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Thompson on Hollywood

Review: Ben Affleck's 'Argo' Is True Tehran Rescue Thriller, Hollywood Parody, and Oscar Contender

Ben Affleck directs this taut and commercial thriller, his third behind the camera, with screw-tightening efficiency that would make Michael Mann proud. Multiple Oscar nominations are in order as this movie surges to the top of the current Oscar contenders list.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • August 31, 2012 7:10 PM
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  • 2 Comments

Bizarre, Baffling Clint Eastwood at the RNC vs. Awesomely Bipartisan Eastwood in February's Chrysler Ad [Video]

The RNC had left some time for a "mystery guest" speaker on Thursday - and Clint Eastwood snagged the spot with a dark and biting satirical complaint. Eastwood pulled an empty wooden chair onto the stage so he could speak to an invisible President Barack Obama about unemployment and other national disgraces.
  • By Maggie Lange
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  • August 31, 2012 2:51 PM
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Summer Box Office Lessons: Grosses Dip, Dozen $100 Million Grossers, Wahlberg Rocks

As summer 2012 ends, studio execs are heaving sighs of relief. The expense of making and marketing a tentpole blockbuster keeps climbing, and with it the need to gross $500 million or more worldwide to ensure profit. Twelve films will gross more than $100 millon domestically (numbers through 8/26) in the US and Canada, down dramatically from 17 last year.
  • By Tom Brueggemann
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  • August 31, 2012 2:25 PM
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  • 4 Comments

TIFF Trailer Watch: Farrell, Walken, Rockwell, Waits, Harrelson Get Worked Up in 'Seven Psychopaths'

"Seven Psychopaths" looks like a fun and reckless romp of the first order. A struggling screenwriter played by Colin Farrell accidentally finds himself involved with a Los Angeles crime ring after his haphazard friends - Christopher Walken and Sam Rockwell, no less - kidnap a gangster's beloved lap dog. As the crime lord, played by Woody Harrelson attempts to retrieve his prized Shih Tzu everything spins out of control.
  • By Maggie Lange
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  • August 31, 2012 2:21 PM
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Venice Film Festival: Spike Lee Rocks the Biennale with 'BAD25'

Venice is buzzing this year with superb documentaries from high-profile film figures. Jonathan Demme’s “Enzo Avitabile Music Life” was a spirited portrait of the Neopolitan singer-songwriter who may not be widely known but whose zeal, talent and exhilarating performances with other figures in his field had me reappraising my assumptions about that woollily defined genre called world music; and more on Sarah Polley’s revelatory “Stories We Tell” later. But it was Spike Lee who rocked the Lido today with his rousing, passionate, breathlessly paced and frequently moving paean to Michael Jackson, which focuses intently on the creative process that went into generating the songs and videos for his third album, BAD – an album which spawned some of the greatest pop hits of all time, including its title track, ‘Man In The Mirror’ and ‘Smooth Criminal’.
  • By Matt Mueller
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  • August 31, 2012 1:44 PM
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Documentary 'The Act of Killing' Premieres at Telluride, Screens at Toronto

  • By Maggie Lange and Anne Thompson
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  • August 31, 2012 8:01 AM
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Telluride Fest Skips 'Master' and 'Silver Linings,' Adds Last-Minute 'Argo' and Eclectic Programming Delights

The Telluride waiting game is over. It's fun to ferret out the films from various distributors and publicists and it's also fun to find out the real deal at the airport as the folks arrive at the gate for the LAX-Montrose shuttle.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • August 31, 2012 7:00 AM
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Watch Clip: Dystopian Sci-Fi 'Branded' Reveals Mind-Bending Marketing Critique of Marketing

The plot of "Branded" (Roadside Attractions, September 7), is grandiose, even absurd. A marketing guru figures out that advertising has altered people's brains, so he attempts to dismantle the marketing machine. Check out the strange imagery in the trailer and clips below.
  • By Maggie Lange
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  • August 31, 2012 6:34 AM
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Venice Trailer: 'The Iceman' Stars Michael Shannon, Winona Ryder, and Many Gunshots

"The Iceman" stars Academy Award nominee Michael Shannon ("Revolutionary Road," "Boardwalk Empire") as a notorious hit man - responsible for the death of 100 men associated with different crime rings around New York. While his career provides the action, his split from his family life provides the drama: the devoted father and husband managed to keep his career a secret from his wife (Winona Ryder) and children over the decades he acted as a brutal mercenary.
  • By Maggie Lange
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  • August 30, 2012 7:46 PM
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  • 0 Comments

Telluride 2012 Lineup

The 39th Telluride Film Festival line-up is below. I am literally getting on the shuttle to Montrose right now.  25 narrative and documentary films are in the main program, which features Cannes entries "Rust and Bone," starring Marion Cotillard, who is getting a tribute, and Palme d'Or winner "Amour," starring Jean-Louis Trintingnant, Emmanuelle Riva and Isabelle Huppert. The program also features tributes to Roger Corman and Mads Mikkelsen, whose two films "The Hunt" and "A Royal Affair" will play the Rocky Mountain fest. Special programming also comes from Guest Director Geoff Dyer.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • August 30, 2012 1:44 PM
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  • 1 Comment

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