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Thompson on Hollywood

Woody Allen Ditches Decameron Title for Nero Fiddled

With Woody Allen's summer hit Midnight in Paris his highest grosser ever and heading for Oscar contention, the filmmaker has seen the wisdom of changing the name of his next film, his first shot and financed in Rome, from The Bop Decameron, which got too many stares, says Allen, to the more accessible Nero Fiddled (2012). "I couldn't believe how few people had heard of The Decameron even in Rome," he says. "And the few that did assumed the movie was based on Boccaccio's tales which it's not." The change marks the second time Allen has altered a title; the first was replacing Anhedonia with Annie Hall, which went on to win the best picture Oscar.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • October 13, 2011 9:57 AM
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  • 3 Comments

Sixty-three Films Eligible for Foreign Language Oscar, Leading Contenders

Of the final sixty-three countries that have submitted their official Oscar entries in the Foreign Language Film category, many have been seen on the festival circuit. Screenings will soon be scheduled for various foreign language committees, which will eventually narrow the list to the final five to be announced on January 24. The first committees see groups of films and must see a certain percentage to vote; branch chief Mark Johnson chooses an uber-committee to add three films to an initial list of six and then vote on the final five nominations. Thus high-brow movies that may not play to the bigger group can be added. The prime contenders based on previous nominations or and/or critical response so far are:
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • October 13, 2011 8:48 AM
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Trailer Watch: Marriage, Sex & Pregnancy in Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 1 TV Spots

The latest in the Twilight Saga series, Breaking Dawn: Part 1, hits theaters November 18. Check out two new TV spots below. In this film continuation of Stephenie Meyer's vampire/human romance, Bella and Edward get married, enjoy a romantic honeymoon in Rio, and give birth to a very strange child. We can hear the teenagers screaming already.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • October 13, 2011 8:18 AM
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Trailer Watch: This Means War Means Potential Career Low for Hardy, Pine, Witherspoon?

We should have known better than to get excited for McG's This Means War, despite an ensemble led by Reese Witherspoon, Chris Pine and the phenomenal Tom Hardy. McG (Charlies Angels, Terminator: Salvation) and the cast probably had a great time shooting but after watching the trailer, we're left wondering why these actors signed on (after a dramatic casting saga).
  • By Sophia Savage
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  • October 13, 2011 8:00 AM
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  • 2 Comments

Film Independent's November LACMA Film Series Lineup Adds Clooney, Fassbender

Elvis Mitchell is booking movies with speakers for his weekly Film Independent at LACMA showings. He's basically doing the same thing any number of subscription film series are doing, he's just inviting the public to buy tickets to see many films that will be available at commercial cinemas or on Netflix followed by Q and As with the likes of George Clooney and Michael Fassbender. I have booked The Descendants for Sneak Previews, for example.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • October 13, 2011 7:42 AM
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  • 2 Comments

Tarantino's Django Unchained Cast Shaping Up for Fall Shoot; Washington Joins Foxx, DiCaprio, Waltz

The latest actor to board Quentin Tarantino's Django Unchained (December 25, 2012) is Don Johnson (TV's Miami Vice, Nash Bridges; Bucky Larson, Machete, Tin Cup). The actor is in negotiations to play plantation owner Spencer Bennett. He would be joining Jamie Foxx, Leonardo DiCaprio, Christoph Waltz, Samuel L. Jackson and Kurt Russell. UPDATE: Kerry Washington is now confirmed to be playing Django's wife, Broomhilda. The synopsis is below.
  • By Sophia Savage
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  • October 13, 2011 5:48 AM
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  • 1 Comment

Weekend Preview: Almodovar's The Skin I Live In is Best Bet of Disappointing Openings

Weekend Preview: Almodovar's The Skin I Live In is Best Bet of Disappointing Openings
While it may not be his greatest film, The Skin I Live In is still essential viewing for any Pedro Almodovar fan. Just gazing at stars Antonio Banderas, Elena Anaya and the gorgeous sets within this beyond-twisted melodrama is worth the ticket price. Given the star power spread across the other films on offer, you'd think there was much to look forward to, but critics are grasping at straws trying to say positive things about the likes of Fireflies in The Garden (Julia Roberts, Ryan Reynolds, Willem Dafoe), Trespass (Nicole Kidman, Nicholas Cage), Universal's remake of The Thing (Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Eric Christian Olsen, Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje, Joel Edgerton) and The Big Year (Jack Black, Steve Martin, Owen Wilson). Ami Canaan Mann's (Michael Mann's daughter) gritty debut Texas Killing Fields, inspired by actual events, is boosted by a strong cast (Sam Worthington, Jessica Chastain, Chloe Moretz). But it's a wasted opportunity; promising moments are weakened by an uninspired script and clumsy construction. Believe it or not, the Footloose remake is making critics tap their feet.
  • By Sophia Savage
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  • October 13, 2011 5:43 AM
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Sixth Rome Film Festival's Competition Films: Woman in the Fifth, Hysteria, Eye of the Storm

The International Rome Film Festival announces fifteen films playing in competition at the fest's 6th edition. From October 27-November 4, the Italian festival will open with Luc Besson's The Lady (out of competition), close with a digitally restored version of Breakfast at Tiffany's (marking its 50th anniversary), and in-between will showcase Leander Haubmann's Hotel Lux, Pål Sletaune's Babycall, Tanya Wexler's Hysteria, Juhn Jaihong's Poongsan, Fred Schepisi's The Eye of the Storm, Cédric Kahn's Une vie meilleure, Jaffe Zinn's Magic Valley, Sebastián Borensztein's Un Cuento Chino and Pawel Pawlikowski's La Femme du cinquièmen (The Woman in the Fifth), starring Kristin Scott Thomas (pictured).
  • By Sophia Savage
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  • October 13, 2011 5:34 AM
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  • 0 Comments

Bringing Burton’s World to Life: LACMA Hosts Collaborators, Screens 70mm Scissorhands

On October 21, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art is hosting a Behind-the-Scenes panel, "Bringing Burton’s World to Life," with key Tim Burton collaborators. Oscar-winning composer Danny Elfman, costume designer Colleen Atwood, and art director, sculptor, installation designer and production designer Rick Heinrichs will participate on a panel about transforming Burton’s vision from concept to three-dimensional film reality, moderated by Ron Magliozzi, Associate Curator, MoMA Department of Film and co-organizer of the Tim Burton exhibition. Their films range across Vincent, Beetlejuice, Batman, The Nightmare Before Christmas, Ed Wood and Edward Scissorhands, which will be shown in 70mm, a rare screening.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • October 13, 2011 1:07 AM
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  • 0 Comments

Universal Abandons Tower Heist VOD Plan, NATO's Fithian Debates Magnolia's Wagner

Universal Abandons Tower Heist VOD Plan, NATO's Fithian Debates Magnolia's Wagner
First Netflix and now Universal Pictures have killed a change in direction after fierce resistance. In the case of Universal, the studio was testing what was acceptable to their partners, theater owners, as well as moviegoers, who are demanding earlier access to new movies. Universal had planned to make Bret Rattner's Tower Heist available via Video on Demand only three weeks after opening November 4 in theaters. Exhibitors and filmmakers from James Cameron to Jon Favreau are fighting to keep the theatrical window an average of 90 days, while several studios are pushing back, under pressure to move toward a shortened window, due to the decline of DVD revenues as well as global piracy concerns.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • October 12, 2011 6:37 AM
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  • 2 Comments

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