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Thompson on Hollywood

Remembering Cliff Robertson: from Kennedy and Charly to David Begelman

Cliff Robertson passed of natural causes on September 10. The actor, whose credits span over fifty years, is known most recently for his role as Ben Parker in the Spider-Man franchise, and will be remembered most for his Oscar-winning role in 1968's Charly and 1963's PT 109, in which he played John F. Kennedy. (My favorites are his angry safecracker in Sam Fuller's Underworld USA and unhappy husband in Brian De Palma's Obsession.)
  • By Anne Thompson and Sophia Savage
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  • September 12, 2011 10:33 AM
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In the Works: Kelly Reilly On Board Washington's Flight; Farmiga, Arkin & MacLaine; Nolte & Waits

Denzel Washington has a leading lady for Robert Zemeckis' Flight. It's Kelly Reilly, who we suggested to play Daisy Buchanan before Carey Mulligan snagged the role in Baz Luhrmann's 3-D The Great Gatsby. You'll recognize the British Reilly from Sherlock Holmes (the first and upcoming sequel, as Jude Law's lady love) and Pride & Prejudice (Caroline Bingley). She deserves to be showcased, and this should be a meaty role. Here are Flight plot details.
  • By Sophia Savage
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  • September 12, 2011 6:55 AM
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  • 0 Comments

Toronto Reviews: Acquisition Comedies Westfeldt's Friends with Kids; Farino's The Oranges

Buyers are lining up for the more commercial-looking movies on display at Toronto, from horror flicks The Raid and The Incident, about cooks left behind in an insane asylum, to relationship comedies Friends with Kids and The Oranges. Partners Jennifer Westfeldt (Kissing Jessica Stein, Ira & Abby) and Jon Hamm (Mad Men) produced and co-star in Manhattan-set Friends with Kids, which Westfeldt also wrote and directed. Westfeldt approached Jake Kasdan to direct, but he and many others told her that this project was so personal that she should take the helm. She's a better filmmaker than she is a movie star; the sharply observed comedy about a group of friends, two married couples with kids and two single best friends who decide to have a baby together without romantic entanglement, would have been better served with Westfeldt in a supporting role, with the underutilized Kristen Wiig in the lead. The otherwise well-cast ensemble also includes Wiig's Bridesmaids co-stars Maya Rudolph and Chris O’Dowd, as well as Edward Burns and Megan Fox. But Adam Scott (Parks and Recreation) emerges as a rising star, and the movie will find both distributor and audience.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • September 12, 2011 6:19 AM
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  • 2 Comments

Trailer Watch: Beauty and the Mexican Drug Beast in Gerardo Naranjo's Miss Bala

Check out the trailer for Gerardo Naranjo's Miss Bala, from exec producers Gael Garcia Bernal and Diego Luna. The film stars Stephanie Sigman in a breakout role, and has been gaining positive word of mouth since its debut at Cannes. ThePlaylist calls it "visceral and layered" in their stellar review. Fox will release the film in the US in January.
  • By Sophia Savage
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  • September 12, 2011 3:45 AM
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European Film Academy Names 45 Films for Awards Consideration: Artist, Melancholia, Le Havre & More

European Film Academy Names 45 Films for Awards Consideration: Artist, Melancholia, Le Havre & More
Awards season is indeed upon us. The European Film Academy and EFA Productions announce forty-five films recommended for nominations into the 2011 European Film Awards, from Michel Hazanavicius' The Artist, the Dardenne Brothers' The Kid with A Bike and Lars von Trier's Melancholia to Susanne Bier's In A Better World (Oscar winner for Best Foreign Language film, 2010), Aki Kaurismäki's Le Havre and Pedro Almodovar's The Skin I Live In. Twenty countries with the most EFA members voted one of their films onto the list and a selection committee brought in an additional twenty-five titles for consideration; thirty-two countries are represented. Members of the EFA will vote and nominations will be announced November 5 at Spain's Seville European Film Festival, followed by the 24th annual show on in Berlin, on December 3. The film are listed below; here's more:
  • By Sophia Savage
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  • September 12, 2011 3:44 AM
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Strike Back, Episode 4, Recap and Review: Action is Character

Strike Back, Episode 4, Recap and Review: Action is Character
David Chute salutes Strike Back's commanding officer.Amanda Mealing, the actress who plays Colonel Eleanor Grant, chief of the covert ops unit Section 20 on Strike Back, gets off the single best shot, the final one, in episode 4 of this quick-witted series. The coiled fury behind that head shot, the way it's staged and played, even more than the extra-legal step that's being taken, creates the kind of seismic moment on a show that changes our interpretation of everything we've seen, our sense of what's at stake and the kind of people we're dealing with.
  • By David Chute
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  • September 11, 2011 12:15 PM
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  • 3 Comments

Box Office: Contagion Runs $23-Million Fever Over Cold Weekend

Box Office: Contagion Runs $23-Million Fever Over Cold Weekend
Steven Soderbergh's pandemic ensemble thriller Contagion posted a healthy opening despite an overall downer weekend. Anthony D'Alessandro breaks down the box office:
  • By Anthony D'Alessandro
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  • September 11, 2011 4:21 AM
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  • 3 Comments

TIFF 36 Day Three: Wuthering Heights, 360, Keyhole, In Darkness, Comic-Con: Episode IV–A Fan’s H

TIFF 36 Day Three: Wuthering Heights, 360, Keyhole, In Darkness, Comic-Con: Episode IV–A Fan’s H
Meredith Brody continues to make the rest of us Toronto attendees look like slackers.
  • By Meredith Brody
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  • September 11, 2011 3:07 AM
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  • 1 Comment

TIFF 36 Days One and Two: Melancholia, A Separation, Footnote, Elles, Trishna, Free Men

TIFF 36 Days One and Two: Melancholia, A Separation, Footnote, Elles, Trishna, Free Men
Meredith Brody continues her fall cinematic smorgasbord in Toronto.
  • By Meredith Brody
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  • September 10, 2011 12:41 PM
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  • 0 Comments

Torchwood: Miracle Day, Episode 10, The Blood Line, SEASON FINALE

Torchwood: Miracle Day, Episode 10, The Blood Line, SEASON FINALE
David Chute bids Torchwood: Miracle Day a fond farewell. Honestly.An antipodal cleft pierces the earth, along a line drawn from Shanghai to Buenos Aires. Into this cleft the blood of an immortal (you know who) is introduced, and it has to be at both poles simultaneously. The effect of this transfusion is to re-jigger the polarity of the cleft, reconfiguring the force field it generates, toggling a morphic resonator switch that had the effect of making everyone who was mortal at that moment immortal and vice versa -- meaning that Y.K.W. became mortal, because he was immortal to begin with and the polarity had been flipped. Are e clear so far?
  • By David Chute
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  • September 10, 2011 10:35 AM
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  • 4 Comments
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