All Articles Tagged "roger ebert"

Roger Ebert’s Widow, Chaz Ebert Set To Produce Emmett Till Biopic

May 19th, 2015 - By Veronica Wells
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chaz ebert

Source: Getty Images

The name Ebert has become synonymous with film. And though Roger Ebert has passed on, his passion for the art of storytelling through movies will live on through his widow Chaz.

Variety recently reported that Ebert, along with Shatterglass Films, will be partnering to develop an Emmett Till movie based on the book Death of Innocence: The Story of the Hate Crime That Changed America, coauthored by Till’s mother, Mamie Till-Mobley and journalist Christopher Benson.

As many of you know Till, a 14-year-old from Chicago, was killed while visiting relatives in the Mississippi Delta. He was lynched by a group of men after he allegedly whistled at a White woman in 1955. Till’s murder and his mother’s decision to have an open-casket funeral fueled the Civil Right’s Movement.

Ebert told Variety why she is passionate about this film.

“The full Emmett Till story needs to be told now and told well as a narrative for our times, given all that is happening on American streets today. And Shatterglass Films are the people to tell it.” 

Benson, the co-author of the book will serve as one of the producers of the film, while Ebert and Nate Khon are executive producing.

The team hasn’t chosen a director yet but producers are planning to shoot the film in the Mississippi Delta and in Central Illinois in 2016.

Legendary Movie Critic, Roger Ebert Passes Away At 70

April 4th, 2013 - By Veronica Wells
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Source: AP Images

Source: AP Images

The Chicago Sun-Times, the newspaper where Roger Ebert unexpectedly got his start reviewing movies, reports that Ebert, 70, passed away today in Chicago. The iconic movie critic who wrote for the Times for 46 years and was on television for 31 had been battling cancer of the thyroid and salivary gland for the past decade. As a result of the treatment of his condition Ebert lost his lower jaw, the ability to speak and eat through his mouth in 2006.

Despite the setbacks in his health, Ebert remained dedicated to his work, reviewing 285 movies a year. His efforts have been celebrated throughout his career. In 1975, he became the first film critic to win a Pulitzer Prize and in 2005, his name was added to the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

Shortly after he won the Pulitzer, Ebert  achieved national recognition and notereity when he and Gene Siskel became the famous duo “Siskel and Ebert” launching their show “Coming Soon to a Theater Near You.” The show would go through several name changes but it was most popularly called, “Siskel & Ebert & The Movies” in 1986, when the partners moved to Buena Vista. This was also around the same time Ebert coined the catch phrase that would enter the lexicon: “two thumbs up.”

Born in 1942, Ebert knew he wanted to be a journalist from a very early age. He got his start working for the high school section of the News- Gazette in Champaign-Urbana. He attended the University of Illinois and studied abroad in South Africa on a Rotary Scholarship. He was accepted to the University of Chicago where he planned to earn his doctorate in English but he was given a job in journalism first.

He started reviewing movies, a profession that wasn’t regarded with much respect at the time. As we know now he had a knack for recognizing classic pieces of work. Ebert was one of the few mainstream critics who was able to critically and intelligently review black films without dismissing them as other critics have so often done out of ignorance or lack of accessibility.

Source: AP Images

Source: AP Images

But films weren’t the only places he was able to spot talent. In the ’80’s Ebert dated Oprah Winfrey and was allegedly the man who told her she could take her local television show, “AM Chicago” and receive national syndication. Oprah took the advice.

He also was an early investor in Google, a decision that would earn him millions of dollars throughout his later years.

In his 2011 autobiography, Life Itself, Ebert admitted that because he was afraid of displeasinig his controlling, alcoholic mother, he would never marry while she was alive. So after she was gone, in 1992, at 40 years old, he married attorney Chaz Hammel-Smith (later Hammelsmith). Ebert described his love for Chaz in his autobiography.

“She fills my horizon, she is the great fact of my life, she is the love of my life, she saved me from the fate of living out my life alone.”

Before he passed, Ebert and his good friend Martin Scorsese were in talks about adapted Ebert’s autobiography into a film.

