Roger Deakins to Receive Variety Artisan Award at Toronto Film Festival

Academy Award-winning cinematographer Roger Deakins, best known for films such as “Shawshank Redemption” and “O Brother, Where Art Thou?,” will be honored with the Variety Artisan Award at this year’s Toronto International Film Festival Tribute Gala. The annual fundraising gala, which will take place on Sept. 9 at the Fairmont Royal York during TIFF, will […]



EXCLUSIVE: Roger Vivier Enlists Susan Sarandon, AnnaSophia Robb for Short Film

TAKE TWO: Gherardo Felloni is addressing the generation gap — and incidentally sending out the message that style has no age barrier — with a short film to present his fall 2019 collection for Roger Vivier.
He tapped a Hollywood heavyweight, Susan Sarandon, as well as rising star AnnaSophia Robb, to star in a short film set to go live on the brand’s social channels today. It also stars Instagram sensation Tuna the Dog, who has 2 million followers — almost as many as Sarandon and Robb combined.
Inspired by Italian director Antonio Pietrangeli’s cult 1965 movie “Io la conoscevo bene” (“I Knew Her Well” in English), the film tells the story of an aspiring actress — played by Robb — who moves to the city to learn her trade and take lessons in style under shoe-obsessed drama teacher Sarandon.
“The relationship between different generations [is] something I’ve always been interested in,” Felloni said. “I wanted to address the theme in this short film for Roger Vivier.”
He continued, “I think it’s important to show who is the Roger Vivier woman. Susan Sarandon and AnnaSophia Robb perfectly exemplify my vision of Vivier women.…I chose them because I wanted to show a playful exchange between

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Catherine Deneuve Stars in Roger Vivier Short

CATS: To celebrate the launch of his Très Vivier shoe, fledgling Roger Vivier creative director Gherardo Felloni tapped none other than Catherine Deneuve to star in a short film launching today on the brand’s web site and social media channels.
Deneuve has a long history with the brand, since sporting the original version of the buckle pump in Luis Buñuel’s 1967 movie “Belle de Jour,” but this is the first time she has collaborated on a project with the house.
The short is titled “Duo des Chats,” or “Cat Duo” in English, and is inspired by Gioachino Rossini’s performance piece “Duet for Two Cats.” In it, two meowing opera singing twins end up having a full-on cat fight over a pair of Très Vivier pumps held in the lap of their mother, played by an exasperated looking Deneuve, who is taking in the performance in her grand Parisian home. In the end, she relents and gifts them both a pair.
“The idea of Catherine Deneuve gifting two young girls a pair of Roger Vivier shoes is deeply symbolic for me, it represents a passing down, from one generation to the next,” said Felloni, who said that working with Deneuve was a little intimidating.

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Roger Federer Meets Uniqlo’s Tadashi Yanai in Tokyo

TOKYO — Roger Federer has traveled to Japan for the first time since he was announced as Uniqlo’s newest global ambassador in July, and said he’s looking forward to spending more time in the country. 
Having worked closely with Uniqlo’s design team to create the game wear he debuted at Wimbledon last summer, the tennis player said he’s looking forward to becoming even more involved in future collections.
“I love working on details, and also trying out new things, so that’s what we’re going to go back to the drawing board for next year, and [I look forward to] really being able to work with Christophe Lemaire and all the designers at Uniqlo to see what else, what energy we can bring to the outfits of Uniqlo, because I would like to give as much input as I am allowed to into the designs and the materials,” Federer said during a news conference in Tokyo on Tuesday.
“Uniqlo has an incredible amount of potential to make the best possible shirts and shorts and socks and everything they do already. But I feel comfortable, and I feel that if I look good, I play good,” said Federer who was dressed in white jeans and a

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The Third James Bond, Roger Moore Has Died

Sir Roger Moore, the actor most famous for being the third person to play James Bond in the mainline film series, has died at 89.

Announced by his children on Twitter, Moore passed away after a “short but brave battle with cancer”.

Moore played the world’s most famous spy in seven films, including Live and Let Die and The Man With the Golden Gun. He brought the most outright humour to the Bond series of any of the mainline actors, and remains a favourite of many for that reason.

