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Thompson on Hollywood

Magnolia Acquires Sundance and SXSW Music Doc 'Muscle Shoals'

Magnolia Pictures likes docs. The indie distributor has acquired US rights to Greg "Freddy" Camalier's Sundance entry "Muscle Shoals," a documentary about the Alabama Muscle Shoals recording studio that spawned some of the greatest records of all time. Produced by Stephen Badger and Camalier, the film includes interviews with Mick Jagger, Keith Richards, Percy Sledge, Gregg Allman, Clarence Carter, Alicia Keys, Bono and more. The film is debuting in Austin Tuesday at the Paramount Theater as part of the SXSW Film Festival.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • March 12, 2013 2:29 PM
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Warner Bros. to Release 20-Film Comedy Box Set for 90th Anniversary, Includes Cary Grant Classics, Marx Brothers, Mel Brooks

Warner Bros. celebrates its 90th anniversary in 2013, and to mark the occasion is releasing five box sets throughout the year, with 20 films each highlighting the best of the studio's output. First up: the Comedy Collection, including such unbeatable classics as Howard Hawks' "Bringing Up Baby," George Cukor's "The Philadelphia Story" and Frank Capra's "Arsenic and Old Lace." Alas, it also includes "The Hangover," but nothing's perfect. Full list of titles below.
  • By Beth Hanna
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  • March 12, 2013 11:54 AM
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Happy National Hitchcock Day, From 'Vertigo' Topping 2012's Sight & Sound to 'Bates Motel'

March 12 is National Hitchcock Day, celebrating the Master of Suspense and his oeuvre of films.
  • By Beth Hanna
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  • March 12, 2013 11:51 AM
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Cannes Picks Luhrmann's 'Great Gatsby' to Open Fest May 15, After its Stateside Release UPDATED

Cannes opening night is always Fest Delegate General Thierry Frémaux's biggest headache. How to find the right combination of "big" movie with artistic pretensions directed by a proven auteur delivering some glamorous stars for the red carpet? All too often, the actual quality of the film is irrelevant. Thus the opening night of the 66th Festival du Cannes is "The Great Gatsby," Warner Bros.' 3-D spectacular from Baz Luhrmann. The Australian filmmaker memorably opened the fest with Fox's "Moulin Rouge" in 2001, with one of the best parties I have ever been to in my life. I remember Rupert Murdoch dancing with Nicole Kidman, among other things.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • March 12, 2013 1:53 AM
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  • 4 Comments

SXSW Midnight Deals: 'Haunter' Goes to IFC, Drafthouse Films Looking for 'Cheap Thrills'

Per usual, genre flicks are selling at SXSW. IFC Midnight has snapped up rights to Midnight entry Vincenzo Natali’s “Haunter,” starring Abigail Breslin as a girl perpetually on the eve of her 16th birthday, fated to relive the day before she and her family were all murdered. “Haunter” is Natali’s follow-up to 2011’s “Splice,” starring Sarah Polley and Adrian Brody.
  • By Beth Hanna
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  • March 11, 2013 11:52 PM
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SXSW 2013: ‘Bates Motel’ Preview a Few Cuts Under Its Pre-‘Psycho’ Potential

“Who’s gonna rent a room in the rape/murder hotel?” smokin’ hot Norma Bates (Vera Farmiga) rhetorically asks her introverted son Norman (Freddie Highmore) after a grizzly scene has just unfolded in their creaky house. Based on the first episode of “Bates Motel,” which was unveiled March 11 at SXSW, a number of clunkily-drawn characters will probably swing by the infamous rest-stop, less in the service of true creepiness and more for generic thrills.
  • By Beth Hanna
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  • March 11, 2013 11:46 PM
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SXSW Panel: Indie Career Advice from Filmmakers Candler, Poyser and Zobel

About halfway through the Sustaining a Career in Indie Film panel the filmmakers began talking about labs – Sundance, IFP, The Hamptons – and 80 percent of the audience began scribbling down notes. It seemed to be a session for real beginners, the people that haven’t quit three or more jobs to take on little film gigs that come up, or sat in a corporate office because they needed health insurance.
  • By Valentina Valentini
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  • March 11, 2013 1:58 PM
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CinemaCon Assembles Theater Owners for Annual Vegas Confab, Gives Harrison Ford Lifetime Achievement Award

CinemaCon, The National Association of Theatre Owners annual confab in Las Vegas, will be host some 5000 exhibitors from April 15-18, 2013 at Caesars Palace. NATO represents more than 30,000 American movie screens and more cinemas in 57 countries worldwide, from the giant theater chains to mom and pops. It has not been a strong year for theaters thus far; many are struggling.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • March 11, 2013 1:33 PM
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Eagles, Lake Bell and Peaches Head for Second April London Sundance Film and Music Fest

The second annual Sundance London film and music festival, programmed by the same folks who mount January's Sundance Film Festival and including many of that fest's top prize-winners, will be held on April 25-28 April at The O2. Among the artists expected to attend Sundance London are Lake Bell, Mike Birbiglia, Jimmy Carr, the Eagles, Barbara Kopple and Peaches, as well as Sundance Institute President & Founder Robert Redford.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • March 11, 2013 1:08 PM
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Seeing VFX Is Believing, From Original 'Star Wars' and 'Superman' Franchises to Woody Allen's 'Zelig'

“You’ll believe a man can fly.” That was the promise made to potential ticket-buyers during the fall and winter of 1978, when Richard Donner’s take on the Superman legend was being readied to soar across Christmastime movie screens all over America. We certainly never believed (nor were we asked to believe) that George Reeves, the Superman known to viewers of the popular TV series which ran from 1952 until 1958, could really fly.
  • By Dennis Cozzalio
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  • March 11, 2013 10:30 AM
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