CHICAGO – “Drinking Buddies” director Joe Swanberg’s latest release of the same star wattage is “Happy Christmas,” an even lower-fi story than the Olivia Wilde beer comedy, steered even more by the casting that it was able to assemble. However, with this movie Swanberg doesn’t so much worry about having a story that could be confused with a more mainstream romantic comedy if it were to have a bigger budget.
Film News: Magnolia Pictures Acquires Roger Ebert Biography Film ‘Life Itself’
CHICAGO – The buzz at Sundance was for a documentary about the life of a film critic – but that film critic happens to be Roger Ebert, and the film is an adaptation of his memoir, “Life Itself.” Magnolia Pictures announced yesterday that they have acquired U.S. theatrical, Video-On-Demand and home entertainment rights to the film, and are planning on a summer release.
Roger Ebert in ‘Life Itself’
Photo credit: Kartemquin Films
The documentary is directed by Steve James (“Hoop Dreams,” “The Interrupters”), with Martin Scorsese in an executive producer role. It chronicles the life of Pulitzer Prize winning film critic Roger Ebert, from his modest beginnings in downstate Illinois, to Chicago Sun Times film critic, to television personality, and finally his last act as a “voice” on the new media of the internet, despite cancer taking his physical voice.
Magnolia Pictures will be following the model of its successful 2013 documentary “Blackfish,” with a theatrical release followed by an exclusive broadcast on CNN later this year, through CNN films. “Life Itself” was recently named the top film at the recent Sundance Film Festival by HollywoodChicago.com’s Brian Tallerico.