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Thompson on Hollywood

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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  • 9 Comments

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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IMDb's Col Needham Responds to Clooney's Top 100

George Clooney recently listed the 100 best movies from 1964-1976, his favorite period. IMDb founder Col Needham checked his IMDb vote history (up-to-date of course) and did his own advanced title search: I've seen a total of 764 movies from this range and included below are the 41 which I have rated 9/10 or 10/10 on IMDb; the list is in reverse chronological order but my 10/10s are: Jaws, Network, Once Upon a Time in the West, Taxi Driver, Carrie, The Godfather, High Plains Drifter, Guess Who's Coming to Dinner and From Noon Till Three, All the President's Men.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • October 20, 2011 1:11 AM
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Bingham Ray Moves West to Run San Francisco Film Society

Bingham Ray Moves West to Run San Francisco Film Society
Bingham Ray is back on the festival acquisition beat. But this time, after decades in indie distribution and a recent stint consulting at SnagFilms and the Film Society of Lincoln Center, Ray will be making a move to the Bay Area as executive director of the San Francisco Film Society, which runs year-round programs including the annual San Francisco International Film Festival. He will be filling the role left vacant by Graham Leggat, who served the SFSS for seven years; he died of cancer in late August.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • October 19, 2011 12:03 PM
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Industry Rallies in Support of Jailed Iranian Filmmakers

The Hollywood Guilds, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences and the International Documentary Association have rallied to protest the Iran government's imprisonment of six indie filmmakers, along with the house arrest of Jafar Panahi (pictured). See the release and statements below.ENTERTAINMENT INDUSTRY ORGANIZATIONS UNITE IN SUPPORT OF IMPRISONED IRANIAN FILMMAKERS In September 2011, the Iranian government arrested six independent filmmakers for allegedly working with the BBC, on charges including espionage and treason. Along with the ongoing house arrest of director Jafar Panahi and the prior arrest of actress Marzieh Vafamehr, who was later sentenced to one year in prison and 90 lashes, the arrests sparked outrage from filmmaking communities within Iran and around the world. Prior to the release of two of the filmmakers, all six were denied access to their lawyers and families, who were forced to remain silent.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • October 19, 2011 10:17 AM
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Vendome Appoints Acquisitions Vet Guy Stodel as Production Chief

Vendome Pictures (Source Code, Larry Crowne) has named acquisitions exec Guy Stodel as president of production. He will report to vet producer and Vendome CEO Philippe Rousselet, who will oversee the Vendome slate, as well as Vendome’s Co-CEO Fabrice Gianfermi. Stodel will run and ramp up development and production of Vendome’s upcoming films; the goal is to produce two to three global commercial titles a year. Stodel leaves two years of indie production to join Vendome; he produced the American remake of French comedy Le Mac, starring Ed Helms. In 2008, Stodel joined the short-lived Paramount Vantage; he left in 2009 as exec v-p of production and acquisitions. At Paramount, Stodel acquired and developed the script Man on a Ledge, now a Summit release. Stodel came to Paramount from New Line Cinema, where he served as senior v-p of acquisitions and co-productions. Stodel was also an acquisitions exec at Lions Gate Entertainment.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • October 19, 2011 9:00 AM
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