was. His writing was personal, yet profound. He managed to weave into his work talk of literature and drama seamlessly into film discourse. That’s not to say that his writing required an informed audience – film was accessible and fun, and so was his words. Cinema didn’t have to be high-brow or elitist, »
- Simon Columb
Mnpp which is hotter, Dick (1999) anniversary!
Shortpacked! a webcomic for everyone like me who feels totally alone in not liking Guardians of the Galaxy very much
Coming Soon a boring onset shot of Daredevil's altar ego Matt Murdock in his lawyer drag from the new Netflix series
- NATHANIEL R
When paying homage to the late Roger Ebert, many admirers graciously overlooked the film critic's odd foray into filmmaking that began with the 1970 Russ Meyer film Beyond the Valley of the Dolls. But the story of the unusual collaboration that led to the creation of a deeply strange cult classic is getting a movie of its own. And with Will Ferrell at the front, it could be the next great comedy. Variety reports that Will Ferrell has entered into talk to headline Russ and Roger Go Beyond. Should he sign on, the star of such hit comedies as Step Brothers, Taladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby and Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues would play Russ Meyer, a man who has been described as a filmmaker by some and a pornographer by others. Technically, the report from Variety doesn't claim that Russ and Roger Go Beyond will be a comedy. »
Earlier this year, Roger Ebert’s fascinating life was brought to the big screen in the incredible Life Itself, but Hollywood doesn’t appear to be done with the legendary film critic just yet. Russ & Roger Go Beyond, a project centering on Ebert’s collaboration with eccentric filmmaker Russ Meyer on the ill-fated satire Beyond the Valley of the Dolls, has popped up and is gaining some traction. According to Deadline, Will Ferrell is eyeing the part of Meyer in the pic, which will explore the comedic and unnatural partnership that the two men struck up.
This isn’t the first time that Meyer’s story has been tackled by filmmakers. David O. Russell was planning a biopic at some point, with a script written by Merritt Johnson (Lovelace), though the director’s other projects appear to have sidelined it permanently. This one doesn’t have a director yet (Edgar Wright reportedly has interest, »
- Isaac Feldberg
Will Ferrell is in talks for Russ and Roger Go Beyond.
Ferrell is being eyed for the role of porn producer Russ Meyer.
Among the many pleasures of the great Roger Ebert documentary Life Itself is the reminder - or, for some, the revelation - that before he was a titan of film criticism, Ebert wrote Beyond The Valley Of The Dolls for schlockmeister Russ Meyer. A new indie project, Russ & Roger Go Beyond aims to tell the story of that collaboration and Will Ferrell is seriously considering playing Meyer.The indie movie, written by Saturday Night Live and Simpsons veteran Christopher Cluess, focuses on Meyer's late 1960s desire to combine his pulp talents with big studio backing, hashing out a deal with 20th Century Fox boss Richard Zanuck to produce something for a low budget.Targeting soft-core tale Beyond The Valley Of The Dolls, Meyer approached Ebert, then a low-on-the-roster film critic for the Chicago Sun Times, who had written one of the few positive reviews of a Meyer film. Despite the seeming gulf between their sensibilities, »
• Will Ferrell may play schlock film producer Russ Meyers in the indie film Russ and Roger Go Beyond. Written by Christopher Cluess (The Simpsons), the movie will explore the relationship between Meyers and film critic Roger Ebert as they collaborated on the 1970 satire film Beyond the Valley of the Dolls. [Variety]
• Joseph Fiennes and Harry Potter’s Tom Felton will co-star in the first-century epic thriller Clavius. Kevin Reynolds (Waterworld) will direct the film told through the eyes of Fiennes’ character, an agnostic Roman Centurion forced to locate the missing body of Jesus of Nazareth. Production begins this month in Spain, »
- Jake Perlman
We first reported on the project in October, when Mark Amin's Sobini Films partnered with David Permut's Permut Presentations and Richard Waltzer's Chautauqua Entertainment to acquire the screenplay written by Saturday Night Live and The Simpsons writer Chris Cluess.
