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Thompson on Hollywood

Gender Watch: Circumstance's Love Under Assault; Sisters in Hollywood

Maryam Keshavarz's Sundance dramatic audience award-winner Circumstance will hit theaters this weekend via Roadside Attractions and Participant. It's one of those movies where the story of getting it made is as compelling as the film itself. The lesbian romance deals with Iran's underground youth culture, teenage girls who adore loud music and each other, and drug use. Filming in Iran wasn't an option, and shooting in Beirut had its own hurdles. Producer Karin Chien tells the NYT that it was the most challenging shoot in her career: "“The political terrain was constantly shifting while we were there,..We went in thinking that explicit sexuality was the thing we were going to have to work around most, but it was the Iranian content, the fact that this was set in Iran, that we had to downplay.”
  • By Sophia Savage
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  • August 23, 2011 4:53 AM
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  • 1 Comment

Fiction Vs. Non-Fiction Death Match

Fiction Vs. Non-Fiction Death Match
POV blogger Tom Roston (@docsoupman), an old colleague from Premiere, loves documentaries--in fact, he blogs about them. And while I enjoy digging into The Interrupters as much as the next cinephile, I love fiction films even better. So Roston challenged me to pit five fiction films, "whether they’ve been produced in Hollywood, New York or Bombay, against their poor, bedraggled step-siblings, non-fiction films, in a death match." Naturally, Roston thinks his docs are going to win hands-down, but that's part of the fun.
  • By Anne Thompson and Tom Roston
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  • August 23, 2011 4:00 AM
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  • 1 Comment

Anatomy of A High-Brow Art Debate: Sean Penn and the Bitch-Slapping of Malick's Tree of Life

It goes like this. Sean Penn talks to Le Figaro and implies (Exhibit A) Terrence Malick underutilized him in The Tree of Life. The New Yorker's Richard Brody defends Malick and upholds the idea that actors are the equivalent of colors on a painter's brush ("Penn brings an acid yellow to the glass-and-metal grays of his scenes, and it adds something important to the film"), and that Penn's lack of understanding of his own performance doesn't undermine the power or purpose of it. InContention's Kris Tapley calls Penn's comments a bitch-slap, and while he doesn't exactly disagree ("The bookend nature of his role is the weaker element of the film"), he does imply that Penn is being a bit of a diva in the midst of Malick's well-known experimental and unpredictable directing style (both Javier Bardem and Jessica Chastain told TOH! they weren't even sure if they'll appear in Malick's latest project, though both were thrilled to work with him).
  • By Sophia Savage
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  • August 22, 2011 6:25 AM
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  • 2 Comments

Interview Watch: Wood Calls Gosling James Dean, Pinto Reveals Herself, How Del Toro Chooses Projects

- Evan Rachel Wood's next film, George Clooney's The Ides of March (pictured), sticks to her pattern of choosing gritty roles (think Thirteen, Down in the Valley, Mildred Pierce). Her Ides character is embroiled in a sex scandal. So what does Wood say about politicians in the news? She tells Vulture, "Yeah, politicians are also kinky and some of them cheat on their wives and some of them are gay. Like normal people. It's not really shocking to me." She also admits to loving Justin Bieber "unashamedly" and holds out the possibility of venturing into music. As for her Ides co-star Ryan Gosling: "I get the feeling [when he walks into a room] that that must have been how people felt when James Dean walked into a room. Just like, 'Whoa, what just walked in?' There's something really special here. It's that striking. I think he's the James Dean of now. And he'd better kiss my ass for saying that."
  • By Sophia Savage
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  • August 22, 2011 5:29 AM
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  • 1 Comment

Disney D23: Box Office Outlook for 2011-13, John Carter's Marketing Challenge, Muppets Make Comeback

Disney's weekend of fan love at D23 Expo in Anaheim offered a preview of the studio's fall season as well as its upcoming 2012 and 2013 slate. Anthony D'Alessandro assesses the playability of the studio's upcoming projects.On Saturday Disney trotted out its 2011-2013 film slate, including some major gambles, from The Muppets reboot and the $250 million sci-fi epic John Carter to Pixar’s first femme-led toon The Brave and Sam Raimi’s Oz: The Great and Powerful.
  • By Anthony D'Alessandro
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  • August 22, 2011 4:44 AM
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Crazy, Creepy Love: Romance is Dangerous in Rebecca, Jane Eyre