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From EW Archives: A Look Back at Roger Moore’s Career as the Best Bond

Legendary British actor Roger Moore has died at the age of 90 after an iconic career on the silver screen — including his record time as James Bond. This 2008 interview from EW takes a look back at Moore’s career and how he became “the best Bond.”

“Can I get you a drink, Mr. Moore?”

The waiter stands there, secretly hoping that he’ll say those five words known from the beaches of Rio to the bazaars of Cairo to the ski slopes of Gstaad: Vodka martini—shaken, not stirred.

“I’ll have a…Bloody Mary.”

Roger Moore is sitting in the posh dining room of New York City’s St. Regis hotel. He is wearing a crisp white shirt (French cuffs, naturally), a blue-and-red-striped tie (Savile Row, of course), and a blue blazer with a tiny florette pinned to the lapel signifying that the erstwhile international man of mystery is a Commander of the French Ordre des Arts et des Lettres. Seated next to him is his fourth wife, Kristina, a lovely blonde with a vaguely European accent.

Every eye in the room is on him. Middle-aged men and their wives crane their necks just to hear his voice. This is what it is to be in the elite fraternity of actors who have played James Bond. When Moore‘s drink arrives, he swishes it around in his mouth like a fine bordeaux and announces “This is the best goddamned Bloody Mary I’ve ever had!”

Adjectives almost fail to do justice to Moore‘s speaking voice. It’s a purr coated in honey and caramel and molasses. He is 81 and has a leathery tan. If you squint just a little, he doesn’t look all that different from when we last saw him—in a steamy shower, canoodling with Tanya Roberts in the closing scene of 1985’s A View to a Kill (“Oh, James!”)—the last of his seven debonair, sardonic turns as 007.

I was 8 years old when I saw my first James Bond film. It was the summer of 1977. I consider myself blessed by the timing. The Spy Who Loved Me was not only the best Bond movie Moore ever made (an opinion he shares, by the way), it was also—thanks to the luscious Barbara Bach and the steel-toothed giant Jaws—one of the best films in the series.

Moore was the first Bond I knew. Like anyone who grew up in the ’70s, I’d later catch up with the older Connery films on TV. But they didn’t compare. They just seemed like smudgy Xeroxes of the Bond I’d first seen in the theater. And where was the fun? Sure, Connery was more dangerous, rougher around the edges, deadlier with a Walther PPK. But Moore was lethal from 10 paces, armed with nothing more than a cocked eyebrow and a saucy bon mot. And if there was some sort of sexual double entendre in that bon mot, well, all the better for an 8-year-old.

Moore had the good luck to play Bond during the last gasp of the Cold War. Often the plots were needlessly byzantine and downright absurd (the outer-space love story involving Jaws in Moonraker comes to mind). But most of Moore‘s Bond flicks were catnip to boys who hadn’t discovered girls yet. In Live and Let Die, he got entangled in Caribbean voodoo. In The Man With the Golden Gun, the villain had a superfluous nipple. And in For Your Eyes Only, he was chased down the Italian Alps by Aryans on motorcycles—Aryans on motorcycles! Cheese, yes. But served up with just the right amount of ham, thanks to Moore.

Moore played 007 more times than any other actor. By rights of possession, he owns the part. Connery appeared in only six, if you exclude the unofficial and embarrassing 1983 comeback Never Say Never Again (I doubt even Connery wants to include that one). And as any apprentice-level 007 aficionado knows, there were also the blink-and-miss George Lazenby (one film), the placeholding charisma vacuum Timothy Dalton (two), and the so-suave-he-was-almost-bland Pierce Brosnan (four). Now, of course, we have Daniel Craig, who’s updated Bond into a sort of sadistic, knuckle-scraping Jason Bourne in a tux. He’s serious, flawed, and, if you ask me, kind of a drag.

The knock on Moore has always been that he played the character too lightly. He was too arch. Too jokey. But that seems a bit rigid. Moore‘s Bond films grossed $ 1.2 billion worldwide. He took over a hugely popular franchise after its leading man walked and kept it humming for 12 more years. As far as I’m concerned, Moore is, was, and will always be Bond. It’s not a critical argument, just one from the heart.

When I explain this to Moore—that the Bond you love first is the Bond you’ll always love most, he seems genuinely touched. I think he even calls me “dear boy” before turning to Kristina and saying, “Darling, get Sean on the phone. He needs to hear this.”

