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Thompson on Hollywood

Review Roundup: 'Killing Them Softly' Is Formally Stunning, Well-Acted, and Heavy-Handed

Down Under director Andrew Dominik's politically pessimistic crime drama "Killing Them Softly" hits theaters this weekend, starring Brad Pitt as a numbed hitman in an atrophied, Recession-roiled America. Critics are of two minds about the film: On the one hand, it shows masterful visual skill and boasts strong performances, while on the other, it becomes bogged down by its own message with a capital M. Reviews are mixed to positive; a roundup is below.
  • By Anne Thompson and Beth Hanna
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  • November 29, 2012 2:23 PM
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Review: Don't Mess with Granny in Finnish Oscar Entry 'Purge'

Antti J. Jokinen’s  “Purge,” Finland’s official Oscar entry, is based on the widely translated novel and play of the same title by Estonian-Finnish author Sofi Oksanen. The film alternates between two different yet interconnected stories set in rural Estonia: a young prostitute on the run from the Russian mafia in the early 1990s, and a village woman battling personal and socio-political demons during the mid-century Soviet occupation.
  • By Beth Hanna
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  • November 29, 2012 7:30 AM
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  • 2 Comments

Now and Then: 'Heaven's Gate,' Catastrophe or Classic?

Once reviled, Michael Cimino's controversial "Heaven's Gate" (1980) may remain — despite the Criterion Collection's effort to resuscitate it — a cautionary tale of directorial hubris, Hollywood excess, and wayward ambition. The real moral of the film, however, is far simpler: "Heaven's Gate" is an object lesson in the intangibility of greatness.
  • By Matt Brennan
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  • November 27, 2012 4:21 PM
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  • 3 Comments

'Les Miserables' Screens, EW's Interview with Hathaway and Jackman [Video]

Reviews are embargoed for Tom Hooper's "Les Miserables," but some tweets have hit the internet, promising some spectacular performances and indicating a likelihood of audience tears. IndieWire has gathered several tweets, including our own, here.
  • By Maggie Lange
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  • November 26, 2012 7:26 AM
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Weekend Preview: Give Thanks for 'Rust and Bone' & 'Life of Pi;' Plus 'Hitchcock,' 'Central Park Five' & 'Rise of the Guardians'

This holiday weekend there are multiple films to enjoy and one for almost everyone's taste. "Hitchcock" is an historical comedy/drama for cinephile nerds featuring the beloved Anthony Hopkins and Helen Mirren; "Life of Pi" is Ang Lee's epic adaptation of Yann Martel's survival novel, and "Rust and Bone" is Jacques Audiard's powerful and gritty melodrama starring Marion Cotillard and Matthias Schoenaerts. "The Central Park Five" will please doc fans, and for the youngsters there's "Rise of the Guardians."
  • By Sophia Savage
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  • November 21, 2012 4:27 PM
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  • 0 Comments

'Life of Pi' Review: Ang Lee's Gorgeous Adaptation is Stunning 3-D Triumph

Is it possible for a wild animal to love a human being? And vice versa? At a time in the world when religion can be so devisive, Martel's story of a Hindu/Christian/Muslim who is the sole human survivor of an ocean shipwreck reminds that film can both heal and inspire. But it is also a stunning technological triumph.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • November 21, 2012 12:53 PM
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  • 1 Comment

Review Roundup: 'Inventing David Geffen' Takes a Long, Respectful Look at a Hollywood Mega-Mogul

Susan Lacy's documentary "Inventing David Geffen," which premieres November 20 on PBS as part of the "American Masters" series, is generally sitting well with the critics. The portrait of the intimidating "agent-manager-record-mogul-movie-mogul" is a comprehensive look at Geffen's many achievements, if a fairly rose-colored one...
  • By Beth Hanna
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  • November 20, 2012 1:56 PM
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  • 0 Comments

Oscar Watch: Hear 'Paul Williams Still Alive' Original Song (TRAILER)

Paul Williams' original song "Still Alive" from Stephen Kessler's new documentary "Paul Williams Still Alive" will touch any artist, especially someone past their prime. The movie and the song address Williams' past glories, which are gone, and the fantasy of chasing your dreams vs. the reality of living with day-to-day happiness.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • November 19, 2012 1:25 PM
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  • 4 Comments

Things I Learned at the Kubrick LACMA Exhibit, from Weegee to NASA Technology

Give yourself plenty of time to check out the Stanley Kubrick exhibit at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. It's huge. And it rewards drilling into the details. There's a room devoted to each film, and they wouldn't let me take pictures (although @BrettRatner managed to sneak a few on Twitter). My appointment for the exhibit was set for 5:30 PM, with the museum set to close at 7 PM. I had barely started "2001: A Space Odyssey" with its giant gimble and 38-ton centrifuge created by space engineers when they announced the museum was about to close.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • November 18, 2012 7:51 PM
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  • 1 Comment

Weekend Preview: Must-See 'Silver Linings Playbook,' Wright & Knightley's Beautifully Mounted 'Anna Karenina'

The Oscar race is about to get real now that David O. Russell's crowd pleaser "Silver Linings Playbook" is hitting theaters. The satisfying film stars Bradley Cooper at his all-time best and Jennifer Lawrence on form. Joe Wright's "Anna Karenina" has proved more devisive among critics, who praise the lavish costumes and cleverly theatrical set, but also cite a lack of chemistry and depth from the leading players.
  • By Sophia Savage
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  • November 16, 2012 6:54 PM
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  • 3 Comments

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