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Thompson on Hollywood

Starz Seeks Next Sopranos, Shyamalan Circulates New Script, 3-D Decline, Jonah Hex Misfire

- In a bid to compete with HBO and Showtime, Starz has acquired the U.S. rights to remake the successful and critically acclaimed Aussie drama Underbelly, based on a real life '70s crime family. Former HBO chief Chris Albrecht (who launched The Sopranos) took over as Starz CEO last December. Vulture reports that Underbelly, along with UK show Torchwood and a planned Camelot saga, spearhead Starz's latest programming push. While the crime theme underlines both The Sopranos and Underbelly, it is new for Albrecht to look outside for inspiration. During his twenty-plus years at HBO, he tended to create original programming in-house. Things have changed; old content finds sizable viewership on channels like AMC, and audiences' appeal can be targeted more globally than locally.
  • By Sophia Savage
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  • June 22, 2010 3:32 AM
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Helen Mirren Poses Nude for New York Magazine

While she isn't Lindsay Lohan, Helen Mirren's bikini shot below got plenty of play, and now she's posing nude in a bathtub--on the stump for Love Ranch, directed by her husband Taylor Hackford. It's a far cry from The Queen.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • June 21, 2010 11:27 AM
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  • 2 Comments
More: Media

James Franco: Everywhere

Actor James Franco seems to be everywhere these days. He's starring in serious dramas (Howl) and goofy comedies (Date Night), directing a Saturday Night Live doc and a Cannes short, making art (he has an upcoming New York solo show of photos, drawings and videos) and falling asleep during class at Columbia's MFA program in creative writing (he's prepping a children's book). While Franco, 32, is not the first actor to pursue artistic outlets other than on-screen performing, his choices do reflect a certain self-aware humor and intelligence. After all, he plays an unpredictable painter named "Franco" on General Hospital who seduces a girl at MOCA (see clip below).
  • By Cameron Carlson
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  • June 21, 2010 10:21 AM
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Mad Men: Waiting for Season Four

I know there are other things I should have been doing this weekend, like tracking down new indies at LAFF, finishing my taxes, viewing some of the screeners piled on my coffee table, or catching up with my backlog of unwritten posts. But I did watch the last four episodes of Mad Men season three--partly because the Emmy nominations are coming up July 31 (will the show beat last year's 16 noms and two wins, including best drama?). But also because season four is looming. And I am looking forward to seeing the next installment of Mad Men (debuting on July 25 on AMC) almost as much as Chris Nolan's Inception.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • June 21, 2010 8:50 AM
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  • 5 Comments

DVD Watch: Death Race 2000

Paul Bartel was always one of my fave New World directors--he's one of the less-well-known grads of the Corman school, including James Cameron, Martin Scorsese, Jonathan Demme, Allan Arkush, Joe Dante, Ron Howard and Peter Bogdanovich. It's always a hoot hearing folks talk about what it was like to work there. Quentin Tarantino's tribute to New World chief Roger Corman was a highlight of last year's Academy governors' ball.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • June 21, 2010 8:20 AM
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Raavan's Bachchan and Rai Do The Ramayana: Badly

Raavan's Bachchan and Rai Do The Ramayana: Badly
Big-budget Bollywood adventure Raavan, starring the golden couple Abhishek Bachchan and Aishwarya Rai--from writer-director Mani Ratnam, director of Guru, with a rousing score by Slumdog Millionaire Oscar-winner A.R. Rahman--is a big overwrought dud. It's one of those dead-serious over-scale extravaganzas that boasts lavish resources--visual effects, swirling cameras, stunning scenery and lavish musical numbers--and comes up short. It's basically India's Robin Hood in more ways than one--all that money can buy in the way of production value and star power, but a big so-what? In some ways, Bachchan is playing chest-beating primitive King Kong to Rai's lovely Fay Wray.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • June 21, 2010 5:02 AM
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  • 6 Comments

Glee Stars Hooked for Movies, Michael Shannon is Busy, Costner Sends Machines to Gulf

- When Glee actors signed on for the show in 2008, 20th Century Fox also hooked them with the option of up to three movies. The show was a hit from the word go, and stars Lea Michele and Cory Monteith lead a gang of multi-talented young stars who are in line to cash in on their small-screen success with big-screen features. Fans will likely eat them up. Michele is currently voicing Dorothy in 2012's animated Dorothy of Oz, and will star in horror film The Butcherhouse Chronicles, also set for 2012 release. UPDATE: But Glee stars may have to wait: Glee creator Ryan Murphy says they're focused on the series for now, and that no movie is being prepped.
  • By Sophia Savage
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  • June 21, 2010 3:30 AM
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  • 2 Comments

Weekend Box Office: Toy Story 3 Breaks Disney/Pixar Record, Jonah Hex D.O.A.

After a rousing $41 million Friday, universally praised Pixar sequel Toy Story 3 racked up an estimated $109 million three-day weekend, a record, reports Anthony D'Alessandro. That makes Pixar's unbroken string of blockbusters 11 for 11. The western Jonah Hex was dead on arrival.
  • By Anthony D'Alessandro
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  • June 20, 2010 4:06 AM
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  • 6 Comments

LAFF: Kids Are All Right Scores During Lakers Riot, 30 Films to See

LAFF: Kids Are All Right Scores During Lakers Riot, 30 Films to See
The Thursday night opening of the LA Film Fest was not quite what the organizers had hoped for, with the NBA final game right next door at the Staples Center. That was one risk the LAFF took this year by moving the festival downtown. Film Independent chief Dawn Hudson insists that the influx of apartment dwellers and lively night life downtown is bound to invigorate the fest. (But Westsiders especially dread the drive during rush hour.)
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • June 19, 2010 10:35 AM
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  • 0 Comments

The Social Network Hits Facebook

David Fincher's The Social Network will be hitting the fall film fest circuit. Sony is already getting started on marketing the biopic, which opens October 1 and stars Jesse Eisenberg as Facebook co-founder Mark Zuckerberg. They're hitting Facebook hard, natch.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • June 19, 2010 10:19 AM
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  • 0 Comments

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