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Thompson on Hollywood

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince: Is PG the Limit?

Is Warner Bros. risking fixing a franchise that isn't broken by going PG with its latest Harry Potter movie, Half-Blood Prince? In an unusual twist on the usual ratings complaints, Warners wasn't seeking a gentler family-friendly rating, writes Pam McClintock :
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • July 6, 2009 4:10 AM
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Direct to VOD: Cinetic's Film Buff Launches with New Orleans Mon Amour

More and more, movies that ordinarily would get a theatrical release are taking the direct train to VOD. In this instance, writer-director Michael Almereyda's New Orleans Mon Amour, which was filmed in post-Katrina New Orleans with real folks as well as a few good actors, played the 2008 fest circuit, including SXSW. Now the hurricane recovery drama (which conjures up the post-atomic classic Hiroshima Mon Amour) will make its debut July 15 on Cable VOD via the new channel Cinetic Film Buff, followed by portals iTunes and Amazon VOD.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • July 6, 2009 2:20 AM
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More: Video

Trailer Watch: Jennifer's Body

The mighty combo of producer Jason Reitman, director Karyn Kusama, writer Diablo Cody and Transformers hotty Megan Fox (whether or not she can act) should add up to a very commercial Jennifer's Body. This angry-at-men demonic horror flick reminds me for some reason of Attack of the 50-Foot Woman. This is one of several pics (also including The Rocker and the upcoming I Love You, Beth Cooper) developed by Fox Searchlight's one-time sibling Fox Atomic to be released, not by Searchlight, but by Big Fox, which is sticking a trailer --not the red band trailer below-- in front of Bruno this Friday.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • July 6, 2009 1:15 AM
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Weekend Catch-Up: Holiday B.O., Harry Potter Review, Brennan, Klein R.I.P., Andreessen Fun

After a lazy holiday weekend, I herewith share with you my gleanings of what's been going on.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • July 5, 2009 4:23 AM
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Weekend Read: More Public Enemies, Embattled Auteurs, New Moon Spoof

As I head off for an unplugged holiday weekend--to a pal's Idyllwild hideaway with no wifi (thanks Lili)--here are some weekend links.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • July 3, 2009 5:08 AM
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Moneyball Redux

Speaking of embattled auteurs, David Poland asks more questions about Sony pulling the plug on Moneyball and what it means. So does Jeffrey Wells. I've also heard that Soderbergh wanted to make a responsibly budgeted commercial movie with MLB approval, and that Sony was backing James Brooks' baseball movie over his.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • July 3, 2009 1:30 AM
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Michael Jackson's Will

The LATimes has posted a PDF of Michael Joseph Jackson's last will which is copied here:
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • July 1, 2009 5:13 AM
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More: Obit, Hollywood

Soderbergh and Mann: Too Smart for the Room?

As much as I want to see the Steven Soderbergh/Brad Pitt version of Moneyball, reality needs to return to the movie business. Soderbergh himself occupies a strange nexus within Hollywood. He once told me that he didn't want to direct movies out of the back seat of a limousine. And he is willing to play studio ball or indie ball, as he sees fit. At the same time, like all gifted directors, he wants to push himself, and the art form. But he often loses interest in what movie audiences might want. (UPDATE: On Soderbergh's upcoming Warners' agro-business comedy The Informant!, starring Matt Damon, which is set to debut at September's Toronto Film Fest, the director was eager to be "audience friendly," says co-financeer Groundswell CEO Michael London.)
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • July 1, 2009 2:30 AM
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Oscar Rule Change: Ten Best Lists

A film historian of the 60s and 70s sent me his best guesses at what ten best Oscar lists would have been between 1967 and 1979. What's fascinating, assuming he's making reasonably inside-ballpark calls here, is that adding five sometimes improves the choices, and often does not. But while my write-in academic knows a lot about the period he's writing about, we can't help but see these movies now as their standing has changed over time. As examples, Cool Hand Luke, The Battle of Algiers, 2001: A Space Odyssey and Close Encounters of the Third Kind all boast more stature now than they did when they came out. Bottom line though, the Academy had more quality films to choose from then than they do now. We will find out soon enough whether this change is for the best.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • July 1, 2009 1:57 AM
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More: Awards, Oscars

Obit: Karl Malden Dead at 97

Karl Malden is dead.The theater actor will probably best be remembered for reprising his stage role as Mitch in Elia Kazan's Streetcar Named Desire, for which he won the supporting actor Oscar. He also made his mark in Kazan's On the Waterfront. While Malden played his share of villains, he was known for his decency, finally. He represented something good in all of us. In 1962, John Frankenheimer starred him in both The Birdman of Alcatraz and All Fall Down. Walden stood up to Rosalind Russell in Gypsy and played Bradley to George C. Scott's Patton.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • July 1, 2009 1:45 AM
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More: Obit

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