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Thompson on Hollywood

Graham King Films Hires Small as EVP of Production

Graham King has lured seven-year Focus Features production exec Kahli Small to join GK Films as EVP of Production and Development. Based in Santa Monica, she reports directly to King. Small supervised Focus projects Milk, Eastern Promises and The American.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • May 2, 2011 2:00 AM
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  • 1 Comment

SFIFF 54 Day Nine: Terence Stamp, Toby Dammit, Foreign Parts, Black Bread, Frank Pierson

SFIFF 54 Day Nine: Terence Stamp, Toby Dammit, Foreign Parts, Black Bread, Frank Pierson
On day nine of the San Francisco International Film Festival, Meredith Brody starts small and winds up enthralled by the enduring allure of Terence Stamp. Odd and thrilling to watch a tiny movie, shot by a two-person crew, about nearly-invisible lives and occupations, on the biggest screen in the Kabuki: one of the treats of a festival. The movie is Foreign Parts, by Véréna Paravel and J.P. Sniadecki. For the first time in these chronicles, I’m tempted to quote directly from the SFIFF catalogue : “Anthropological in scope, sensuous in detail, and emotionally resonant throughout…,” with which I can only concur. The filmmaking pair, associates of the Harvard University Sensory Ethnography Lab, insinuated themselves into the daily life of a grubby enclave of car repair and salvage shops in the Willets Point neighborhood of Queens, New York. It’s the kind of grungy, noisy, uncomfortable place –located directly under a flight path, and with third-world-caliber streets with potholes that seem constantly full of water -- that non-residents visit only when necessary, and for as brief a time as possible. Gradually we get to meet a few of the neighborhood residents and workers, and learn that massive redevelopment plans (symbolized by the new Mets stadium looming over the auto repair shacks, close enough to touch and yet somehow untouchable) threaten the Point. It’s a visual dead end, both lower and upper case, in the sense of the play Dead End, in which the richest and the poorest denizens of a city co-exist in uneasy proximity.
  • By Meredith Brody
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  • May 1, 2011 8:43 AM
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Weekend Box Office: Fast Five's $83.6 Million Breaks Fast Series, Year, Month, Universal Records

Fast Five smoked past industry expectations and scored with critics as well as summer-level box office. (Trailers and Weekend Top Ten Chart are below.) Anthony D'Alessandro reports:
  • By Anthony D'Alessandro
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  • May 1, 2011 4:35 AM
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Mark Ruffalo Talks Sympathy for Delicious, The Hulk

Mark Ruffalo Talks Sympathy for Delicious, The Hulk
Mark Ruffalo can be forgiven for trying to help out an old acting school friend by directing him in his script, the morality tale Sympathy for Delicious. But this is one of those cases where what's fun and challenging and feels good to the folks making the movie doesn't necessarily work for the audience.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • May 1, 2011 2:18 AM
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SFIFF 54 Day Eight: The Redemption of General Butt Naked, Sound of Noise, Pink Saris, Master Critic

SFIFF 54 Day Eight: The Redemption of General Butt Naked, Sound of Noise, Pink Saris, Master Critic
San Francisco cinephile Meredith Brody continues to cut a swath through the SFIFF programme: Cheerful way to start the day: watching a famed “General” of the unbelievably brutal 14-year Liberian civil war, known as General Butt Naked for the attire (or lack thereof) of himself and his followers, metamorphize – or is it re-brand? – into Joshua Milton Biahyi, an evangelic preacher seeking forgiveness for his unspeakable crimes. I’m not much fonder of organized (or disorganized) religion than I am of war – noting in passing that many wars are fought on religious grounds. I’m repulsed by both of the General’s incarnations. What I think he’s mostly seeking is airtime, not redemption as in the movie’s title The Redemption of General Butt Naked. He’s playing to the cameras that I kind of wish were not following him around, despite the effectiveness and skill of the filmmakers. Even his mea culpa before the Truth and Reconciliation Committee, which might recommend his later prosecution for war crimes, smacks of hunger for the spotlight –“I Was Responsible for 20,000 Deaths” – longer time on the 15-minute clock. Once a patholgical narcissist, always a pathological narcissist.
  • By Meredith Brody
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  • April 30, 2011 5:49 AM
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Tarantino's Next Movie is Black Western Django Unchained CONFIRMED AND UPDATED

Tarantino's Next Movie is Black Western Django Unchained CONFIRMED AND UPDATED
Quentin Tarantino has handed in the final draft of his spaghetti western script Django Unchained to Weinstein Co., his agency WME confirms. According to Tarantino Archives, the title Django Unchained pays homage to both the Sergio Corbucci original Django, not to mention Takashi Miike's Sukiyaki Western Django, which features Tarantino (see clips for both below). UPDATE: Another long-rumored inspiration, once optioned by Miramax, was Elmore Leonard's 40 Lashes Less One.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • April 30, 2011 4:13 AM
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  • 10 Comments

Cannes Update: Sleeping Beauty Poster, Hara-Kiri Trailer

Cannes Update: Sleeping Beauty Poster, Hara-Kiri Trailer
Sleeping Beauty, which will unveil at Cannes, stars Sucker Punch's Aussie lead Emily Browning as a prostitute who allows men to do with her what they will while she sleeps.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • April 29, 2011 10:22 AM
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Stanley Kubrick: A Filmography by Martin Woutisseth

Martin Woutisseth captures familiar images, emotions, silhouettes and moments from each of Stanley Kubrick's movies and animates them, almost as if each segment were a moving piece of ad art.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • April 29, 2011 10:18 AM
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Weekly Wrap: SFIFF, Cannes, Must See Summer Box Office, Casting Updates, Celebs Sell, Brad Pitt

Weekly Wrap: SFIFF, Cannes, Must See Summer Box Office, Casting Updates, Celebs Sell, Brad Pitt
BOX OFFICE & UPCOMING
  • By Sophia Savage and Anne Thompson
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  • April 29, 2011 8:15 AM
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Spring Fest Mania: Brit Week Meets American Idol, TCM Classics, LAT Fest of Books

A pile-up of events are crowding this week in LA. Brit Week kicked off Tuesday with the annual champagne party at the British consul general's mansion in Hancock Park. BAFTA producer Nigel Lythgoe's six American Idol kids roamed the lawn followed by cameras, soaking up attention. Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa introed Royal cousin Lord Freddy Windsor, who raised a toast to the Royal couple, and eschewed the fish and chips.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • April 29, 2011 6:48 AM
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