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Review Round-Up: Roger Ebert's Life Itself: "The best thing Mr. Ebert has ever written"

Review Round-Up: Roger Ebert's Life Itself: "The best thing Mr. Ebert has ever written"
Roger Ebert, the owner of arguably the most powerful thumbs in America, has published a memoir documenting his 69 years. Winner of the Pulitzer Prize and the only film critic to garner a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, Ebert writes in Life Itself how he helped to change the way movies were reviewed. Especially in light of his recent struggles with cancer, film and book critics alike are lauding Ebert's introspective portrayal of his past, with some saying that Life Itself is the best writing the Ebert has ever penned. Read the reviews below.
  • By Maggie Lange
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  • September 23, 2011 8:27 AM
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Visual Effects Society Issues Bill of Rights to Combat Downward Spiral

Despite the fact that VFX and animated films rule the box office every year, the Visual Effects Society, representing 2,400 members in 23 countries, wants to foster change related to deteriorating quality of life issues for individuals, while leveling the playing field for facilities.
  • By Bill Desowitz
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  • September 22, 2011 5:11 AM
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TIFF Deals: Sundance Selects Takes Winterbottom's Trishna; Hot Sales on Gosling-Cooper's Pines

TIFF Deals: Sundance Selects Takes Winterbottom's Trishna; Hot Sales on Gosling-Cooper's Pines
Michael Winterbottom's Tess of the D'Urbervilles adaptation, Trishna, has gone to Sundance Selects for North American distribution. They call it his "most beautiful and sensual" film. Starring Freida Pinto and Riz Ahmed, it is a modern take on the classic. Synopsis is below. Winterbottom wrote and directed the film, and previously worked with Sundance Selects on his films The Killer Inside Me and The Trip.
  • By Sophia Savage
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  • September 15, 2011 9:34 AM
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TIFF Deals: The Lady, Wuthering Heights, Last Day on Earth, Your Sister's Sister

TIFF Deals: The Lady, Wuthering Heights, Last Day on Earth, Your Sister's Sister
The late Toronto fest deals are flying fast and furious. Now IFC has closed two deals, for North and Latin American rights to Lynn Shelton's well-reviewed relationship comedy Your Sister's Sister, starring Emily Blunt, Rosemarie DeWitt and Mark Duplass, and North American rights for Abel Ferrara's 4:44 Last Day on Earth. The New York-set film, starring Willem Dafoe, Shanyn Leigh, Paz de la Huerta, and Natasha Lyonne asks the questions, "how would we spend our final hours on Earth? And what does how we choose to die say about how we have chosen to live?" Next stop: The New York Film Festival. Here's more. UPDATED.
  • By Anne Thompson and Sophia Savage
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  • September 14, 2011 12:08 PM
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Focus Features Adds Jeb Brody, VOD Label

One might be tempted to blame the egregious miscasting of Anne Hathaway as a working class Brit in book-to-film adaptation One Day for the departure of Focus Features production chief John Lyons; he's moving on to produce his own films. In any case, Focus has now replaced Lyons with Vendome Pictures production president Jeb Brody, who unlike Lyons and Focus bosses James Schamus and Andrew Karpen, will be based in Los Angeles. Brody supervised production on Source Code and Larry Crowne. (Official release and more bio info is below.)
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • August 24, 2011 6:06 AM
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Relativity Raises Chinese Backing for Global Studio to Produce and Release Films in and Out of China

Relativity Media's Ryan Kavanaugh doesn't sit around. The guy has pacted with a Chinese equity firm and a China-focused investment entity to back a production/acquisition/distribution company geared toward Chinese language films with global appeal.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • August 14, 2011 10:56 AM
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No Budget Film School August 20-21: Bellflower Case Study with Glodell & Grashaw

No Budget Film School began in 2005 to give filmmakers the know-how that was lacking from other traditional schools and workshops, and to teach them how to make films with only the resources they currently have available--embracing their limitations to focus on the most important elements, rather than getting discouraged. Founder Mark Stolaroff informs the NBFS from his own no-budget experience, working at Next Wave Films (which supported the likes of Christopher Nolan), viewing thousands of micro-budget films and relationships with working directors.
  • By Sophia Savage
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  • August 11, 2011 5:50 AM
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Kenny Ortega to Direct Lionsgate Dirty Dancing Remake

We haven't heard too much of Kenny Ortega since This Is It, his 2009 Michael Jackson documentary, but Lionsgate announced today that it will be producing a remake of Dirty Dancing with Ortega at the helm.
  • By Jacob Combs
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  • August 8, 2011 11:52 AM
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  • 1 Comment

Los Angeles Screenplay Competition: Deadline August 15

The deadline for the Los Angeles Screenplay Competition is August 15. The mission of the competition is "to find high quality screenplays" that can be produced and screenwriters who can be contracted to write new screenplays. President of of the LA Screenplay Competition, Rafael Primorac, has brought such low-budget B-fare as Game of Death (starring Wesley Snipes), Giallo (Adrien Brody, pictured) and Mysteria (Danny Glover, Billy Zane) to the big screen and is looking for his next projects. You can find more information and enter the competition here.
  • By Sophia Savage
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  • August 8, 2011 6:22 AM
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  • 1 Comment

Hitchcock Footage Unearthed: Academy to Show Found Reels from First Feature White Shadow

It's been a big year for Hitchcock devotees. First, there was the latest unveiling of the 12-hour audio file from Hitchcock's famous interview with French critic and director Francois Truffaut. Now, the National Film Preservation Foundation and the New Zealand Film Archive have announced their discovery of the opening half-hour of The White Shadow, Hitchcock's first credited film.
  • By Jacob Combs
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  • August 3, 2011 7:39 AM
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  • 2 Comments

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