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Thompson on Hollywood

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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Steve McQueen's Twelve Years A Slave: Brad Pitt To Star with Michael Fassbender and Chiwetel Ejiofor

We knew that Plan B was producing Steve McQueen's Twelve Years A Slave, but we didn't know that main man Brad Pitt would take on a role in the period drama, alongside Michael Fassbender and Chiwetel Ejiofor. This project just keeps sounding better. Fassbender and Pitt together in the same film is almost too good to be true (wait a second, they co-starred in Tarantino's Inglourious Bastards); let's hope further casting updates on this project are as promising.
  • By Sophia Savage
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  • October 25, 2011 12:00 PM
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Almodovar Picks Horror Thrillers as AFI FEST Guest Artistic Director, Heads for LA

As you would expect, Pedro Almodovar's selection of films as guest artistic director at this November's AFI FEST is absolutely fabulous. (His current release The Skin I Live In, starring Antonio Banderas, is playing well in art houses.) Besides Almodovar's already planned screening of his own Law of Desire, which will play during AFI's Evening With Pedro Almodóvar Gala presentation on Monday, November 7, accompanied by Banderas, the flamboyant Spanish auteur's program of classic horror films and thrillers are all must-sees for any cinephile: Eyes Without a Face, (Georges Franju, 1960), Le Cercle Rouge (Jean-Pierre Melville, 1970), Nightmare Alley (Edmund Goulding, 1947) and The Killers (Robert Siodmak, 1946). And they all make perfect sense as movies that influenced Almodovar's own aesthetic.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • October 25, 2011 7:47 AM
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Jackson will Direct Next Tintin Along with The Hobbit; Secret of the Unicorn Opens Abroad October 26

The Adventures of Tintin: The Secret of the Unicorn opens abroad this week (the U.S. waits until December 21), so what better time to confirm that producer Peter Jackson will direct the second installment of the franchise? Most critics have been pretty high on the commercial-looking performance capture action movie, whether or not they have a history with Hergé‘s comics, so a second Tintin is a safe bet.
  • By Anne Thompson and Sophia Savage
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  • October 25, 2011 7:40 AM
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EFA To Honor Danish Actor Mads Mikkelsen, of After the Wedding, Valhalla Rising, Casino Royale

EFA To Honor Danish Actor Mads Mikkelsen, of After the Wedding, Valhalla Rising, Casino Royale
The European Film Academy will honor Danish actor Mads Mikkelsen with their European Achievement in World Cinema Award at the December 3 event in Berlin. High cheek-boned Mikkelsen--from his performance as villain Le Chiffre in Casino Royale to his starring roles in Susanne Bier's Open Hearts and After the Wedding, plus Nicolas Winding Refn's Valhalla Rising, Ole Christina Madsen's Flame & Citron and Jan Kounen's Coco Chanel & Igor Stravinsky--is an immensely watchable actor, and one of our favorites (some trailers below). On receiving the award, Mikkelsen sent the following statement:
  • By Sophia Savage
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  • October 25, 2011 6:14 AM
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CASTING WATCH: John Cusack and Malin Akerman Hop On Board The Numbers Station

John Cusack, who's been busy with James McTeigue's The Raven (March 2012; the goods from Comic-Con), Lee Daniels' The Paperboy (in post; details) and Scott Walker's Frozen Ground (filming) has boarded The Number Station, along with Malin Akerman. Directed by Dane Kasper Barfoed and written by F. Scott Frazier, the action thriller will begin shooting in November.
  • By Sophia Savage
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  • October 25, 2011 6:12 AM
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