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Thompson on Hollywood

TIFF: Focus Acquires Beginners, Starring McGregor and Plummer

After the Toronto press screening of Mike Mills' Beginners last week, Eugene Hernandez and I were debating which distrib should pick it up. And we agreed that Focus Features--which had not acquired anything out of this year's fest--was the best candidate. Sony Pictures Classics and Fox Searchlight were overbooked. And there's a real possibility of a supporting actor nod for Christopher Plummer, who nails the role of an older gay man clinging to life. I had admired Mills' Thumbsucker, so I was not surprised at the little joys to be found in this superbly directed movie.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • September 20, 2010 3:16 AM
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Will MGM Go Asian?

The Wall Street Journal reports that Indian conglomerate Sahara India Pariwar is in exploratory talks to buy MGM for more than $2 billion, according to one source:
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • September 19, 2010 11:23 AM
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  • 1 Comment

Boardwalk Empire: Best TV Pilot of 2010 and Third-Best Scorsese Movie of This Century

Boardwalk Empire: Best TV Pilot of 2010 and Third-Best Scorsese Movie of This Century
I have ordered my TiVo Season Pass to Martin Scorsese and Terence Winter's Boardwalk Empire, which starts on HBO tonight. TOH critic Tim Appelo has already seen it. "(Steve) Buscemi and (Michael) Pitt have roles to kill for, their best career catapults yet," Appelo writes in his rave review:In the Scorsese-directed kickoff episode of Boardwalk Empire (HBO, Sundays 9 pm), the nude flapper floozy Lucy (Paz de la Huerta) flops her boobs at the camera, bouncing atop Atlantic City gangster Enoch “Nucky” Thompson (Steve Buscemi), and bellowing nasally, “GIDDYAP, COWBOY!” “Stop with the ‘cowboy’ shit!” snaps Nucky.
  • By Tim Appelo
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  • September 19, 2010 7:44 AM
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  • 14 Comments

The King's Speech Wins TIFF Audience Award

News that will make Harvey Weinstein's day is that not only did Tom Hooper's The King's Speech leapfrog to Oscar-casters' front-runner lists after its warm media reception at the Toronto International Film Festival, but it won the coveted People's Choice award as well. That's a remarkable feat.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • September 19, 2010 6:14 AM
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TIFF: Genre Films Sell in Toronto Buying Spree

As TIFF wound down, the weekend sale of Will Ferrell's $6 million dark comedy Everything Must Go to Lionsgate/Roadside marked a more frenetic Toronto sales market than last year, when many sales took months to close. Horror film Insidious also sold, to Sony Worldwide Acquisitions Group, probably for 2011 Screen Gems release. "It's a genre distributor's wet dream," says IM Global's Stuart Ford, who wasn't worried about landing North American distribs for these and two more titles at Toronto this year--all were modestly-budgeted and pre-sold in foreign territories. "The market is still challenging, but healthier than it was a year ago. There's more supply and demand. While you're not seeing many movies sell on the spot, the stronger material is likely to find the right distribution home."
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • September 19, 2010 5:16 AM
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Oscar Talk: Post-Toronto, 127 Hours, King's Speech, Social Network, I'm Still Here

In Contention's Kris Tapley and I talked in the same city for this week's Oscar Talk. He's seen Catfish and The Social Network; I saw a bunch of new movies in Venice and Toronto including I'm Still Here, Rabbit Hole, Beginners, and I Saw the Devil.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • September 19, 2010 2:41 AM
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Weekend Box Office: Affleck's The Town Breaks Warners September B.O. Record

With The Town, Ben Affleck proves that he can open a movie--if he directs it. Not only did the Warner/Legendary movie score with critics at Venice and Toronto fests (earning a remarkable 93% on the Tomatometer) but it beat out the weekend boxoffice competition with a $23.8 million estimate. That's a big leap from advance tracking predicting a $15-million opener.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • September 19, 2010 2:17 AM
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TIFF Buy: Oscilloscope Acquires Meek's Cutoff

Oscilloscope, the same distrib that opened Kelly Reichardt's 2008 film, Wendy and Lucy, starring Michelle Williams, will also handle the North American release of her most recent Venice/Toronto entry, the western Meek's Cutoff, starring Williams, Will Patton, Bruce Greenwood, Paul Dano and Zoe Kazan.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • September 17, 2010 12:44 PM
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TIFF Client 9: The Rise and Fall of Eliot Spitzer Review, and Alex Gibney Talks

Alex Gibney's hugely entertaining Eliot Spitzer doc, Client 9: The Rise and Fall of Elliot Spitzer, is a leading contender for this year's doc Oscar. The movie is full of surprises. In my flip cam interview with Gibney (below) he explains how the story he tells turned out far different from what he thought it would be, and why Wall Street Masters of the Universe were so eager to go on camera to chortle over Spitzer's dramatic comedown: "They wanted to stamp on Spitzer's grave," Gibney admits. 'It's not stretching the truth to say they hated this man."
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • September 17, 2010 12:43 PM
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  • 1 Comment

Garner/Renner Get Addicted, Boardwalk Empire's Williams, Jacki Weaver, The Fighter Trailer

- Jennifer Garner will play the trophy wife addicted to prescription drugs and Jeremy Renner will play the lifeless pharmacist catering to (and falling for) the woman and the addiction via their disastrous extra-marital affair in Better Living Through Chemistry. (This seems to be a trend: another upcoming title is Love and Other Drugs.) THR is calling it a dramatic thriller, not a romantic comedy. Garner was at her post-Alias best in 2007's action/drama The Kingdom. This picture seems the most promising of her handful of projects in development (mostly comedies). And Renner's role sounds like a treat for The Town star to crack and crumble with. Writers Geoff Moore and David Posamentier will make their directorial debuts with this project.
  • By Sophia Savage
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  • September 17, 2010 12:10 PM
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  • 1 Comment

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