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Thompson on Hollywood

Weekend Box Office: Word-of-Mouth Sells Social Network Over Newbies Life as We Know It, Secretariat

Strong word-of-mouth propelled The Social Network to a strong hold over two openers with femme appeal, the Katharine Heigl rom-com Life as We Know It and the 70s true story sports drama Secretariat, starring Diane Lane. Anthony D'Alessandro reports.A soft Columbus Day weekend frame totaling an estimated $76 million, off 16% from a year ago, slowed moviegoing for new entries this weekend, but kept holdovers alive. Sony’s The Social Network remained online with the masses, hanging onto No. 1 with $15.5 million, off a sweet 31%.  The film saw a 32% spike between Friday and Saturday, clearly indicating that word-of-mouth continues to be strong for this potential awards contender. 
  • By Anthony D'Alessandro
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  • October 10, 2010 4:08 AM
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  • 1 Comment

Oscar Talk: Frontrunners King's Speech vs. The Social Network, Why The Fighter Isn't A Shoo-In

Oscar Talk: Frontrunners King's Speech vs. The Social Network, Why The Fighter Isn't A Shoo-In
It's only September, which means that Kris Tapley and I are declaring The King's Speech and The Social Network frontrunners---for now. Which films could possibly supplant them? Toy Story 3 is an animated sequel. I argue that The Fighter is directed by the one and only David O. Russell, while Kris points out that All the President's Men was beaten by Rocky. The Beaver's Mel Gibson makes another problematic award-season figure. Ben Affleck's The Town needs to accumulate success and gravitas. And then there's the Coen brothers' True Grit.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • September 24, 2010 12:30 PM
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  • 14 Comments

Salon The Town Review Attacks Affleck for Celebrity Malaise

While the rest of the world is restoring Ben Affleck to star status after his well-reviewed and well-attended The Town opening, Salon's Andrew O'Hehir is playing Armond White. He detects "troubling signs of celebrity malaise" in The Town, compared to Affleck's directorial debut Gone Baby Gone: "you can't even describe [it] as more of the same. It's less of the same." The movie is "mediocre," with plenty of "unnecessary expositional detail" in the dialogue written in part by Affleck.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • September 20, 2010 5:28 AM
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  • 5 Comments

Contraband Stars Beckinsale, Wasikowska vs. Phoenix, Panettiere as Amanda Knox

- Working Title is remaking 2008 thriller Reykjavik-Rotterdam (Iceland's 2009 Oscar submission) for American audiences. Kate Beckinsale will reportedly star opposite Mark Wahlberg in the retitled Contraband. He plays an alcohol smuggler-turned-security guard being lured back into below-ground business. Actor-director-producer Baltasar Kormákur, who produced the original and has directed six films (Inhale, starring Diane Kruger and Dermot Mulroney, comes out next month) will direct. Release is set for 2012.
  • By Sophia Savage
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  • September 20, 2010 4:11 AM
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  • 1 Comment

Oscar Talk: Post-Toronto, 127 Hours, King's Speech, Social Network, I'm Still Here

In Contention's Kris Tapley and I talked in the same city for this week's Oscar Talk. He's seen Catfish and The Social Network; I saw a bunch of new movies in Venice and Toronto including I'm Still Here, Rabbit Hole, Beginners, and I Saw the Devil.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • September 19, 2010 2:41 AM
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  • 0 Comments

Weekend Box Office: Affleck's The Town Breaks Warners September B.O. Record

With The Town, Ben Affleck proves that he can open a movie--if he directs it. Not only did the Warner/Legendary movie score with critics at Venice and Toronto fests (earning a remarkable 93% on the Tomatometer) but it beat out the weekend boxoffice competition with a $23.8 million estimate. That's a big leap from advance tracking predicting a $15-million opener.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • September 19, 2010 2:17 AM
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  • 0 Comments

TIFF: Affleck Talks The Town

TIFF: Affleck Talks The Town
After playing Venice and Toronto, Ben Affleck's sophomore directing effort The Town, in which he stars himself this time, opens Friday. It's a straightforward entertaining character-driven genre piece set in Boston based on a novel by Chuck Hogan about a Charlestown gang of bank robbers who are under avid pursuit by the FBI. Affleck is trying to make a movie that's both smart and mainstream; he gives himself a juicy role as a wily robber who falls in love with a bank staffer (Rebecca Hall) and then looks to get out. Jeremy Renner is charismatic and dangerous as his trigger-happy partner in crime, while Jon Hamm is wasted in a dull role as an FBI agent. Blake Lively is believably sexy and pathetic as Affleck's angry, drug-addicted ex-girlfriend scorned.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • September 13, 2010 3:48 AM
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  • 3 Comments

The Town: Early Reviews

Following its September 8th premiere at the Venice Film Festival, reviews for Ben Affleck's second film (in theatres September 17th) are decidedly mixed, though none (excluding The Guardian's harsh review, after the jump) go so far as to deny it is a worthwhile slice of gritty Boston crime in tune with thematic ancestors sharing its East Coast locale: Mystic River, The Departed and Affleck's 2007 debut, Gone Baby Gone.
  • By Sophia Savage
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  • September 9, 2010 6:12 AM
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  • 2 Comments

Affleck Talks The Town with Co-Star Blake Lively

- Ben Affleck interviews his The Town co-star Blake Lively for Interview Magazine. Lively, who plays Affleck's ex-girlfriend, a 29-year old drug-dealing single mother, jokes her way through the interview. They are clearly comfortable with each other--they shot a sex scene together on her first day of shooting.
  • By Sophia Savage
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  • September 3, 2010 4:55 AM
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  • 0 Comments

Director Clooney Casts Political Drama, Affleck "All In" with The Town, TV vs. Cinema

- Occasional director George Clooney announced his intentions to adapt the play Farragut North some time ago. And now this February his movie is set to shoot with a powerful cast: Philip Seymour Hoffman, Paul Giamatti and possibly Chris Pine, Evan Rachel Wood and Marisa Tomei (should they accept Clooney's offers). At some point, Brad Pitt and Leonardo DiCaprio were each attached to play leading roles in the film but schedules didn't work out. Former Democratic politico Beau Willimon, after working on Howard Dean's '04 campaign, wrote the original story and first script draft about behind-the-scenes dirty campaign tricks for a Democratic candidate who will barely be seen on screen. The main characters include a young campaign whiz kid (Pine already won praise for playing the role onstage at the Geffen [pictured]), a veteran boss (Hoffman), a rival campaign manager (Giamatti), a teen staffer (Wood?) and journalist (Tomei?). Though the specifics of funding and distribution are as yet unconfirmed, Vulture says, "finding funding with this cast shouldn't require kissing a lot of babies."
  • By Sophia Savage
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  • September 2, 2010 3:23 AM
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  • 0 Comments

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