Roger Ebert's January announcement that he was going in for another major surgery began a long and disquieting silence. As the reviews he had written in advance started to run out, with no updates on his health and more and more of the content on his website being contributed by its steadfast editor Jim Emerson, some people began to worry that something was very seriously wrong. March saw the announcement that Ebert would reappear for his annual Overlooked Film Festival in Urbana-Champaign, but there was still no word from the man himself.

Yesterday, much to my relief, a typically funny and self-deprecating message from Roger appeared on his site and in the Sun-Times. It confirms his planned appearance at Ebertfest in late April, and, better yet, announces that he will return to reviewing movies shortly afterward. The bad news is that the surgery didn't restore his ability to speak, which will for the moment preclude Ebert's return to his TV show where Richard Roeper has been valiantly trying to hold down the fort. (Is anyone still watching?) That aside, though, the dispatch is overwhelmingly good news.

Ebert's message also points out that this year's Overlooked Film Festival slate is now up on the festival's website. His selections shouldn't come as a surprise to anyone who's been following his work over the past few years. In addition to the previously announced screening of Kenneth Branagh's 238-minute Hamlet, the festival will show Sally Potter's Yes, the Israeli arthouse hit The Band's Visit, Tom DiCillo's Delirious, The Cell, and in a move that should endear him to every geek with good taste, Ang Lee's Hulk.

Here's to a continued, and even speedier, recovery.
CATEGORIES Movies, Cinematical