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Thompson on Hollywood

Immersed in Movies: Talking 'Argo' with Cinematographer Prieto

Rodrigo Pietro calls "Argo" a "visual tapestry." That's because the bizarre fact-based espionage thriller and best picture Oscar front runner required the cinematographer to craftily piece together various looks to pull off the creative hodgepodge of styles, genres, and locales.
  • By Bill Desowitz
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  • November 19, 2012 2:38 PM
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  • 2 Comments

'Skyfall' Opening Credits: How Mendes Got Adele for 'the first good Bond song' and A Look at Past Openers and Songs (VIDEO)

One of the joys of "Skyfall" is its darkly psychedelic opening credit sequence, which combines to great effect Adele's soaring song with the iconic Bond graphics overlaid on Daniel Craig's sinking figure. We're basically watching Bond's fall into death as images pass before his eyes. Sam Mendes' latest installment in the franchise is crammed with purposeful references to 007 films of yore, but perhaps the best is that hit song. Music has long been used to sell movies, but never more than with the Bond franchise.
  • By Anne Thompson and Beth Hanna
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  • November 19, 2012 2:02 PM
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  • 9 Comments

Oscar Watch: Sex and Death in 'Anna Karenina' Costumes (VIDEO)

After its fest circuit rounds and limited openings last weekend, "Anna Karenina" screened Sunday at the Academy, yielding yet another set of divisive reactions. Wilshire Boulevard's Kate Mantilini Restaurant was packed with members hanging out between "Karenina" and "Life of Pi." Joe Wright's artfully stylized take on Tolstoy's "Anna Karenina" has passionate defenders and detractors. (The NYT's A.O. Scott gives it a rave.) But whatever happens on Oscar nominations morning, the film's costume designer Jacqueline Durran will likely be recognized withher third nomination, after Wright's "Pride & Prejudice" and "Atonement."
  • By Anne Thompson & Sophia Savage
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  • November 19, 2012 1:19 PM
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  • 0 Comments

As 'Twilight' Fades, A Guide to Hollywood's Young Adult Franchise Bets, from 'Angelfall' to 'Divergent'

The last of the “Twilight” movies has now reached theatres, and “Catching Fire,” the second book in Suzanne Collins’ “Hunger Games” trilogy, is in production. But Hollywood is by no means finished making movies about powerful teenagers. At least a dozen young adult novels – featuring girls who must fight werewolves, vanquish evil angels, discover why they are immortal, evade cannibals and, in one case, fall in love with a shape-shifting tiger -- have been scooped up by major studios and minor production companies. What makes these young adult novels even more alluring is the fact that their audience is not limited to teenagers. They are avidly read by large numbers of adult women.
  • By Aljean Harmetz
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  • November 17, 2012 6:04 AM
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  • 3 Comments

Immersed in Movies: Raising 'Kane' in 'Lincoln'

Steven Spielberg has always shown a reverence for Orson Welles and "Citizen Kane" with his trademark use of light shining through chiaroscuro-style. Not surprisingly, he uses it effectively in "Lincoln." Plus, there's an early nod to "Kane" with a close-up of Mary Todd Lincoln (Sally) through a mirror on the dresser.
  • By Bill Desowitz
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  • November 16, 2012 3:00 PM
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  • 0 Comments

Ben Stiller and His Penis Saluted By Friends and Colleagues at American Cinematheque Ball

Ben Stiller's friends and colleagues raucously celebrated the actor/comedian's career at the American Cinematheque's yearly benefit ball at the Beverly Hilton Thursday night. Pals who showed up to give sincere or more often, irreverent, in-person tributes were Jennifer Aniston, Will Ferrell, Jeffrey Katzenberg, Jack Black, Patton Oswalt, Laura Dern, Andy Dick, David Cross, Stiller's wife Christine Taylor and "Tropic Thunder" co-writer Justin Theroux (who was responsible for the tribute video that is captured in part below).
  • By Sophia Savage
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  • November 16, 2012 11:49 AM
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  • 2 Comments

Kubrick's Early Odyssey: 'Fear and Desire' and 'Killer's Kiss'

As the much-anticipated Stanley Kubrick exhibition opened at LACMA on November 1, the museum hosts a parallel film retrospective of the director's 13 feature films, screening in chronological order. This puts Kubrick's two least-seen yet remarkable works, "Fear and Desire" and "Killer's Kiss," as the inaugural double-header for the film series on November 9.
  • By Beth Hanna
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  • November 9, 2012 3:13 PM
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  • 1 Comment

Immersed in Movies: Mendes Talks Bond Resurrection in 'Skyfall'

Why all the swooning over "Skyfall?" Because, oddly enough, after 50 years we've only just begun exploring James Bond's troubled psyche, and because director Sam Mendes has brilliantly made up for lost time by engineering the best possible conceit: an existential crisis for our iconic superspy...
  • By Bill Desowitz
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  • November 8, 2012 4:27 PM
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  • 0 Comments

Rating 'Psycho,' Behind-the-Scenes 'Hitchcock' and the Universal Hitchcock Fifteen

I got over the awful HBO "The Girl," starring Toby Jones as Alfred Hitchcock and Sienna Miller as Tippi Hedren, by watching the entire Dick Cavett Hitchcock interview. I had more fun with Thursday night's AFI FEST world premiere of Sacha Gervasi's light-hearted "Hitchcock," starring a superb ensemble led by Anthony Hopkins and Helen Mirren as the master auteur and his collaborator and wife Alma Reville, who the director thanked when he won his AFI Achievement Award, but I confess that I'd rather stick with the real thing.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • November 2, 2012 2:23 PM
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  • 6 Comments

Immersed in Movies: Previewing 'Rise of the Guardians'

DreamWorks' "Rise of the Guardians" (November 21) is an exquisite and enchanting adaptation of William Joyce's magnificent and epic "Guardian" book series, which reinvents some of our favorite fairy tale icons. First-time director Peter Ramsey, who cut his teeth doing storyboards for David Fincher and Spike Jonze before moving into animation at DreamWorks, has wisely upped the superhero quotient in "Avengers"-like fashion, which makes for a more spectacular movie.
  • By Bill Desowitz
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  • November 1, 2012 9:00 PM
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  • 0 Comments

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