Click to Skip Ad
Closing in...

Blogroll

Thompson on Hollywood

Venice Day Two: Schnabel's Miral is Heartfelt, Political Palestinian Drama

Venice Day Two: Schnabel's Miral is Heartfelt, Political Palestinian Drama
While Julian Schnabel's Miral packs an emotional punch, he tells the wrong story. I was in tears during both of the film's bookend sections, which focus on real-life Hind Husseini (the great Hiam Abbass), a wealthy Palestinian woman who in 1948 takes it upon herself to feed, clothe, educate and house thousands of orphans left abandoned and destitute by the ongoing wars and strife in Jerusalem. Her sense of obligation and personal sacrifice moved me. She and American Willem Dafoe share feelings, but can never get together; as she tells him: "I have 2000 daughters." While Husseini remains a character in the drama, the screenplay, adapted by Palestinian/Italian broadcaster Rula Jebreal from her semi-autobiographical novel, focuses on Miral (Indian actress Freida Pinto), a young girl born in 1973 whose widower father (Alexander Sidding) brings her to the orphanage to live during the week.
  • By Anne Thompson
  • |
  • September 2, 2010 11:06 AM
  • |
  • 4 Comments

Venice Opens with Aronofsky's Black Swan: Too Intense?

Venice Opens with Aronofsky's Black Swan: Too Intense?
The opening night selection of the sexy R-rated violent thriller Black Swan was something of a gamble for Fox Searchlight and the Venice Fest, which landed loyal fan Darren Aronofsky--after rousing Venice receptions for both The Fountain and The Wrestler, which won the Golden Lion. He talked Searchlight into accepting the opening night invite--and now has to work Telluride and Toronto as well.Why the risk? Well, Searchlight covered their bets by making sure some stateside critics timed their early reviews--which were largely positive--with Venice.
  • By Anne Thompson
  • |
  • September 2, 2010 9:18 AM
  • |
  • 5 Comments

Telluride 2010 Lineup Announced; Firth, Cardinale, Weir To Be Honored

In its 37th year, the Telluride Film Festival announces their 2010 lineup one day before the fun begins, including special tributes to this year's Silver Medallion recipients Colin Firth, Italian/Tunisian actress Claudia Cardinale (8 ½) and director Peter Weir (Master and Commander, The Truman Show, Dead Poets Society) in recognition of their contribution to the world of cinema. EDITOR'S UPDATE: Weir will unveil his new film, The Way Back, which just landed distributor Newmarket, and is not playing any of the other fall fests, so this is a real coup for Telluride. Darren Aronofsky is also winging from Venice to Colorado to show Black Swan, and Searchlight is also expected to bring Danny Boyle's 127 Hours; he had good luck debuting Slumdog Millionaire there.
  • By Sophia Savage
  • |
  • September 2, 2010 5:59 AM
  • |
  • 0 Comments

Director Clooney Casts Political Drama, Affleck "All In" with The Town, TV vs. Cinema

- Occasional director George Clooney announced his intentions to adapt the play Farragut North some time ago. And now this February his movie is set to shoot with a powerful cast: Philip Seymour Hoffman, Paul Giamatti and possibly Chris Pine, Evan Rachel Wood and Marisa Tomei (should they accept Clooney's offers). At some point, Brad Pitt and Leonardo DiCaprio were each attached to play leading roles in the film but schedules didn't work out. Former Democratic politico Beau Willimon, after working on Howard Dean's '04 campaign, wrote the original story and first script draft about behind-the-scenes dirty campaign tricks for a Democratic candidate who will barely be seen on screen. The main characters include a young campaign whiz kid (Pine already won praise for playing the role onstage at the Geffen [pictured]), a veteran boss (Hoffman), a rival campaign manager (Giamatti), a teen staffer (Wood?) and journalist (Tomei?). Though the specifics of funding and distribution are as yet unconfirmed, Vulture says, "finding funding with this cast shouldn't require kissing a lot of babies."
  • By Sophia Savage
  • |
  • September 2, 2010 3:23 AM
  • |
  • 0 Comments

