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Thompson on Hollywood

Meirelles' 360 To Open London Film Festival, What Will Close?

Fernando Meirelles’ 360 will be the opening night film at the 55th BFI London Film Festival, which will be the last under the stewardship of artistic director Sandra Hebron. Meirelles has history with the LFF – The Constant Gardener opened the festival in 2005 – although many Brit pundits had been expecting Hebron to unveil a world premiere to crown her final year. But that’s never been a major motivation for the LFF’s extremely popular head when it comes to programming Europe’s largest non-competitive film festival. Although the 2009 festival opened with a splashy world premiere for The Fantastic Mr. Fox, last year’s LFF debutante was Never Let Me Go, which bowed first in Toronto. The same will go for 360.
  • By Matt Mueller
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  • August 24, 2011 7:46 AM
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Skin I Live In's Banderas Talks Almodovar Reunion, Betrayal

Pedro Almodóvar's upcoming The Skin I Live In, which debuted to mixed response at Cannes and stars Antonio Banderas and Elena Anaya, follows a haunted plastic surgeon as he experiments with synthetic skin on a mysterious woman (the trailer is posted below).
  • By Maggie Lange
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  • August 24, 2011 6:29 AM
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  • 0 Comments

Focus Features Adds Jeb Brody, VOD Label

One might be tempted to blame the egregious miscasting of Anne Hathaway as a working class Brit in book-to-film adaptation One Day for the departure of Focus Features production chief John Lyons; he's moving on to produce his own films. In any case, Focus has now replaced Lyons with Vendome Pictures production president Jeb Brody, who unlike Lyons and Focus bosses James Schamus and Andrew Karpen, will be based in Los Angeles. Brody supervised production on Source Code and Larry Crowne. (Official release and more bio info is below.)
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • August 24, 2011 6:06 AM
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  • 2 Comments

Oscar Watch: War Horse, Ides of March, The Artist Lead Early Gurus 'O Gold Top Ten

Oscar Watch: War Horse, Ides of March, The Artist Lead Early Gurus 'O Gold Top Ten
In advance of the coming festival season, the Gurus 'O Gold have made their first picks of the ten top contenders for best picture nominations. Here's my top ten list--with many of the films sight unseen (the Gurus list is on the jump). 1. The Artist2. Jane Eyre3, Midnight in Paris4. The Tree of Life5. War Horse6. Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close7. The Help 8. Moneyball9. The Ides of March10. Carnage
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • August 24, 2011 5:45 AM
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  • 4 Comments

Trailer Watch: Scorsese’s George Harrison Doc

Trailer Watch: Scorsese’s George Harrison Doc
Martin Scorsese’s documentary George Harrison: Living in the Material World will explore the late, great Harrison's life as a musician, filmmaker, philanthropist, artist, and arguably the most attractive Beatle. The three-and-a-half hour documentary, which will premiere in two parts at the New York Film Festival before heading to HBO, will include interviews from Harrison's peers, collaborators, and friends—including Eric Clapton, Paul McCartney, Yoko Ono, Ringo Starr, Phil Spector and Tom Petty.
  • By Maggie Lange
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  • August 24, 2011 5:09 AM
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  • 1 Comment

Chameleon Jessica Chastain Talks Tree of Life, The Help, The Debt, Coriolanus

Chameleon Jessica  Chastain Talks Tree of Life, The Help, The Debt, Coriolanus
When Jessica Chastain left her theater training at Juilliard and started landing movie roles, she got a gift. None of the movies came out right away. It took a while before anyone saw her work in Al Pacino's Wilde Salome (which finally debuts in Venice), or Terrence Malick's mystical The Tree of Life (which Fox Searchlight premiered in Cannes before a summer opening), or John Madden's Mossad thriller The Debt, which post-Disney Miramax finally sold to distributor Focus Features (August 31).
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • August 23, 2011 10:55 AM
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  • 2 Comments

Gender Watch: Circumstance's Love Under Assault; Sisters in Hollywood

Maryam Keshavarz's Sundance dramatic audience award-winner Circumstance will hit theaters this weekend via Roadside Attractions and Participant. It's one of those movies where the story of getting it made is as compelling as the film itself. The lesbian romance deals with Iran's underground youth culture, teenage girls who adore loud music and each other, and drug use. Filming in Iran wasn't an option, and shooting in Beirut had its own hurdles. Producer Karin Chien tells the NYT that it was the most challenging shoot in her career: "“The political terrain was constantly shifting while we were there,..We went in thinking that explicit sexuality was the thing we were going to have to work around most, but it was the Iranian content, the fact that this was set in Iran, that we had to downplay.”
  • By Sophia Savage
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  • August 23, 2011 4:53 AM
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  • 1 Comment

Fiction Vs. Non-Fiction Death Match

Fiction Vs. Non-Fiction Death Match
POV blogger Tom Roston (@docsoupman), an old colleague from Premiere, loves documentaries--in fact, he blogs about them. And while I enjoy digging into The Interrupters as much as the next cinephile, I love fiction films even better. So Roston challenged me to pit five fiction films, "whether they’ve been produced in Hollywood, New York or Bombay, against their poor, bedraggled step-siblings, non-fiction films, in a death match." Naturally, Roston thinks his docs are going to win hands-down, but that's part of the fun.
  • By Anne Thompson and Tom Roston
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  • August 23, 2011 4:00 AM
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Anatomy of A High-Brow Art Debate: Sean Penn and the Bitch-Slapping of Malick's Tree of Life

It goes like this. Sean Penn talks to Le Figaro and implies (Exhibit A) Terrence Malick underutilized him in The Tree of Life. The New Yorker's Richard Brody defends Malick and upholds the idea that actors are the equivalent of colors on a painter's brush ("Penn brings an acid yellow to the glass-and-metal grays of his scenes, and it adds something important to the film"), and that Penn's lack of understanding of his own performance doesn't undermine the power or purpose of it. InContention's Kris Tapley calls Penn's comments a bitch-slap, and while he doesn't exactly disagree ("The bookend nature of his role is the weaker element of the film"), he does imply that Penn is being a bit of a diva in the midst of Malick's well-known experimental and unpredictable directing style (both Javier Bardem and Jessica Chastain told TOH! they weren't even sure if they'll appear in Malick's latest project, though both were thrilled to work with him).
  • By Sophia Savage
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  • August 22, 2011 6:25 AM
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  • 2 Comments

Interview Watch: Wood Calls Gosling James Dean, Pinto Reveals Herself, How Del Toro Chooses Projects

- Evan Rachel Wood's next film, George Clooney's The Ides of March (pictured), sticks to her pattern of choosing gritty roles (think Thirteen, Down in the Valley, Mildred Pierce). Her Ides character is embroiled in a sex scandal. So what does Wood say about politicians in the news? She tells Vulture, "Yeah, politicians are also kinky and some of them cheat on their wives and some of them are gay. Like normal people. It's not really shocking to me." She also admits to loving Justin Bieber "unashamedly" and holds out the possibility of venturing into music. As for her Ides co-star Ryan Gosling: "I get the feeling [when he walks into a room] that that must have been how people felt when James Dean walked into a room. Just like, 'Whoa, what just walked in?' There's something really special here. It's that striking. I think he's the James Dean of now. And he'd better kiss my ass for saying that."
  • By Sophia Savage
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  • August 22, 2011 5:29 AM
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  • 1 Comment

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