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Thompson on Hollywood

Rudin Talks True Grit, Producing Quality Films at Studios: "It's harder than it's ever been"

Rudin Talks True Grit, Producing Quality Films at Studios: "It's harder than it's ever been"
Most weekdays, producer Scott Rudin, 52, starts off with an early breakfast meeting or two at a Madison Avenue cafe. One recent week, he met at 8 AM with Lena Dunham, the young filmmaker he plucked to adapt and direct Dash & Lily's Book of Dares, well before Tiny Furniture became a film du jour; he met me the following day at the same hour. How did he find out about Dunham? He has a deal with former assistants Jay Van Hoy and Lars Knudsen, producers at Parts and Labor (The Exploding Girl): he covers their overhead in exchange for them sending him their talent discoveries. That's how he got to see Tiny Furniture. As he was watching it, Rudin realized that he knew Dunham's artist parents, Laurie Simmons and Carroll Dunham. Rudin thinks their daughter is "a total star.”
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • December 23, 2010 5:28 AM
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  • 3 Comments

Holiday Box Office Preview: True Grit vs. Little Fockers

Every year the studios dream of scooping up Christmas holiday sugar plums. Will they find them this season? Anthony D'Alessandro makes a fearless holiday box office forecast:What present do the majors want to open under the Christmas tree? A box office full of cash. "There’s no better time of year for adult moviegoing then the week between Christmas and New Year’s,” says Paramount distribution exec vp Don Harris. “Good movies play well to everybody. The play’s the thing.”
  • By Anthony D'Alessandro
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  • December 23, 2010 1:58 AM
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  • 2 Comments

E Film Critics' Top Ten Quote Whores

E Film Critics' Top Ten Quote Whores
E Film Critic's Erik Childress continues to wage war against critics who he deems "whores." They consistently deliver the film quotes that the studios love to include in their ads. Finally, I don't know who most of these people are.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • December 23, 2010 1:44 AM
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Alliance of Women Film Journalists Nominees

Alliance of Women Film Journalists Nominees
The Alliance of Women Film Journalists has posted its nominees for the 2010 AWFJ EDA Awards (full list is below). Nominated for Best Film are Black Swan, Inception, The King's Speech, The Social Network and Winter's Bone. Oddly, The Kids Are All Right received 16 nominations-- but not best picture. Helen Mirren (RED) got five.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • December 22, 2010 11:23 AM
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  • 2 Comments

Production Watch: Bale in Nanjing Heroes, Dark Knight Rises; Stone & Garfield In Spiderman(s)

- China's premiere director Zhang Yimou (Hero, the Beijing Olympic Games) has named Christian Bale to star in Nanjing Heroes. The $90 million period epic tells the story of the Nanjing Massacre, when Japanese troops killed thousands of Chinese in the capital city (1937). Bale will play an American priest who assists citizens in escaping impending death. Zhang also announced the hiring of special effects house Dark Side FX (The Dark Knight). The film will mix English and Mandarin (40/60), he said. No Chinese film or director has ever taken home an Academy Award in a major category. (Zhang himself had back-to-back Oscar nominations for Ju Dou in 1990 and Raise the Red Lantern in 1991.) "It's the overall strategy for Chinese cinema to approach the world and broaden its influence," Zhang told THR. The casting of Bale was not a box office ploy, but rather "a coincidence because the script happened to have an English-speaking part in the lead." Shooting Nanjing Heroes will begin shooting January 10. Bale will be due on The Dark Knight Rises set May 2011.
  • By Sophia Savage
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  • December 22, 2010 6:45 AM
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Palm Springs Int'l Film Fest Opens with Deneuve and Depardieu's Potiche, Closes with First Grader

Palm Springs Int'l Film Fest  Opens with Deneuve and Depardieu's Potiche, Closes with First Grader
The new year's festival offerings kick off in Palm Springs on January 6. The international festival runs through January 16 and includes 193 films (59 premieres) from some 68 countries. The Premieres, Galas and Special Presentations, announced today, are listed below. This year's selection of films have "a notable emphasis on personal vision, rather than films that utilize genre conventions or stereotyped characters," says festival director Darryl Macdonald.
  • By Sophia Savage
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  • December 22, 2010 5:15 AM
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The Social Network Tops Village Voice/LA Weekly Critics Poll

The Social Network Tops Village Voice/LA Weekly Critics Poll
Lo and behold, The Social Network tops yet another critics list--the Village Voice/LA Weekly Year-End Poll--by a good margin, followed by Carlos, Winter's Bone and The Ghost Writer. Olivier Assayas won best director for Carlos, followed by The Social Network's David Fincher, Darren Aronofsky (Black Swan) and Roman Polanski (The Ghost Writer). The Social Network's Aaron Sorkin won for best screenplay, followed by Maren Ade (Everyone Else), Robert Harris and Roman Polanski (The Ghost Writer) and Todd Solondz (Life During Wartime).
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • December 22, 2010 2:02 AM
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  • 0 Comments

What Went Wrong with Hollywood Romantic Comedies?

What Went Wrong with Hollywood Romantic Comedies?
What went wrong with the romantic comedy genre this year? Have the Hollywood studios lost the winning formula for pulling the date crowd? Anthony D'Alessandro lists five reasons why the rom-com has lost its mojo:Hollywood enjoyed a lovely honeymoon with romantic comedies in 2009 with such hits as The Proposal ($164 million) and It’s Complicated ($112.7 million). But this year, the genre has been nothing but a forgettable one-night stand at the domestic B.O. James L. Brooks’ $110 million Reese Witherspoon headliner How Do You Know is the latest rom-com in a long string to break its heels, opening to a tear-jerking $7.5 million. But Reese Witherspoon isn’t the only American Sweetheart with runs in her stockings: cover girls Jennifer Aniston, Anne Hathaway, Rachel McAdams and Katherine Heigl also lost face with fickle moviegoers.
  • By Anthony D'Alessandro
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  • December 21, 2010 8:49 AM
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  • 18 Comments

Mark Lisanti Makes You Work for His Ten Best List

Mark Lisanti Makes You Work for His Ten Best List
Writer Mark Lisanti makes you work for his Ten Best List. You want titles? Name them yourself. Here are four (easy ones) from his no-particular-order list:
  • By Sophia Savage
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  • December 21, 2010 6:23 AM
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Brits Weigh In: King's Speech, Another Year Lead London Critics

Don't underestimate the Brit factor when it comes to Oscar influence. There are many Brit voters in the Academy. The London Critics Circle just gave boosts to two Brit films, The King's Speech (seven nominations, including Film of the Year, Brit film of Year and Actor of the Year, Colin Firth) and Another Year (six, including British Director, Mike Leigh, British Actress, Lesley Manville and British Actor, Jim Broadbent). The Social Network nabbed five noms, while Brit debut featureThe Arbor got four, along with Joel and Ethan Coen's True Grit. Full list below.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • December 21, 2010 5:08 AM
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  • 0 Comments

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