Roger Ebert has announced that he has had a recurrence of cancer and will be taking a partial hiatus from reviewing while he undergoes treatment. Ebert, who lost the ability to speak and eat to cancer in 2006, filed a career-record 306 reviews in 2012. The news comes as Ebert plans to revamp his website and is considering a Kickstarter campaign to bring back his iconic show At the Movies. A documentary about Ebert directed by Steve James and executive produced by Martin Scorsese is currently in production.
Innovative and extraordinarily talented British animator Run Wrake is perhaps best known for the short films Rabbit (previously, details) and The Control Master (previously). Run passed away suddenly just a few weeks ago, less than a year after having been diagnosed with cancer. He was 47. Here is an interview with Run from APEngine. [more inside]
Gravelly-voiced character actor James Gammon has passed away of cancer at the age of 70. His career spanned more than 50 years in television, (with roles from "Gunsmoke" to "Grays Anatomy",) film and theater, but most will probably remember him as either the cantankerous manager of the Cleveland Indians in the 1989 comedy "Major League" or as Don Johnson's crotchety, retired longshoreman father on the television show Nash Bridges. [more inside]
When I am writing my problems become invisible and I am the same person I always was. All is well. I am as I should be.
Roger Ebert, his writing, and his battle with cancer are hardly foreign topics here, but this in-depth interview/profile from Esquire about Ebert's illness, loss of speech, and late career burst of creativity is worth a read.
The Things - The Thing from the point of view of the thing, by Peter Watts (previously, previously, previously)
American audiences remember Akira Kurosawa as the genius of the samurai epic, a past master who used the form both to revise and revive Western classics - Shakespeare with Ran and Throne of Blood, Dostoevsky with Red Beard and The Idiot, Gorky with The Lower Depths - and to give splendid and ultimately immortal life to new archetypes, as in The Seven Samurai, Rashomon, Yojimbo. But Kurosawa also made films of his own time. His masterpiece, in fact, was the quiet story of a gray Japanese bureaucrat dying in post-war Tokyo, and of his attempt to do something of lasting good before he leaves. The film is Ikiru ("To Live"; 1952). [more inside]