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Thompson on Hollywood

Birthday Suit: Funny or Die Spoofs Mumblecore

Mumblecore director Joe Swanberg plays along with this Funny or Die spoof:
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • October 5, 2009 5:26 AM
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  • 0 Comments
More: Video

Jews on Film: A Serious Man and An Education; Polanski, Sellers

Jews are popping up all over. The Coens based A Serious Man, which is an affectionate yet scabrous portrait of Jewish suburban family life, on their 60s Minnesota upbringing. An Education's Nick Hornby relied on Lynn Barber's two-year old memoir and faithfully included the sleazy seducer played by Peter Sarsgaard, who is Jewish. Suffice it to say, he's a money-grubbing entrepreneur with less-than-impeccable values. Even Tim Blake Nelson includes the Jewish mafia in his midwestern comedy, Leaves of Grass, which recently played Toronto. And we must not leave out Quentin Tarantino's controversial contribution to Jewish cinema, the anti-Nazi World War II movie Inglourious Basterds, which was a sleeper summer hit. UPDATE: The NYT's A.O. Scott addresses Jewish history as interpreted by Tarantino and the Coens.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • October 5, 2009 5:15 AM
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  • 0 Comments

An Education Clips

An Education Clips
An Education is even better the second time, when you know the motivations of everyone involved. Writer Nick Hornby (wittily adapting The Observer columnist Lynn Barber's short memoir) and director Lone Scherfig (a protege of Lars von Trier) allow the movie to seduce you as they drop hints of what's really going on. The information is all there. But the initial exhilaration of a schoolgirl's first love affair is a giddy experience indeed. Sony Pictures Classics opens the movie October 9.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • October 5, 2009 3:08 AM
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  • 1 Comment

Buzz Boosts Zombieland, Moore, Paranormal Activity; Whip It Limps

Buzz Boosts Zombieland, Moore, Paranormal Activity; Whip It Limps
Lessons learned from the weekend box office:
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • October 4, 2009 9:49 AM
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  • 6 Comments

New Yorker Goes Friendly on Finke

I met with New Yorker writer Tad Friend when he came out to L.A. last July. We talked at Caffe Latte, ostensibly about the Hollywood blogosphere, but it quickly became clear that Nikki Finke was the irresistible subject at hand. No question, she's compelling. Always.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • October 4, 2009 7:15 AM
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  • 3 Comments
More: Media

Weekend Movie Guide: A Serious Man is Must-See

Weekend Movie Guide: A Serious Man is Must-See
Cinephile Must-SeesA Serious Man Tomatometer 86% Metascore 74This dark Jewish comedy was the best movie I saw in Toronto; top-notch Coens.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • October 3, 2009 4:46 AM
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  • 1 Comment

Barrymore's Whip It Delivers

Barrymore's Whip It Delivers
Reelz Channel host Leonard Maltin reviews Drew Barrymore's Whip It this week.
  • By Leonard Maltin
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  • October 2, 2009 10:28 AM
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  • 3 Comments

Who is Zoe Keating and Why Should Indie Filmmakers Care?

Who is Zoe Keating and Why Should Indie Filmmakers Care?
New York-based digital consultant Chris Dorr and I had a lively phone conversation Thursday about how independent filmmakers should exploit the internet. He got off the phone and wrote this essay.
  • By Chris Dorr
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  • October 2, 2009 9:50 AM
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  • 8 Comments

Oscar Talk Episode 4: A Single Man, A Serious Man, Bright Star, Get Low, The Last Station

In Oscar Talk, Episode 4, In Contention's Kris Tapley and I continue our discussion of all things Oscar. We cover the foreign language submissions (62 so far), the PGA and Oscar ten best films, the long-term forecast on Bright Star, Sony Pictures Classics’ Oscar hopefuls The Last Station and Get Low, and The Weinstein Co's Toronto buy A Single Man. We also veer off topic with discussions of New York Film Festival opener Wild Grass, Zombieland and Paranormal Activity.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • October 2, 2009 9:29 AM
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  • 0 Comments

Miramax Restructures, Reduces Film Output

With the departure of Disney studio chief Dick Cook, things were not looking up for Miramax Films, yet another studio specialty division trying to survive some weak boxoffice. (Current release The Boys Are Back, starring Clive Owen, is not taking off.) Disney is dealing with the issue for the moment by restructuring Miramax, consolidating marketing and distribution with the parent studio, and reducing the number of films that Miramax releases every year. (That's the exact opposite of my solution for what they should do.) Miramax will reduce its output to just three movies a year (including acquisitions), and cut its staff of 75 by some 50 positions, winding up with about 25. (At its peak under the Weinsteins in 2004, when the firm released some 30 films a year, the staff was at 500.) The company had already shrunk considerably since Battsek took over in September 2005, and now releases from six to eight films. UPDATE:
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • October 2, 2009 8:19 AM
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  • 0 Comments

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