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Life Itself


Anyone around my age that fondly remembers Siskel and Ebert's 'At The Movies" show on PBS in the seventies will find plenty to love about the moving Roger Ebert documentary, "Life Itself".

Filmmaker Steve James made one of Ebert's all time favorite films, "Hoop Dreams" and was chosen by Ebert to create a film version of Ebert's autobiography.

Little did they know that the documentary would turn into a powerful telling of Ebert's battle against cancer that eventually cost him his life.

The film is interesting and enthralling, bouncing back and forth from video clips and scenes from Ebert's early life as a hard drinking Chicago Sun Times to his struggle against cancer.

The early scenes are lots of fun, capturing Ebert as he wins a Pulitzer for film criticism and creates the popular TV Show that started the famous sayings "Two Thumbs Up" and "We'll save you a seat in the balcony".

Gene Siskel and Ebert's battling egos are hilarious.

Roger was also hired by T&A Director Russ Meyer to write the screenplay for "Beyond The Valley of the Dolls' and turns the exploitation film into one of the most highly regarded comedy/satires of the 70s.

The recent scenes are startling, with Ebert baring his soul and his wounds as he fights a losing battle with cancer. He allows the cameras to capture even the hardest moments of treatment and its hard to watch.

The love of his wife Chaz, her devotion to him and their mutual humor and courage in battling the disease is powerful to observe.

Like Life Itself, the film is challenging, funny, touching and inspiring. Two Thumbs Up in tribute to this powerful documentary that also gets an A.

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