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Thompson on Hollywood

MacArthur Genius Grant to Simon, McKellan Fights for Brit Acting Stature

- The MacArthur Foundation's annual list of scientists, scholars, musicians and artists to receive $500,000 "genius" grants includes David Simon, the co-creator/writer/producer behind The Wire, Treme, Homicide: Life on the Streets [pictured with The Wire star Dominic West]. The Foundation says Simon's latest work on Treme explores "the constraints that poverty, corruption and broken social systems place on the lives of a compelling cast of characters, each vividly realized with complicated motives, frailties, and strengths." Among the other ten women twelve men who received the grant is jazz pianist Jason Moran, theater director David Cromer, marble sculptor Elizabeth Turk and fiction writer Yiyun Li.
  • By Sophia Savage
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  • September 28, 2010 10:57 AM
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  • 1 Comment

Embracing Claustrophobic Movies

Riffing off such recent movies in tight spaces as Buried and Devil (which are struggling at the b.o.) and Danny Boyle's upcoming 127 Hours, Vulture posts their list of the eleven most claustrophobic films. They note: "Confining your film to a single space certainly has its advantages: a lower budget, obviously, but also an instantly suspenseful premise."
  • By Sophia Savage
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  • September 28, 2010 10:27 AM
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  • 2 Comments

Del Toro's DreamWorks Deal and Trollhunters, Jackson Fights Unions on Hobbit

- Guillermo del Toro, back from promoting two productions at the Toronto Film Festival--Julia's Eyes and Biutiful (the official Mexican submission for the foreign Oscar)--is now working closely as a consultant and exec producer with DreamWorks Animation. He will help out on Kung Fu Panda 2, Puss in Boots and another TBA project as well as Trollhunters, which he will write and direct.
  • By Sophia Savage
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  • September 28, 2010 6:21 AM
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  • 2 Comments

Editor Sally Menke Died in Beachwood Canyon During Heat Wave, Dog At Her Side

Editor Sally Menke's body was found by searchers at the bottom of a Beachwood Canyon ravine Tuesday morning, her Lab at her side. She was 56, and had been hiking Monday in L.A.'s extreme heat (which broke the downtown record of 113 degrees Monday, as well as the thermometer recording that record), reports the LAT. I had the pleasure of meeting Menke last year at Lawrence Bender's Oscar party for Quentin Tarantino's Inglourious Basterds, which she edited, along with all of Tarantino's films. It was great fun talking to her about how she and Tarantino debated the merits of whether to divide the film into five chapters or try to weave it into another narrative. Tarantino won that argument.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • September 28, 2010 4:58 AM
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  • 3 Comments

Gotham Screen International Film Festival Kicks Off October 7th

The 4th annual Gotham Screen International Film Festival opens October 7 and runs eleven days, centralized at New York's Tribeca Cinemas.
  • By Sophia Savage
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  • September 28, 2010 3:34 AM
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  • 0 Comments

Fall TV Ratings: Good for a Laugh

After the first week of the fall TV season, THR reports that "comedy has reclaimed the broadcast throne." Following the lead of Modern Family (ABC) and Glee (Fox), new comedies are performing well against their more serious counterparts. Five of the top seven season premiers are comedies: following Glee and Modern Family are The Office (NBC), The Big Bang Theory and Two and a Half Men (both CBS). Grey's Anatomy was the sole drama in the top seven, and Dancing With the Stars was the reality star.
  • By Sophia Savage
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  • September 28, 2010 2:28 AM
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  • 0 Comments
More: Web/Tech, TV

Bollywood/Hockey Drama Breakaway Starts Filming with Lowe, Belle

Bollywood meets hockey on Robert Lieberman's Breakaway, which began principal photography on September 20 with Rob Lowe, Camilla Belle and Russell Peters. Set in suburban Toronto, the film tracks a young man struggling between traditional Indo-Canadian family expectations and his dreams of hockey stardom. The film will be presented by Akshay Kumar, an Indian film star. Kumar says he is "thrilled to be a part of this truly international film allowing the glass ceiling to be broken and truly defining world cinema." Russell Peters (pictured with Lowe and Belle), who will also serve as executive producer with his brother Clayton Peters, grew up in the neighborhood in which the film is set. He says "This is a great story about an Indian kid with a dream to do his own thing….something I know a thing or two about." Breakaway is scheduled to open in fall 2011.
  • By Sophia Savage
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  • September 28, 2010 1:49 AM
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  • 0 Comments

As Moviegoers Cool on 3-D, Next Breakout Could Be Tron: Legacy

It's amazing how far the 3-D clock has turned in a short time. In classic Hollywood fashion, the industry seems to have cooked its own 3-D goose in just a few years. After talking theater owners across America into building some 5000 digital cinemas equipped with 3-D projectors, the studios have jumped eagerly onto the 3-D bandwagon, throwing one movie after the other into shoddy quickie retrofit post-production. While high-quality early efforts such as Avatar ($3 billion worldwide) and Alice in Wonderland ($116 million opening weekend) pulled in huge percentages of 3-D patrons, audiences swiftly got pickier about what they were going to pay for after getting burned on such B-efforts as Clash of the Titans and The Last Airbender. If you track opening weekend grosses on 3-D vs. 2-D, there's a precipitous drop from December 2009 to August 2010.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • September 27, 2010 12:37 PM
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  • 2 Comments

King, Schlessel, Berney Talk FilmDistrict, Plan to Release Depp's Rum Diary, London Boulevard

When a market contracts, it offers opportunities to fill the void. As expected, having imported Sony heavyweight Peter Schlessel as president, producer Graham King of GK Films, backed by his financing partner Tim Headington, is pushing forward to fill the current distribution gap with FilmDistrict.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • September 27, 2010 12:19 PM
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  • 5 Comments

Trailer Watch: Coens Western True Grit Stars Bridges, Brolin, Damon

True Grit is the 2010 movie I cannot wait to see--and the big unknown for Oscar watchers. We'll all have to wait until Joel and Ethan Coen finish the movie in time for a December 25 release. But the trailer hit today (below).
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • September 27, 2010 11:33 AM
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  • 3 Comments

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