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Thompson on Hollywood

Fall/Holiday Preview: Four Films to Get Animated About, Especially Tintin

Fall/Holiday Preview: Four Films to Get Animated About, Especially Tintin
Bill Desowitz considers the Fall/Holiday seasons animated features, The Adventures of Tintin, Puss in Boots, Arthur Christmas and Happy Feet Two. Which have the right stuff to join Rango as an Oscar contender?It's obviously been a terrific week for Steven Spielberg's The Adventures of Tintin, given the mostly positive reviews coming out of Europe timed to the October 26 international release. And judging by the stunning new trailer and the footage I've already seen, the experiment seems to have paid off well for Spielberg and producing partner Peter Jackson. In fact, Tintin could very well turn out to be the performance capture game-changer for animation that we've been expecting, feeding off the momentum from Weta's innovative work on Avatar and Rise of the Planet of the Apes.
  • By Bill Desowitz
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  • October 21, 2011 5:44 AM
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Jason Reitman and Diablo Cody's Young Adult Reviewed from Minnesota: Juno's Wicked Step Sister

Jason Reitman and Diablo Cody's Young Adult Reviewed from Minnesota: Juno's Wicked Step Sister
Slowly, Jason Reitman is emerging from his cocoon after his bout with extreme overexposure on Up in the Air, which ultimately did not yield an Oscar win. He's staging table reads at LACMA with pal Elvis Mitchell; he's back on Twitter, and now Young Adult (trailer here and below), his latest collaboration with Juno writer Diablo Cody, starring Charlize Theron, has debuted in Edina, Minnesota. Here is the first review. On Wednesday the Landmark Edina Cinema was the site of the first U.S. audience screening of "Young Adult," the new film from the "Juno" team of Jason Reitman and Diablo Cody. The much-anticipated new collaboration shares some stylistic notes with their earlier effort -- a pop-saturated soundtrack, a woman-child stuck between adolescence and adulthood, a droll appreciation of daily life in suburbia. It's also a step in a new direction, both for the creative team and for movies, a mature and humane comedy centered on a misanthropic female antihero.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • October 21, 2011 5:42 AM
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IN THE WORKS: A-Listers Lining Up Projects: Damon, Krasinski, Mulligan, Zeta-Jones, Cooper

- Matt Damon will be known as director soon, with both Father Daughter Time: A Tale of Armed Robbery and Eskimo Kisses (at Warner Bros.) and a newly announced drama which he co-wrote with John Krasinski, who developed the idea with writer Dave Eggers (this project is also at Warner Bros.). Krasinski and Damon will also star in the film, and while plot details are few we know Damon will play a salesman whose life changes when he arrives in a small town.
  • By Sophia Savage
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  • October 21, 2011 5:39 AM
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AFI FEST Adds World, Breakthrough, Midnight and Shorts

Free tickets for November's 25th AFI Fest are available on October 27. If you are willing to spend, passes are on sale, and AFI members and alumnae get early access to tickets. The FEST runs from November 3 through 10 in Hollywood.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • October 21, 2011 5:19 AM
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Trailer Watch: Angelina Jolie's In The Land of Blood and Honey

Here's a first look at Angelina Jolie's directorial debut, Graham King-produced In The Land of Blood and Honey, to be released by FilmDistrict December 23. A love story set during the Bosnian War (which caused concern early in the shoot), its plot remains unclear. Love, war, explosions, conflicting feelings: the trailer doesn't offer enough to gauge whether this emotional, European-looking film will be a win for Jolie. The actress-turned-director, who does not appear in the picture, shot her actors in both English and Bosnian-Croatian-Serbian: “I wanted to make it as accessible as possible for people.”
  • By Sophia Savage
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  • October 21, 2011 4:10 AM
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Oscar Talk: Spielberg's Tintin, Gothams, NY vs. LA Critics Votes, Animation and Foreign Debates

