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Venice Opens with Aronofsky's Black Swan: Too Intense?

Venice Opens with Aronofsky's Black Swan: Too Intense?
The opening night selection of the sexy R-rated violent thriller Black Swan was something of a gamble for Fox Searchlight and the Venice Fest, which landed loyal fan Darren Aronofsky--after rousing Venice receptions for both The Fountain and The Wrestler, which won the Golden Lion. He talked Searchlight into accepting the opening night invite--and now has to work Telluride and Toronto as well.Why the risk? Well, Searchlight covered their bets by making sure some stateside critics timed their early reviews--which were largely positive--with Venice.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • September 2, 2010 9:18 AM
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  • 5 Comments

Venice Day One: Black Swan Early Reviews, Machete

As a Venice newbie, I got off the speed train from Rome, exited the station to a canal and grabbed a 40-minute ferry to the island the Lido. It's an adjustment. Basically a subway is a ferry here, a taxi is a motor boat or gondola, and houses have water in their basements with a garage for their boat (below). Trucks are boats too; Venice is under constant construction, like New Orleans. The Lido is a lovely resort (a bit like Fire Island or Catalina); I figured out that I needed to rent a bike to get around (I get a silly kick out of passing slow riders on the left). The casino location of the film festival (this is the 67th) is a maze of corridors, high-ceilinged halls, wide stairways and long lines for multiple screenings.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • September 1, 2010 1:25 AM
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  • 1 Comment

Vincent Cassel Talks Mesrine, Black Swan, Soderbergh and Cronenberg's Next

Vincent Cassel Talks Mesrine, Black Swan, Soderbergh and Cronenberg's Next
The winner of three C├ęsar Awards including best actor for Vincent Cassel in the title role, Jean-Francois Richet's gangster biopic Mesrine: Killer Instinct, Part One played the Toronto Film festival two years ago. At the time, doomed distrib Senator was set to release the film as well as Part Two, Public Enemy Number 1. Now Music Box is finally releasing the two French hits, adapted by Richet and A Prophet writer Abdel Raouf Dafri from Jacques Mesrine's autobiography, stateside on August 27 and September 3, respectively. (UPDATE: Anthony Lane writes a lovely review.)
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • August 9, 2010 8:01 AM
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  • 1 Comment

Venice Fest Preview: Early Art

Venice Fest Preview: Early Art
Here is some early art for several of the movies coming up at the Venice Film Fest. (I arrive there August 31 by train after spending two days in Rome; I leave September 8 for the Toronto Film Festival.) I'll write up early coverage of opener Darren Aronofsky's ballet drama Black Swan, starring Natalie Portman, Mila Kunis and Vincent Cassel as a tough ballet master (modeled after Georges Balanchine), who I interviewed Monday. That film will likely show in Telluride as well as Toronto.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • August 5, 2010 12:59 PM
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  • 1 Comment

Black Swan Opens 67th Venice Biennale; American Films Expected; Where's Margaret?

Not completed in time for Cannes, Darren Aronofsky's Black Swan will make its world debut as the opening night film at the Venice Film Festival, which runs on The Lido from September 1 through September 11. This means that while I will see it there, Black Swan will likely not play the other fall fests.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • July 22, 2010 2:20 AM
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Things I Learned at Lunch This Week, from Black Swan to Bono

In recovery from awards season, I'm back to eating the occasional meal with folks like Phoenix Pictures honcho Mike Medavoy, who met me for lunch at Fraiche in Culver City. He brought along production exec David Thwaites (a one-time child actor in Britain who started as assistant with Medavoy) and French photographer Brigitte Lacombe, who was taking Medavoy's portrait. (If you missed it, treat yourself to her delightful interview on Charlie Rose, dishing on her celebrity photos.)
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • April 1, 2010 12:49 PM
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  • 0 Comments

Top 25 Active Directors: Did EW Get it Right?

EW loves lists like this one, the top 25 active directors, designed to inspire healthy debate. Did they get it right? And what do they mean by active, exactly? "Most talented, in-demand directors behind the camera today?" They're trying to have it both ways--it's a power list measuring fame, heat, influence and at the same time, a qualitative measure of talent.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • February 19, 2009 7:00 AM
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Trailer Preview: The Wrestler

Fox Searchlight will send out its first trailer for The Wrestler today. Their mission: to make filmgoers want to see a movie that looks very male--Mickey Rourke plays a down-on-his-luck, aging wrestler facing the end of his career who suddenly needs to reach out to his daughter, poignantly played by Evan Rachel Wood, and a stripper pal, Marisa Tomei. Communicating with women is not his strong suit.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • November 20, 2008 8:04 AM
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  • 0 Comments

Toronto Wrap 2008: Best to Worst

With Toronto over and a slew of post-fest deals still rolling out, here's a wrap-up of what I saw and learned:
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • September 13, 2008 6:39 AM
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  • 0 Comments

Toronto Watch: Wrestler Screens Well

Buyers packed into Toronto's Elgin Theatre Sunday night for the North American premiere of Darren Aronofsky's The Wrestler, which arrived at the Fest with a Golden Lion from the Venice Film Festival. Aronofsky tried to cool the crowd down, saying, "There's no way we're going to live up to that hype. It's a gentle, small film." French sales company Wild Bunch believed in the film, he said, and if any North American buyer "is interested, I have a phone number for you afterward."
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • September 7, 2008 7:36 AM
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  • 0 Comments

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