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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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  • 0 Comments

Portman & Butler Win Elizabeth Taylor/Richard Burton Poll for Scorsese's Furious Love

Portman & Butler Win Elizabeth Taylor/Richard Burton Poll for Scorsese's Furious Love
It will be no easy task to cast legends Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton. Last week we invited you to play dreamcast with us, voting for the actors to play Taylor and Burton in Martin Scorsese's adaptation of their tempestuous love affair and chronicled in Furious Love. The results are in, and despite being completely out of the running until June 24, Natalie Portman surged to the top to join Gerard Butler. We initially paired the two together, stating: "If anyone can raise Portman’s temperature, it would be Butler. He’d have to step up and bring some depth to the rugged masculinity he so easily depicts. Portman probably has this in her, but it won’t come naturally." Second and third place winners, our picks and the complete poll results are below:
  • By Sophia Savage
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  • June 27, 2011 5:37 AM
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  • 1 Comment

Brando vs. Crowe as Superman Franchise's Jor-El

Brando vs. Crowe as Superman Franchise's Jor-El
I find disturbing the idea of Russell Crowe playing the role originated by Marlon Brando at age 54 in 1978's Superman. Crowe, 47, is in talks to play opposite Superman Henry Cavill as his beloved father Jor-El in Man of Steel, reports Variety. Of course this will give Crowe a handsome payday. Maybe it's the similarities between the troubled Brando and Crowe that worry me. Both are fine actors with inflated egos and a weight problem who have walked dangerously close to identifying with their leading roles. Keeping track of who you are as a human being and who you are as a movie star is half the battle in maintaining career longevity.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • June 15, 2011 9:18 AM
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  • 4 Comments

Year-End Box Office Wrap 2010: Winners and Losers Chart, Warners Leads Domestic Market Share

Year-End Box Office Wrap 2010: Winners and Losers Chart, Warners Leads Domestic Market Share
It was feast or famine at the 2010 domestic box office. The studios spent too much on too many uber-flops, but thanks to holdover Avatar and premium 3-D ticket prices, they enjoyed their second-best year at the domestic box office with $10.46 billion, off less than 2% from 2009’s all-time haul of $10.6 billion. The theatrical buoyancy of 3-D inflated the average stub from $7.46 in 2009 to $7.85 in the third quarter (per the National Association of Theater Owners). But the real trend is worrisome: higher ticket prices plus static turnstiles equals fewer butts in seats. Admissions fell 6% from 1.42 billion in 2009 to 1.33 billion last year. 
  • By Anne Thompson and Anthony D'Alessandro
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  • January 7, 2011 9:10 AM
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  • 3 Comments

Haggis and Crowe's The Next Three Days Yields Mixed Early Reviews

Haggis and Crowe's The Next Three Days Yields Mixed Early Reviews
The remake of French thriller Pour Elle, The Next Three Days, Paul Haggis's third feature as a director, screened last night at the Directors Guild of America. A round-up of early reviews and the trailer are after the jump.
  • By Sophia Savage
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  • November 17, 2010 8:36 AM
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Scott Pilgrim vs. Universal and the Matrix

Scott Pilgrim vs. the World's bottom line comes down to the same problem that has faced a long line of Universal projects. It was an indie movie that cost too much to be successful inside the studio paradigm and should have been produced and released on a smaller less ambitious scale at the studio's specialty division Focus Features, which could have nurtured it and sent it into the world on a more limited basis and built on the film's strong word-of-mouth from its narrow base. To them a $12 million gross would have been fine. To Universal, it's less than the film's marketing budget. (A funny mash-up of Scott Pilgrim vs. The Matrix is below.)
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • August 23, 2010 11:37 AM
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  • 8 Comments

Lionsgate, Roadside Pursue Dual Awards Track on Buried, Next Three Days, Biutiful

Lionsgate is an indie with a taste for mainstream genre fare, but when a Crash or Precious comes along, the distrib knows what to do. This year, though, Lionsgate is adopting a different model that more resembles the studio approach: chase consumers first with such movies as Buried and The Next Three Days, Oscar voters later. And let your specialty subsidiary do the heavy-lifting in the art-film arena: Roadside Attractions is closing in on a deal to release Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu's Biutiful starring the incandescent Javier Bardem. Ironically, ex-Lionsgate exec Tom Ortenberg is in talks to steer the campaign (he's also masterminding the Apparition release of Terrence Malick's The Tree of Life).
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • August 13, 2010 6:30 AM
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Manly Movie Stars: Rodrigue Talks the Evolution of Masculinity in Film

Manly Movie Stars: Rodrigue Talks the Evolution of Masculinity in Film
Almost two years ago, Anne Thompson asked "Where have the manly movie stars gone?," and investigated the entertainment industry's ongoing search for traditional male leads that aren't borrowed from the UK, Australia or Europe to commandeer Hollywood's most testosterone-needy films. While America lays claim to the boy-men niche with the likes of Johnny Depp, Leonardo DiCaprio, Matt Damon, Brad Pitt, Keanu Reeves, Jake Gyllenhaal and any male in a Judd Apatow film, Hollywood's most- masculine male leads are more often than not played by foreigners; Christian Bale (a Brit) and Heath Ledger (an Aussie) were case-in-point as the stars of 2008's highest grossing film, The Dark Knight.
  • By Sophia Savage
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  • August 12, 2010 8:28 AM
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  • 21 Comments

Post-Cannes Fest Landscape: What's Real?

Post-Cannes Fest Landscape: What's Real?
The Cannes Film Festival unfolds in two parts: what gets seen during the festival itself--and what happens afterwards.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • July 12, 2010 3:30 AM
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  • 2 Comments

Crowe Equalizes, Cage and Kidman Trespass, Tempest First Look

- Russell Crowe is set to play Robert McCall in The Equalizer, the mysterious vigilante agent made famous by Edward Woodward in the 1980s TV show, reports the LAT. Crowe is also attached to Paul Haggis's The Next Three Days, in which his character's wife is wrongly accused of murder. Clearly, Crowe is drawn to characters that have something to fight for, with a few rough edges. The Equalizer currently lacks both a shooting script and a studio, so Crowe has time to brood over this character.
  • By Sophia Savage
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  • June 16, 2010 2:35 AM
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  • 1 Comment

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