The plot is based on the true story of how Russ Meyer, best known for soft-core erotic films such as Faster, Pussycat! Kill! Kill!, was offered to direct Beyond the Valley of the Dolls by 20th Century Fox. The filmmaker agreed, but only under the condition that Roger Ebert, then the third-string film critic at the Chicago Sun Times, write the script. Roger Ebert wrote one of the few positive reviews of Russ Meyer's work. »
The story is set in the very late 1960s when cheap counterculture films made big money. Meyer was the outlaw helmer of soft-core pulp films such as "Faster Pussycat, Kill, Kill" but wanted to make a legitimate studio film.
At the time, 20th Century Fox was in desperate need of a low-cost, high returning hit after a series of flops. Meyer agreed to take on the film, originally a sequel to but ultimately a parody of the film adaptation of Jacqueline Susann's enormous hit "Valley of the Dolls".
- Garth Franklin
The script is written by Christopher Cluess, whose credits include “Saturday Night Live” and “The Simpsons.” It explores the relationship between Meyer and Ebert, who was starting out as a Chicago Sun-Times film critic when he agreed to write the script.
“Beyond the Valley of the Dolls” was released by 20th Century Fox, »
- Dave McNary
Last fall, we got word that Sobini Films, Permut Presentations and Chautauqua Entertainment had acquired Russ & Roger Go Beyond, a screenplay from Christopher Cluess (a writer on "Saturday Night Live" and "The Simpsons") which follows the friendship between filmmaker Russ Meyer and Roger Ebert while working on the film Beyond the Valley of the Dolls for Fox in the late 1960s. Now the indie production is getting some steam as Deadline reports a variety of talent seems to be interested in bringing it to life, including funnyman Will Ferrell circling the role of soft core pulp fiction producer Russ Meyer. Read on! For those who maybe aren't familiar with the project, here's the official synopsis: At the end of the 60’s when films like Easy Rider and Bonnie & Clyde were reaching new audiences, Meyer, the outlaw director of soft-core pulp films like Faster Pussycat, Kill, Kill, Kill was given the »
- Ethan Anderton
In 1970, soft-core exploitation maestro Russ Meyer and film critic Roger Ebert collaborated on a film that Ebert later characterized as one “that got made by accident when the lunatics took over the asylum.” Beyond the Valley of the Dolls was originally intended to be a sequel to the melodrama Valley of the Dolls, but in […]
- Russ Fischer
Last year, a curious independent project started taking shape in the form of Russ & Roger Go Beyond. Penned by The Simpsons and SNL scribe Christopher Cluess, the film chronicles the relationship between Roger Ebert and provocative director Russ Meyer as they develop and produce 1970’s Beyond the Valley of the Dolls, which marked Ebert’s one and only screenplay credit. Meyer was coming off a string of pulp films like Faster Pussycat, Kill, Kill when he was asked by Fox to helm Dolls. When he signed on, Meyer insisted that Chicago Sun-Times movie critic Roger Ebert write the screenplay. The two struck up a rapport that continued until Ebert's passing, and the film will follow their path to getting Dolls made, including the controversy with the ratings board surrounding the film's X rating. It’s been some time since we’ve heard about Russ & Roger Go Beyond, but now »
- Adam Chitwood
Will Ferrell is circling to play softcore film producer Russ Meyer in a movie about the time he collaborated with film critic Roger Ebert to make Beyond The Valley Of The Dolls. The indie project is taking shape quickly. Filmmakers including Edgar Wright are intrigued, as are actors who might play the late Ebert, a strong role for anyone from Jonah Hill to Seth Rogen and others. Mark Amin’s Sobini Films and David Permut and Richard Waltzer are producing Russ & Roger Go Beyond, a script by Emmy-winning Saturday Night Live and The Simpsons scribe Christopher Cluess. Ferrell still has […] »
Now in wider release, this extraordinary film is a fitting tribute to the man who exemplified film criticism for entire generations of filmgoers. When cancer took Ebert's vocal cords, his voice continued to ring out through extensive comments online. A pioneer on Twitter, Ebert used social media to connect with a worldwide audience on a number of topics that went well beyond film.
