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Thompson on Hollywood

Trailer Watch: Christian Bale's Flowers of War Is Not Delicate Film, Looks Gorgeous, Horrifying

TOH! caught twenty minutes of gorgeous, horrifying footage of Zhang Yimou's The Flowers of War (formerly Heros of Nanking) at Toronto, along with every distributor in town. It's China's most expensive movie to date, and will open there and across Asia on December 16, and is rumored to be near a deal for US distribution. The film stars Christian Bale, with what looks like a strong performance, as a mortician in wartorn 1937 Nanking who steps up to protect a group of schoolgirls and prostitutes taking shelter at the Winchester Cathedral. Adapted by Liu Heng from the novel by Geling Yan, it is inspired by true events during the Rape of Nanking. Here's more from Toronto. The film is China's official entry for the Best Foreign Language Oscar.
  • By Anne Thompson and Sophia Savage
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  • October 20, 2011 8:14 AM
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  • 2 Comments

Aronofsky's Noah Goes Ahead with Paramount & New Regency: Will It Sail With Bale?

Paramount is on board to co-finance Darren Aronofsky's Noah with New Regency, and shooting is set to kick off in Spring 2012. This means no more wondering how Aronofsky will follow up his Black Swan success.
  • By Sophia Savage
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  • October 4, 2011 6:52 AM
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The Avengers Cover EW; Their Mighty Powers Still Won't Match B.O. Power of Dark Knight Rises

On newsstands tomorrow, EW's The Avengers issue banks on the star power of not just one, but three existing Marvel superhero franchise movies. Iron Man's Robert Downey Jr., Scarlett Johansson, and Jeremy Renner (Hawkeye), Thor's Chris Hemsworth, and Captain America's Chris Evans join up with new Hulk Mark Ruffalo to defeat uber-villain Loki (Thor's Tom Hiddleston), who told TOH his powers have increased a thousand-fold. It's the superhero franchise movie to end them all.
  • By Sophia Savage
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  • September 29, 2011 4:54 AM
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First Poster Art for Zhang Yimou's Oscar Hopeful Flowers of War with Christian Bale Not Inspired

First Poster Art for Zhang Yimou's Oscar Hopeful Flowers of War with Christian Bale Not Inspired
Picking the right poster art is an art in itself, and China's treatment for its official Oscar submission, Zhang Yimou's $90 million The Flowers Of War, leaves much to be desired.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • September 26, 2011 7:41 AM
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China Selects Zhang Yimou's Flowers of War, Starring Christian Bale, as Oscar Entry

China Selects Zhang Yimou's Flowers of War, Starring Christian Bale, as Oscar Entry
The backers of Zhang Yimou's The Flowers of War, a tough period drama set during the horrific 1937 Nanking Massacre, are heaving sighs of relief. China has chosen the film as its official Oscar entry. It is due for December 16 release in Asia and was for sale at the recent Toronto Film Festival, where I saw a stunning 20 minutes of footage. This means that a buyer is now more likely to step up to qualify the film at year's end for a Christian Bale Oscar campaign, knowing that The Flowers of War may wind up a foreign Oscar nominee. (There's just enough Chinese in the English/Mandarin dialogue to qualify.)
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • September 23, 2011 8:34 AM
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Film in the Decade Since 9/11: From Superheroes to Westerns, What Came After

Film in the Decade Since 9/11: From Superheroes to Westerns, What Came After
This week's “Now and Then” column started out comparing and contrasting two movies about assassins — Hanna (Joe Wright, 2011) and Léon: the Professional (Luc Besson, 1994)—and ended up ruminating on 9/11. Trailers below:Life and culture are too messy to be divided into easy categories like “Before” and “After,” but for all the continuities in the way films are made and viewed, a long view of the last decade reveals some important, if subtle, shifts. Watching the network news coverage of September 11 to prepare for this column, I was reminded of how much we didn’t know that day, how much our fear stemmed from no longer being able to control the course of events.
  • By Matt Brennan
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  • September 12, 2011 11:36 AM
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Toronto Fest: Flowers of War, Acquisitions Log Jam on Opening Weekend

Toronto Fest: Flowers of War, Acquisitions Log Jam on Opening Weekend
The opening weekend of Toronto is always a logjam of acquisition titles and this one is worse than usual, distribs complain. Saturday night is especially impossible, if key execs want to be positioned to make bids on Sarah Polley (pregnant!) title Take This Waltz, Jennifer Westfeldt and Jon Hamm's Friends with Kids, Oren Moverman's follow-up to The Messenger, Rampart starring Woody Harrelson, Australian cancer drama Burning Man, ensemble comedy The Oranges or Salmon Fishing in Yemen, starring Ewan McGregor. These are among the most anticipated fest pick-ups.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • September 9, 2011 9:09 AM
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Video: New Dirty Dancing Director Ortega's Newsies with Singing, Dancing Christian Bale

As we reported Monday, Lionsgate is giving Dirty Dancing (1987) a makeover, directed by original choreographer Kenny Ortega. Lionsgate is revamping the classic after unsuccessfully releasing sequel Dirty Dancing: Havana Nights. The struggle here won't be to charge up teenage interest in the tale of teenage Baby’s forbidden romance with hip-swiveling Johnny Castle, packed with 60s classics from the original plus brand new compositions--just shove it down the willing throats of Glee, HSM and So You Think You Can Dance fans and the studio will make money. The struggle will be in creating a memorable film that has lasting powers of its own. Otherwise people will keep watching the original--nothing's stopping them so far. Do the math: Dirty Dancing was made for $6 million and brought in $213.95 million worldwide.
  • By Sophia Savage
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  • August 9, 2011 6:14 AM
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Trailer Watch: The Dark Knight Rises Teaser Goes HD

The teaser trailer for The Dark Knight Rises is taking the last word of its title literally. The only scene that stands above the rest in the teaser (posted below) rises up into a blindingly white sky, as stalks of skyscrapers crumble to the street below leaving an outline (can you imagine) of the shape of a menacing bat. It's the same image as the recent teaser poster.
  • By Maggie Lange
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  • July 18, 2011 12:02 PM
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First Look: The Dark Knight Rises Teaser Poster

Warner Bros. has released the teaser poster for Christopher Nolan's The Dark Knight Rises. Yes, it's dark, sinister, architectural, graphic, and very Inception.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • July 12, 2011 7:43 AM
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  • 3 Comments

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