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Thompson on Hollywood

Best of the Week: LA Film Fest Reviews, 'Girls' & 'Newsroom,' Plus Remembering Andrew Sarris

This week on TOH, we covered the heck out of the ongoing LA Film Festival, looked at the excellent Season 1 run of "Girls" while rounding up mixed reviews for the soon-to-start Season 1 of Aaron Sorkin's "The Newsroom," and culled early critics' reactions to "The Amazing Spider-Man" and "Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter." All this and more below!
  • By TOH!
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  • June 22, 2012 5:27 PM
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Weekend Preview: Must-See 'Invisible War'; 'Brave' for Gay Marriage Rights; 'Seeking a Friend' & 'Rome' Disappoint

It's Summertime and the theaters are filling up. There's a varied selection of new releases, from studio pics "Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter" and "Brave" to excellent documentaries "The Invisible War" and "Kumaré"...
  • By Sophia Savage
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  • June 21, 2012 4:07 PM
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Review Roundup: 'Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter' Only Half Succeeds in Marrying American History with Stylized Vampire Pulverizing

Reviews are coming in for distinctively stylistic director Timur Bekmambetov's "Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter." While the slo-mo-then-ramp-up action sequences are impressing, the story is lacking in coherency as it melds 3D bloodsuckers with a particularly pernicious moment in American history...
  • By Beth Hanna
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  • June 21, 2012 12:15 PM
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  • 2 Comments

OBIT: Pioneer Film Critic Andrew Sarris is Dead at 83; He Changed How We See Movies

The great critic Andrew Sarris, who wrote for The Village Voice and more recently, The New York Observer, is dead at age 83. According to his wife Molly Haskell in The NYTimes, he died from an infection after a fall. My best wishes go to Haskell ("From Reverence to Rape"), who was as erudite and passionate about film as her husband.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • June 20, 2012 3:22 PM
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Early Review Roundup: 'The Amazing Spider-Man' Soars on Teenage Emotion, Aimed at Women?

The Guardian and the Telegraph published first reviews for "The Amazing Spider Man" today, both generally positive and citing the film's unusual amount of emotional appeal, largely due to the the cute-hot chemistry between leads Andrew Garfield and Emma Stone. Excerpts and links below.
  • By Beth Hanna
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  • June 20, 2012 12:23 PM
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  • 6 Comments

LAFF Mid-Fest Report: Reviews, Exclusive Clips and Ursula Meier Talks Oscar-Worthy 'Sister' (VIDEO)

Halfway through Film Independent's LA Film Fest, we've sampled a spectrum of films, among them a gala premiere ("Seeking a Friend for the End of the World"), an indie debut ("Pincus"), indie gems ("Beasts of the Southern Wild," "Gimme the Loot"), a foreign stunner ("Sister") and powerful docs ("The Invisible War," "Birth Story").
  • By Sophia Savage
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  • June 19, 2012 7:17 PM
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Immersed in Movies: Turbulent Behind-the-Scenes Yields Pixar's 'Brave' New Scottish World

"Brave" is far from the disappointment expressed in some early reviews. It's not only the much ballyhooed breakthrough as Pixar's first female-centric movie but also the most lush-looking work yet from the animation powerhouse. It's a powerful mother-daughter crucible set in medieval Scotland but with a modern sensibility...
  • By Bill Desowitz
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  • June 19, 2012 4:27 PM
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Tale of Two First-Time Directors: 'People Like Us' and 'Seeking a Friend for the End of the World' Debut at LAFF

There are times when writer-directors should be allowed to direct their own material. And there are time when they should not. I would argue that "Star Trek" and "Alias" co-scribe Alex Kurtzman has more than earned his shot at directing his semi-autobiographical relationship drama "People Like Us" (June 29) even if it isn't entirely successful.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • June 18, 2012 4:25 PM
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Now and Then: 'Girls' Was the Season's Best New Series. When Did That Happen?

The pilot of "Girls" was an ugly, awkward little thing, delivering its one-liners with a nervous titter. Despite its refreshingly frank appraisal of modern sexual mores, its quartet of young women came off largely as archetypes, not characters. But I stuck with the series, and it paid off.
  • By Matt Brennan
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  • June 18, 2012 4:21 PM
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'The Newsroom' Reaction: Early Reviews Are Tough on Aaron Sorkin

The mark of a great writer is that you can recognize their voice. There's no other Charlie Kaufman or Woody Allen or Aaron Sorkin. But what happens to a lauded player at the top of Hollywood's writer pyramid after winning the Oscar for "The Social Network" and sharing a nomination for "Moneyball" and landing his own HBO series? He gets killed.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • June 18, 2012 1:40 PM
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  • 1 Comment

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