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Thompson on Hollywood

Best of the Week: Top Ten Tom Hanks Performances, Talking Original Score Contenders, 'Wolf of Wall Street' and More

The top stories of the week from TOH!
  • By TOH!
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  • December 21, 2013 1:44 PM
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EXCLUSIVE: Tom Hanks and Paul Greengrass Talk Powerful Final Scene from 'Captain Phillips' (VIDEO)

Tom Hanks has never been as emotionally naked as in the final five minutes of "Captain Phillips." It's a powerful catharsis after the harrowing ordeal with the Somali pirates, made all the more remarkable by the fact that it was unscripted and improvised with the actual medic on duty in the infirmary (Danielle Albert). I dissected the memorable scene with Hanks and director Paul Greengrass (watch below). The performance and film are generating Oscar buzz.
  • By Bill Desowitz
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  • December 20, 2013 4:27 PM
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'Bethlehem': Talking Israel's Oscar Entry and Exploring the Fine Line Between Friend and Foe (TRAILER)

Yuval Adler is interested in the liminal space: the porous nature of borders both physical and interpersonal, the shifting nature of relationships that slide from friend to foe, from spy to confidant. The director's "Bethlehem," Israel's Oscar entry, is a taut, troubling reflection on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and the multifarious connections between the two opposed and yet intimately neighbored nations.
  • By Jacob Combs
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  • December 20, 2013 1:46 PM
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25 Years After Playing Young Tom Hanks in 'Big,' David Moscow Looks Back on Child Stardom, Penny Marshall's Direction, and The Making of a Classic

The second audition of David Moscow's career involved Penny Marshall, Robert De Niro, and a script about a 12-year-old Jersey boy who wishes "to be big."
  • By Matt Brennan
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  • December 19, 2013 12:58 PM
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David O. Russell Talks 'American Hustle' in Dubai, Redemption, Scorsese and Embracing "Muscular" Cinema

Is there a filmmaker of recent times who's enjoyed a more impressive career rebound than David O. Russell? Before "The Fighter" in 2010, Russell's career was in tatters, and in danger of flatlining for good. But that shrewd blend of "Rocky"-style boxing saga and family psychodrama marked a magnificent return to form, and was duly recognized with seven Oscar nominations. "Silver Linings Playbook" won Jennifer Lawrence her Oscar. Now "American Hustle" is in the mix. Russell talks about his career redemption.
  • By Matt Mueller
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  • December 18, 2013 6:24 PM
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Alexandre Desplat Talks Embracing Humor Through Music in 'Philomena' Score

Composer Alexandre Desplat has never scored a comedy before and, although one wouldn't call "Philomena" a comedy, he nonetheless found the witty repartee between Judi Dench and Steve Coogan a lighter change of pace in crafting the music for his fifth collaboration with director Stephen Frears.
  • By Bill Desowitz
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  • December 18, 2013 2:10 PM
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'Philomena,' Harvey Weinstein's Best Oscar Hope, Comes on Strong; Why Coogan Dared to be Sincere

Steve Coogan is full of surprises. As an actor who also writes and produces, we have a sense of him from the roles he plays--he tends to be smart, acerbic, a bit of an asshole. So heart-tuggingly sincere "Philomena," which earned Golden Globes nominations last week for not only Best Drama and Actress Judi Dench but for Coogan and Jeff Pope's screenplay, is not exactly what we expect from him.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • December 16, 2013 11:58 AM
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Best of the Week: TOH! Top Tens, State of the Oscar Race, Why Paul Schrader May Not Open His Ballot and More

The top stories of the week from TOH!
  • By TOH!
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  • December 14, 2013 1:13 PM
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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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