After ordering a couple of insanely expensive hamburgers, Moore and I dig into his double-0 legacy. Moore is aware of his lightweight, also-ran reputation within the Bond universe. And he’s actually damn proud of it. “To be associated with success is absolutely wonderful,” he says. “If my first one, Live and Let Die, had not been a hit, people might have said, ‘Oh, he was the poor fellow who only made one,’ which is unfortunately what they say about George.”

Moore has just published a new memoir called My Word Is My Bond. The timing is no accident. He’s smart enough to know that piggybacking its release on that of the 22nd Bond film, Quantum of Solace, is good business.

Both in the pages of his book and in person, Moore, the only child of a policeman and a homemaker, is a cheeky raconteur. Naughty anecdotes from the exotic, far-flung sets of his Bond films pour out of him, like the time when his View to a Kill costar Grace Jones smuggled a very lifelike sex toy into bed during their onscreen love scene, or the fact that his diminutive Man With the Golden Gun castmate Hervé Villechaize had a sweet tooth for strippers from Hong Kong.

Moore also tells a story that should get the legions of Connery purists shaken and stirred too. Namely, that he was considered for the role of 007 in 1962’s Dr. No before Connery was tapped. “That’s what they told me, at least,” he says. “They also said I was Ian Fleming’s first choice. But Ian Fleming didn’t know me from s—. He wanted Cary Grant or David Niven.”

By the early ’70s, Connery had grown weary of Bond and had become increasingly testy about the financial details of his contract. So Bond producer Cubby Broccoli came back to sniff around Moore, who had just wrapped the British TV series The Persuaders! In 1973, he offered the actor a three-picture deal. Moore knew it wouldn’t be easy to make fans forget about Connery, so he wanted to put his own stamp on the character. “I tried to find out what Bond was all about,” he says, “but you can’t tell much from the books. There’s the line that says ‘He didn’t take pleasure in killing, but took pride in doing it well.’ So that’s what I did. But the other side of me was saying, This is a famous spy—everyone knows his name, and every bartender in the world knows he likes martinis shaken, not stirred. Come on, it’s all a big joke! So most of the time I played it tongue-in-cheek.”

Moore is the first to admit he’s no Olivier. Well, second, after the critics who crucified him as 007. In the past he’s been quoted as saying, “My acting range has always been something between the two extremes of ‘raises left eyebrow’ and ‘raises right eyebrow.’” When asked about this bit of self-deprecation, he adds, “I can also wiggle my ears.”

As our hamburgers arrive, Moore delicately reaches for a knife and fork—yes, he actually eats a burger with a knife and fork—and says, “Listen, if I say I’m s— as an actor, then the critic can’t, because I’ve already said it! For years my agents would tell me, ‘You’ve got to stop saying these things about yourself. People will believe you.’ So? They may also be pleasantly surprised!” Actually, Moore says that he did bring one bit of Method acting to the role of Bond. In each of the films, whenever he went face-to-face with a villain in a scene, he would imagine that the bad guy had halitosis. “If you watch those scenes, you’ll see I look mildly repulsed.”

In Moore‘s sixth Bond film, 1983’s Octopussy, the secret agent squared off against a rival that even Ian Fleming couldn’t have dreamed up: Sean Connery. After leaving the franchise 12 years earlier, Connery had returned in the unsanctioned 007 movie Never Say Never Again, which opened four months after Octopussy. The high-noon box office showdown seemed like it would reveal, once and for all, America’s favorite Bond. Octopussy won. When I ask Moore if he felt any competitiveness with Connery at the time, he smiles. “No more than two jockeys who are going to be paid anyway for running the race. But it would be nice if you won because you’d get the extra bonus. But really, no more than that. Sean and I are friends.”

As he finishes this sentence, a stranger comes over to our table. It’s Plácido Domingo. Moore gets up, and the two go off to the side of the room to catch up. I ask Kristina how these two know each other, and she tells me that they often play tennis together while on vacation in Acapulco. Of course they do. Then I ask her where she and Moore live. She replies, “We spend the summers in Monaco and the winters in Switzerland.” What did you expect?

