Look ahead: Top picks from Melissa Merli for the week to come

Film history with new music

Richard J. Leskosky: Even Oscar winners can become overlooked

Ebertfest started out as Roger Ebert's Overlooked Film Festival, intended to call attention to films of quality that had not reached an appreciative audience when first released or that had become neglected or forgotten because of changes in technology, distribution patterns or taste.

Texting, movies don't mix, audiences agree

CHAMPAIGN — The critics have spoken: a movie theater executive's short-lived idea — to allow texting after the lights are dimmed — got a resounding two thumbs down from the Ebertfest crowd.

"Bad idea," said Eric Pierson, who teaches film at the University of San Diego.

Who lives here? April 16, 2016

Each week, The News-Gazette will show a screen shot of a home from a movie or TV show and ask readers, "Who lives here?"

Email your guess of a character who resides at the featured property to, and we'll give a winner a shout-out on next week's page. Be sure to include your full name and town of residence.


Middle East conflict gives rise to work, doc of peace

CHAMPAIGN — Co-director/cinematographer Andrew Young admitted after his new documentary "Disturbing the Peace" was shown Friday at Ebertfest that he had felt anxious and fearful every time he traveled to the Mideast to shoot it.

Melissa Merli's latest on Ebertfest, April 16, 2016

After the documentary "Disturbing the Peace" was shown Friday, the Ebertfest audience saw one of two silent films that are part of the five-day festival: "L'Inhumaine," a 1924 French silent film, with a live score performed by the Alloy Orchestra, a trio from Cambridge, Mass., that has performed at nearly every Ebertfest since it began in 1999.

Nancy Allen: Ebert, Kael 'got' '81 movie

CHAMPAIGN — After she played a vixen in "Carrie," Nancy Allen was swamped with scripts for hot teens in horror movies.

But the roles improved: a feminist take on the police partner movie in "Robocop," and a big part in an artier movie, "Blow Out."

'Just keep filming,' Ebert said

CHAMPAIGN — After Michael Polish's movie "Northfork" premiered at the 2003 Sundance Film Festival, the theater went completely silent.

Polish then saw a figure walking toward him.

It was Roger Ebert.

"I haven't seen anything like that before. You want to have breakfast?" the film critic said.

"You bet," Polish replied.

Melissa Merli's latest on Ebertfest, April 15, 2016

Film/TV critic Matt Zoller Seitz, who interviewed writer-director Michael Polish after the "Northfork" screening Thursday during Ebertfest, told the writer-director how a friend of a friend who had worked on Polish's "Twin Falls, Idaho," told Seitz he had to visit the set.

Celebs, fans alike enjoy 'feel' of Ebertfest

CHAMPAIGN — Among the big names at this year's Ebertfest, the most recognizable in attendance to the casual fan might be Kate Bosworth, the actress known for roles in "Remember the Titans," "Blue Crush," "Superman Returns" and "21." Bosworth is attending this year's festival in support of her husband, Michael Polish, the director of "Northfork," which was one of the films featured at the Virgin