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Thompson on Hollywood

Immersed in Movies: Cinematographer Ballhaus Talks 'The Book Thief'

The Book Thief" might be flying under the Oscar radar, but it's a unique Holocaust story told from a child's point of view as well as Death's (adapted from the best-seller by Markus Zusak). And that's what attracted DP Florian Ballhaus, best known for comedy ("The Devil Wears Prada").
  • By Bill Desowitz
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  • November 15, 2013 12:23 PM
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Indie Icon John Sayles Insists on His Right to Make a Black Female Buddy Picture If He Wants To ('Go for Sisters' TRAILER)

Mexican border noir "Go For Sisters," the latest emphatically idiosyncratic self-financed original from indie icon John Sayles, is finally hitting theaters in New York and Los Angeles this month, followed by a slow rollout through the rest of the country. (DVDs are available for pre-order on the VHX/Variance website.) A black female buddy road movie starring Lisa Gay Hamilton and Yolonda Ross as two African-American women who could "go for sisters" when they knew each other as teenagers is not exactly a commercial picture. But Sayles has made his peace with that long ago, deciding to tell the stories he wanted to tell, the way he wanted to tell them.
  • By Cari Beauchamp
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  • November 14, 2013 3:28 PM
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EXCLUSIVE: Behind the Scenes at Studio Ghibli and Miyazaki's Oscar-Contender 'The Wind Rises' (TRAILER)

A contender for the animated feature Oscar, the subtitled "The Wind Rises" (Disney) is now playing a one-week Oscar qualifying run in Los Angeles and New York in its Japanese subtitled version. Possibly the last film from Hayao Miyazaki, the Walt Disney of Japan, who won the animated Oscar for "Spirited Away," "The Wind Rises" is not aimed at young kids. Gorgeously drawn, it's an historical true story of the brilliant designer behind the Zero fighter plane that wrecked havoc in World War II. I interview Geoffrey Wexler, a high-ranking Studio Ghibli executive who was in town to start dubbing the English version that Disney will release on February 21.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • November 12, 2013 11:39 AM
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'The Unknown Known' Review and Q & A: Errol Morris vs. Donald Rumsfeld

It started in Telluride, the word that somehow Errol Morris didn't "nail" Donald Rumsfeld in his mano a mano confrontation in "The Unknown Known" (Participant, Radius TWC). While I am fascinated by this portrait of a man who was close to the seat of power in this country for decades, from the Nixon, Ford and Reagan administrations through George W. Bush and the aftermath of 9/11--the biggest reveal is that he wished that his boss had allowed him to tender his resignation after the damning Abu Graib pictures were revealed--Morris lets Rumsfeld off easy. The film is set to play DOC NYC, running November 14-21.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • November 11, 2013 1:00 PM
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'Crash Reel' Documentarian Lucy Walker Knows Where She's Going

Lucy Walker's moving and shocking verite doc "The Crash Reel" will play in the upcoming DOC NYC, running November 14 through 21. Our TOH! interview, below.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • November 11, 2013 12:50 PM
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George Clooney Talks Why He'd Never Be on Twitter, Brad Pitt and More in Esquire

A lengthy profile of George Clooney has arrived in Esquire Magazine, wherein the actor-writer-director-producer talks his early understanding of his ability to entertain people, why he would never be on Twitter, and his pal Brad Pitt. Interview quote highlights below.
  • By Beth Hanna
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  • November 11, 2013 12:42 PM
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Best of the Week: David O. Russell 'Hustles' at AFI Fest, Finke Out for Blood, An Awards Season with No Pixar? and More

The top stories of the week from TOH!
  • By TOH!
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  • November 9, 2013 4:12 PM
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Immersed in Movies: Digital Domain Talks 'Ender's Game' Zero-Gravity VFX

As co-producer of "Ender's Game," Digital Domain 3.0 has a lot more at stake than cool zero-g and simulated battles in space. As one of LA's few remaining VFX studios, DD is experimenting with content creation as a new business model, and the rest of the industry is watching closely.
  • By Bill Desowitz
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  • November 8, 2013 1:14 PM
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How YA Bestseller 'The Book Thief' Got Made Into a Studio Film: With Difficulty, and John Williams (TRAILER)

You know things have come to a pretty pass when a movie like "The Book Thief" looks wrong coming from a major studio. How did it get made? Well, it took a while. And the success of "Life of Pi," another gamble from Fox 2000 president Elizabeth Gabler, who willed that movie into existence, helped to push this one forward. She and the film's producers tell us how the film got made.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • November 7, 2013 3:54 PM
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EXCLUSIVE: Behind the Scenes with Alex Gibney at His Jigsaw Productions

It’s not just productivity but prescient subject matter that marks Alex Gibney’s work as a director. His Lance Armstrong portrait “The Armstrong Lie” opens Friday; “We Steal Secrets: The Story of WikiLeaks” was released in July. Last year, Gibney directed “Park Avenue: Money Power & the American Dream,” which created a stink when it was revealed that WNET offered to preview the film for one of its subjects – billionaire right-wing puppetmaster David Koch.
  • By John Anderson
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  • November 6, 2013 2:13 PM
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