When Moore returns to the table, he launches into his reasons for leaving the franchise. He twists open a mini-bottle of ketchup, pours some on his burger, and then licks the rim of the bottle to catch a stray dollop. “It had been on my mind for a long time,” he says. “I became very conscious that I was getting long in the tooth to play the great lover. Not that I ever needed Viagra,” he says, shooting a rascal’s grin at his wife. “I was 57 in the last one. You can see I was getting a little scraggy around the neck.”

Afterward, Moore made a few appearances in forgettable films, passed on a TV series with Burt Reynolds, and began working as an ambassador for UNICEF, which he continues to do today. But mostly he just wandered away from acting, happy to live the good life, ski, and play tennis. “I was not born with tremendous ambition,” he admits. “And thank God, because my contemporaries who had ambition are all dead. It can kill you.”

Ambition or not, Moore has always worked hard not to criticize, or even comment on, the Bonds who came after him. He’s too diplomatic for that, too classy. So when I ask him his opinion of the newer-model 007s, I’m not surprised that he waves the question off with his hand. But I ask again. “Okay, I’ve seen Daniel’s Casino Royale, and I thought it was bloody good! I saw bits of the Timothy Dalton ones, and I saw one of Pierce’s and I thought that was a bit phantasmagoric—invisible cars! They went too far.” However, he says, “in 47 years they haven’t made many mistakes with the Bond franchise. They’re clever enough to sense a trend. And the trend right now is for hard, gritty Bond.”

If that’s the case, and the Bond movies reflect the times in which they’re made, what does he think the Roger Moore Bonds were trying to say about the late ’70s and early ’80s? He thinks about it for a minute, then seems to grow frustrated. “People are always reading things into the films,” he says. “But we set out to make entertainment. There’s no hidden agenda. They’re just ‘Wham-bam-thank-you-ma’am, here comes a pretty girl, there goes a car chase, let’s shoot a helicopter down.’ That’s as deep as they got.”

Just then, a man in his 40s approaches. He hovers behind Moore, waiting for the right moment to say something. Finally, Moore turns around and shoots him a “Can I help you?” stare. The man stammers and clears his throat. “I’m sorry to bother you, but I’m a huge fan and I just wanted to hear your voice. Could you say something—anything?” Moore takes his napkin from his lap and slowly folds it. “Thank you, that’s very nice of you.” That’s it. The man walks away, giggling, a childlike smile on his face. I ask Moore if he ever gets tired of this. Tired of the fact that wherever he goes, he’ll always be hounded by people who want a piece of James Bond.

He almost chokes on his Bloody Mary.

“Are you kidding? I’m damn lucky!”

Then comes the old Moore quip. “…I’ve been lucky, said the man as he stepped into the street.” He crashes his hands together, mimicking the impact of an oncoming bus.

His wife and I politely laugh.

But our reaction isn’t hearty enough. Moore wants more. So he calls upon the deadliest weapon in his arsenal and cocks his left eyebrow.

Talk about a license to kill.

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Film Review: ‘Get Me Roger Stone’

The right-wing campaign consultants who brought negative advertising, mud-slinging, and — let’s call it what it is — lying into the center of the American media ecosphere used to keep themselves out of sight. That was part of their mystique: They plied their trade from the shadows. (It’s part of what gave their lies power —… Read more »



Showtime Lands Mini-Series on Fox News Founder Roger Ailes

Showtime is wading into the world of Fox News as scandal continues to buffet the cable channel. The premium cabler has landed the rights to “Secure and Hold: The Last Days of Roger Ailes,” a look at the Fox News founder’s rise and fall. The limited series will draw on reporting from New York magazine writer… Read more »



James Murdoch Gives Fox News High Marks for Getting Rid of Roger Ailes

James Murdoch praised 21st Century Fox for moving quickly to remove Fox News chief Roger Ailes in the wake of sexual harassment allegations. “We did a good job in acting decisively,” Murdoch, who serves as the company ‘s CEO, told an investor-heavy audience at Monday’s UBS Global Media and Communications Conference. Although he didn’t delve deeply… Read more »



Zingz & Thingz 57070431 Jolly Roger Skull Luggage Set

Zingz & Thingz 57070431 Jolly Roger Skull Luggage Set

Stand out from the crowd wherever your journey takes you! Fashion meets function in this roomy three-piece luggage set with splashy all-over skull and crossbones pattern; pull-out handles and wheels make travel a breeze. A vacation from ordinary boring accessories! Includes large medium and small rolling zippered cases. Grip handles on both sides. Made of Nylon and plastic. Spot clean only.