Ebert's wife Chaz has, in many ways, taken up his mantle, from hosting his annual Ebertfest in Chicago to supporting and promoting critics and filmmakers all over the world as she continues the legacy of having an Ebert at major international festivals.
Moviefone Canada spoke with Chaz the day after the highly emotional Sundance premiere in January 2014.
Moviefone Canada: The film »
- Jason Gorber
The 2014 march of outstanding documentaries about artists continues on with the best of the impressive group of feature films. But this artist’s means of expression are not the brush as in Tim”S Vermeer or still photography as seen in Finding Vivian Maier or cinema itself (along with many superb illustrators) in Jodoworsky’S Dune. Nope, this artist’s (and after viewing this film, that title is not up for debate) means of expression were words with typewriters, computer keyboards, and his own voice utilized instead of brushes on canvas or cameras. The subject of Steve James’s (Hoop Dreams, The Interrupters) new feature documentary is celebrated, Pulitzer Prize-winning film critic Roger Ebert. He had been a fixture on TV screens for decades, discussing and debating current movies usually with Gene Siskel, so you may think that you know everything about good ole’ “Uncle Rog”. But though he left »
- Jim Batts
In the last decade of his life, Roger Ebert took to the Internet without looking back. While cancer of the thyroid and salivary glands would eventually mean Ebert could no longer share his thoughts with the world with his voice, the Internet gave him an outlet, opening his life even further to fans of the late, Pulitzer Prize-winning film critic as never before. I didn't personally read every word Ebert wrote on his blog or on Twitter, but I read a lot of it and can even say I had the pleasure of meeting him upon my first visit to the Cannes Film Festival in 2010, corresponded over email a couple times and he even took to batting a few comments back and forth on this very site in December 2008. All things considered, a lot of what is presented within Steve James' loving documentary Life Itself, titled after Ebert's 2011 memoir of the same name, »
- Brad Brevet
This week, Steve James' touching, moving portrait of Roger Ebert, "Life Itself," will start rolling out to theatres. The documentary tells the rather incredible life story of the nation's most famous and beloved film critic, the man who both wrote "Beyond The Valley Of The Dolls" and won a Pulitzer Prize for his criticism. But undoubtedly, one of the most key figures in Ebert's life was Gene Siskel, with the pair first hitting the airwaves in September 1975 with a movie review show, clunkily named, "Opening Soon at a Theater Near You." (Thank goodness they changed that.) And now you can watch how it all began. With the documentary opening soon, there's no better time than to sit back and see where all the bickering started between Siskel and Ebert. "Life Itself" does a terrific job at really exploring the contentious relationship that eventually found the enemies growing into (very competitive) friends, »
- Kevin Jagernauth
Directed by Steve James
“If I were on death row, my last meal would be from Steak ‘n Shake,” he explains. “If I were to take President Obama and his family to dinner and the choice was up to me, it would be Steak ‘n Shake.”
He continues in this way for some time, explaining the rules behind only ordering from the original menu, of the magic of a real milk shake, of late night trips to the one in Urbana, and he even offers a smutty joke about how those in the Midwest who eat Steak ‘n Shake have sex compared to those out West and frequent In ‘n Out Burger. Maybe you can guess how it goes.
Ebert devotes as many pages in his book to »
- Brian Welk
Roger Ebert is inarguably one of the most brilliant film critics in history, so it's only fair that somebody finally made a great movie about him. The documentary Life Itself - directed by Steve James - rolls out to theaters across America this month. It traces his entire life, from his early days writing for the Chicago Sun-Times to the creation of his 1970 cult classic Beyond the Valley of the Dolls to his long (and often contentious) relationship with Gene Siskel.
'The Big Lebowski': The Decade of The »
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