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Thompson on Hollywood

Weekend Box Office: Real Steel Holds Off Retreads Footloose and The Thing

Weekend Box Office: Real Steel Holds Off Retreads Footloose and The Thing
On its second go-round, family actioner Real Steel, starring Hugh Jackman and superb visual effects, trounced familiar updatings of the dance musical Footloose and horror classic The Thing. Charles Lyons reports; top ten box office chart is below. Disney/DreamWorks holdover Real Steel out-stepped Paramount’s remake of the 1984 cult classic Footloose to win the box office crown for the second week in a row. Universal’s remake of John Carpenter’s The Thing was scary enough for third place in its opening frame.
  • By Charles Lyons
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  • October 16, 2011 5:02 AM
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  • 2 Comments

American Cinematheque Ball: Downey Asks Industry to Forgive Gibson His Trespasses

American Cinematheque Ball: Downey Asks Industry to Forgive Gibson His Trespasses
Robert Downey, Jr. and a posse of pals celebrated his American Cinematheque achievement award Friday night at the Beverly Hilton. Downey took advantage of the occasion to plead with the crowd on behalf of his surprise presenter, Mel Gibson (video below), who sat during the show at a table with Iron Man director Jon Favreau, Justin Theroux, Gary Shandling and Jodie Foster, to "forgive my friend his trespasses" as they had forgiven Downey his. "Allow him to continue his great and ongoing contribution to our collective art without shame, he has hugged the cactus long enough." The two men, visibly moved, hugged.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • October 15, 2011 12:35 PM
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  • 2 Comments

Weekly Wrap: Oscar Talk, Box Office, Festivals, TV & Film Projects in the Works

Weekly Wrap: Oscar Talk, Box Office, Festivals, TV & Film Projects in the Works
TRAILERS & BOX OFFICE
  • By TOH!
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  • October 15, 2011 11:28 AM
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  • 1 Comment

Strike Back Episode 9 – Fear is Beautiful (Spoilers)

David Chute finds surprising beauty in television's best action drama.Director Daniel Percival has no need for 3-D. He can define a space with the parallax of a brief dolly shot. His staging of an incursion into a mammoth bunker complex under a forest in Chechnya adds a sweep of operatic grandeur to the penultimate ninth episode of Strike Back, the twisty action and drama series recently renewed by Cinemax. After a blast cuts off their escape, Section 20 comrades Scott and Stonebridge are forced go deeper and deeper into the earth, through claustrophobically narrowing staircases and oozing tunnels, until the complex opens out into a series of eerie vaulted caverns. The huge spaces have a menacing grandeur that’s appropriate to the way the stakes have been ramped up for the show’s two-part finale -- and to the scale of the biological horror plotted by global super-terrorist Latif (Jimi Mistry), as illustrated by the spreading circles of devastation on a computerized damage-estimate diagram.
  • By David Chute
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  • October 15, 2011 11:16 AM
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  • 0 Comments

SBIFF Video: Michael Douglas Accepts Kirk Douglas Award for Excellence in Film

SBIFF Video: Michael Douglas Accepts Kirk Douglas Award for Excellence in Film
Last night, the Santa Barbara International Film Festival honored Michael Douglas with the sixth annual Kirk Douglas Award for Excellence in Film. Joined by wife Catherine Zeta-Jones, friends Danny Devito, Rhea Perlman, Annette Bening, Christopher Lloyd, Dennis Miller, Bo Derek, Ivan Reitman, Andy Davis among others, Douglas took to the stage to share these words. Father Kirk Douglas made the presentation to his son, who lives in Santa Barbara. The 27th Santa Barbara International Film Festival is set to run January 26 through February 5, 2012. More on the Douglas event here:
  • By Sophia Savage
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  • October 14, 2011 8:00 AM
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  • 1 Comment

Branch by Branch: Debating Oscars for Moneyball, Girl with Dragon Tattoo, TOH vs. Awards Daily

Branch by Branch: Debating Oscars for Moneyball, Girl with Dragon Tattoo, TOH vs. Awards Daily
Every so often New Yorker Thelma Adams (ex-critic of Us Magazine now at AMC's filmcritic.com) invites me to debate various Oscar topics with her and D.C.-based Susan Wloszczyna (USA Today), LA Oscar blogger Sasha Stone (Awards Daily) and Seattle's Kim Voynar (MovieCityNews). We toss things around--our latest debate over best picture yielded this reaction from me: In Hollywood, Moneyball is seen as an art movie that somehow made it through the studio system. The writers will go for Zaillian and Sorkin. The actors will go for Pitt and Hill. The directors will go for Bennett Miller. Wally Pfister–Chris Nolan’s DP–very respected. And so on. Trust me, it’s in the mix. How does a movie get to be a best picture contender? One branch at a time.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • October 14, 2011 7:43 AM
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  • 1 Comment

Trailer Watch: Shame, the UK Version, Latest Searchlight Oscar Contender

Trailer Watch: Shame, the UK Version, Latest Searchlight Oscar Contender
Fox Searchlight bravely took on the release of Telluride and Toronto Fest sex-addict shocker Shame (December 2), which reunites Brit director Steve McQueen with his Hunger star Michael Fassbender. Hunger was not an easy shoot, nor was Shame, and McQueen may well have directed Fassbender to his first Oscar nomination. And that's in a film likely to be rated NC-17. With Fassbender's overall heat--with four well-reviewed films to his credit this year, from X-Men: First Class and Jane Eyre to the upcoming A Dangerous Method directed by David Cronenberg--contributing momentum for award season consideration, it will be up to Searchlight to present the film just right for Academy voters, many of whom may find the elegant art film's full-frontal content too provocative. Remember, Searchlight turned intense performances by Mickey Rourke and Natalie Portman in Darren Aronofsky's gritty dramas The Wrestler and Black Swan into Academy contenders--and Portman won. Co-star Carey Mulligan is less likely to register with the actors' branch.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • October 14, 2011 6:24 AM
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  • 4 Comments

Monster Director Patty Jenkins to Helm Thor 2 For Marvel; Where Has She Been?

Patty Jenkins, who wrote and directed Charlize Theron in her powerhouse Oscar-winning performance in Monster (pictured in the 2004 Richard Avedon photo), will be the first woman to direct a superhero movie: Thor 2.
  • By Anne Thompson and Sophia Savage
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  • October 14, 2011 5:44 AM
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  • 5 Comments

TV Projects In The Works: Kids Are All Right, Underground Gambling, Diamond Trading, Nuclear Bomb

Movies and moviemakers are heading in increasing numbers to the small screen. Here's a smattering of recently announced in-the-works TV projects, from HBO's The Kids Are All Right spin-off to a diamond-trading drama at AMC. Some look more promising than others, and many will never see the light of day.
  • By Sophia Savage
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  • October 14, 2011 5:40 AM
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Pervert's Guide to Cinema's Fiennes and Zizek Reteam for Pervert's Guide to Ideology

Sophie Fiennes has wrapped shooting The Pervert’s Guide to Ideology, her new feature documentary collaboration with philosopher Slavoj Zizek, who has been called both “the closest thing philosophy has to a superstar” and “the undisputed spritz master of cinema studies.” The pair worked together on The Pervert’s Guide to Cinema (2006), which Variety called "a virtuoso marriage of image and thought."
  • By Sophia Savage
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  • October 14, 2011 5:08 AM
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  • 2 Comments

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