Hundreds mourn film critic Roger Ebert

Roger Ebert, one of the nation’s most influential film critics who used newspapers, television and social media to take readers into theaters and even into his own life, was laid to rest Monday with praise from political leaders, family and people he’d never met but who chose movies based on the direction of his thumb.

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel in a brief eulogy to hundreds of mourners who gathered at Holy Name Cathedral just blocks from where Ebert spent more than 40 years as the film critic for the Chicago Sun-Times. Ebert died last Thursday at the age of 70 after a yearslong battle with cancer.

It was Ebert who told readers which films to see and needed to see and which ones they should stay away from, Emanuel said, remembering the influence Ebert had on movie goers through his newspaper reviews and the immensely popular television show he hosted with fellow critic Gene Siskel during which they would issue thumbs-up or thumbs-down assessments.

In a 90-minute funeral Mass, speakers took turns talking about how Ebert spent his career communicating his ideas about movies, social issues, the newspaper business and finally the health problems that left him unable to speak.

“He realized that connecting to people was the main reason we’re all here and that’s what his life was all about,” said Sonia Evans, his stepdaughter, her voice choking with emotion.

Geffen donates $25M for academy museum

Music and movie mogul David Geffen has kicked in $25 million for a film museum planned by Academy Awards overseers.

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences announced Monday that the David Geffen Foundation made the donation for the museum scheduled to open in 2017 next to the Los Angeles County Museum of Art.

It’s the largest contribution yet in the academy’s $300 million fund drive for the museum.

In recognition, the academy is naming a theater at the facility after Geffen.

Record company executive Geffen founded DreamWorks Pictures with Steven Spielberg and Jeffrey Katzenberg.

Jay-Z festival returning to Philadelphia

Jay-Z says his “Made in America” festival is coming back to Philadelphia.

The rapper posted a teaser video on his “Life and Times” website Monday that showed footage from last year. It says this year’s festival will again take place on Labor Day weekend — Aug. 31 and Sept. 1.

Jay-Z says the lineup will be revealed on Spotify on Wednesday.

Last year’s festival was the first of its kind for the entrepreneurial Jay-Z, who is married to superstar Beyonce and owns a music management company, fashion line, nightclub and restaurant. He also has a stake in the Brooklyn Nets.

Wire reports