Life Itself

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Acclaimed filmmaker Steve James (Hoop Dreams), along with executive producers Martin Scorsese (Goodfellas) and Steven Zaillian (Moneyball), presents Life Itself, a new documentary recounting the inspiring, entertaining and colorful life of world-renowned film critic Roger Ebert – a story that is by turns personal, funny, moving and transcendent. Based on his bestselling memoir of the same name, Life Itself explores Roger Ebert’s unique and fascinating legacy – his Pulitzer Prize-winning film criticism at the Chicago Sun-Times, his turn as screenwriter of Russ Meyer’s Beyond the Valley of the Dolls, his role as a television celebrity, his often-tumultuous on-and-off screen relationship with fellow critic Gene Siskel, and finally, his “third act” as a major voice on the Internet when he could no longer physically speak – all culminating in his ascension as one of the most distinct and influential cultural icons in America. Bridging high and low culture, Roger Ebert defended film as a populist medium even as he championed films that challenged mainstream aesthetics and expectations. Insisting on bare honesty, Life Itself is as much a love letter to Ebert as it is an expression of Ebert’s own love – for his family, for humanity in general, and, of course, for the movies. (Dir. by Steve James, 2014, USA, 115 mins., Rated R, Magnolia Pictures) Digital