Ebert is survived by his wife, a step daughter and two step-grandchildren.


Bet You Didn’t Know: Secrets Behind The Making Of “Jason’s Lyric”

December 17th, 2012 - By Veronica Wells
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At the core, Jason’s Lyric is a love story, at least three to four times over. There’s the dysfunctional type of love between Joshua and Jason’s parents, that starts all of the drama in the first place. There’s the familial love that keep Jason in Houston for so long, defending, rationalizing and protecting his brother and then there’s the love story between Lyric and Jason, who have to figure out a way to escape their toxic surroundings if they want their relationship to work. You know the movie, you remember that one scene…you know what I’m talking about. You might even have memorized some of the lines but you probably don’t know the behind the scenes secrets. Check them out below.

Bet You Didn’t Know: Secrets Behind The Making Of “B.A.P.S”

October 29th, 2012 - By Veronica Wells
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You just might be asking yourself, why, oh why are you exploring the secrets behind B.A.P.S?! I know. The movie is far from a classic but that doesn’t stop it from being entertaining. Despite the fact that you can probably find this flick in the 2 for $5 bin at Walmart, I still get quite a kick out of it. Which is why I’m bringing you these secrets today. An even better question is why did you click on the post? Aha! Gotcha! You love it too. Now that you’re here, you might as well learn something. Let’s begin.

Black Girl Going Places: Quvenzhané Wallis

July 24th, 2012 - By Veronica Wells
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Source: USA Today

Quite often, I’ll be engaged in some type of  small talk and someone will ask me, “So, how do you like living in New York?” My answer is usually some variant of the following. “I love it. There’s always something to see or do there.” As a child who was raised in the Midwest and went to college in the Midwest, I  always want to take full advantage of the art scene in the city. So when my friend asked me if I wanted to see this independent film, Beasts of the Southern Wild, I agreed. Sure, I hadn’t seen previews for the movie and didn’t know any of the people starring in it. But my friend mentioned something about the main characters being black.  Having lived in places where movies featuring people of color were frequently left out of the local theaters, I still jump at the chance to support black people on screen.

Once my friend eventually shared the trailer with me and I saw the adorable, seemingly bright little girl, running around sporting a dirty shirt and an unkempt afro, that was all the convincing I needed.

(Here’s the trailer below so you can see what I saw and eventually support if you feel so inclined.)

Though, I could tell from the preview that this was no ordinary little girl, Quvenzhané Wallis’ performance as “Hush Puppy” in the film blew me away. Now before you get tripped up on the name, phonetically, it’s pronounced Qua Van Jah Nay. (She told Jay Leno that the Zhané part means fairy in Swahili.) Her portrayal was convincing, charismatic, intelligent and just flat out surprising for a girl who was only 5 years old when she was selected to carry this entire movie on her back. And not just a simple, fluffy, kid movie. This film, about a strained father-daughter relationship and surviving in harsh conditions, is heavy. So today, when I stumbled across an article from Indie Wire’s Shadow and Act page, asking “What’s Next for Quvenzhané Wallis?” I had to click on it. They shared my excitement about Quvenzhané’s performance, calling her “a miniature force of nature.” They also reported that she’s going to be in another short, independent film called Boneshaker.

After reading that article I had to know a little bit more about this girl. So I googled her name and came across a video thumbnail of her holding what looked like a coffee cup. Thinking, this little girl is too much, I clicked to see what she was saying. Now, you know sometimes when you speak to children, it can either be really great like “Kids Say the Darndest Things” or virtually painful like when Arsensio interviewed the Olsen twins. I was happy to find that Quvenzhané was just as captivating off the screen as she was on. In that particular video she and interviewer spoke mostly about food as she sipped hot chocolate. Then she went on to share how she had input in selecting that actor who would who eventually play her father. She rejected one guy because she said she “just didn’t feel comfortable with him.” Well! Kids who are not only intelligent but able to verbally express their intellect and subsequent wit always astound me. I had to see more.

