AUTHOR | Eric Althoff


Thora Birch, Terry Zwigoff, Guillermo Del Toro and SOY CUBANA’s filmmaker Jeremy Ungar help cap off EBERTFEST 2022

Festival hadn't been held in person since 2019

CHAMPAIGN-URBANA, Ill.—The final two days of Ebertfest which ended on Sunday featured some great films in addition to stellar guests who spoke about their craft. Mostly, the invited guests discussed what motivated them to create their art, and the organizers also testified to what drives some of them to program the films they do. Chaz Ebert kicked off Friday’s program by introducing Jason ... more >

Cries, whispers and laughter from the floor to the screen–it’s EBERTFEST 2022!

Ebertfest has been held since 1999

Wednesday evening kicked off the 2022 festival with “Summer of Soul (…Or, When the Revolution Could Not Be Televised),” which recently won the Oscar for best documentary. On Thursday morning, Ebert’s widow Chaz opened the proceedings by introducing the first full day of programming now that the festival has returned to in-person screenings for the first time since 2019. “During the ‘great ... more >

In an chaotic world Gustavo Dudamel, steady hand and kind soul, encourages and inspires: “¡VIVA MAESTRO!”

Alejandro Carreno, Gustavo Dudamel and Nathaly Al Gindi
Directed by Ted Braun

Gustavo Dudamel is one of the music world’s most amazing individuals. At just twenty-eight the Venezulan veteran of that country’s El Sistema music program was chosen to become the new artistic director of the Los Angeles Philharmonic. His welcome concert, ¡Bienvenido Gustavo!, held at the Hollywood Bowl on October 3rd, 2009, set the entire city on fire, with Dudamel’s flying curls and mile-wide ... more >

Oscar-winning screenwriter Graham Moore takes the directing reins with “The Outfit” | REAL TALK

Screenwriting, book writing and now, film directing. Graham Moore has been busy.

Graham Moore won the Academy Award for best adapted screenplay for the 2014 film “The Imitation Game,” his first feature credit. It would take until 2022 for him to have another film in theaters, though Moore insists he has been anything but lazy in the intervening years. “I did publish two novels between then and now,” Moore said recently during a phone conversation we had together. He added ... more >

Some exciting new films at SBIFF and SXSW | THE DEBRIEF

From climate change to the covid pandemic to stringed instruments and yacht racing, so many topical subjects taken on by engaging filmmakers

It’s film festival season once again, and after two years of darkness, theaters at cinema gatherings are filled with (still-masked) revelers and cinephiles. The Santa Barbara International Film Festival is back on the “American Riviera” in California, and SXSW is right now rocking down in Austin. While things are back to happening in person, not all is back to “normal.” In addition to masks, ... more >


No second takes
Lucie Arnaz, Bette Midler and Carol Burnett
Directed by Amy Poehler

Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz built an entertainment empire. Against all expectations and rather stiff odds, the married pair not only had the top-rated TV series in “I Love Lucy” to their credit but also Desilu Productions, which produced many of the most popular series of the day, including “Mission Impossible” and Ball’s own “The Lucy Show.” The pair enjoyed great success in Hollywood and no ... more >

“Studio 666”; rated R for buckets of blood, bagfuls of profanity and some L major chords

Out now in theaters
Jenna Ortega, Dave Grohl, Will Forte and Leslie Grossman
Directed by BJ McDonnell

The accusation for more than a half-century is that rock’n’roll is the devil’s music and that such satanic influences will inevitably infect those hapless youths who cheerily gobble up all those records. But what if, “Studio 666” posits, evil forces really were channeling their malicious doings through the minds of famous musicians? That’s the admittedly half-baked setup for this new horror ... more >