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Thompson on Hollywood

Video: Zoller Seitz's Montage for Malick's Tree of Life; Bring Whatever You Want To It

"You can take Tree of Life however you want, and bring whatever you want to it, and I think that's the point of it," says Matt Zoller Seitz in the beautiful two-part video montage he put together on Terrence Malick's The Tree of Life for the Museum of the Moving Image. (Parts One and Two, which he narrates, are below.)
  • By Sophia Savage
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  • October 25, 2011 2:14 AM
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English Teacher Starts in NY, Lily Collins joins Julianne Moore, Greg Kinnear, Nathan Lane

One of the recurring themes of this weekend's Film Independent Forum was the growing fluidity of television and indie film. For example, TV director Craig Zisk (The Big C, Nurse Jackie, Weeds) is making his film debut with indie comedy The English Teacher, which starts filming in New York this week. He has just added Snow White star Lily Collins to his cast, which includes Julianne Moore, Greg Kinnear and Nathan Lane. As indie film remains a labor of love for most participants, it makes sense to work for hire in quick-form television, and return intermittently to longer form indie production.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • October 24, 2011 12:57 PM
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IN THE WORKS: Damon & Affleck Together Again for Bulger; Bana as Elvis; Akira Casting

It's about time. Ben Affleck and Matt Damon will work together again along with Casey Affleck to bring life to the story of Whitey Bulger at Warner Bros. Bulger was a New England mob boss and subsequent 16-year fugitive before being caught in Santa Monica, CA, last June. Affleck will direct as well as co-produce and co-star with Damon, who will play Bulger. Neither of the Affleck brothers' roles are confirmed. It gets better: Boardwalk Empire writer and creator Terence Winter is writing the script, which will track the mobster's youth in Alcatraz, his rise to the top of the crime world and his secret involvement as an FBI informant.
  • By Sophia Savage
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  • October 24, 2011 11:04 AM
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  • 1 Comment

Elizabeth Olsen-Starrer Silent House To Open March 9; Impeccably Choreographed but Underwhelming

Elizabeth Olsen-Starrer Silent House To Open March 9; Impeccably Choreographed but Underwhelming
Open Road and Liddell Entertainment wisely waited for Fox Searchlight to spend their marketing and PR energy to promote Elizabeth Olsen in Martha Marcy May Marlene before scheduling the opening of their own Sundance Olsen-starrer, Silent House, for March 9. Directors Chris Kentis and Laura Lau (Open Water) shot the horror thriller--which places a young woman locked inside her family's isolated lake house with no contact to the outside world-- in one seamless 79-minute shot. (How they did that is another story.)
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • October 24, 2011 10:45 AM
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Peter Bart on Clint Eastwood and J. Edgar

Clint Eastwood, the wily old coot, has long been adept at winning friends in influential places, and knows how to work the press better than anyone. His usual early-screening suspects include such critics as Scott Foundas and Todd McCarthy. Perhaps betraying his lack of awareness of how behind-the-pay-wall Variety is, Peter Bart was one of the hand-picked folks tipped to an advance Carmel Film Festival showing of J. Edgar, which opens the AFI Fest November 3 before hitting theaters November 9: At a moment when Hollywood is flailing about with tired remakes, Clint Eastwood, one of its more senior filmmakers, seems more determined than ever to stake new ground. His gripping new film "J. Edgar" is the polar opposite of contemporary studio product -- a searing biopic about a megalomaniacal right-wing ideologue. Under his four-decade reign, J. Edgar Hoover used the FBI to blackmail presidents and manipulate the media to mold his image as the nation's lone protector against gangsters and "Bolsheviks." Top politicians and reporters were scared to reveal that J. Edgar (superbly played by Leonardo DiCaprio) was a mama's boy with a gay lover. Eastwood's picture opens Nov. 9, so I am not going to review it here other than to say that it's consistent with Clint's legacy. His protagonists are a study in surprise -- who else would roam from Dirty Harry to Walt Kowalski (of "Gran Torino"), from Josie Wales to Nelson Mandela, from the troopers of Iwo Jima to a "Million Dollar Baby."
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • October 24, 2011 9:40 AM
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Walking Dead 2.2 - Wandering Aimlessly?

Walking Dead 2.2 - Wandering Aimlessly?
It's quiet out there, says David Chute. Too quiet."I'm starting to get a bad feeling about this" -- as characters are too often moved to suggest on genre shows less consistently well-written than The Walking Dead.
  • By David Chute
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  • October 24, 2011 8:29 AM
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Media Watch: Isaacson's Steve Jobs Biography, Reviews, 60 Minutes Profile

Clearly, we can't learn enough about the late Steve Jobs, so his official biographer Walter Isaacson's new book Steve Jobs--over 600 pages--which is published today, two and half weeks after his death, should help to feed our hunger for more details about the fascinating co-founder of Apple. Here's an excerpt about Jobs and Gates.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • October 24, 2011 8:18 AM
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Video: Fassbender and McQueen Talk Shame at NYFF

Check out Shame's Michael Fassbender and director Steve McQueen answering some wordy questions at the NY Film Festival. Fox Searchlight will release the duo's second film together (after Hunger), in theaters December 2. Here's our TOH review of Shame plus details on the pair's upcoming third collaboration.
  • By Sophia Savage
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  • October 24, 2011 6:00 AM
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Rum Diary Reviews: Mild Diversion, Vividly Average, Wildly Indulgent, Idiosyncratic

Johnny Depp is on the promo trail for the long-delayed literary adaptation The Rum Diary (October 28), his second run at his fave writer Hunter S. Thompson--although reportedly, the star of Pirates of the Caribbean and the upcoming The Lone Ranger can't talk about the movie on Disney-owned ABC affiliates. While FilmDistrict did not take the film to early fall film fests, they're spending heavily on outdoor ads and TV spots. Depp did a Q & A at the opening of Elvis Mitchell's Film Independent series at LACMA on October 13, and the film played the Austin and Hamptons Film Festivals. And after an invite-only UC Berkeley screening and Q & A for The Rum Diary, Depp took over music club Shattuck Down Low and served up Hunter's punch cocktails and live music (here's more). And Depp sat down with Fandango.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • October 24, 2011 5:39 AM
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Film Independent Names Producers Lab Participants, Sloan Award Winners

After their weekend-long Film Independent Forum (where Werner Herzog gave the keynote Q & A), FIND announced eleven filmmakers and nine projects for their 11th annual Producers Lab, and named Brent Hoff and Malcom Pullinger the winners of the 5th annual $25,000 Sloan Producers Grant. Hoff and Pullinger will participate in the Lab with their film, El Diablo Rojo, the story of a marine biologist and his team, who risk their lives to prevent ecological disaster after discovering a super swarm of El Diablo Rojo squid. FIND's director of Artist Development, Josh Welsh, says; “Two of the films we’ve awarded this grant to in the past, Future Weather and Valley of Saints, are in post-production now. I look forward to seeing El Diablo Rojo follow the same path.”
  • By Sophia Savage
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  • October 24, 2011 4:53 AM
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  • 1 Comment

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