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Thompson on Hollywood

Duplicity: Gilroy Directs Roberts and Owen

While Duplicity isn't as good as Michael Clayton, you can tell that it comes from the mind of Tony Gilroy. According to his recent profile in The New Yorker, he's a man who likes to surprise. Gilroy reminds me of Steven Soderbergh: he's trying to outsmart audience expectations so much that he sometimes outsmarts himself. (It makes sense that he wrote the Bourne series.) Clayton was warmed up by the charisma of George Clooney, as well as the whip-cracking brilliance of British actor Tom Wilkinson, who goes up against the great Paul Giamatti in Duplicity. The plot of this gorgeous and sexy character-based heist thriller twists and turns--revealing new information via two time-frames-- at a globe-trotting clip. This film is colder, brainier, and more schematic than Clayton, and less than romantic, which may disappoint women starved for mature relationship movies. Here's Variety's review.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • March 16, 2009 8:54 AM
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SXSW: Berney, SnagFilms, IMDb

originally posted on Variety.comEx-Picturehouse chief Bob Berney is chasing financing for a planned new distrib outfit--still unnamed. He did try to retrieve his Picturehouse name, but it was impossible. Here at SXSW, he's tracking possible later acquisitions. Here's what Berney told John Pierson at the SXSW Q & A, reports Indiewire in its report on indie distribution:
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • March 16, 2009 8:47 AM
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More: Tech News

Nowhere Boy: Weinstein Backs Young Lennon Biopic

New Weinstein Co. honcho Tom Ortenberg has scored his first big buy, Sam Taylor-Wood's Nowhere Boy, a UK feature about the early days of Beatle John Lennon. The picture has been filming for about two weeks; Ortenberg and Harvey Weinstein targeted the pic for a pre-buy in Berlin. They see the film as a possible year-end awards contender. Kristin Scott Thomas plays Lennon's Aunt Mimi, who helped raise him along with his mother Julia. The movie also details young Lennon's close relationship with Quarrymen bandmate Paul McCartney and ends when the early Beatles leave Liverpool for Hamburg, Germany to conquer the world. (I love Malcolm Gladwell's story in The Outliers about how the Beatles put in their 10,000 hours playing long sets in Hamburg.)
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • March 16, 2009 8:38 AM
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More: Festivals

SXSW Preview: Comedy, DIY, VOD, Critics

True confession: I am a SXSW newbie. While I've visited Austin, I have never attended this fest, which opens Friday with the Apatowish bromance I Love You, Man, which seems to be a perfect fit for the hip younger groove of SXSW.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • March 13, 2009 5:07 AM
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More: Festivals, SXSW

SXSW Screens Bruno Footage, Debuts Raimi's Drag Me to Hell

After its success debuting at SXSW such Judd Apatow projects as Forgetting Sarah Marshall last year and Knocked Up the year before, Universal Pics is taking advantage of the hip SXSW demo --and the fest's pre-summer time-frame--to promo two more flicks. The studio will screen the first-ever footage from Bruno, Sacha Baron Cohen's follow-up to Borat, on 3/15 at 11 PM followed at midnight by Sam Raimi's full-length horror title Drag Me to Hell.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • March 10, 2009 5:15 AM
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Twilight DVD: Deleted Scenes

The reason there's so much heat around Twilight again (and New Moon--Summit finally announced Dakota Fanning's casting as Jane) is that the DVD is coming out March 21. Access Hollywood aired two deleted scenes from Twilight. Sometimes directors cut scenes from movies for a reason.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • March 9, 2009 5:21 AM
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Weekend Update: Watchmen Opening Not So Big; Kubrick's Tenth; Obama Gives Brown DVDs

While Watchmen delivered a robust opening of about $55.7 million in North America, it came in lower than expectations--and much lower than Snyder's last film, the blockbuster 300--both domestically and overseas. Finally, Watchmen works best as the narratively complex, visually dazzling comics series from Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons. Originally published in 1986, the graphic novel is flying off the shelves. I hope people do read the book, which instantly draws you in with its compelling, never confusing storytelling, deepening and peeling new layers as it goes. The movie, on the other hand, is hard to fathom, boasts too many characters, and doesn't add up to much. Set in the 80s, Zack Snyder's film deals with the Vietnam and Cold War, and the end of the world via nuclear attack, but supplies a new ending with strange shades of 9/11. Moore always did insist that his comics were unfilmable.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • March 8, 2009 5:26 AM
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Watchmen vs. Aliens?

[Posted by David S. Cohen]
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • March 6, 2009 5:33 AM
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Blog Watch: NYT Turns Carpetbagger into Year-Round Movie Blog

The New York Times has finally figured out that it's dumb to shut down their movie blog, The Carpetbagger, which has been pegged to media columnist David Carr writing in the guise of amateur Oscar-watcher The Bagger. In past years, when Carr quit the seasonal gig, the blog went dark, which I always thought was a crime. Especially in this competitive age, blog traffic is hard-won and foolish to lose. For the moment, this impersonal NYT staff blog has replaced Carr, who lent a marvelous pulse to The Carpetbagger. Most people want to find a personality, a reason to check out a blog. Aggregation might hold the space for a while. But the numbers will, inevitably, dip.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • March 5, 2009 5:46 AM
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Daily Links: Public Enemies, My Fair Lady, Women in Film

The recession is hitting the movie studios in the pocket books; they are trimming their budgets going forward, according to this Reuters report.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • March 4, 2009 5:50 AM
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