  • Dimension – 18.5 x 9.75 x 26.25 in.
  • Item Weight – 30.75 lbs.

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Roger & Gallet – Box of 3 Perfumed Soaps – Citron

Roger & Gallet – Box of 3 Perfumed Soaps – Citron

With Ginger perfumed soap, the scent draws you to the delights of an Italian garden, in the heart of the valleys in mountainous Calabria, with a sparkling harmony of delicious and revitalizing scents. A nectar of citrus essences whose freshness releases hints of a delicate alchemy of woods. The Roger & Gallett soaps are the result of a unique manufacturing process. They owe their incomparable fragrance to craft tradition and their infinite softness to the high quality of their composition which protects all the vital functions of the skin. They are known to be among the best in the world. Made in France

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Roger Piguet Paris – Cravache – Eau de Toilette Spray

Roger Piguet Paris – Cravache – Eau de Toilette Spray

An aromatic infusion of citrus and woods, this refreshing citrus blends tradition and modernity as mandarin, lemon and petit grain fuse with clary sage, lavender, nutmeg, patchouli and vetiver. This invigorating elixir is sure to stimulate senses and make pulses race. Cravache embodies Robert Piguet’s sense of refined sophistication and sensitivity to quality. Fresh, bold and stylish, Cravache was originally launched in 1963. Now, the formula has been rebalanced to blend tradition and modernity. Top notes: Lemon, Lavender, Madarin Middle notes: Sage, Petitgrain, Nutmeg Base notes: Patchouli Vetiver

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Roger Ebert’s Movie Yearbook

Roger Ebert’s Movie Yearbook

Since 1986, Roger Eberta (TM)s annual collection has been recognized as the preeminent source for full-length critical movie reviews. “Roger Ebert’s “criticism shows a nearly unequaled grasp of film history and technique, and formidable intellectual range.” -“New York Times” Pulitzer Prize-winning film critic Roger Ebert presents more than 500 full-length critical movie reviews, along with interviews, essays, tributes, journal entries, and Q and As from “Questions for the Movie Answer Man” inside “Roger Ebert’s Movie Yearbook 2011. ” From “Inglourious Basterds” and “Crazy Heart” to “Avatar, Fantastic Mr. Fox,” and the South Korean sensation “The Chaser,” “Roger Ebert’s Movie Yearbook 2011.” includes every movie review Ebert has written from January 2008 to July 2010. Also included in the Yearbook are: * In-depth interviews with newsmakers such as Muhammad Ali and Jason Reitman. * Tributes to Eric Rohmer, Roy Disney, John Hughes, and Walter Cronkite. * Essays on the Oscars, reports from the Cannes Film Festival, and entries into Ebert’s Little Movie Glossary.

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World Jerseys Jolly Roger Pirate Cycling Jersey – Men’s Size L

World Jerseys Jolly Roger Pirate Cycling Jersey – Men’s Size L

The World Jersey Men’s Jolly Roger Pirate Jersey is made out of DrySport 100% Wicking Polyester, keeping you dry and cool on your ride. 19″ hidden zipper Elastic waist and cuffs Three rear pockets for storage Long lasting colors Polyester Euro-Mesh fabric Antimicrobial finish that resists odors and reduces germs Size L
List Price: $ 59.95
Price: $ 59.95

Life Itself Movie CLIP – Ava DuVernay (2014) – Roger Ebert Documentary HD

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Life Itself Movie CLIP – Ava DuVernay (2014) – Roger Ebert Documentary HD

Acclaimed director Steve James (Hoop Dreams) and executive producers Martin Scorsese (The Departed) and Steven Zaillian (Moneyball) present LIFE ITSELF, a documentary film that recounts the inspiring and entertaining life of world-renowned film critic and social commentator Roger Ebert—a story that is by turns personal, funny, painful, and transcendent. Based on his bestselling memoir of the same name, LIFE ITSELF explores the legacy of Roger Ebert’s life, from his Pulitzer Prize-winning film criticism at the Chicago Sun-Times to becoming one of the most influential cultural voices in America.
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ReThink Review: Life Itself — On Roger Ebert and Why I Review Movies

