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Thompson on Hollywood

Fassbender/McQueen Reunite, Studio Critique, Love And Other Drugs, Mulligan Talks Never Let Me Go

- The Guardian calls Hollywood's summer box office victory - approximately a 2.4% lead on 2009 - a hollow one; "the abiding memory of summer 2010 will be of a decline in standards" (the standards of storytelling, not technical effects). The arguments behind this hollow victory include the decline in actual people in theatre seats (lowest since 1997) and the rise in revenue (thanks, 3-D), the root of which conflicts with studios' growing challenge to stay relevant amongst growing sources of alternative entertainment (if they're only making movies for profit, they're undermining the argument for preserving the relevance of film). The Guardian also disses too many studio-approved screenplays that "too often settle for tired storylines, hackneyed dialogue and vacuous characters hiding behind music video sensibilities and loud explosions." The Guardian does see hope in the next year (including Never Let Me Go, but warns another "creatively impoverished" season of films will descend upon us sooner or later.
  • By Sophia Savage
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  • September 8, 2010 7:30 AM
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  • 1 Comment

Summer Box Office Wrap: Winners and Losers, from Karate Kid to Cats and Dogs

Summer Box Office Wrap: Winners and Losers, from Karate Kid to Cats and Dogs
In the final analysis the summer box office doesn't look so bad, writes TOH numbers cruncher Anthony D'Alessandro, who insists that weighing cost vs. return is more important than tallying the grosses or admissions.
  • By Anthony D'Alessandro
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  • September 8, 2010 7:14 AM
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Barney's Version in Sony's Hands

Before its launch in Venice and Toronto Fest, Sony Pictures Classics has scooped up Barney's Version. Based on Mordecai Richler's acclaimed comic novel and directed by Richard J. Lewis, the film's stellar cast is led by Paul Giamatti, Minnie Driver, Dustin Hoffman and Rosamund Pike. The story spans three decades of Barney's extraordinary life (although he is an ordinary man), running through three wives, an absurd father and an indulgent best friend.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • September 8, 2010 6:40 AM
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  • 1 Comment

London Film Festival Announces Lineup

From October 13 through 28 the 54th London Film Festival will screen 197 features and 112 shorts hailing from over 67 countries. Mark Romanek's Never Let Me Go will open the fest, and he will be the subject of one of the Screen Talks, along with Darren Aronofsky, whose Black Swan will also screen. Among the seventy American features playing are Derek Cianfrance's Sundance/Cannes holdover Blue Valentine [pictured], Tony Goldwyn's Conviction, Kelly Reichardt's Meek's Cutoff, Aaron Katz's Cold Weather and Danny Boyle's 127 Hours (which will close the festival). The festival is broken into several programs; Gala Screenings (The King's Speech), Film On The Square (Jean-Luc Godard's Film Socialisme and Chad's A Screaming Man), New British Cinema (Gilian Wearing's debut Self Made), French Revolutions (Guillaume Canet's Little White Lies with Marion Cotillard and Lola Doillon's In Your Hands with Kristin Scott Thomas), Cinema Europa (Eva Green in Womb), World Cinema (Michael Rowe's Cannes Camera d'Or winner Leap Year), Treasures From The Archive (Edward Yang's [Scorsese's World Cinema Foundation] A Brighter Summer Day), and Experimenta (Sharon Lockhart's feature Double Tide). On September 28, the fest will announce the award shortlist.
  • By Sophia Savage
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  • September 8, 2010 5:51 AM
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Fox Picks Up Scorsese's Letter To Elia, HBO Grabs Lebowitz Doc

Fox Picks Up Scorsese's Letter To Elia, HBO Grabs Lebowitz Doc
Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment is acquiring Martin Scorsese's A Letter To Elia, which played well in Venice and Telluride. The documentary chronicles the life and work of legendary (and controversial) director Elia Kazan. The film is included in Fox's November 9 DVD release: The Elia Kazan Film Collection. Scorsese shares director credit with Kent Jones.
  • By Cameron Carlson
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  • September 8, 2010 3:42 AM
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Portman Offered Gravity, Defining Adult Films, Toronto's Most Anticipated

