Famous Last Words

Two bang-up articles for fans of film critic Roger Ebert, medicare, and the meaning of life. Ebert has had several surgeries to remove cancer which has left him jawless, speechless, and full of beans.

The first is an excellent review of the term 'death panel' in the health care 'debate', where he talks of the beauty of a term that so efficiently shuts down reason, even though it appears to have dropped out of the stupid mouth of Sarah Palin.

Luckily, Ebert was old enough to qualify for Medicare just as his own benefits ran out, exhausted by the severity of his illness, and the multiple surgeries to keep him alive and (mostly) in one piece. One of the many kickers in his article is that every member of the House of Representatives and Senate receives universal health care, no matter what their age. "You should try it some time," says Ebert. (Chicago Sun-Times)

The other is a long, beautiful article on Ebert in Esquire by writer Chris Jones. Totally worth the read.

"I believe that if, at the end of it all, 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."

Saturday Morning Cartoon

This the third Oscar nominated animated short film. It's called La dama y la muerte or The Lady and the Reaper. It's written and directed by Spanish animator Javier Recio GarcĂ­a.

It's about an old woman who is waiting for death so she can rejoin her departed husband. Things don't go as planned.

Maybe it's my dark sense of humour but I find this one to be pretty funny and surreal.

Pick of the Day: The Oscars

Not the real Oscars, of course. Those will be held March 7 in La-La-Land. Should prove interesting, what with this being the first year of the expansion of the Best Picture nominee list from five to ten to reflect all the fine films that Hollywood and its affiliated independent studios are producing these days.

I jest, of course. Back in 1939 there may have been ten films that deserved serious consideration for Best Picture (with films like The Wizard of Oz, Gone With the Wind and Mr. Smith Goes to Washington released, 1939 is hailed as the greatest in Hollywood history, and is being used now to justify doubling the number of Best Picture candidates). But there's more than a few nominees this year, I suspect, that aren't exactly destined to be remembered as cinematic classics. The Blind Side? Really? Up in the Air? Clooney being cloy. Up? Avatar?

No, the decision to rachet up the number of Best Picture nominees is nothing but a blatant marketing ploy by Hollywood. But enough grousing. Tonight at Conexus Arts Centre, the Regina Symphony Orchestra presents its annual tribute to Hollywood movie music. We're not talking about those soundtracks stuffed with pop hits that some directors rely on to trigger emotion in the audience either. This is music that's been composed specifically for movies.
For years, this type of work was derrided in classical circles for being decidedly low art. But over the decades, plenty of great scores have been written. Here's your chance to hear some of the them performed live by a 60 or so member orchestra.

As an added bonus, people who attend are encouaged to dress up as their favourite movie star. If I was going, here's who I'd be. What about you?