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Thompson on Hollywood

Salon The Town Review Attacks Affleck for Celebrity Malaise

While the rest of the world is restoring Ben Affleck to star status after his well-reviewed and well-attended The Town opening, Salon's Andrew O'Hehir is playing Armond White. He detects "troubling signs of celebrity malaise" in The Town, compared to Affleck's directorial debut Gone Baby Gone: "you can't even describe [it] as more of the same. It's less of the same." The movie is "mediocre," with plenty of "unnecessary expositional detail" in the dialogue written in part by Affleck.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • September 20, 2010 5:28 AM
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  • 5 Comments

Culture Vultures Unite: Separate from New York

While by all accounts New York Magazine's culture blog Vulture has been hugely successful at building traffic, nonetheless it's still not profitable. Under Adam Moss, New York has plowed millions into it. My jaw dropped when I first laid eyes on it three years ago; I have watched it grow and expand into the entertainment news space. Now New York seeks the Holy Grail: premium national luxury ads.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • September 20, 2010 4:21 AM
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  • 0 Comments

Contraband Stars Beckinsale, Wasikowska vs. Phoenix, Panettiere as Amanda Knox

- Working Title is remaking 2008 thriller Reykjavik-Rotterdam (Iceland's 2009 Oscar submission) for American audiences. Kate Beckinsale will reportedly star opposite Mark Wahlberg in the retitled Contraband. He plays an alcohol smuggler-turned-security guard being lured back into below-ground business. Actor-director-producer Baltasar Kormákur, who produced the original and has directed six films (Inhale, starring Diane Kruger and Dermot Mulroney, comes out next month) will direct. Release is set for 2012.
  • By Sophia Savage
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  • September 20, 2010 4:11 AM
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  • 1 Comment

Trailer Watch: Kate Winslet as Mildred Pierce

One of the great, satisfying page-turners is James M. Cain's 1941 Mildred Pierce, which was turned into an excellent 1945 movie starring Joan Crawford. (Several of Cain's hardboiled novels worked as films, including The Postman Always Rings Twice and Double Indemnity). Well, the Killer team of Christine Vachon and Todd Haynes have adapted the novel into a five-part HBO mini-series. The trailer ran before HBO's debut of Boardwalk Empire Sunday night.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • September 20, 2010 3:25 AM
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  • 1 Comment

TIFF: Focus Acquires Beginners, Starring McGregor and Plummer

TIFF: Focus Acquires Beginners, Starring McGregor and Plummer
After the Toronto press screening of Mike Mills' Beginners last week, Eugene Hernandez and I were debating which distrib should pick it up. And we agreed that Focus Features--which had not acquired anything out of this year's fest--was the best candidate. Sony Pictures Classics and Fox Searchlight were overbooked. And there's a real possibility of a supporting actor nod for Christopher Plummer, who nails the role of an older gay man clinging to life. I had admired Mills' Thumbsucker, so I was not surprised at the little joys to be found in this superbly directed movie.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • September 20, 2010 3:16 AM
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  • 0 Comments

Will MGM Go Asian?

The Wall Street Journal reports that Indian conglomerate Sahara India Pariwar is in exploratory talks to buy MGM for more than $2 billion, according to one source:
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • September 19, 2010 11:23 AM
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  • 1 Comment

Boardwalk Empire: Best TV Pilot of 2010 and Third-Best Scorsese Movie of This Century

Boardwalk Empire: Best TV Pilot of 2010 and Third-Best Scorsese Movie of This Century
I have ordered my TiVo Season Pass to Martin Scorsese and Terence Winter's Boardwalk Empire, which starts on HBO tonight. TOH critic Tim Appelo has already seen it. "(Steve) Buscemi and (Michael) Pitt have roles to kill for, their best career catapults yet," Appelo writes in his rave review:In the Scorsese-directed kickoff episode of Boardwalk Empire (HBO, Sundays 9 pm), the nude flapper floozy Lucy (Paz de la Huerta) flops her boobs at the camera, bouncing atop Atlantic City gangster Enoch “Nucky” Thompson (Steve Buscemi), and bellowing nasally, “GIDDYAP, COWBOY!” “Stop with the ‘cowboy’ shit!” snaps Nucky.
  • By Tim Appelo
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  • September 19, 2010 7:44 AM
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  • 14 Comments

The King's Speech Wins TIFF Audience Award

The King's Speech Wins TIFF Audience Award
News that will make Harvey Weinstein's day is that not only did Tom Hooper's The King's Speech leapfrog to Oscar-casters' front-runner lists after its warm media reception at the Toronto International Film Festival, but it won the coveted People's Choice award as well. That's a remarkable feat.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • September 19, 2010 6:14 AM
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  • 0 Comments

TIFF: Genre Films Sell in Toronto Buying Spree

As TIFF wound down, the weekend sale of Will Ferrell's $6 million dark comedy Everything Must Go to Lionsgate/Roadside marked a more frenetic Toronto sales market than last year, when many sales took months to close. Horror film Insidious also sold, to Sony Worldwide Acquisitions Group, probably for 2011 Screen Gems release. "It's a genre distributor's wet dream," says IM Global's Stuart Ford, who wasn't worried about landing North American distribs for these and two more titles at Toronto this year--all were modestly-budgeted and pre-sold in foreign territories. "The market is still challenging, but healthier than it was a year ago. There's more supply and demand. While you're not seeing many movies sell on the spot, the stronger material is likely to find the right distribution home."
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • September 19, 2010 5:16 AM
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  • 0 Comments

Oscar Talk: Post-Toronto, 127 Hours, King's Speech, Social Network, I'm Still Here

Oscar Talk: Post-Toronto, 127 Hours, King's Speech, Social Network, I'm Still Here
In Contention's Kris Tapley and I talked in the same city for this week's Oscar Talk. He's seen Catfish and The Social Network; I saw a bunch of new movies in Venice and Toronto including I'm Still Here, Rabbit Hole, Beginners, and I Saw the Devil.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • September 19, 2010 2:41 AM
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  • 0 Comments

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