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Thompson on Hollywood

Now and Then: In Directing Debut, Farmiga Reaches 'Higher Ground'

"Higher Ground," the actress Vera Farmiga's directorial debut, plays like a fugue. It circles back and folds in on itself, its repeated images — a children's book, worshippers in song, immersion in water — propelled not by forward momentum but by changes of key.
  • By Matt Brennan
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  • January 16, 2012 12:42 PM
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  • 1 Comment

Now and Then: In 'Contagion' and 'Children of Men,' Disaster Runs Cold and Hot

The opening minutes of "Contagion" are all surface, literally. A bowl of peanuts on the bartop, a swiped credit card, an elevator button, the human hand: each is a vector of death itself, a pandemic already in motion. With the rasp of a cough, a title card tells us we're in "Day 2." It's terrifying.
  • By Matt Brennan
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  • January 9, 2012 11:02 AM
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  • 0 Comments

Soderbergh's 'Haywire' is Kick-Ass: Trailers and Early Reviews UPDATED

I finally saw Steven Soderbergh's "Haywire" (January 20) at Relativity Media's Hollywood premiere at the DGA Thursday night. In his intro, Soderbergh said, "I happened upon Gina Carano beating a woman up in a cage." The way to make it even better? Have her beat the crap out of macho movie stars. "Did you meet Gina?" Soderbergh asked me at the after-party. "Don't say the wrong thing, she's very strong."
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • January 6, 2012 7:28 PM
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  • 3 Comments

'Downton Abbey' Second Season Premieres January 8; Early Reviews and Trailer

"Downton Abbey," the gorgeous, turn-of-the-last-century, period Brit TV soap opera is back to please audiences and critics alike. Premiering this Sunday January 8th on PBS' Masterpiece Theatre, the second season will show how World War I dramatically upturns the lives of the aristocratic set and those who serve them. The characters created by executive producer Julian Fellowes ("Gosford Park") face dramatic changes. Early reviews suggest that the effects of the war on style and character are both distressing and stirring.
  • By Maggie Lange
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  • January 4, 2012 8:20 PM
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  • 1 Comment

Village Voice Lays Off Film Critic Jim Hoberman

As inured as we are to the ongoing crisis in newspaper publishing that leads to the seemingly inevitable layoffs of our best veteran film critics, I am upset that Village Voice Media, which has been shedding employees steadily for the past few years, has finally let go of Jim Hoberman.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • January 4, 2012 6:52 PM
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  • 11 Comments

Now and Then: Why The Descendants Should Win Best Picture

"The Descendants" starts slow, muddied by voiceover and unclear intentions. But it soon sneaks up on you, deepening — ripening, really — until it achieves something approaching wisdom.
  • By Matt Brennan
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  • December 30, 2011 2:55 PM
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  • 2 Comments

Empire Polls Actors' 2011 Faves with Surprising Results

I love the choices made by a gaggle of actors polled by Empire Magazine for their fave films of 2011.  "Jane Eyre" and "Take Shelter" were on my ten best list, and 'Attack the Block" made my top 20.  Here's a sample of some must-see, often offbeat films. I will have to check out "The Adopted."
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • December 30, 2011 11:12 AM
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  • 2 Comments

Will The Iron Lady's Nasty Reviews Hurt Meryl Streep at the Oscars?

Well, these are not the reviews Harvey Weinstein had in mind when he backed "The Iron Lady." So far the movie is scoring 64% on Rotten Tomatoes. Stateside critics are praising Meryl Streep's impeccable portrait of a much-revered and reviled British leader, while many question Phyllida Lloyd's direction as one-sided and overly revisionist.
  • By Anne Thompson and Maggie Lange
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  • December 29, 2011 2:47 PM
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  • 29 Comments

Now and Then: Two Docs Test the Limits of What We Know About Those We Love

On July 26, 2009, Diane Schuler left the New York campground where she was vacationing and began her trip home to Long Island with her two children and three nieces in tow.
  • By Matt Brennan
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  • December 26, 2011 2:22 PM
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  • 2 Comments

Weekly Wrap: Trailers, Interviews, Festival Updates, Oscar Watch, and a 2011 Trailer Mashup

Weekly Wrap: Trailers for "Prometheus" and "Dark Knight Rising," Reviews of Late December Releases, Festival Updates, Oscar Watch and updates on projects in the works.
  • By TOH!
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  • December 24, 2011 7:49 PM
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  • 0 Comments

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