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Thompson on Hollywood

SXSW 2012 Announces First Round of Panels; Drive Composer Cliff Martinez, Tambor's Acting Workshop

SXSW 2012 Announces First Round of Panels; Drive Composer Cliff Martinez, Tambor's Acting Workshop
The South by Southwest Film Conference and Festival announces the first of its 2012 panels. The festival, in its 19th year, will be held March 9-17, 2012, in Austin, Texas. Among other highlights of SXSW including Jeffrey Tambor's returning Acting Workshop, the fest will feature the requisite DIY filmmaking, VOD, web cinema and scoring panels, plus a Conversation with Drive composer and Red Hot Chili Peppers drummer Cliff Martinez, whose other credits include many Steven Soderbergh films (sex, lies and videotape, Kafka, The Limey, Traffic, Solaris and Contagion).
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • October 26, 2011 7:00 AM
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London Film Fest Reviews of New Brit Flicks: Hunky Dory, The Awakening, Wild Bill Are Winners

London critic Matt Mueller finds three winners among the smattering of new Brit films unspooling at the London Film Fest. This year’s London Film Festival has played host to more than a dozen new British features, several of them world premieres. Many fall under the banner of the grim and uncompromising but instantly forgettable social-statement tracts that too many British filmmakers seem in thrall to, as if making your feature an unpleasant ordeal is the ultimate arbiter of artistic success. This year’s entries include Sket, a tiresomely misogynistic urban gang drama, and Junkhearts, the bitter tale of an ex-British soldier suffering from post-traumatic stress (Eddie Marsan) who takes a homeless girl (Candese Reid) into his flat with punishing consequences. Far more effective despite its disturbing subject matter was Dreams Of A Life, Carol Morley’s fascinating drama-documentary about a young woman whose dead body lay undiscovered in her London flat for three years. It’s a heartbreaking work that poses profound questions about modern life.
  • By Matt Mueller
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  • October 26, 2011 6:27 AM
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Shame Embraces NC-17 Rating; Will Oscar Voters Punish Fassbender?

Shame Embraces NC-17 Rating; Will Oscar Voters Punish Fassbender?
There is no shame in earning an NC-17 rating. Filmmaker Steve McQueen, when he made his deal for MPAA-signatory Fox Searchlight to release Shame (December 2), made it clear that he embraced the rating, which the ratings board officially gave the film this week. This is no surprise. Besides, Searchlight distributed 2004's NC-17 The Dreamers, whose director Bernardo Bertolucci praised Searchlight for being willing to release the film with the rating: "It's a victory. And not just for me -- it's a victory for freedom of expression." The erotic relationship drama starring Eva Green earned a respectable if modest $2.5 million stateside.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • October 26, 2011 5:40 AM
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  • 3 Comments
More: Awards, Oscars

Glenn Close to Receive Palm Springs' Career Achievement Award

On the road to a would-be Oscar nomination, Glenn Close will accept her Career Achievement Award at the Palm Springs International Film Festival on January 7. Fest chairman Harold Matzner says Close "has the gift of mesmerizing an audience whenever she performs," and says of her performance in the upcoming Albert Nobbs (here's our interview and details): "She revives a previous stage role and brings it to gritty life in yet another bravura performance.”
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • October 26, 2011 5:39 AM
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Jeff Bridges Wears Same Shirt in Three Films Spanning Nine Years; Buy One Yourself

Why? More like Why Not? He's Jeff Bridges, so he can wear the same shirt in three different films if he wants to. In fact, you can too. Here's the shirt; get yourself one. In fact, if you want an easy way to be Jeff Bridges for Halloween, may we suggest this shirt paired with a White Russian? Cheers.
  • By Sophia Savage
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  • October 26, 2011 5:04 AM
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  • 1 Comment

At Tokyo Film Fest, Japan's 3/11 Earthquake/Tsunami is Front and Center

At the Tokyo International Film Festival, now under way, the impact on Japan of the 3/11 Great East Japan Earthquake is front and center. Liza Foreman reports from Tokyo.In the documentary Fukushima Hula Girls, director Masaki Kobayashi gives an unusual perspective on the earthquake and tsunami that devastated northeast Japan in March 2011. The film follows a displaced troupe of hula dancers who worked for a popular Hawaiian resort that was shut down in the wake of the nearby Fukushima nuclear plant explosion. Going some way to fill in the gaps on how the disaster impacted local lives, the documentary is one of a number of films playing at this week’s Tokyo International Film Festival (TIFF, October 22-30) to focus on the tragedy. Tetsuaki Matsue’s feature Tokyo Drifter shows the city at its most vulnerable, immediately following the earthquake, when a young musician wanders the empty streets.
  • By Liza Foreman
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  • October 26, 2011 4:56 AM
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SAG Awards: Submissions for Nomination Consideration Due October 27

The deadline for consideration for a Screen Actors Guild Award nomination is October 27. Actors may submit themselves or give permission to producers, studios and agents et al to submit on their behalf. Nominees will be selected by two separate film and television panels, each made up of 2,100 SAG members (randomly selected). Ballots are then mailed on November 23, with voting closing on December 12 and nominees announced on December 14. The SAG Awards take place on January 29.
  • By Sophia Savage
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  • October 26, 2011 3:52 AM
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Morelia Fest Four: The Arbor Revisited; Hermès: Hearts and Crafts; See You, Dad

Meredith Brody reports back on Day Four of The Morelia International Film Festival in Patzcuaro, Mexico:Last May I saw The Arbor, by Clio Barnard, on the next-to-last day of the San Francisco International Film Festival. I was enchanted, disturbed, beguiled, and excited – it was my favorite film of the Festival. Which made me sad, because for the duration of the festival people had been continually asking what I’d seen that I liked, and this was the film that I would have liked to tell them about.
  • By Meredith Brody
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  • October 26, 2011 3:42 AM
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GE and CINELAN Add Filmmakers to Focus Forward Three-Minute Film Initiative

GE and CINELAN announce from The Doha Tribeca Film Festival that the following award-winning filmmakers will join Focus Forward, a global documentary initiative that looks at the human power of ideas and innovation through three-minute films that can educate and inspire: Lucy Walker (director, Waste Land), Eddie Schmidt (producer, Twist of Faith), Phil Cox (director, The Bengali Detective), Leslie Iwerks (director, The Pixar Story) and Stanley Nelson (director, Freedom Riders).
  • By Sophia Savage
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  • October 26, 2011 3:20 AM
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KCET To Air Corwin Doc

KCET is airing a special broadcast of Les Guthman's must-see 1996 feature docu, Corwin on Saturday night at 8:00 p.m., followed by a show about the 1938 radio drama The Plot to Overthrow Christmas, in tribute to the late great radio pioneer Norman Corwin, who passed away last week at 101. Corwin left radio in 1955 during the McCarthy era and wrote Hollywood screenplays, including Lust for Life, which earned him an Oscar nomination. Thanks to documentary filmmaker Jeff Kaufman, I got to meet Corwin, who was still dazzling as he neared his centennial.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • October 26, 2011 1:46 AM
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