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Oscar-Winner John Ridley Talks Writing '12 Years a Slave' and Directing Hendrix Biopic 'All Is By My Side'

John Ridley has been honing his craft for years, apprenticing with John Wells on "Third Watch," through multiple movie scripts ("U-Turn," "Red Tails") and television series ("Barbershop," "Platinum") to his first feature "Cold Around the Heart." He wrote the script for Oscar frontrunner "12 Years a Slave" as well as his sophomore directing effort, Jimi Hendrix slice-of-life "All Is by My Side," which both played the Toronto Film Festival.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • October 16, 2013 6:30 PM
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  • 5 Comments

Oscar Watch Q & A: Chiwetel Ejiofor Embodies Solomon Northup in Steve McQueen's '12 Years a Slave'

“12 Years a Slave” broke out at the Telluride, Toronto and New York Film Festivals, as audiences and critics immersed themselves in Steve McQueen and John Ridley's hard-hitting film adaptation of the memoir of musician Solomon Northup, a free Bostonian who was kidnapped and sold into slavery from 1841 to 1853. “12 Years a Slave” and its British star Chiwetel Ejiofor ("Kinky Boots") leaped to the top of the Oscar prediction charts, along with Alfonso Cuaron's critical and box office hit "Gravity." Fox Searchlight opens "12 Years a Slave: October 18.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • October 15, 2013 4:31 PM
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Plan B Producer Dede Gardner Talks '12 Years a Slave,' 'World War Z,' and Partner Brad Pitt

The movie of movies on the fall film circuit was Steve McQueen's "12 Years a Slave" (October 18). The film was nurtured along the way by Plan B producer Dede Gardner and her partner, Brad Pitt, who co-stars in the film with Chiwetel Ejiofor, Michael Fassbender and Benedict Cumberbatch. I interviewed Gardner for a TIFF Industry Q & A, below.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • October 15, 2013 4:20 PM
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  • 2 Comments

David Thomson Recalls Fun 'Moments That Made the Movies'

The New Republic critic David Thomson has written more than 20 movie books, among them must-owns such as "The New Biographical Dictionary of Film" and "'Have You Seen...?': A Personal Introduction to 1000 Films." The Brit transplant's long experience with writing accessible, entertaining, idiosyncratic, erudite and enlightening movie books led him to the most delightful one of all: "Moments that Made the Movies." Trust me. This is a keeper.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • October 14, 2013 6:39 AM
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  • 1 Comment

Best of the Week: NYFF Ignites Oscar Buzz, Ted Hope Bids SF Film Society Adieu, 'Gravity' Crushes Box Office and More

The top stories of the week from TOH!
  • By TOH!
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  • October 12, 2013 3:39 PM
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  • 0 Comments

Immersed in Movies: Greengrass and Hanks Talk Moments of Crisis in 'Captain Phillips'

Paul Greengrass and Tom Hanks discuss authenticity and emotional truth in the fact-based high-seas drama, "Captain Phillips."
  • By Bill Desowitz
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  • October 11, 2013 1:23 PM
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NYFF: James Gray Talks 'The Immigrant,' Joaquin Phoenix Doesn't (Q & A VIDEO)

James Gray's "The Immigrants" is one of those films where you feel that all the energy went into slavishly recreating the period; you leave humming the sets. At the press conference (see video below), Gray had to do all the talking, as Joaquin Phoenix was there to lend moral support but not much else.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • October 8, 2013 8:01 PM
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  • 2 Comments

NYFF: Redford Eventually Does Show for 'All Is Lost' Press Conference (TRAILER)

There’s a running gag among the media regarding Robert Redford’s lack of punctuality – he’s always seemed to take a perverse pleasure in letting the press cool its collective heels. So there wasn’t a lot of surprise in the room at the New York Film Festival Tuesday morning when critic Amy Taubin and director J.C. Chandor were left by their lonesomes, on stage at Lincoln Center’s Walter Reade Theater, waiting for Redford to appear at the post-screening press conference for Chandor’s “All Is Lost” -- the one-man-Redford show about a sailor lost at sea, and which could – could – be the film that earns the actor his late-inning Oscar.
  • By John Anderson
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  • October 8, 2013 6:28 PM
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Talking Doc 'Valentine Road': Shedding Light on a Gay Teen's Murder and its Troubling Legal Aftermath

Director Marta Cunningham and producer Sasha Alpert discuss their documentary "Valentine Road," which debuts October 7 on HBO, and takes an impressively even-handed, clear-eyed look at the murder of gay teen Lawrence King, and the subsequent trial faced by his shooter, 14-year-old Brandon McInerney.
  • By Beth Hanna
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  • October 7, 2013 6:30 AM
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Spike Jonze Previews 'Her' Before its New York Film Festival Unveiling

Spike Jonze did not have a completed film to show at the recent Toronto International Film Festival, even though he'd been working on his fourth feature "Her" for three years, and editing the film for 14 months. It was "a relentless process" he said at the TIFF Q & A. "I don't know what I'm making, I find it along the way." But he did provide a tantalizing preview of "Her," which was financed by Megan Ellison's Annapurna, via clips and a talk with his friend, filmmaker Kelly Reichardt.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • October 5, 2013 12:53 PM
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  • 1 Comment

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