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Thompson on Hollywood

Weta's Joe Letteri Talks Animating the Smaug Dragon for 'The Hobbit'

Peter Jackson's well-received second "Hobbit" movie, "The Desolation of Smaug," contains a greater variety of VFX. But, of course, the centerpiece for Weta Digital is Smaug (voiced with menace and charm by Benedict Cumberbatch), the best CG-animated dragon ever created and sure to make a great impression at the Academy bakeoff.
  • By Bill Desowitz
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  • December 13, 2013 2:20 PM
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'The Past' Director Asghar Farhadi Says Illusion That Audiences Don't Like Complication Is Hurting American Cinema (Q&A)

Iranian writer-director Asghar Farhadi has created one of the best screenplays of the year with "The Past," a measured domestic drama where every frame counts. In a recent Q & A with the LA Times' Mark Olsen, Farhadi, with help from a translator, discussed the film, his idiosyncratic writing process and the state of cinema today (highlights below).
  • By Ryan Lattanzio
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  • December 12, 2013 1:54 PM
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David O. Russell Talks 'American Hustle,' His Unusual Directing Method and Christian Bale's Look with NPR (Plus Anatomy of a Scene VIDEO)

David O. Russell sat down with NPR's All Things Considered December 11 to talk "American Hustle," which over the past couple weeks has jumped to head of the class as an Oscar contender. Highlights from the interview, below, as well as the New York Times' video feature Anatomy of a Scene on "Hustle."
  • By Anne Thompson and Beth Hanna
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  • December 12, 2013 1:44 PM
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'Inside Llewyn Davis' Secrets and a New Coens Movie Revealed: Q & A (VIDEO)

The Coen brothers, Oscar Isaac and T Bone Burnett dig into making "Inside Llewyn Davis"--and the Coens may know what their next movie is--with George Clooney.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • December 11, 2013 3:57 PM
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Craft Talking 'Saving Mr. Banks': Bridging 1961 Los Angeles with 1906 Australia through Cinematography, Production Design and Costumes

Like "Mary Poppins," "Saving Mr. Banks" seems deceptively simple on the surface. But once you dig deeper, the story resonates as a brilliant memory piece for Emma Thompson's P.L. Travers, slipping back and forth from her painful childhood in Australia in 1906 to cooperating and subverting the adaptation of her beloved novel with Walt Disney in 1961. And that was the creative hook for director John Lee Hancock and his fellow filmmakers, including production designer Michael Corenblith, cinematographer John Schwartzman, and costume designer Daniel Orlandi.
  • By Bill Desowitz
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  • December 11, 2013 2:20 PM
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Steve James Promises Surprises in Roger Ebert Documentary 'Life Itself,' Set to Premiere (and Livestream) at Sundance 2014 (EXCLUSIVE)

The critic Roger Ebert was a fixture at Sundance, such a fixture that the towing of Ebert’s car on once-sleepy Main Street in Park City years back was bellweather evidence that Sundance was outgrowing its ski town origins. Now, nine months after Ebert’s death from cancer in April, "Life Itself," the new bio-doc directed by fellow Chicagoan Steve James ("Hoop Dreams") will debut in Sundance’s Documentary Premieres section. TOH! talked to Steve James about putting Ebert on the screen.
  • By David D'Arcy
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  • December 11, 2013 1:48 PM
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Best of the Week: Must-See Best Actress Underdogs, Critics' Awards, Sundance Previews & More

The top stories of the week from TOH!
  • By TOH!
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  • December 7, 2013 1:19 PM
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How Kasi Lemmons' Return to the Holiday Musical 'Black Nativity' Saved Her Life

But it took Lemmons four years to "shake down" the play and come up with her own take, which is revived every Christmas in cities all around the country, and new music to go along with the original's holiday standards. Producer Celine Rattray first suggested the project to her. "Look no further," Lemmons told her. "Please let it me me."
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • December 6, 2013 10:10 PM
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NBR Winner Emma Thompson Talks Disneyfication, Nannies, Ex-Boyfriend Hugh Laurie and More in TIME Magazine

Emma Thompson, who recently scored a Best Actress win from the National Board of Review for her role as "Mary Poppins" author P.L. Travers in Disney's "Saving Mr. Banks," sat down with TIME Magazine for their Ten Questions feature. Highlights from her answers, below.
  • By Beth Hanna
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  • December 5, 2013 12:45 PM
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New York Film Critics' Cinematography Winner Delbonnel Goes 'Inside Llewyn Davis'

Given the evocative look and setting of the Coen Brothers' "Inside Llewyn Davis," it's not surprising that Bruno Delbonnel snagged the cinematography award yesterday from the New York Film Critics Circle. He exquisitely captures the coldness, sadness, unhappiness, and loneliness of Oscar Isaac's struggling folk singer in Greenwich Village of '61.
  • By Bill Desowitz
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  • December 4, 2013 2:16 PM
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