- In the ongoing saga of who will replace Angelina Jolie in the lead role in Alfonso Cuaron's Gravity--she twice rejected the starring role--Natalie Portman has been offered the role, thanks to rave reviews on her Black Swan performance. With or without Black Swan's vote of confidence, Portman is a strong (but young) choice. The age range of the character in Gravity is apparently flexible. Should Portman accept the role, this will be a chance for her to stand out (although Robert Downey Jr. carries some of the load), a la Tom Hanks in Cast Away or James Franco in 127 Hours. Risky Business lists Portman's growing collection of possible projects, including a Terrence Malick film with Brad Pitt, a Tom Stoppard piece written specifically for her, not to mention Pride and Prejudice and Zombies and Tom Tykwer's star-packed (Hanks, James McAvoy, Halle Berry, Ian McKellan) Cloud Atlas (both slated for 2011). All along, the actress has made diverse choices, ranging from Heat (1995), which RottenTomatoes rates highest of all her films, when she was 14 (the unheard of Free Zone [2005] is the lowest) to Star Wars (1999, 2002, 2005) and Garden State (2004).
  • By Sophia Savage
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  • September 8, 2010 3:35 AM
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  • 1 Comment

Telluride Review: Weir's Triumphant The Way Back Is Slowed Down by History

Telluride correspondent Tim Appelo is not taking any guff on Peter Weir's The Way Back. He likes it.At the Floradora on Telluride’s main street, Peter Weir was like the dauntless pilgrims of his great escape movie The Way Back, who incredibly fled Stalin’s Siberian gulag and trekked through Mongolia and the Himalayas to India in quest of freedom and eventual homecoming. OK, he was just racing to make his Elks Park panel on “Human/Nature,” but he had to pack a lunch and confront ambiguously dangerous strangers on the way – not Mongol horsemen, but journalists trying to stamp their views on his new movie.
  • By Tim Appelo
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  • September 7, 2010 12:34 PM
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Video: Noomi Rapace Moves Beyond Salander and the Millennium Trilogy

One of the trickiest moves to make as a young star is coping with sudden fame--especially when it is attached to a beloved character. Swedish actress Noomi Rapace created the role of Lisbeth Salander in the Swedish films based on Stieg Larsson's "Millennium Trilogy"; the films made her a star all over the world (the trilogy has grossed $220 million so far worldwide – and $110 million for "The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo." But like the "Twilight" stars, whether she can make a career outside Sweden in other roles, in other languages, is another question. As you can see from the interview below shot in Venice 2010, Rapace speaks fluent English. UPDATE: She has been getting offers from Hollywood, from the "Sherlock Holmes" series to "Prometheus." The question was what she would do with them. Now we know. She's a global star.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • September 7, 2010 12:20 PM
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  • 4 Comments

Oscar Watch: Godard Contacts Academy, Says He'll Try to Make It

Oscar Watch: Godard Contacts Academy, Says He'll Try to Make It
The Academy reports that Jean-Luc Godard has responded in writing to their invitation to accept an honorary Oscar at the Governor's Awards on November 13 after all, reports Academy spokesperson Leslie Unger: "in response to Academy President Tom Sherak’s letter informing him that the Board of Governors had voted him an Honorary Oscar, Jean-Luc Godard has sent a cordial, hand-written note back to Sherak. In it, Godard graciously thanked the organization for the honor and referred to himself as “the fourth musketeer,” in acknowledgement of the fact that three others (Kevin Brownlow, Francis Ford Coppola and Eli Wallach) are among the year’s honorees. His note, relayed to the Academy late last week via an assistant to Godard, indicated that, schedule permitting, he would come to Los Angeles for the November 13 Governors Awards event.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • September 7, 2010 12:05 PM
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More: Awards, Oscars

Oscar Watch: Gurus 'O Gold Top Contenders, Godard No-Show

Oscar Watch: Gurus 'O Gold Top Contenders, Godard No-Show
Movie City News webmaster David Poland has lined up the usual suspects for this year's round of Gurus 'O Gold of Oscar-watching. The top seven ranking is shared by most of this group of 11 voters: 1. Inception2. The Kids Are All Right3. The King's Speech4. Toy Story 35. The Social Network6. True Grit7. Black Swan
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • September 7, 2010 8:31 AM
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  • 9 Comments

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