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Thompson on Hollywood

John Wells Talks Company Men, Downsizing Economy and Hollywood Dramas

John Wells makes his directorial debut with Company Men, a smart, angry, sad movie about the state of things in recession-era America that is based on first-hand research. Wells, a veteran of such TV series as E.R. and The West Wing, developed this for years and wrote compelling characters we want to spend time with. He raised overseas financing with stars Ben Affleck, Tommy Lee Jones and Chris Cooper, all strong as three men laid off from their shipping company. Kevin Costner is terrific as the brother of Affleck's wife Rosemary DeWitt (left off the poster, boo), who is the best thing in this straight-on, no frills, naturalistic character drama.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • December 14, 2010 9:15 AM
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AFI Movies of the Year: The Town, Toy Story 3, 127 Hours, True Grit Make the Cut

AFI Movies of the Year: The Town, Toy Story 3, 127 Hours, True Grit Make the Cut
The American Film Institute voted their ten best AFI Movies and TV Programs of the Year Awards Sunday, proclaimed as the "only recognition that honors the community’s creative ensembles as a whole, acknowledging the collaborative nature of the art form." The AFI honors American films and series. Thus they chose British The King's Speech and Waiting for Superman as "Special Award" winners, having not met the AFI's standard criteria (posted below). Their Movies and TV Programs of the year, as chosen by film and television scholars, artists and critics, are as follows:
  • By Sophia Savage
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  • December 13, 2010 4:47 AM
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  • 1 Comment

Jeremy Renner Talks 'The Town,''Mission Impossible,' 'The Avengers'

The Hurt Locker not only gave Jeremy Renner the role of his career--which earned him an Oscar nomination--but it opened up a raft of career possibilities. Renner is young, gifted and masculine: he can play a charismatic hero or a dangerous villain, a leading man or a character role. He's versatile. This is what casting directors want. There aren't enough guys like him.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • December 6, 2010 6:26 AM
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Polanski's Ghost Writer Scores Six at European Film Awards

The European Film Awards are not predictive of Oscars. But six wins for The Ghost Writer moves the film to the top of the screener pile. Maybe some folks will watch it now. One of my favorite films of last year, it shares with Shutter Island and The Town a formal elegance and control. These films are well-made across the board. But they are also genre films, accessible and fun--as opposed to high art. That is the question. This is no The Pianist. Summit is pushing the movie for awards consideration.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • December 4, 2010 9:52 AM
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  • 0 Comments

Oscar Talk: What's Up, Down After Gothams, Indie Spirits, National Board of Review

This week Kris Tapley, indieWIRE's Peter Knegt and I analyze the impact of the Gotham Awards, Indie Spirit noms, the National Board of Review and the Coens' finally viewed and reviewed True Grit on the awards race. Kris went to the Inception DVD/Oscar party (so did Amy Dawes). It's a contender--but 127 Hours could be a little shaky.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • December 3, 2010 6:12 AM
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Oscar Talk: Long Shots for Best Actress and Picture

Oscar Talk: Long Shots for Best Actress and Picture
In this week's Oscar Talk, Kris Tapley and I cover the best actress race and the relative chances of long-shots The Town (we both spoke to Jeremy Renner), The Way Back (we both spoke to Peter Weir and Jim Sturgess), Secretariat and Diane Lane, and the Coens' True Grit, which should be screening soon:
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • November 26, 2010 10:50 AM
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  • 4 Comments

Oscar Watch: How Box Office Impacts Oscar Contenders

Does a film's box office performance have an impact on its Oscar hopes? TOH box office analyst Anthony D'Alessandro crunches the numbers and evaluates the current field of Oscar contenders.
  • By Anthony D'Alessandro
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  • November 11, 2010 9:00 AM
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Oscar Watch: Director/Picture Splits, Black Swan Promo

Oscar Watch: Director/Picture Splits, Black Swan Promo
- What are the odds of a director winning an Oscar without their film? LAT's new Awards Tracker blog considers the importance of the best director and best picture unity. "Over the past 20 years, the awards for best picture and director split only four times. That's 80% overlap," notes Tom O'Neil, pointing out that being "overdue" is a big factor. Could this happen with Darren Aronofsky (Black Swan), Christopher Nolan (Inception) or and Peter Weir (The Way Back)?
  • By Sophia Savage
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  • November 5, 2010 3:06 AM
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  • 3 Comments

Weekly Wrap: Awards and Festivals, News, Media, Celebs

In the past week, TOH looked at Names That Rule in Moviesphere, considered Recycling at the Cinema [pictured: DiCaprio and Hall, potentials for Great Gatsby remake] and pondered the five things that went wrong with Wall Street 2: Money Never Sleeps.
  • By Sophia Savage
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  • October 22, 2010 7:23 AM
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Director Watch: Nichols and Hoffman Do Salesman, Aronofsky for Wolverine 2, Affleck and Morel

Philip Seymour Hoffman will play Willy Loman on Broadway next fall in Tony and Oscar winning director Mike Nichols' take on Arthur Miller's Death of a Salesman. It's a role Hoffman has been lusting after, Nichols told the NY Times. The pair, who worked together in 2001 for a Central Park production of The Seagull, have been planning the production for months and agreed upon Linda Emond to play across from Hoffman as Linda Loman. Nichols is not worried about Hoffman's 43 years vs. Loman's 60-something, "what matters is finding the right man to play the part." Brian Dennehy played the part in 1999 when he was 60 and Dustin Hoffman played the role at 47 in 1984.
  • By Sophia Savage
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  • October 20, 2010 8:03 AM
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  • 2 Comments

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