Crazy, Creepy Love: Romance is Dangerous in Rebecca, Jane Eyre
In this week's “Now and Then" column, Matt Brennan looks at two adaptations of Gothic novels: Hitchcock’s Rebecca (1940) and Cary Fukunaga’s Jane Eyre (out on DVD), see trailers below. A pair of young women, the rough men who love them, the creepy manors they live in, and the eerie forces attempting to thwart them: it’s enough to make you wish you had a fainting couch.
  • By Matt Brennan
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  • August 22, 2011 4:10 AM
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Vera and Taissa Farmiga Talk Higher Ground: Strength, Vulnerability, Self-Discovery, Courage

Vera and Taissa Farmiga Talk Higher Ground: Strength, Vulnerability, Self-Discovery, Courage
Vera Farmiga's Higher Ground premiered at Sundance last January to strong reviews. While Variety called it "a startlingly bold directing debut," as THR put it, "no one should really be surprised that Vera Farmiga brings the same meticulous craftsmanship and passion for truth found in her extraordinary acting to her debut as a director."
  • By Sophia Savage
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  • August 22, 2011 3:52 AM
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  • 1 Comment

Wish I Was There: MoMA's “Carte Blanche: Dieter Kosslick, the Culinary Cineaste”

Wish I Was There: MoMA's “Carte Blanche: Dieter Kosslick, the Culinary Cineaste”
Hungry? You will be after reading Bay Area restaurant critic Meredith Brody's words on MoMA'a food and film series, “Carte Blanche: Dieter Kosslick, the Culinary Cineaste”:In a recent article in the San Francisco Chronicle, Alice Waters said, ”I can’t live without films. They’re like food to me. I need them both.”
  • By Meredith Brody
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  • August 22, 2011 3:48 AM
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Weekend Box Office: The Help Ascends to Number One, Spy Kids 4 Strongest Newbie

As expected, robust holdover drama The Help kept all weekend newcomers at bay and claimed the number one spot. Of the newbies, family-friendly Spy Kids 4 fared best. Anthony D'Alessandro reports:Disney/DreamWorks' The Help bossed around three franchise reboots and an arthouse film for the top box office spot, earning $20.5 million in its second sesh and a respectable 21% dip. Clearly, many moviegoers have lost patience with summer carbon copies and are ready to embrace the autumn wave of smart adult fare coming down the pipe. Weinstein Co. four-quel Spy Kids: All the Time in the World came out ahead of the competition with $12 million because it was the only film geared toward families. Meanwhile, two R-rated 3-D films shot each other in the chest: Nu Image/Lionsgate's Conan the Barbarian forked $10 million and DreamWorks' Fright Night, handled by Disney, scared audiences out of the multiplex with $8.3 million. And Focus Features' One Day bucked sour reviews in top markets, grossing $5.1 million.
  • By Anthony D'Alessandro
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  • August 21, 2011 4:51 AM
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  • 9 Comments

D23 Expo Adds Two New Pixar Pics on Dinosaurs and the Inner Mind, Promos John Carter, The Avengers

D23 Expo Adds Two New Pixar Pics on Dinosaurs and the Inner Mind, Promos John Carter, The Avengers
The warmth in the Anaheim Convention Center Hall at D23 for Pixar and Disney animation czar John Lasseter was expressed, loudly, with a standing ovation. Also getting one was Billy Crystal (make him Oscar host already!), who's back with John Goodman in Disney/Pixar sequel Monsters University (2013). Borrowing a few pages from Comic-Con, Disney is using its direct relationship with fans and marketing synergy to promote its characters and products at its huge three-day D23. Not getting as warm a welcome as Lasseter was Disney chairman Rich Ross, who still seemed stiff in front of the teleprompters, even when he cried, "cupcakes for everyone!"
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • August 21, 2011 1:48 AM
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