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Thompson on Hollywood

Weir's The Way Back Kicks Off Museum of Tolerance Film Fest

Weir's The Way Back Kicks Off Museum of Tolerance Film Fest
Peter Weir's The Way Back will kick off Los Angeles' Museum of Tolerance International Film Festival (MOTIFF) on November 13, which runs six days and screens twenty-two films seeking to highlight human rights issues past and present. Clint Eastwood will be honored with the festival's first "Tolerance Award" at the festival Gala on November 14. Clinton's Gran Torino (2008) will have a special presentation during the festival. Among the other films are Nigel Cole's Made in Dagenham (2010), Matthew Asner and Danny Gold's documentary 100 Voices: A Journey Home (2010), Reconciliation: Mandela's Miracle (2010) from Michael Henry Wilson, When We Leave (2010, Germany) from Feo Aladag, plus special presentations of Kimberly Peirce's Boy's Don't Cry (1999), To Kill A Mockingbird (1962) and more.
  • By Sophia Savage
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  • November 3, 2010 3:28 AM
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Tim League Talks Alamo, Four Lions, Badass Digest, Fantastic Fest

Tim League Talks Alamo, Four Lions, Badass Digest, Fantastic Fest
Austin exhibitor Tim League came to Los Angeles to promote the November 5 release of rookie director Chris Morris's fest hit Four Lions, the first film to be released by his expanding dinner-theater chain, The Alamo Drafthouse. We talked about the success of the Alamo theaters, the Austin film scene, hiring CHUD's Devin Faraci to create Alamo's new blog, Badass Digest, and why League felt compelled to launch indie distributor Drafthouse Films with a British terrorist comedy.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • November 2, 2010 8:48 AM
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Danny Boyle Talks 127 Hours: Intense Reality, Franco, Crowds, Rahman

In this video interview, Danny Boyle talks about his decisions on 127 Hours, including: how intense should the climactic scene with hiker Aron Ralston (James Franco) be for audiences? He has to hack through his arm's muscle and bone to extricate himself from an unmovable Utah boulder pinning him in a remote canyon, where no one knows his location. Obviously, as there have been repeated instances of audience members fainting during the scene, it is too realistic for some people. And Boyle worries about this: to him it is not a fun marketing ploy. It could in fact keep moviegoers away. But truth is, the movie pushes us to root for the stranded hiker's survival. It is a true story about isolation, endurance, and connection. (Here's the piece I wrote in Toronto, including a flip cam interview with Boyle and Franco.)
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • November 2, 2010 8:17 AM
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  • 2 Comments

In Production: New Bond Secrets, Damon's Zoo Co-Star, Singh Directs One of Three Snow Whites

- Writer Jeffery Deaver's The Bone Collector was made into a film back in 1999 starring Angelina Jolie and Denzel Washington. Now Ian Fleming Publications Ltd. has enlisted him to reinvent James Bond. Project X will be published in May and plot details are hush-hush, but Deaver did reveal to USA Today that the story "is set in the present day, in 2011. Bond is a young agent for the British secret service. He's 29 or 30 years old, and he's an Afghan war vet." Deaver is picking up the story from where Fleming's fourteen novels left off, not from the cinematic adaptations, he says: "I want to stay true to the original James Bond, who many people don't know much about." He acknowledges that while Sean Connery, Roger Moore, Pierce Brosnan and Daniel Craig have contributed to the Bond legacy, "the original Bond was [actually] a very dark, edgy character." The first Bond, Connery, came closest to incarnating Fleming's Cold War British spy.
  • By Sophia Savage
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  • November 2, 2010 7:23 AM
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IFC Films to Re-Release Landmark Documentary Shoah

IFC Films is re-releasing Claude Lanzmann's nine-and-a-half hour landmark French documentary, Shoah to celebrate its twenty-fifth anniversary. On December 10 the film will screen at New York City's Lincoln Plaza Cinemas and at the IFC Center on Christmas Eve; it will break nationally in the new year.
  • By Sophia Savage
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  • November 2, 2010 5:05 AM
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Ten Takeaways from Filmmaker Forum Piracy Panel: Indies Should Be Afraid

Ten Takeaways from Filmmaker Forum Piracy Panel: Indies Should Be Afraid
On Sunday I moderated the final panel at Film Independent’s 6th annual Filmmaker Forum (presented by indieWIRE Oct. 29-31) on a subject that is starting to concern independent filmmakers almost as much as studio execs: movie piracy. It's becoming increasingly mainstream. We all know people who do it. Take a look at the music industry, which has been ravaged by piracy-related losses. The question I asked the panel: "Are we going to figure out alternative models and are independent filmmakers going to lead the way?”
  • By Justin Lowe
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  • November 2, 2010 4:22 AM
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Variety Ditches Leo Wolinsky: Littleton Next Up?

Perception often becomes reality. When Variety Group Editor Tim Gray hired ex-LA Times editor Leo Wolinsky last December as the new editor of Daily Variety, it sent a message that Gray may not have intended. Veteran. Old-fashioned. Newspaper man. During these trying times for trade publications, Gray's oft-repeated goal has been to solidify Variety's sterling reputation as the trade paper of record. Breaking the news, the mantra goes, is less important than getting it right.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • November 1, 2010 11:54 AM
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  • 2 Comments
More: Media

Oscar Watch: Santa Barbara Film Festival To Give Bening American Riviera Award

Oscar Watch: Santa Barbara Film Festival To Give Bening American Riviera Award
The Santa Barbara International Film Festival (SBIFF) will bestow the American Riviera Award to The Kids Are All Right star Annette Bening, who has been nominated for three Academy Awards and is considered a top contender for the best actress Oscar this year. She also earned strong reviews for Mother and Child.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • November 1, 2010 5:55 AM
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Star Watch: McAdams Morning Glory Breakout, Heroic Plame in Fair Game, Rainn Wilson's Soul Pancake

Some wonder why Rachel McAdams has taken so long to break out--it's more than six years since Mean Girls and The Notebook. Now the NYT wonders if she's on the brink of a blockbuster, as her latest, the romantic comedy Morning Glory, is set to open November 10. While there have been "few glaringly stupid" choices, notes the NYT, and she shows a wide range (from crowd-pleaser Wedding Crashers to sprawling ensemble State of Play to the pretty girl in Sherlock Holmes), she hasn't exactly broken out with a star-making role, has she? It's not so much her performances as the execution of these middle-of-the-road studio films. Morning Glory director Roger Michell gushes that McAdams "just radiates life. She has two sets of muscles. One is a kind of railway map of the script, which must be adhered to, and the other is emotional, meaning she can see what floats through the window on the day of shooting and go with that.” She makes the work-life balance sound easy: “Being an actor, you get to have so many lifetimes in one...I like the comfort of home, the stability and security, but I also want to travel and do new things. Being an actor expedites that.”
  • By Sophia Savage
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  • November 1, 2010 5:13 AM
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Three Features In Works from BBC Earth and Reliance Big Entertainment Partnership; Two in 3-D

BBC Earth (2007's Earth) and India's Reliance Big Entertainment are partnering on three films; Reliance's IM Global will distribute. The three films are: $65 million live-action/CGI Walking with Dinosaurs 3D, directed by Pierre De Lespinois and Neil Nightingale, which will use groundbreaking 3-D cameras and LIDAR (Light, Detection and Ranging) technology; $25-million documentary feature Africa 3D, and documentary feature Life, from co-directors Mike Gunton and Martha Holmes, which follows a series of animal kingdom life-cycle stories.
  • By Sophia Savage
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  • November 1, 2010 4:51 AM
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