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Thompson on Hollywood

Lumet's 12 Angry Men a Classic, Beyond a Reasonable Doubt

They’re talking about a switchblade. If the murder weapon in question is one of a kind, linking the young defendant to his father’s death, they can return a guilty sentence — and the mandatory capital punishment — in mere minutes. "But what if it isn’t?" Juror 8 asks. He pulls an identical knife from his pocket and sticks it into the table. Still incredulous, the eleven angry men now on their feet leer at him. "It’s just a trick, a stunt," they say, the story he’s telling so unlikely — another person bought a knife identical to the one the boy owned and murdered the father with it while the boy was out — that “the odds are a million to one.”
  • By Matt Brennan
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  • November 21, 2011 12:20 PM
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24 Hour Plays: Eisenberg, Crudup, Krasinski, Silverman and Bettany Act Impulsive, Giddy and Charming

Audiences flock to see the 24 Hour Plays on Broadway (a fundraising benefit for Urban Arts Partnership) for the same reason people watch NASCAR: the hope of a disaster. “No, there will be no art here tonight,” declares 24 Hour Plays veteran Billy Crudup in the first of six productions. “But you know what can happen in the blink of an eye? A train-wreck.” Just the evening before, on the upper floor of the American Airlines Theater, a throng of celebrity actors, writers, and stage directors met to brainstorm. The 2011 crew -- Jesse Eisenberg, Sarah Silverman, John Krasinski, Megan Fox, Gabourey Sidibe, Rachel Dratch, Paul Bettany, and Tracy Morgan, among others--were given one full day to script, stage, rehearse, and produce a short play. With such eminent reputations and so little time, there is imminent risk.
  • By Maggie Lange
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  • November 18, 2011 2:53 AM
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Bill Condon Talks Twilight: Breaking Dawn, Stewart and Pattinson Grow Up, 2-D vs. 3-D

At the "Twilight: Breaking Dawn -Part One" premiere Monday night in downtown Los Angeles, Summit put the ensemble led by Kristen Stewart, Rob Pattinson and Taylor Lautner through the usual endless labyrinthine gauntlet of fans and global media, all broadcast inside the huge fan-packed Nokia Theater. When the stars finally arrived inside the house, ripples of screaming began and continued throughout the movie--screams when any of the lead trio remove their clothes, or kiss, or make love. Before the overscaled rooftop after party for 2700 guests (complete with sets of the honeymoon and wedding), the "Twilight" cast flew off to the London premiere.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • November 17, 2011 3:47 PM
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Criterion Scores with Kieslowski, Three Colors Trilogy on DVD

  • By Matt Brennan
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  • November 16, 2011 12:00 PM
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The Iron Lady Review: No Thatcher Hatchet Job, Streep Splendid

  • By David Gritten
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  • November 15, 2011 11:39 AM
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  • 3 Comments

Now and Then: Growing Up is Hard to Do: How Harry Potter Won a Generation of Fans

  • By Matthew Brennan
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  • November 14, 2011 1:19 PM
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  • 1 Comment

Paul Mazursky is Vanity Fair's New Film Critic: Do Critics Matter?

Vanity Fair editor Graydon Carter has made a smart move: he's giving veteran writer-director Paul Mazursky ("Bob & Carol & Ted & Alice," "Harry and Tonto")  an online gig as VF's film critic. Mazursky's first reviews are Lars von Trier's "Melancholia" and Clint Eastwood's "J. Edgar." (See snippets below.)
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • November 12, 2011 6:55 PM
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  • 1 Comment

Early Reviews: Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn - Part One; Marriage, Sex, Pregnancy, Vampire, Bill Condon Talks

At Comic-Con, "Dreamgirls" director Bill Condon talked about how he approached "Twilight: Breaking Dawn (November 18), which I will see at Monday's premiere. Condon had been eager to direct a horror movie, and landed the finale to this mother of all horror epics, which he and Summit agreed to break into two parts, "Harry Potter"-style. "It's all third act, which does make it easy," he says, "and scary too, there are some pretty crazy things." The film wound up earning a PG-13 rating after trims of a scene where Bella and Edward have sex for the first time, which features some nudity, and when she gives birth to their baby, with blood flying around the room.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • November 11, 2011 4:30 PM
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  • 2 Comments

Spielberg's Exhilarating E-Ride Adventures of Tintin Closes AFI FEST with North American Premiere: Review and New Trailer

As Jamie Bell, sporting a Tintin haircut, introduced the closing night attraction at AFI FEST 2011, Steven Spielberg's "The Adventures of Tintin" (December 21), he felt the need to tell the audience exactly who Tintin is. Belgian Herge's comic book character was created back in 1929, serialized in newspapers around the world, and over the years translated into 80 languages, selling 200 million copies. "I started reading the comics when I was eight," said Bell. "I've been preparing for this role for a while." Herge had said before he died in 1983 that if anyone could direct "Tintin" it should be Steven Spielberg. The director sent a video from the Virginia set of "Lincoln," admitting that this is the first time he's directed an animated movie.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • November 11, 2011 1:58 PM
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Spielberg, Tintin, and the Race for Oscar

If the animated Oscar competition comes down to originality and boldness, then you can't rule out a potential horse race between "Rango" and "The Adventures of Tintin." Make no mistake: despite the outcry from traditionalists, "Tintin" is nothing if not animated, and definitely a performance capture game-changer: a unique hybrid of the caricature and photoreal, thanks to the wizards of Weta, who've struck again after their "Rise of the Planet of the Apes" coup. The rendering of skin, eyes, mouth, and hair is so tactile, and there's a more believable sense of weight and movement.
  • By Bill Desowitz
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  • November 11, 2011 11:41 AM
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  • 7 Comments

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