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Thompson on Hollywood

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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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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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

Lousy Christmas Weekend Box Office: Little Fockers Beats True Grit, Best Coens Opening Ever

At a horrendous Christmas weekend---which saw a 44% three-day drop in grosses over last year (flush with Avatar)---sequel comedy Little Fockers beat out adult western True Grit, the best--and widest--opening ever for a Coen brothers movie. It's likely that the well-reviewed oater will have longer legs, however, as it settles in for the long Oscar haul.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • December 26, 2010 7:03 AM
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  • 5 Comments

Black Swan Psychology Art vs. Science; Sex vs. Sexy: Which Sells Movies?

Black Swan Psychology Art vs. Science; Sex vs. Sexy: Which Sells Movies?
- Black Swan offers fuel for an Art vs. Science debate. Consider these professional-opinion-posturings on Black Swan ballerina Nina (Natalie Portman) and her mental state. Nadine Kaslow (Dept. of Psychiatry, Emory University) says: "It was intense and disturbing and fascinating and mysterious…What was a hallucination and what was real? When people are psychotic, it's difficult, even as a therapist, to know what's real and what's not."
  • By Sophia Savage
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  • December 21, 2010 4:42 AM
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  • 2 Comments

Pundits Predict Golden Globes Winners: The King's Speech and The Kids Are All Right

Pundits Predict Golden Globes Winners: The King's Speech and The Kids Are All Right
Both Gold Derby and the Gurus 'O Gold are predicting that The King's Speech and The Kids Are All Right will win their respective categories at the Golden Globes January 16. For what it's worth.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • December 15, 2010 8:00 AM
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  • 2 Comments

Weekend Box Office: Narnia Sequel Voyage of Dawn Treader, Jolie/Depp's Tourist Disappoint

Two big-budget studio confections, The The Voyage of the Dawn Treader (the third installment of The Chronicles of Narnia) and retro romantic thriller The Tourist, stumbled at the domestic box office. Both will look overseas to recoup their costs, reports Anthony D'Alessandro:
  • By Anthony D'Alessandro
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  • December 12, 2010 5:17 AM
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  • 7 Comments

The Tourist Reviews: "Retro," "Ludicrous Fairy Tale," Jolie "Sexy As Hell"

The Tourist is one of the oddest star vehicles to come out of the Hollywood dream factory in some time. It's determinedly retro, and as directed by The Lives of Others' Florian Henckel Von Donnersmarck--in a bid for big-studio acceptance--it's sincere in a way that few American directors would have managed. It's not hip at all. Von Donnersmarck is trying to make an old Hollywood fantasy surrounding two gorgeous movie stars. I can't imagine any men going to see this movie, which mainly offers romantic escape. The reviews are execrable: The Tomatometer is 17% rotten.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • December 10, 2010 7:18 AM
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Interview Watch: The Tourist's Material Beauty, Gosling and the New Hollywood Male Prototype

Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck tells the NYTimes that "I live outside my comfort zone always," which helps to explain why the German director-writer chose to follow up best-foreign-language Oscar winner The Lives of Others with Sony's lavish guilty-pleasure film The Tourist starring high-wattage Angelina Jolie and Johnny Depp. Foreign directors rarely have successful crossovers into big-budget studio fare, admits Sony co-president Michael Barker, "other than Roman Polanski with Chinatown and Milos Forman with One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest."
  • By Sophia Savage
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  • December 9, 2010 5:04 AM
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  • 0 Comments

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