Legendary Chicago Film Critic Roger Ebert Dies at Age 70

Legendary Chicago Film Critic Roger Ebert Dies at Age 70

I know [my death] is coming, and I do not fear it,
Because I believe there is nothing on the other side of death to fear.
I hope to be spared as much pain as possible on the approach path.
I was perfectly content before I was born, and I think of death as the same state.
What I am grateful for is the gift of intelligence, and for life, love, wonder, and laughter.
You can’t say it wasn’t interesting. My lifetime’s memories are what I have brought home from the trip.

I will require them for eternity no more than that little souvenir of the Eiffel Tower I brought home from Paris.”
–Roger Ebert, 2010

Roger Ebert, who reviewed movies for the Chicago Sun-Times for 46 years and on TV for 31 years, and who was without question the nation’s most prominent and influential film critic, died Thursday in Chicago at the age of 70.

On Tuesday, Ebert blogged that he had suffered a recurrence of cancer following a hip fracture suffered in December and would be taking “a leave of presence.” In the blog essay, marking his 46th anniversary of becoming the Sun-Times film critic, Ebert wrote “I am not going away. My intent is to continue to write selected reviews but to leave the rest to a talented team of writers hand-picked and greatly admired by me.” “We were getting ready to go home today for hospice care, when he looked at us, smiled, and passed away,” said his wife, Chaz Ebert. “No struggle, no pain, just a quiet, dignified transition.”

Ebert had been in poor health over the past decade, battling cancers of the thyroid and salivary gland. He first had surgery to remove a malignant tumor on his thyroid in 2002, and three subsequent surgeries on his salivary gland, all the while refusing to cut back on his TV show or his lifelong pride and joy, his job at the Sun-Times. He lost part of his lower jaw in 2006, and with it the ability to speak or eat, a calamity that would have driven other men from the public eye. But Ebert refused to hide, instead forging what became a new chapter in his career, an extraordinary chronicle of his devastating illness that won him a new generation of admirers. “No point in denying it,” he wrote, analyzing his medical struggles with characteristic courage, candor and wit, a view that was never tinged with bitterness or self-pity.

My newspaper job,” he said in 2005, “is my identity.” But as always with Roger Ebert, that was being too modest. He was a renaissance man whose genius was based on film but by no means limited to it, a great soul who had extraordinary impact on his profession and the world around him.

Kindness covers all of my political beliefs,” he wrote, at the end of his memoir, Life Itself. “No need to spell them out. I believe that if, at the end, according to our abilities, we have done something to make others a little happier, and something to make ourselves a little happier, that is about the best we can do. To make others less happy is a crime. To make ourselves unhappy is where all crime starts. We must try to contribute joy to the world. That is true no matter what our problems, our health, our circumstances. We must try. I didn’t always know this and am happy I lived long enough to find it out.”

Read more about the life of Roger Ebert in the Chicago Sun-Times here.

CNN’s Anderson Cooper: Roger Ebert’s Influence and Legacy

When film critic Roger Ebert lost his lower jaw to cancer, he lost the ability to eat and speak. But he did not lose his voice. In a moving talk from TED2011, Ebert and his wife, Chaz, with friends Dean Ornish and John Hunter, came together to tell his remarkable story.

Roger Ebert: Remaking My Voice

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Brave New Old: Isolation, Loneliness and Change in the Modern City

Brave New Old: Isolation, Loneliness and Change in the Modern City

Brave New Old is an experimental 3-D animated short film created by the London-based motion-graphics designer Adam Wells. Despite its deceptively simplistic style, this little film is a clever piece of experimental filmmaking.

The film appears to take off from Aldous Huxley’s dystopian visions in his 1931 Brave New World, a frightening picture of the future with subjects like corporate tyranny and behavioral conditioning. Brave New Old is a contribution to the new body of experimental animated works that explores isolation, loneliness and change in the modern city. From chance meetings to poetic musings on lost loves, and from meditations on the decay and decline of industry, to the disorientating nature of modern urban living, this is a chance to explore the city experience through truly unusual animated cinema.

Brave New Old: Isolation, Loneliness and Change in the Modern City

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The Blade Runner: Oscar Pistorius Makes Olympic History, Advances to 400m Semifinals

The Blade Runner: Oscar Pistorius Makes Olympic History, Advances to 400m Semifinals

Oscar Pistorius of South Africa made history on Saturday morning, becoming the first double-amputee runner to compete in the Olympics when he lined up for a first-round heat in the men’s 400 meters at London’s Olympic Stadium. The crowd saluted Pistorius with roars of encouragement; he sprinted to a second place finish in his heat in 45.46 seconds, a season-best time, and advanced to Sunday’s semifinals.

