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Thompson on Hollywood

TV's 'Revolution' Reminds Why Networks Aren't Earning Emmy Drama Love

When the lights – and all computers, telephones, car engines, and batteries – go off permanently and seemingly forever during the pilot of “Revolution,” the audience is left in the dark for only one or two minutes. Then, 15 years later, sunlight shines on a rural village, its good guy leader is killed by one of the militias that roam a dystopian America, and a fascinating idea becomes trapped in a mixture of stereotyped characters and stereotyped plot.
  • By Aljean Harmetz
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  • September 23, 2012 12:26 PM
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  • 15 Comments

Director John Hillcoat and Screenwriter Nick Cave Talk 'Lawless'

At Cannes, I sat down with the director and screenwriter of "Lawless," John Hillcoat and Nick Cave, who also wrote "The Proposition." This gorgeously mounted period adaptation of "The Wettest County in the World," which is palying out around the country, about the real-life Virginia rum-runner Bondurants, is more family relationship drama than actioner. Tom Hardy is the standout as a sensitive but violent head of the family who is more protective mother hen than father; the rest of the strong ensemble includes Shia LaBeouf, Guy Pearce, Gary Oldman and actresses Jessica Chastain and Mia Wasikowska, who shine in underwritten roles.  (Here's more background on how the indie movie got made.) Hillcoat and Cave explain why.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • September 21, 2012 3:17 PM
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  • 0 Comments

Weekend Preview: Eastwood's 'Trouble,' Gyllenhaal's 'Watch' & 'The Perks of Being A Wallflower'

Among the many new releases arriving this weekend, David Ayer's visceral, you-are-there LA cop drama "End of Watch" boasts outstanding performances from Jake Gyllenhaal and Michael Pena, which may or may not support Open Road's ultra-wide (2800) theater break. The film did gain some buzz in Toronto, as did Lionsgate/Summit's boy-centric coming-of-age tale "The Perks of Being a Wallflower," which favors Leo Lerman and Ezra Miller over post-"Harry Potter" Emma Watson.
  • By Anne Thompson and Sophia Savage
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  • September 21, 2012 2:24 PM
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  • 0 Comments

Fantastic Fest Review: With ‘Frankenweenie,' Tim Burton Revives Pet Project, Returns to Form

"Frankenweenie" is probably Tim Burton’s best film in almost a decade, but that’s not much of a compliment. With his last five films, the filmmaker responsible for some of the most fun, mischievous and magical cinema of the past 25 years has settled into a disappointing routine of utterly safe “weirdness.”
  • By Todd Gilchrist
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  • September 20, 2012 10:18 PM
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  • 2 Comments

IFC Films Lands Baumbach's Black-and-White Gerwig Vehicle 'Frances Ha'

IFC Films is acquiring all North and Latin American rights to Noah Baumbach’s "Frances Ha," which the filmmaker co-wrote with his star and muse, Mumblecore darling Greta Gerwig. She has received glowing reviews for the film, which debuted at Telluride followed by Toronto and now, New York. Mickey Sumner, Adam Driver and Michael Zegen co-star.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • September 20, 2012 4:25 PM
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  • 0 Comments

Review: Seven Shorts Showcase Rare Performances from Colin Firth, Keira Knightley, Jason Alexander, Judi Dench, Kenneth Branagh

This fall, ShortsHD will present a collection of several brief films unambiguously titled "Stars in Shorts." Each of these otherwise unconnected seven films features big name talent including Judi Dench, Colin Firth, Tom Hiddleston, Keira Knightly, Kenneth Branagh, Lily Tomlin, Jason Alexander, and others. The seven films, reviewed below, will premiere in theaters on September 28th, followed by an iTunes/Pay Per View release on October 9.
  • By Maggie Lange
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  • September 19, 2012 7:24 PM
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  • 2 Comments

Critic vs. Critic: A Tale of Two Paul Anderson Films

It didn't escape the notice of critics this past weekend that two wildly disparate films were released by directors both named Paul Anderson -- Paul Thomas Anderson's festival favorite and rave-reviewed "The Master," and Paul W.S. Anderson's "Resident Evil: Retribution," the fifth installment in the video-game-based franchise and the director's third helming contribution to the series. Notably, Armond White is Team Resident Evil, calling "The Master" a "dull, nihilistic and mean-spirited presumption of cultural history." Below, a round-up of critics weighing in on PTA and PWSA.
  • By Anne Thompson and Beth Hanna
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  • September 19, 2012 1:25 PM
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  • 2 Comments

Now and Then: In 'Chico & Rita' and 'Nobody Walks,' The Sound of Heartache

Early in "Chico & Rita," under the shimmer of the Tropicana's spotlight, Rita rummages through the lower octaves of attraction. Smitten, Chico gapes from the bar, dragging on a cigarette. Humid with sound, the scene has the texture of live action, its every wrinkle and wink. A movie song hasn't conveyed desire quite like this in nearly forty years.
  • By Matt Brennan
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  • September 18, 2012 1:12 PM
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  • 0 Comments

Oscar Watch: Why Affleck's 'Argo' Hits the Zeitgeist, Early Reviews

Ben Affleck has another hit due to arrive in theaters October 12. But "Argo," his third feature as director, will be even more commercially successful than 2007's "Gone Baby Gone" and 2012's "The Town," which earned Jeremy Renner a supporting actor nomination. That's because while Affleck understood that the film is timely--unrest in the Middle East has not dissipated since the true 1980 events depicted here--he could not have known that a mob assault on a U.S. consulate would make news headlines just as his film made its Toronto debut.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • September 17, 2012 3:56 PM
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  • 1 Comment

Early Reviews for 'Trouble with the Curve,' Eastwood's 'Gran Torino' Meets 'Moneyball' Antithesis

For someone who has enjoyed such a golden career to date, Oscar-winner Clint Eastwood, 82, seems to be tempting fate, finally. He earned tough reviews for his performance at the Republican National Convention (SNL's inevitable Eastwood-with-chair spoof is below) and deflects questions about his wife's reality show "Eastwood and Company" in Tom Junod's Esquire current cover profile.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • September 17, 2012 1:26 PM
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  • 0 Comments

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