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Thompson on Hollywood

'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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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
More: Quiz, Critics, Books

'Django Unchained' Needed More Time; Review and Roundup

So far the critics are being kind to Quentin Tarantino's bloody Western-down-South, singing the praises of the film's stellar cast and its fierce yet disturbingly funny confrontation with the most shameful chapter of American history. Division comes concerning the film's length, with some enjoying the epic 165-minute runtime, and others finding it an overbloated self-indulgence. Review roundup below.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • December 12, 2012 1:56 PM
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  • 10 Comments

Now and Then: The Rachel Weisz Argument, or the Best Performers of the Year

Last week, the NYFCC awarded Rachel Weisz its Best Actress prize for her sumptuous period turn in "The Deep Blue Sea," and well-deserved it was. But it reminded me of what I'm calling the Rachel Weisz Argument: an actor's entire body of work in a given year is a better measure of "best."
  • By Matt Brennan
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  • December 11, 2012 4:49 PM
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  • 6 Comments

Review: Czech Oscar Entry 'In the Shadow,' Sleek Neo-Noir and Gorgeously Old-Fashioned Policier

“In the Shadow,” the Czech Republic’s official Oscar entry, takes place in 1953 Prague, during the currency reform. World War II has been over for the better part of a decade, but the stench of anti-Semitism is still thick in the air, and a tightly controlled police state looms. Detective Jarda Hakl (Ivan Trojan) falls upon a seemingly routine burglary case -- a safe broken into, jewelry missing -- that leads him down a labyrinthine rabbit hole with murder, lies and relentless surveillance in its cavernous depths.
  • By Beth Hanna
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  • December 11, 2012 1:53 PM
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  • 0 Comments

2012 Heroine Worship in Movies, from Katniss Everdeen and Hushpuppy to 'Bridesmaids' and 'Girls'

The New York Times' A. O. Scott recaps the year in Heroine Worship, when it was still news when women actually carry a movie that scores at the box office. He writes: "There is a smattering of evidence to support the impression that [things have changed], because 2012 was, all in all, a pretty good year for movies and also a pretty good year for female heroism." But why, he asks, do we still need to make a fuss about heroines such as Katniss Everdeen in "The Hunger Games" or Hushpuppy in "Beasts of the Southern Wild"?
  • By Sophia Savage
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  • December 9, 2012 1:46 PM
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  • 1 Comment

Weekend Preview: Head for Indie Doc 'Tchoupitoulas' & Neo-Noir 'Deadfall'; Skip 'Playing for Keeps' on the 'Hudson'

If you live in a "limited release" city, it might be best to stick with documentaries this weekend. Standouts are "Tchoupitoulas," following three young brothers discovering the magic of New Orleans, and "Only the Young," a portrait of a trio of charismatic teens.
  • By Beth Hanna
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  • December 7, 2012 4:05 PM
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  • 0 Comments

Review Roundup: Bill Murray Deserves Better than 'Hyde Park on Hudson'

Focus Features has done a swell job promoting Joe Wright's "Anna Karenina," but two of their small-scale year-end features aren't getting the kind of response any awards-contender needs, "Promised Land," and "Hyde Park on Hudson." Which leads me to ask what benefit these films get from being scrutinized inside the awards window. Why not give them a chance in a less competitive frame?
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • December 7, 2012 1:27 PM
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  • 0 Comments

'Les Miserables' Review Roundup; Hooper and Cast Talk Singing Live

The review embargo for Tom Hooper's "Les Miserables" has lifted. Critics are singing the praises of the film's strong performances (Anne Hathaway and Hugh Jackman are standouts), and admire the successful hybridizing of the musical with the Victor Hugo source material, but for some the film sags under its own bombast. Review roundup below.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • December 6, 2012 2:51 PM
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  • 8 Comments

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