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Old July 7 2014, 06:15 PM   #1
Foxhot
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LIFE ITSELF with Roger Ebert

Being a non-Michael Moore documentary, this film is unlikely to spread out to the majority of multiplexes. But it is already being made available to Video On Demand, and I predict it will win its Oscar nomination next year for Best 2014 documentary.

It's greater than that in my mind, though. It's the best movie this year I've seen hands down, and very likely the entire year...even if you leave in an anti-Pauline Kael line from of Ebert's surviving friends. It's a line Ebert would disagree with.

Gene Siskel also gets his due. The way both men dealt with their illnesses, Siskel privately and Ebert publicly, proved equally moving. I cannot recommend this film enough. So I'll ask who else has caught it as of today.
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Old July 8 2014, 01:13 AM   #2
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Re: LIFE ITSELF with Roger Ebert

I might catch it on Netflix sometime, but honestly, as big an Ebert fan as I am, I'm not in a big rush to see a documentary about him, especially one that focuses significant time on his health troubles, which illuminated his character, no question, but don't hugely interest me in of themselves.

Also, the What the Flick?! gang says Roeper isn't even mentioned, let alone interviewed? Not a mention for his TV partner of six or seven years? That's kinda weird, no?
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Old July 8 2014, 01:38 AM   #3
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Re: LIFE ITSELF with Roger Ebert

I can not WAIT to see this. I was such a huge fan of his and I've heard wonderful things about the film.
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Old July 8 2014, 01:45 PM   #4
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Re: LIFE ITSELF with Roger Ebert

Gaith wrote: View Post
I might catch it on Netflix sometime, but honestly, as big an Ebert fan as I am, I'm not in a big rush to see a documentary about him, especially one that focuses significant time on his health troubles, which illuminated his character, no question, but don't hugely interest me in of themselves.

Also, the What the Flick?! gang says Roeper isn't even mentioned, let alone interviewed? Not a mention for his TV partner of six or seven years? That's kinda weird, no?
Extremely. As great as the film is, Roeper's total absence is a blind spot. Russ Meyer is not dwelled on, but at least he's mentioned. Maybe future deleted scenes will touch on them.
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Old July 8 2014, 10:15 PM   #5
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Re: LIFE ITSELF with Roger Ebert

I can entirely understand the filmmakers not making a big deal of their time, but to not even mention him inevitably smells like a deliberate slight. And, given the degree to which Ebert cooperated with the movie, it practically forces one to wonder if they had a falling out.
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Old July 9 2014, 03:11 AM   #6
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Re: LIFE ITSELF with Roger Ebert

Gaith wrote: View Post
Also, the What the Flick?! gang says Roeper isn't even mentioned, let alone interviewed? Not a mention for his TV partner of six or seven years? That's kinda weird, no?
The director was going to include a segment about Roeper's collaboration with Ebert, but felt it didn't fit the narrative. You'd think he could have at least included a quote about Roger from Roeper though. But no, there was no falling out between Roeper and Ebert, it was just a creative decision by the director.

Of course, there were several other iterations of the show after Siskel's death: Richard Roeper, various guest hosts, A.O. Scott and Michael Phillips, Christy Lemire and Ignatiy Vishnevetsky. You don't mention any of them in the movie.

I had every intention of at least documenting in some way the show with Roeper, because Roger did the show with Roeper for like seven or eight years. I planned to interview Richard, but what happened was that after Roger died, I started to really try and work with the interviews that I already had done, which ended up being about two-thirds of the interviews that were eventually in the movie. I started to piece together a structure for the movie. When I got to that part of the film where Gene dies, and the decision that Gene and his wife made about how they were going to be very private about the illness, and the impact that decision had on Roger -- how it hurt him to be excluded from knowing that diagnosis and how it fueled his own decision to not deal with anything that might befall him in a similar way going forward -- I just felt like I had to go from that to delving deeply into what befell Roger. I just felt that was such a strong narrative line of greater importance to spend some time with the show in the aftermath of Gene.

I know Richard really wanted to be a part of the film and I even sent a note to him explaining why I made the decisions I made and he was very classy about it. But I ended up decided that that was more important to telling the story and that the show with Gene was the significance of Roger's television film criticism.


http://www.indiewire.com/article/lif...ntary-20140705
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Old July 9 2014, 05:17 AM   #7
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Re: LIFE ITSELF with Roger Ebert

I hope that this documentary comes out on dvd or is in my area someday, theater wise. It would be nice to catch it.
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Old July 9 2014, 10:24 PM   #8
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Re: LIFE ITSELF with Roger Ebert

@Locutus: good stuff; thanks.
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Old July 9 2014, 10:36 PM   #9
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Re: LIFE ITSELF with Roger Ebert

You're welcome.
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Old July 12 2014, 08:57 PM   #10
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Re: LIFE ITSELF with Roger Ebert

I miss Roger.

With him and Gene, we got My Dinner With Andre every week.
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