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Thompson on Hollywood

'This is 40' Review and Round-Up: Judd Apatow and Crew Deliver Pain and Laughs

With "This is 40," Judd Apatow's fourth feature film as a writer-director, the prolific producer ("Girls," "Pineapple Express," "Freaks and Geeks") has never been more in control of his medium. This relationship comedy returns to Pete and Debbie, the Los Angeles married couple introduced in "Knocked Up" (Leslie Mann and Paul Rudd). It's tight, concise, hilarious, painful and spot-on accurate.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • December 1, 2012 3:59 PM
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Review: 'Killing Them Softly' Has Bold Style, Skips Heartbeat

Andrew Dominik's "Killing Them Softly," adapted from George V. Higgins' 1974 crime novel "Cogan's Trade," takes place in an atrophied post-Katrina New Orleans in 2008. Brad Pitt plays Jackie Cogan, a hitman whose preferred method of execution is explained in the film's updated title.
  • By Beth Hanna
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  • November 30, 2012 6:44 PM
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  • 1 Comment

Weekend Preview: Slim Pickings Beyond Andrew Dominik's 'Killing Them Softly' -- Unless You're Into Jean-Claude Van Damme

This lackluster weekend for movie openings may leave you wanting to catch up on the Thanksgiving releases you missed. That said, Andrew Dominik's "Killing Them Softly," an alternately engrossing and heavy-handed hitman drama starring Brad Pitt, is the strongest of the bunch. Beyond that, the options are disparate: a feminist take on Marilyn Monroe from HBO star Liz Garbus, "Love, Marilyn," wan horror title "The Collection," or Van Damme-Lundgren vehicle "Universal Soldier: Day of Reckoning," which some critics find worth reckoning with (and some don't).
  • By Beth Hanna
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  • November 30, 2012 5:39 PM
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  • 0 Comments

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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'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

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