Pistorius reached the finish line after six lomg years of yearning to achieve a qualifying time and five years of scientific and legal arguments about whether his prosthetic legs gave him an unfair advantage over sprinters using their natural legs.

Read more about the amazing achievements of Oscar Pistorius in the New York Times here.

Oscar Pistorius Makes Olympic History, Advances to 400m Semifinals

The Blade Runner: South Africa’s Amazing Oscar Pistorius

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Stop SOPA: Protect Your Online Rights!

Stop SOPA: Protect Your Online Rights!

PROTECT-IP is a bill that has been introduced in the Senate and the House, and is moving quickly through Congress. SOPA (Stop Online Piracy Act) gives the government and corporations the ability to censor the internet, in the name of protecting “creativity.” The law would let the government or corporations censor entire sites; they just have to convince a judge that the site is “dedicated to copyright infringement.” The government has already wrongly shut down sites without any recourse to the site owner. Under this bill, sharing a video with anything copyrighted in it, or what sites like Youtube and Twitter do, would be considered illegal behavior according to this bill.

According to the Congressional Budget Office, this bill would cost us $47 million tax dollars a year. That’s for a fix that won’t work, disrupts the internet, stifles innovation, shuts out diverse voices and censors the internet. This bill is bad for creativity and does not protect your rights.

PROTECT-IP/SOPA Breaks The Internet

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Abandoned: The Plight of American Family Farms

Abandoned: The Plight of American Family Farms

Abandoned is a haunting four-minute short film directed by David Altobelli, accompanied by Karen O’s cover of Willie Nelson’s Mammas Don’t Let Your Babies Grow Up To Be Cowboys. Chipotle commissioned this short film as part of its campaign to raise awareness about the negative effects of industrialized farming.

The film follows three young boys as they enter and explore a dusty, vacant farmhouse in the quiet hours before dawn. Abandoned works because it feels like a music video, not a message film about the dire straits of family farms. Only at the very end of the film is Chipotle’s branding established, along with a pitch for Farm Aid.

Abandoned: The Plight of American Family Farms

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A Celebration of Steve’s Life

A Celebration of Steve’s Life

Apple has posted this video of the tribute to Steven P. Jobs, which took place last week at the Apple campus in Cupertino, California. The event, A Celebration of Steve’s Life, was held to commemorate Mr. Jobs, who died this month after battling pancreatic cancer.

The video begins with Timothy D. Cook, Apple’s chief executive, introducing Mr. Jobs’s wife, Laurene Powell Jobs. Mr. Cook shared thoughts of Mr. Jobs’s work at Apple over the years and noted that no one in attendance would be working at Apple if it wasn’t for Mr. Jobs. “There is one more thing he leaves us; he leaves us with each other,” Mr. Cook said. “Other than his family, Apple would be his finest creation.” Mr. Cook also said the last piece of advice Mr. Jobs gave him was “to never ask what he would do; just do what’s right.

Following Mr. Cook’s speech, Al Gore, the former Vice President and an Apple board member, spoke. Some of Mr. Jobs’s favorite musicians played at the event. Norah Jones sang the Bob Dylan song Forever Young. The British band Coldplay performed Fix You and Yellow, while thousands of Apple employees listened and helped celebrate the co-founder’s life.

A Celebration of Steve’s Life

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Steve Jobs: Rebel, Icon and Genius

Steve Jobs: Rebel, Icon and Genius

Steven P. Jobs, Apple’s Co-Founder and visionary, who helped usher in the era of personal computers and led a cultural transformation in the way music, movies and mobile communications were experienced in the digital age, died Wednesday at the age of 56. Mr. Jobs had waged a long and public struggle with cancer, remaining the face of the company even as he underwent treatment. He underwent surgery for pancreatic cancer in 2004, received a liver transplant in 2009 and took three medical leaves of absence as Apple’s chief executive before stepping down in August and turning over the helm to Timothy D. Cook, the chief operating officer. After leaving, he was still engaged in the company’s affairs, negotiating with another Silicon Valley executive only weeks earlier.

I have always said that if there ever came a day when I could no longer meet my duties and expectations as Apple’s C.E.O., I would be the first to let you know,” Mr. Jobs said in a letter released by the company in August. “Unfortunately, that day has come.” By then, having mastered digital technology and capitalized on his intuitive marketing sense, Mr. Jobs had largely come to define the personal computer industry and a wide range of digital consumer and entertainment businesses centered on the Internet.

Steve Jobs: Rebel, Icon and Genius

1984 Apple Macintosh Super Bowl Commercial

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