I stumbled across an interview where Quvenzhané was explaining how she got the role. And the story is fascinating. Even though the audition was for 6-9 year-olds, and she was only five at the time, she and her mother snuck in and the little one killed it. She told one (special) interviewer that in the audition she was fearless and active because that’s how her character was in the film.

When they called back to offer her the role, they said they were looking for “Naysie.” Her mom, who answered the phone said, “Oh, you must be looking for Quvenzhané.” Of course they didn’t recognize that name and were about to hang up. But her mother caught them just in time and told them oh she must have told you Naysie. And the rest is history. That little five year old beat out 3,500 other kids and if you see the movie you’ll understand why. As she told the interviewer, “If anybody calls Quvenzhané, I know they’re calling me. Because that’s one of a kind.”

You sure are one of a kind, girl. And trust, they’ll definitely be calling.

Watch this little one in action in the interview below. There’s a surprise, if you watch it in its entirety.

More on Madame Noire!

Bet You Didn’t Know: Secrets Behind the Making of “Poetic Justice”

June 4th, 2012 - By Veronica Wells
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I have just  five words for you: “You wanna smell my punani?” That line alone was enough to make Poetic Justice a classic piece of art. But aside from the raunch, this movie was much more than the critics initially gave it credit for. John Singleton said he wanted to tell the story of how black women in South Central were affected by the way the black men in their lives were dying. He also wanted to show how the characters open up and reveal their true selves when they’re away from the pressures of the city. Some of us loved it, some of us were disappointed and some of us didn’t appreciate it until it came out on DVD. Either way, you have a lot to learn about this one. Check out some of the facts behind the film.


Janet…or her people Didn’t Think Pac was “Clean” 

Janet Jackson must have assumed Tupac was living some type of wild lifestyle because she didn’t mind asking him to take an AIDS test. Even though there were no sex scenes between the two. They just kissed. That move really showed how ignorant Janet and countless others were about the disease back in the day. A person with AIDS would either have to exchange a gallon of saliva with another person or have opening cuts in their mouth to transfer the disease to another individual. Apparently Janet didn’t know all that. She requested it but Tupac refused. Good man. Janet wasn’t feeling Tupac at all actually. He thought the two would remain friends after filming was complete. I’m going to let Tupac explain what happened.

White Men in Hollywood that Woo Black Women

May 3rd, 2011 - By Victoria Uwumarogie
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If you look at many black men in Hollywood, sports, music or hell, just the black men in the world around you, you’ll find that a lot of them have dated white women, and done so proudly–which they should, it’s your life, and it’s a free country. But on the opposite end of the color spectrum, there aren’t many white Hollywood men you can think of off the top of your head running around snapping photos arm-in-arm with African-American women. Maybe that’s why it’s so surprising, or dare I say, exciting, when you find out that someone with heavy Hollywood clout is courting a black woman. But you’d be surprised to find that a number of high profile figures of the whiter persuasion in music and film have a track record of dating, are currently dating, have dated, and love them some sistahs. Here’s just a few.

How to Use Twitter the Right Way: Follow Our Favorite Tweeps

February 10th, 2011 - By Demetria Irwin
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Thinking about hopping on the Twitter bandwagon, but not sure how to get started or who you should follow? A big part of Twitter is following the right people so that your timeline is filled with good, interesting information.  The best thing about Twitter, is that you receive and pass on information fast, quick and in a hurry.  Being the well-rounded women we are, the ladies here at Madame Noire follow a wide range of interesting people on Twitter.  We get everything from juicy gossip bits to fodder for fancy dinner party small talk.

Here’s a list of our fav Tweeps! You should follow these folks too!

Marriages That Last Through Sickness (And Health)

June 22nd, 2010 - By China Okasi
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You hear it at wedding ceremonies:

I, (name), take you (name), to be my (wife/husband), to have and to hold from this day forward, for better or for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish, from this day forward until death do us part.

Some couples take these marriage vows; others just…take them for granted. Whichever the case, we’ve compiled a list of couples who have remained married in sickness and in health–but especially in sickness–as the vows demand.

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