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Thompson on Hollywood

DVD Review: 'The Words' Has A Serious Case of Writer's Block

It would be easy to come away from "The Words" with the impression that writing is a stiff, musty line of work — all grand ballrooms, solemn readings, and blue-blooded accents, a veritable Titanic of pretensions. This would be a mistake. The only sinking ship here is the film itself.
  • By Matt Brennan
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  • December 26, 2012 6:11 AM
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  • 3 Comments

Now and Then: Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas

Early in "Meet Me in St. Louis," Esther Smith (Judy Garland) pines for the boy next door. Lent silky grace by Garland's perfect warble, Esther describes love — and, by extension, Vincente Minnelli's 1944 classic. "I want it to be something strange and wonderful," she says. "Something I'll always remember."
  • By Matt Brennan
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  • December 24, 2012 2:51 PM
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  • 0 Comments

Garcia Bernal and Larrain Just Say 'No' EXCLUSIVE VIDEO

Oscar-shortlisted "No," a hit on the festival circuit, comes from Chilean director Pablo Larraín and Mexican producer-star Gael García Bernal, who collaborated on a novel recreation of the 1988 ousting of Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet after 15 years of oppression. Sony Pictures Classics acquired all North American rights.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • December 21, 2012 12:26 PM
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  • 2 Comments

Holiday Weekend Preview 2012: 'Zero Dark Thirty,' 'Les Mis,' 'Django,' 'Impossible,' 'On the Road,' 'This is 40' and More Make a Christmas Movie Feast

At last audiences can sink their teeth into Kathryn Bigelow's "Zero Dark Thirty," which is inspiring debate as it enjoys a top spot on many Best of 2012 lists. If Jessica Chastain hunting down Osama bin Laden is not your thing, there's plenty to sample this pre-holiday weekend. Bigelow's excellent film, however, should be considered essential viewing as we head into the next phase of awards season. Ditto for Tom Hooper's "Les Miserables" and Quentin Tarantino's "Django Unchained," which both arrive on Christmas day next week.
  • By Sophia Savage
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  • December 20, 2012 7:26 PM
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  • 1 Comment

Blu-ray Review: Smoldering Dietrich is Von Sternberg's 'Blue Angel' in Kino Restoration

“The Blue Angel,” a crowning achievement of Weimar cinema and the most famous of the seven collaborations between director Josef von Sternberg and Marlene Dietrich, is newly on Blu-ray from Kino. The finely restored transfer, with sharp picture quality and crisp sound highlighting Von Sternberg’s early-talkie innovations, is the original German-language version. (Two versions were shot simultaneously in 1930 -- the lesser known English-language version was long considered a lost film until its discovery in the early 2000s.)
  • By Beth Hanna
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  • December 19, 2012 2:38 PM
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  • 0 Comments

Top Ten Lists of 2012: An Updated Guide to the Favorite Films of the Year

In December, critics and film writers look back at the year's best and worst movies, performances, breakouts, trends...We'll keep adding more updates to these 2012 lists.
  • By Sophia Savage
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  • December 19, 2012 2:15 PM
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  • 1 Comment

Now and Then: 'Brazil,' Terry Gilliam's Dystopia — And Ours, Too

To my discredit, I had never seen "Brazil." It sat atop my pile of screeners for a few weeks, its length and reputation forbidding. Like all dystopian fictions, Terry Gilliam's 1985 epic is a prophecy of sorts, guesswork for a grim future. And it turned out he was right.
  • By Matt Brennan
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  • December 18, 2012 4:20 PM
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  • 0 Comments

'Holy Motors' Best Film in Indiewire's Year-End Critics Poll; 'Zero Dark Thirty,' 'Sun Don't Shine,' 'This Is Not a Film' and More Recognized

Leos Carax's "Holy Motors" has been voted Best Film by the 2012 Indiewire year-end critics' poll. A broad sampling of print and online critics--about 200-- participated, including TOH's Anne Thompson, Indiewire's Eric Kohn, Alison Wilmore and Matt Singer, The New Yorker's Richard Brody and former L.A. Weekly critic Karina Longworth. Full list below.
  • By Beth Hanna
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  • December 18, 2012 12:30 PM
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  • 1 Comment

Weekend Preview: From a Speedier 'Hobbit' to Yet Another Christopher Walken Comedy

Those expecting the grandeur of "Lord of the Rings" from Peter Jackson's "The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey" (the first of a new prequel trilogy) will be disappointed. But that's not to say the ride isn't enjoyable once you get used to the 48fps in 3-D. Were I to sit through the nearly three-hour film again, I'd take good old fashioned 24fps and 2-D. Once Bilbo Baggins (a perfect Martin Freeman), Gandalf and the many dwarves are off on their journey (after a rough start) the adventure does pull you in with some spectacular visuals and some quality time with Andy Serkis' show-stealing Gollum. What I missed most: Viggo Mortensen's Aragorn.
  • By Sophia Savage
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  • December 14, 2012 7:47 PM
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  • 0 Comments

FINALLY! The Answers--and Winners--for David Thomson's 2012 Impossibly Hard Quiz

"Is it too hard?" David Thomson asked me when he submitted his 2012 Impossibly Hard Quiz (to accompany his new Hollywood history, "The Big Screen"). I jumped into the rabbit hole for a few queries and thought if I gave it enough time I'd be able figure them out. Did I have that time? No. And when Sergio Leone and the Infield Fly Rule quiz master Dennis Cozzalio abandoned ship early on I should have known something was wrong.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • December 13, 2012 8:15 PM
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  • 0 Comments
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