In Contention's British correspondent Guy Lodge reports on his viewing of The Adventures of Tintin during this week's Oscar Talk with Kris Tapley. "The action sequences are more fluid," Lodge says, than anything else in Steven Spielberg's work. A downhill chase through the streets of Morocco is "jaw dropping...it's such a ride." We debate how the Academy's animation branch will regard this motion capture adventure. Is Spielberg an interloper in their ranks? Will the mainstream Academy take the movie, which has been compared to Raiders of the Lost Ark, seriously? (Here's TOH's London review.)
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • October 21, 2011 4:00 AM
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Trailer Watch: Christian Bale's Flowers of War Is Not Delicate Film, Looks Gorgeous, Horrifying

TOH! caught twenty minutes of gorgeous, horrifying footage of Zhang Yimou's The Flowers of War (formerly Heros of Nanking) at Toronto, along with every distributor in town. It's China's most expensive movie to date, and will open there and across Asia on December 16, and is rumored to be near a deal for US distribution. The film stars Christian Bale, with what looks like a strong performance, as a mortician in wartorn 1937 Nanking who steps up to protect a group of schoolgirls and prostitutes taking shelter at the Winchester Cathedral. Adapted by Liu Heng from the novel by Geling Yan, it is inspired by true events during the Rape of Nanking. Here's more from Toronto. The film is China's official entry for the Best Foreign Language Oscar.
  • By Anne Thompson and Sophia Savage
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  • October 20, 2011 8:14 AM
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Weekend Preview: Martha Marcy May Marlene, Le Havre, Margin Call, Three Musketeers & More

IndieWIRE Pick of the Week Martha Marcy May Marlene and Aki Kaurismäki's Le Havre are this weekend's best bets, scoring high with critics across the board. JC Chandor's Margin Call -- a showcase for talented actors -- is arriving at a propitious moment, and could Occupy the box office with the same conviction that protesters are sticking it to Wall Street. (Producer-star Zachary Quinto's pitch-perfect coming out was also well-timed.) Brit import Oranges and Sunshine offers earnest true-story TV-level drama; critics cite Norman's always-watchable Richard Jenkins; Paranormal Activity 3 serves up ample scares; and yet another The Three Musketeers proves just how cheesy 3-D profiteering can be.
  • By Sophia Savage
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  • October 20, 2011 6:46 AM
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Cameron Unveils Titanic 3-D Footage for April 2012 Release, Talks 3-D, Exploration, Avatar

James Cameron loves 3-D. He’s believed in it from the beginning—in fact, he’s personally responsible for the entire industry’s move toward 3-D, I was reminded at a Popular Mechanics high-rise lunch in Hearst Tower before Cameron accepted one of the magazine’s 2011 Breakthrough Awards (video of his Q & A, which digs into the Avatar sequels, and acceptance speech is below). Even though everyone told him and inventor Vince Pace that 3-D filmmaking was impossible, they rigged two HD cameras together “and figured it out,” he said, proving that it could be done. Thus they changed the entertainment industry, for better or worse. (Here’s my interview with Cameron about his love of science and exploration for the magazine.) Now he and Pace are testing new sophisticated servo-controlled light 3-D shoulder cameras for shooting sports and concerts, “serving broadcasters on a global basis,” Cameron said.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • October 20, 2011 6:26 AM
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Gotham Award Nominees Analysis: Three for Descendants, Martha Marcy; Two For Beginners, Take Shelter

Gotham Award Nominees Analysis: Three for Descendants, Martha Marcy; Two For Beginners, Take Shelter
Where smaller indie features are concerned, awards like the Gothams and Indie Spirits--not to mention year-end critics groups and eventually, the craft guilds--make a huge difference in building momentum for breakthrough actors such as Ryan Gosling (Half Nelson), Amy Adams (June Bug), Jeremy Renner (The Hurt Locker) and Jennifer Lawrence (Winter's Bone), who eventually earned Oscar nominations. Awards campaigns are all about turning a relative unknown or potential contender into a must-see, a movie that cannot be missed. The Gothams helped to push Winter's Bone, The Kids Are All Right and Black Swan toward their eventual Best Picture Oscar slots--and The Hurt Locker to its win.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • October 20, 2011 5:35 AM
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