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Thompson on Hollywood

D23 Expo Adds Two New Pixar Pics on Dinosaurs and the Inner Mind, Promos John Carter, The Avengers

The warmth in the Anaheim Convention Center Hall at D23 for Pixar and Disney animation czar John Lasseter was expressed, loudly, with a standing ovation. Also getting one was Billy Crystal (make him Oscar host already!), who's back with John Goodman in Disney/Pixar sequel Monsters University (2013). Borrowing a few pages from Comic-Con, Disney is using its direct relationship with fans and marketing synergy to promote its characters and products at its huge three-day D23. Not getting as warm a welcome as Lasseter was Disney chairman Rich Ross, who still seemed stiff in front of the teleprompters, even when he cried, "cupcakes for everyone!"
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • August 21, 2011 1:48 AM
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TIFF Trailer Watch: Winterbottom's Trishna Moves Hardy's Tess of the d'Urbervilles to India

The teaser for Michael Winterbottom's Trishna, reveals a translation of Thomas Hardy's romantic English novel Tess of the d'Urbervilles to a modern-day setting in India. This is Winterbottom's third Hardy adaptation, following 1996's Jude (Jude the Oscure) and 2000's The Claim (The Mayor of Casterbridge). For Trishna, Winterbottom replaces the fervent English wilds with rural and urban Indian backdrops in Jaipur and Mumbai for a love affair between moneyed businessman Jay (Riz Ahmed, Four Lions) and working class Trishna (Freida Pinto, Slumdog Millionaire).
  • By Maggie Lange
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  • August 20, 2011 11:21 AM
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Torchwood: Miracle Day, Episode 7, “Immortal Sins,” Recap and Review: Tightly Plotted, Romantic

Torchwood: Miracle Day, Episode 7, “Immortal Sins,” Recap and Review: Tightly Plotted, Romantic
Animatronic aliens hit Torchwood: Miracle Day, reports critic David Chute:After episode seven, no one will be able to argue any longer that Miracle Day “isn’t Torchwood” -- not without revealing themselves to be terminally full of shit. There’s even a small and memorably nasty animatronic alien on display, which is supposedly an iron clad indication or orthodoxy – although, thankfully MD seems to be stopping far short of pinning the underlying global health care conspiracy on aliens. Resorting to that creaky SF equivalent of a deus ex machina would be an act of desperation unworthy of a creator and showrunner as cool as Russell T Davies.
  • By David Chute
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  • August 20, 2011 5:59 AM
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  • 13 Comments
More: Reviews, TV

Strike Back Episode 2, Recap and Review (SPOILERS)

Still mourning the demise of 24, action fan David Chute finds his bliss on Cinemax.At some point I will have to devote some major word count to the work of frequent Strike Back director Daniel Percival. In my youth I was a dedicated action aficionado, with enthusiasms that have moved from Don Siegel and Sam Peckinpah to George Miller and John Woo. We can’t put Percival in the all-time category quite yet, in part because he doesn’t use battle sequences for displays of virtuosity. The firefights aren’t abstract exercises, for him. His action sequences are scenes of drama. They are horrendous ordeals that are happening to people who seem normal to him. He’ll give us a tight close up of a fighter’s face, just as he’s firing, as if the most important thing to understand at that moment is why this guy is taking that particular shot.
  • By David Chute
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  • August 20, 2011 5:43 AM
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  • 0 Comments
More: Reviews, TV

Three Unmade Kubrick Films In Active Development; Lunatic at Large Close to Financing

Three Unmade Kubrick Films In Active Development; Lunatic at Large Close to Financing
No director has had a more storied posthumous career than Stanley Kubrick. The director died before the release of his controversial 1999 Eyes Wide Shut, which he had nonetheless completed, and of course Steven Spielberg used Kubrick's original drafts to script and direct 2001's A.I. Artificial Intelligence, which received mixed but mostly positive reviews.
  • By Jacob Combs and Cameron Carlson
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  • August 20, 2011 3:30 AM
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  • 2 Comments

HollyShorts Winner: Downtempo Fairy Tale Takes Top Prize

The 7th Annual HollyShorts Film Festival announced 2011's class of short film winners in a standing room only awards ceremony Thursday night. The HollyShorts Best Overall Short Film went to Mrs. Peppercorn's Magical Reading Room, posted below. Mike LeHan's eerie, sepia-toned film shows the persistence of childish curiosity in the face of a mystery: it's a mix of the rational wondering of Harry Potter and the acquiescent observing of the girl lead from Pan's Labyrinth.
  • By Maggie Lange
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  • August 19, 2011 8:29 AM
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Trailer Watch: Waltz, Winslet, Foster and Reilly Lose It in Polanski's Carnage

In Roman Polanski's upcoming Carnage, Christoph Waltz and Kate Winslet, Jodie Foster and John C. Reilly portray two sets of Manhattan couples who try to debrief a fight between their eleven-year-old sons. As their discussion continues, things take a turn for the Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? and fly wildly out of control.
  • By Maggie Lange
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  • August 19, 2011 7:45 AM
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  • 1 Comment

Night of the Horror Movies that Terrified Directors

The NYT is running a meaty list of the horror movies that scared the bejeezus out such tough-guy thrill-meisters as Guillermo Del Toro (Pan's Labyrinth) and Edgar Wright (Shaun of the Dead). While the list of their go-to fright picks is not unexpected, their descriptions of the films are worth exploring.
  • By Anne Thompson and Maggie Lange
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  • August 19, 2011 6:43 AM
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  • 7 Comments

Ridley Scott Revisiting Blade Runner, Yes; Tony Scott Remaking Sam Peckinpah's Wild Bunch, No!

It's one thing for Ridley Scott to revisit Blade Runner from the ground up--he hasn't even started a script yet. Even if Scott didn't write the original Philip K. Dick story or the brilliant script by David Peoples (who also wrote Clint Eastwood's Unforgiven), his vision is all over that movie. I can't wait to see what he does with it.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • August 19, 2011 4:57 AM
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  • 2 Comments

Three Sneak Peeks at The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo

Even Daniel Craig has to search for cell phone reception by holding his mobile in the air. These first look photos from David Fincher's adaptation of Stieg Larsson's The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo also reveal Rooney Mara's pierced, shorn, dark look as Lisbeth Salander. The movie also stars Christopher Plummer, Stellan Skarsgard, Steven Berkoff, and Robin Wright. Columbia Pictures will open the film in theaters on December 21.
  • By Maggie Lange
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  • August 19, 2011 4:33 AM
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  • 0 Comments

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