For most movie critics living today, Pulitzer Prize-winning critic Roger Ebert is their patron saint. While I rarely read his reviews, I know that he’s influenced me more than I even know, starting from when I was a little kid watching At the Movies with Gene Siskel and Roger Ebert, which I still think is the perfect format for a movie review show and probably contributed to me wanting to be a critic in the first place. The new documentary Life Itself traces Ebert’s life and extraordinary career while also chronicling the final four months of his life before he died after a long battle with cancer which took his ability to speak but supercharged his compulsion to write. Watch the trailer for Life Itself below.

Based on Ebert’s book of the same name, Life Itself traces Ebert’s career as a born writer who eventually became a reporter at the Chicago Sun-Times where, at the age of 25, he was made their full-time movie critic (then an unglamorous job) when the previous critic quit. But Ebert’s talent and intelligence quickly elevated the reviews, eventually earning him a Pulitzer, to the point that someone got the then-novel idea of starting a movie review TV show pairing Ebert with Chicago Tribune critic and rival Gene Siskel.

It’s this part of the film, detailing the evolution of the show and Ebert and Siskel’s relationship, that I found the most fascinating and fun since footage and interviews (including the first-ever interview with Siskel’s widow Marlene) reveal that the enmity and differences between Siskel and Ebert went even deeper than they appeared on a show famous for their testy exchanges. The two were an odd couple in every way, but their dynamic led to them becoming the most famous and powerful film critics in history and eventually the closest of friends — a journey that could make a great film on its own. And filmmakers, several of whom are interviewed, recognized Ebert not as a scourge or scold, but a lover of film who only wanted them to do their best work.

Throughout, Life Itself returns to 2013 as Ebert continues his work and convalesces from an injury, only to learn that his cancer has spread, giving him only months to live. As the end approaches, we’re given an intimate look at his relationships with Ebert’s beloved wife Chaz, her family, and the meaning they brought to his life.

Life Itself is directed by Hoop Dreams director Steve James, who attributes the success of his film to Siskel and Ebert’s early and repeated support. But Life Itself — at nearly two hours — is not a puff piece, examining both the celebrated and unflattering aspects of Ebert’s personality, from his intelligence and writing skills which were obvious at an early age to his reputation for being an arrogant, sometimes mean attention hog. It’s a terrific film about the man, loving movies, cancer, and the role of honest criticism that you don’t need to be a critic to enjoy, though it inevitably leads this critic to think about why I do what I do.

I don’t think of myself as a disciple of Ebert, but his influence on me is undeniable. When I was still a little kid, Ebert (I preferred him to Siskel) showed me that movies should be enjoyed in context for what they are, not in comparison to an alleged golden age or an idea of what movies are supposed to be, and that movies could not only be art, but art that could be enjoyed and understood by everyone — provided it was done well. He was intellectual yet not condescending, part of the populist streak that ran through all his work — something that I relate to and probably unconsciously emulate.

I see my reviews as not being about me knowing more about movies than you or telling you how to think, but simply as an attempt to explain clearly why I feel the way I do about a movie while being honest about my biases and shortcomings, which is why I never apologize for movies I haven’t seen. After all, I’m not a movie expert or someone trying to be what I think a critic is supposed to be, but simply a guy who loves movies and loves writing about them.

But above all else, I share a belief that Ebert states early in Life Itself: that “movies are like a machine that generates empathy.” Movies are the most powerful and accessible storytelling device that humans have created, possessing a unique power to educate and enlighten, whether it’s through presenting information, letting you into the lives of people different from you, or by putting a character you relate to in a situation you’ve shared or maybe never experienced. By doing this, movies can challenge your beliefs and preconceptions, make you feel less alone, or at least provide viewers with a shared experience that can spark a conversation based on each individual’s unique interpretation of it. And it’s only through empathy and discussion that we’ll be able to put aside our differences, emphasize what connects us, and make the world a better place.