Venice Day One: Black Swan Early Reviews, Machete

As a Venice newbie, I got off the speed train from Rome, exited the station to a canal and grabbed a 40-minute ferry to the island the Lido. It's an adjustment. Basically a subway is a ferry here, a taxi is a motor boat or gondola, and houses have water in their basements with a garage for their boat (below). Trucks are boats too; Venice is under constant construction, like New Orleans. The Lido is a lovely resort (a bit like Fire Island or Catalina); I figured out that I needed to rent a bike to get around (I get a silly kick out of passing slow riders on the left). The casino location of the film festival (this is the 67th) is a maze of corridors, high-ceilinged halls, wide stairways and long lines for multiple screenings.
  • By Anne Thompson
  • |
  • September 1, 2010 1:25 AM
  • |
  • 1 Comment

HBO Acquires Toronto Fest Doc Precious Life

Israeli documentary Precious Life marks an early pre-Toronto Film Festival sale as HBO acquires U.S. rights. Directed by Israeli broadcaster Shlomi Eldar and produced by Ehud Bleiberg and Yoav Ze’evi, Precious Life tells the story of a four-month-old Palestinian boy from Gaza who lacks an immune system and requires a bone marrow transplant. This can only be done in an Israeli hospital.  As his doctor pleads for help, Israeli journalist Shlomi Eldar decides to document this complex drama about Israeli and Palestinian doctors’ attempt to save the kid's life.
  • By Anne Thompson
  • |
  • August 31, 2010 10:13 AM
  • |
  • 0 Comments

EXCLUSIVE CLIP: Vincent Cassel in Mesrine: Public Enemy #1

Jean-François Richet’s Mesrine: Killer Instinct opened strong on 28 screens this past weekend, which is a good sign for Mesrine: Public Enemy #1 (part 2, which opens September 3). The films, both hits in France, have been waiting for a release since their 2008 Toronto premieres; now they and their riveting star Vincent Cassel (in his César winning performance as French gangster Jacques Mesrine) are able to impress a wider audience. Check out the exclusive clip below from Mesrine: Public Enemy #1 and our interview with Cassel here, in which he talks about his upcoming films; Darren Aronofsky's Black Swan and David Cronenberg's Dangerous Method:
  • By Anne Thompson
  • |
  • August 31, 2010 4:59 AM
  • |
  • 0 Comments

LaBeouf is Forbes' Best Deal; Americans Still Like Gibson; Lohan Talks to Vanity Fair

- Shia LaBeouf, for a second year running, tops Forbes' list of Best Actors for the Buck. As an investment, LaBeouf is very attractive: "he offers a great return…For every $1 studios spend on the 24-year-old actor his films return an average $81 of profit." LaBeouf's paychecks will continue to grow; this won't hurt his agent's requests for a raise. Forbes' top 36 earners each had to have three movies open in over 500 theaters in the past five years, and meet a myriad of other criteria including their Celebrity 100 status. LaBeouf is king and Anne Hathaway is queen at #2, earning studios $64 for each dollar they pay her. Harry Potter boy Daniel Radcliffe is #3 ($61 for them, $1 for him), Robert Downey Jr. took fourth ($33), and can-do-no-wrong Cate Blanchett took fifth ($27). And before we all dig Aniston's box-office grave, lets give her credit for landing the #6 spot on this list (and for sharing it with Meryl Streep); $21 to their studios for each dollar they earn. Johnny Depp ($18), Nic Cage ($17) and Sarah Jessica Parker ($17) round out the top ten. Basically the list rewards mid-level stars who aren't at the top of the pay heap, which suggests that the more you get paid, the less you return..
  • By Sophia Savage
  • |
  • August 31, 2010 3:36 AM
  • |
  • 0 Comments

HBO Celebrates 25 Wins at Emmy After-Party

HBO scored a whopping 25 Emmy wins Sunday, and studded the red carpet and after-parties with many of their stars. Amy Dawes and videographer Billy Vasquez were there:
  • By Amy Dawes
  • |
  • August 31, 2010 1:52 AM
  • |
  • 0 Comments
More: Awards, Video, TV, Emmys, HBO

Critic vs. Critic: The Changing Landscape of Movie Coverage

Critic vs. Critic: The Changing Landscape of Movie Coverage
Moviefone's Jack Mathews and I are squabbling again, this time in a new column we're calling Critic vs. Critic, in which we debate the latest trends and topics in movies. This week, Mathews and I take on the changing face of movie coverage, now dominated by the Internet.
  • By Anne Thompson
  • |
  • August 31, 2010 1:40 AM
  • |
  • 11 Comments

Email Updates