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Thompson on Hollywood

Unite for Japan: Stars Ask for Donations for Post-Tsunami Relief

As I watched this video, I realized how upset I am about what happened in Japan. Ken Watanabe organized this plea for help, aided by Johnny Depp, Jamie Lee Curtis, Ben Stiller, John Legend, Jonah Hill, Paula Abdul, Ben Affleck and many others. The PSA launched today. Unite for Japan.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • April 27, 2011 7:49 AM
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Cannes Update: Van Sant's Restless Opens Un Certain Regard, Pirates 4 Gets Slot

Cannes Update: Van Sant's Restless Opens Un Certain Regard, Pirates 4 Gets Slot
It's prestigious for Gus Van Sant's Restless, starring Mia Wasikowska, to land the opening night slot of Un Certain Regard (May 12) at Cannes, but it isn't as lofty as a competition spot. That selection is reserved for the real "art films," the auteur slots vying for the coveted Palme d'or.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • April 13, 2011 3:58 AM
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FilmDistrict Finally Dates Rum Diary, Starring Johnny Depp

It was just a matter of time before FilmDistrict would pick a date for The Rum Diary, starring Johnny Depp. It's going out during the prime fall season, October 28. The film, which has long been on the shelf, marks Depp's second flirtation with the work of Hunter S. Thompson, who became close with the actor during the filming of Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas and showed Depp the unpublished manuscript, says producer and FilmDistrict co-founder Graham King. “I am extremely proud to bring this novel to film and to honor Hunter’s legacy.”
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • March 29, 2011 5:25 AM
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  • 1 Comment

Rango's Verbinski and ILM VFX Master John Knoll Talk Fresh Take on Animation

Rango's Verbinski and ILM VFX Master John Knoll Talk Fresh Take on Animation
Defying every convention of the animated genre, Gore Verbinski's PG-rated $135-million Rango opened well, at $38 million. Why? As Verbinski (who jumped ship on Disney's Pirates of the Caribbean franchise after three installments) has been saying to anyone who will listen, audiences want originality. They want to be surprised. And animation offers the last refuge for the creative, free from many of the imitative constraints imposed by Hollywood. While Paramount agreed to fund the project off a rough story reel of the entire film--which Verbinski describes as "an animated Sergio Leone movie"-- clearly the filmmaker was left to his own devices on this one.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • March 8, 2011 9:12 AM
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  • 3 Comments

Revivals: The Return of Schwarzenegger and the Western

Remakes and reboots are a dime a dozen these days, but roots run deeper for some more than others. Arnold Schwarzenegger, 63, is getting back to work. And having been pronounced dead, the western genre is being welcomed by a new generation in both classic and hybrid forms.
  • By Sophia Savage
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  • March 7, 2011 9:14 AM
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  • 1 Comment

Weekend Box Office: Animation Rules as Rango Wins Opening Duel with Adjustment Bureau

Weekend Box Office: Animation Rules as Rango Wins Opening Duel with Adjustment Bureau
As the studios chase branded entertainment, the one genre open to original thinking is animation. Who can blame Gore Verbinski, after three Pirate movies, for heading back to the old West with a John Logan homage to westerns, top-of-the-line Industrial Light and Magic animation, and Johnny Depp leading a cast of great character actors? After a slow winter lacking an Avatar or Alice in Wonderland to perk up attendance, audiences returned to multiplexes to check out Rango, the winter's second hit western (after True Grit) and a slew of other new entrants.
  • By Anthony D'Alessandro
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  • March 6, 2011 5:45 AM
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  • 0 Comments

Rango, Adjustment Bureau, Beastly, Take Me Home Tonight, I Saw the Devil: Blockbuster Weekend?

Rango, Adjustment Bureau, Beastly, Take Me Home Tonight, I Saw the Devil: Blockbuster Weekend?
2011 is due for its first blockbuster weekend. From Johnny Depp's animated Rango and Matt Damon and Emily Blunt's The Adjustment Bureau to teen flick Beastly, 80s throwback Take Me Home Tonight and Korean horror film I Saw the Devil, all the demographic bases are covered. We recommend Damon and Blunt's effortless on-screen chemistry, the wondrously imaginative Rango, and indie festival favorites Abel and Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives. Film details, reviews and trailers are below.
  • By Sophia Savage
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  • March 4, 2011 8:30 AM
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  • 0 Comments

Rango Early Reviews: "One Spectacular-Looking Movie," "Chaotic," "Wildly Imaginative" (UPDATED)

Rango Early Reviews: "One Spectacular-Looking Movie," "Chaotic," "Wildly Imaginative" (UPDATED)
Rango is a gorgeous CGI animated homage to the Hollywood western from Pirates of the Caribbean director Gore Verbinski, ILM, screenwriter John Logan and a great voice cast led by Johnny Depp. The VFX masters at ILM put their genius to work on a piece of CGI animation (blessedly not in 3-D) , and the results are wondrous, from the character animation to the action sequences. But while Logan is an Oscar-nominated studio scribe (The Aviator) who knows his westerns, this is not a Pixar film. On the one hand the pacing lags, and on the other, they don't seem to have a handle on how to make it play for both adults and kids. (Younger viewers in the theater were bored.) But for any student of animation or western buff, Rango is a must-see.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • March 1, 2011 9:27 AM
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  • 0 Comments

Directors Keep It In the Family: Dark Knight Rises, Dark Shadows

Directors Keep It In the Family: Dark Knight Rises, Dark Shadows
Tim Burton is eyeing Michelle Pfeiffer and longtime girlfriend Helena Bonham Carter to join his Dark Shadows cast, which includes leading man Johnny Depp, Jackie Earle Haley, Eva Green and Bella Heathcote.
  • By Sophia Savage
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  • February 16, 2011 6:16 AM
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  • 1 Comment

Burton's Dark Shadows Gets Green, Winterbottom's Hardy Trishna Reinterpretation

- Tim Burton's reworking of 60s gothic soap opera Dark Shadows centers on vampire Barnabas Collins (to be played by Johnny Depp) and his escapades with witches, monsters, ghosts and the like. Eva Green will play the powerful witch Angelique, with whom Collins enjoys a love/hate relationship. Since her breakout role in Casino Royale, the French actress has gone somewhat unnoticed (she had a supporting role in 2007's The Golden Compass). Now, she has Perfect Sense (see trailer below), boarding school drama Cracks (March 18), a Maria Callas TV biopic and more to come. Vampire expert Seth Grahame-Smith adapted Dark Shadows; he also wrote Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter and Pride and Prejudice and Zombies (fitting, since he wrote the novel).
  • By Sophia Savage
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  • February 4, 2011 9:28 AM
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  • 1 Comment

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