These might be lofty ideas for a guy who runs his mouth about movies. But Roger Ebert showed that talking about movies can be a pretty wonderful thing. And if you don’t believe me, Life Itself will almost definitely change your mind.
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The Roger Ebert Documentary ‘Life Itself’ Shines At Sundance

As I write this fourth update, I have now seen 15 movies at this year’s Sundance Film Festival. (I should add: I am very, very tired.) I’ve been sitting at my computer for the last 10 minutes trying to think of some fun anecdote to share, but, honestly, I can’t remember much of anything right now, so let’s just get to the movies. Movies that include one of the most special films at the festival, the Roger Ebert documentary, “Life Itself.”

“Life Itself”

life itself

“Life Itself,” a title that was taken from Roger Ebert’s autobiography, chronicles the life of the famed film critic – including the last few months of Ebert’s life in, at times, ghastly detail. It’s heartbreaking to see Ebert in such poor shape for those last few months, especially contrasted with the guy who used to be so full of life. But even in those final months, Ebert’s writing was still very much full of life.

I don’t want to paint “Life Itself” as a sad film. There’s a sequence where outtakes are shown of Ebert and Gene Siskel filming a television promo that are downright hilarious. Thankfully, a lot of time is spent on Siskel (who died in 1999) and the strange relationship the two shared. It was Siskel’s insistence on hiding the severity of his condition from Ebert -– Ebert had been hurt that he wasn’t in Siskel’s inner circle concerning his condition — that led Ebert to be as open as possible about his future medical conditions.

It’s a shame Ebert didn’t live to see this film released, but in an interview conducted for the film, he was fairly sure that he would never live to see the finished film. “Life Itself” will take you through the emotional gauntlet. No, Ebert wasn’t a saint and this documentary doesn’t sugarcoat that fact. But it does give us a look at this man who lived an extraordinary life and inspired so many. “Life Itself” is one of the best films at Sundance.



When “Laggies” begins, it almost feels like a distant cousin to “Bridesmaids.” (Note: I am in no way comparing “Laggies” to “Bridesmaids,” just the first ten minutes.) There are some laughs! I laughed a few times! Keira Knightly plays Megan, a woman with an advanced degree, yet who is content doing not much of anything with her career. After her best friend’s wedding, during which her boyfriend (Mark Webber) unsuccessfully tries to propose, she’s asked by a high school student, Annika (Chloë Grace Moretz), to buy Annika and her other underage friends some alcohol. Megan agrees, then moves in with Annika and falls in love with Annika’s dad (Sam Rockwell). Yes, the plot of this movie is as dumb as that sounds.

Again, there are some legitimately funny scenes, but “Laggies” suffers from way too many “Nobody in real life would ever make the decisions that these characters do” moments. Annika, a stranger, calls Megan and asks Megan to pose as her mother for a meeting at the principal’s office. With no hesitation, Megan agrees. Nobody would ever agree to that! Who are these people? You know what? Never mind, I don’t want to know.

“To Be Takei”

to be takei

I had no idea that George Takei had worked with John Wayne. “To Be Takei” is filled with enough footage and fun facts like that one to satisfy the weary popular culture connoisseur – and, yes, there’s a lot of “Star Trek” – but the film focuses mostly on Takei’s extraordinary post-“Trek” life, in which he’s become one of the leading voices in the LGBT movement.

If you’ve paid attention to Takei’s life, I’m not sure there’s a lot here that someone wouldn’t know – Takei has discussed his unfortunate time in a Japanese internment camp during World War II many times in the past – but Takei just emits joy. It’s impossible to watch Takei speak and not feel some sort of happiness. The film is sprinkled with interviews with the rest of the living “Star Trek” cast, including William Shatner who, honestly, comes off as an asshole. (I can see why when Takei told Shatner to “get off your high horse” at a celebrity roast, he states he wasn’t joking.)

Regardless, Takei has lived a fascinating life and makes for a great case study, even if you don’t know the difference between a Klingon and a Romulan.

Mike Ryan is senior writer for Huffington Post Entertainment. You can contact him directly on Twitter.
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Autographed Moore Picture – LIVE LET DIE” by ROGER as JAMES BOND JANE SEYMOUR as SOLITAIRE 8×10 Color

Autographed Moore Picture – LIVE LET DIE” by ROGER as JAMES BOND JANE SEYMOUR as SOLITAIRE 8×10 Color

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