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Thompson on Hollywood

Pedro Almodóvar Is Guest Director for AFI Fest, Screens Law of Desire

After his heavy promo duties on The Skin I Live In, which debuted at Cannes and now heads for Toronto and New York festivals, Pedro Almodóvar is lending his curatorial skills to Los Angeles' AFI Fest (which runs in Hollywood November 3-10) as guest artistic director. It's the 25th anniversary of the fall film festival as well as Almodóvar's 1986 film Law of Desire, which will screen at the fest, and his production company, El Deseo S.A. 
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • August 29, 2011 1:54 AM
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Hurricane Irene Wipes Out Weekend Box Office: The Help Provides Shelter

Hurricane Irene Wipes Out Weekend Box Office: The Help Provides Shelter
As Hurricane Irene pummeled the East Coast, causing some 1000 theaters to close their doors, The Help continued its box office surge. Anthony D'Alessandro reports.It's easy to blame Hurricane Irene for sub-standard late summer product and depressed weekend box office results. Certainly the weather did have an impact, as surviving cinemas charted close to the lowest weekend of 2011 with an estimated $88.4 million, coming in slightly ahead of Super Bowl's $87.3 million bottom-dwelling frame. This weekend was also 23% behind the same period a year ago and a huge 29% down from last weekend. When exhibitor-distributor gross collector Rentrak issues its own weather advisory that Saturday and Sunday ticket sales will be impacted by 1,000 theater closures, you know it's serious. Theater chains such as Clearview Cinemas, Regal and AMC closed across the eastern seaboard stretching from Washington D.C. to New York. Even though the hurricane was downgraded to a tropical storm by the time it hit New York, a number of Manhattan cinemas shuttered today as the city contends with the overflow of the Hudson River and lack of transportation.
  • By Anthony D'Alessandro
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  • August 28, 2011 4:43 AM
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Strike Back Episode 3, Kill Zone: Recap and Review

Strike Back Episode 3, Kill Zone: Recap and Review
Action series Strike Back goes to Africa, and David Chute likes it.South Africa plays itself, rather than standing in for India or Afghanistan, in the third episode of the excellent Strike Back. This dense and propulsive counter-terrorism action series (based on a novel by former SAS officer Chris Ryan), a Sky/Cinemax cross-pond co-production based in Johannesburg, location-jumps from inner city shanty towns that could be in Kingston or Mumbai, to red-earth desert landscapes that echo the Spanish scrub of the Sergio Leone westerns, but with a richer color palette. It makes a perfect, picturesque backdrop for the activities of covert operatives who have replaced the quaint old gentlemanly concept of a license to kill with the much more through and goal-oriented notion of the kill zone.
  • By David Chute
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  • August 27, 2011 12:34 PM
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Torchwood: Miracle Day: Episode 8, The End of the Road, Recap and Review

Torchwood: Miracle Day: Episode 8, The End of the Road, Recap and Review
David Chute is wishing that some of the lead characters in Torchwood: Miracle Day would just die already.One measure of the excellence of “Immortal Sins,” the previous, seventh episode of the BBC/Starz mini-series Torchwood: Miracle, is that it ended with a burning question whose answer actually mattered to us. It turned out that Jack’s lover of the 1920s, Angelo Colasanto (Daniele Favilli) was still alive more than eighty decades later, and had grown rich enough to send a car and several employees after him.
  • By David Chute
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  • August 27, 2011 5:00 AM
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Trailer Watch: Gainsbourg: A Heroic Life; Jazz, Pop, Babes

Biopic Gainsbourg: A Heroic Life captures the compelling saga of one of France's great characters, the infamous, influential, and hugely talented Jewish singer-songwriter, Serge Gainsbourg (Eric Elmosino). See the trailer (posted below); New York Vulture posts an enchanting exclusive clip of Brigitte Bardot and Gainsbourg singing the Bonny and Clyde theme.
  • By Maggie Lange
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  • August 26, 2011 12:57 PM
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Oscar Watch: Mid-Year Top Animation Contenders in the Year of the Sequel

Oscar Watch: Mid-Year Top Animation Contenders in the Year of the Sequel
As we head into the fall awards season, Bill Desowitz looks at where the animation Oscar race is heading: it's so far a weak field The good news is that the Oscar race for best animated feature is wide open -- the widest, in fact, since Happy Feet beat Cars in 2006 (the last time Pixar lost the Oscar). And, lo and behold, here we are again with Happy Feet 2 competing against Cars 2 in the Year of the Sequel. Thanks to a new policy, a maximum of four films can now be nominated if 13-15 qualify. In the past, anything under 16 qualifiers meant three Oscar nominees. So expect either four or five nominees this Oscar season. The bad news, of course, is that there's a dearth of originality -- at least thus far. In fact, DreamWorks's Katzenberg told Fortune that it's the worst year for movies overall that he can remember.
  • By Bill Desowitz
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  • August 26, 2011 8:29 AM
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Refn Teases Gosling and Malick Pairing; DiCaprio On Gatsby Set; Aykroyd Promises Ghostbusters 3

- According to his Drive director, Nicolas Winding Refn, Ryan Gosling will work on a film with Terrence Malick after the actor completes Refn’s Only God Forgives. Here's ThePlaylist's investigation of this potentially awesome news.
  • By Maggie Lange
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  • August 26, 2011 8:25 AM
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Luc Besson's The Lady To Open Rome Film Festival

Luc Besson's The Lady To Open Rome Film Festival
Luc Besson’s biopic of Burmese pacifist leader and Nobel laureate Aung San Suu Kyi, The Lady, will open the Rome Film Festival on October 27, reports Variety.
  • By Maggie Lange
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  • August 26, 2011 8:07 AM
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Trailer Watch: Too Much Revealed of The Artist, Weinsteins' Marketing Dilemma

It's one of the unfortunate tried-and-true tenets of film marketing that the more you reveal in a trailer, the better you grab audiences to see your film. The Weinstein Co. faces a challenge as far as selling Michel Hazanavicius' Cannes best-actor-winning The Artist to audiences.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • August 26, 2011 5:39 AM
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Trailer Watch: Johnny Depp Reunites with Hunter S. Thompson

One of the movies that is not hitting the fall fest circuit this year is The Rum Diary, Bruce Robinson's long-delayed film adaptation of Hunter S. Thompson's semi-autobiographical novel. The new trailer (below, which will be attached to new release Don't Be Afraid of the Dark) begins with a burp. FilmDistrict opens the film October 28.
  • By Maggie Lange
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  • August 26, 2011 4:40 AM
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  • 2 Comments

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