Good Morning Hollywood, August 11: The Balcony Is Closed

Julia sells books, and “At the Movies” comes to an end after 35 years

In this morning’s roundup of movie news ‘n’ notes from around the web, Julia sells books, and “At the Movies” comes to an end after 35 years.

It’s all over for “At the Movies.” Maybe it was over long ago for the show that paired a couple of Chicago film critics and began life as “Sneak Previews” back in 1975, morphing through the years into “Siskel and Ebert and the Movies,” “Siskel and Ebert,” “Roger Ebert and the Movies,” “At the Movies with Ebert and Roeper,” “Ebert & Roeper” and maybe a few others I’ve forgotten. Hurt by the death of Gene Siskel in 1999, crippled by the retirement of Roger Ebert in 2006 after surgery for thyroid cancer, and dealt a death blow by the mercifully brief period in which Ben Lyons pretended to be a movie critic, the series taped its last episode on Tuesday with critics A.O. Scott and Michael Phillips. In advance of the final episode’s airing this weekend, Robert Feder pays tribute to “the longest running and most respected movie-review show in television history.” In addition to looking back at the show’s long run, the final episode will review “Eat, Pray, Love” and “The Expendables” – and for old time’s sake, it’d be nice if Scott and Phillips had a vociferous disagreement over at least one of them. And then, says Feder, the timeslot, at least in Chicago, will be taken over by something called “On the Red Carpet,” a celebrity news show hosted by a former Miss USA. Sometimes, punchlines just write themselves. (Vocalo.org)

Gene Siskel and Roger EbertSteven Zeitchik looks at the most successful book/movie tie-in to come along in years – though he’s not sure exactly how much of the renewed success of Elizabeth Gilbert’s “Eat, Pray, Love” can be attributed to the upcoming Julia Roberts movie, since the book made it back to the top spot on the New York Times paperback bestseller list more than two months ago, “even as Sony was doing little more than rolling out marketing materials.” Still, the book now has a fetching picture of Julia on the cover, which couldn’t have hurt. (24 Frames)

The digital age has arrived in movie theaters, and Vadim Rizov likes what he sees. He tracks the growth of digital over 35mm over the past few years, and points to films like “Che” and “The White Ribbon” as proof that “the improved quality of digital projection is suddenly justifying the upgrades not merely for pragmatic reasons … but aesthetic gains, too.” And he foresees a rosy future in which everything has been digitally restored and is ready to be flawlessly screened for decades to come. That’s a nice thought, but one that ignores the very real problems, and the very big question marks, surrounding digital storage. (Green Cine Daily)

Memphis may have Graceland and Sun Studios and Beale Street, but the city wants movies, too. The city’s film commissioner tells Les Smith that the last four years have been “the worst … in our … history” for filming in the city, as productions that once might have shot there moved to Georgia, Louisiana and North Carolina, among other states with better incentive packages. Now the city is hoping its small incentive budget will lure some filmmakers, and feeling nostalgic for the days when hits like “The Firm” and “The Client” shot there – though not, perhaps, for the movie I spent a week in Memphis watching them shoot, the godawful late-‘80s epic flop “Great Balls of Fire.” (My Fox Memphis)