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Thompson on Hollywood

Boardwalk Empire Season 2 Review - Nucky Nosferatu

Boardwalk Empire Season 2 Review - Nucky Nosferatu
As its second season begins, David Chute finds that he admires Boardwalk Empire but does not love it.We took it as a sign during Boardwalk Empire’s first season that the show’s fabulously expensive exterior and interior sets never felt lived in. Compare Boardwalk’s boardwalk, a beautiful sweep of CG-enhanced Hollywood carpentry, with Deadwood’s Deadwood, an assortment of tents and swaybacked outhouses, awash in mud and dust and struggling humanity. Even the Harlan County, Kentucky, of Justified, cobbled together from various locations in Southern California, conveys a more organic sense of place. The characters are convinced that they were born and raised and rooted there, and so do we.
  • By David Chute
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  • September 27, 2011 3:50 AM
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  • 5 Comments

Geeking Out with Cameron at the 3D Summit: Titanic, Avatar, Theme Parks

This week, in his Immersed in Movies column, Bill Desowitz talks to James Cameron at the 3D Summit. Don't try to convince James Cameron that 3-D is faltering. He's still a true believer, despite some recent 3-D blowback. He laughed if off as growing pains and negative media spin at the 3D Entertainment Summit this week at the Hollywood & Highland Center, but said it's nothing that can't be fixed with a change of perception and better 3-D authoring and presentation.
  • By Bill Desowitz
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  • September 23, 2011 5:14 AM
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  • 0 Comments

Toronto Wrap: Best of Fest, Oscar Boosts, Winners and Losers

Toronto Wrap: Best of Fest, Oscar Boosts, Winners and Losers
The trick with the fall film festivals is to gauge expectations going in vs. what was actually achieved. Various distributors launched their fall slates, and watched with pleasure or horror at how their movies were received by audiences and critics. Oscar contenders either moved forward in the awards race, or were pushed back. Other indies hoped their films would be picked up by the right distributor in time for this year's Oscar race. Some were, some weren't. It's tough for films that have already debuted at other festivals to pick up new momentum, although the press will bank features for release. The biggest noise goes to the new players, always.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • September 21, 2011 7:04 AM
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  • 2 Comments

Albert Brooks Talks Drive, Comedy as Anger, Tweeting and Stanley Kubrick

Albert Brooks Talks Drive, Comedy as Anger, Tweeting and Stanley Kubrick
People often underestimate how good comedians can be as actors. Who knew Albert Brooks could play dark? Revered by a cadre of loyal followers for his riotous passive-aggressive romcom protagonists, Brooks’ turn as gangster Bernie Rose in Nicolas Winding Refn’s Drive dumbfounded many critics, who gave him raves.
  • By Anthony D'Alessandro
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  • September 19, 2011 2:08 AM
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  • 6 Comments

Fall/Holiday Preview: Five Glorious VFX Films to Watch, None Set in Present

Bill Desowitz lists five VFX films to watch this fall and winter season, and the reasons why:With all due respect to the highly-anticipated The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn-- Part 1 and Mission: Impossible-- Ghost Protocol, in which Edward and Bella and Tom Cruise's Ethan Hunt spiritually go to hell and back, the real VFXy films to look out for this fall/holiday season are Hugo, Real Steel, Immortals, Anonymous, and Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows. They possess the necessary CG eye candy and potential Oscar prestige, plus there's not a contemporary story among them.
  • By Bill Desowitz
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  • September 16, 2011 2:04 AM
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  • 0 Comments

In the No, Run-Up to Telluride: The Show from Swinton and Clooney to Veloso and Waters

We have several folks covering festivals this year--David Gritten and The Playlist are in Venice while Meredith Brody and I are in Telluride--along with Eugene Hernandez, who's covering for indieWIRE. Here's Meredith's first missive:Part of the appeal and the mystique of the Telluride Film Festival, aka the Show, is that you’re buying a pig in a poke. Since the Festival doesn’t release any of its program, whether new titles, tributes, or revivals, in advance, you have to trust in its distinguished reputation -- as Roger Ebert has memorably written, “[It’s] like Cannes died and went to heaven…” -- and take a leap into the void.
  • By Meredith Brody
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  • September 2, 2011 3:44 AM
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  • 0 Comments

Another Trip to the Moon with Méliès: Behind the Digital Restoration of VFX Landmark

While waiting for Hugo (Nov. 23), Martin Scorsese's 3-D valentine to Georges Méliès, TOH columnist Bill Desowitz writes a fascinating account of how digital advances made possible the painstaking restoration of the first movie blockbuster from the father of special effects, A Trip to the Moon (1902). The new version of the landmark 14-minute short, which premiered at the Cannes Film Festival, will screen at Telluride this weekend and at the Academy's Goldwyn Theater on Tuesday. What a way to mark the 150th anniversary of Méliès's birth.
  • By Bill Desowitz
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  • September 2, 2011 3:35 AM
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  • 0 Comments

Oscar Talk: Venice and Telluride, Carnage, Ides of March, W.E., Contagion, The Artist

In Contention's Kris Tapley is here in Telluride with me, while Guy Lodge is in Venice. We all got on Skype for this week's Oscar Talk, which delves into early reaction to Venice titles from George Clooney (The Ides of March), Madonna (W.E) and Roman Polanski Carnage and a movie Kris and I saw in L.A., Steven Soderbergh's Contagion, as well as Cannes title The Artist, which is showing in Telluride. Friday Kris and I should get a crack at The Descendants, Martin Scorsese's George Harrison doc and Albert Nobbs, starring Glenn Close.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • September 2, 2011 3:00 AM
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  • 0 Comments

Oscar Talk: From The Help, Rise of the Apes and Woody to the Fall Fest Circuit and Beyond

Oscar Talk: From The Help, Rise of the Apes and Woody to the Fall Fest Circuit and Beyond
Oscar Talk is back. The first podcast of the fall season with In Contention's Kris Tapley runs for a good hour, so gird your loins, Oscar mavens, listen and weep. We cover the Cannes films, the summer releases, the Fall Festival entries and the end-of-year possibilities. We talk Meryl and Glenn and Malick and Chastain, debate the merits of sleeper Warrior and admit that we both cried over cancer patient Joseph Gordon-Levitt in 50/50. Next week we'll post from Telluride. The award season begins.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • August 26, 2011 4:00 AM
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  • 4 Comments

Meirelles' 360 To Open London Film Festival, What Will Close?

Fernando Meirelles’ 360 will be the opening night film at the 55th BFI London Film Festival, which will be the last under the stewardship of artistic director Sandra Hebron. Meirelles has history with the LFF – The Constant Gardener opened the festival in 2005 – although many Brit pundits had been expecting Hebron to unveil a world premiere to crown her final year. But that’s never been a major motivation for the LFF’s extremely popular head when it comes to programming Europe’s largest non-competitive film festival. Although the 2009 festival opened with a splashy world premiere for The Fantastic Mr. Fox, last year’s LFF debutante was Never Let Me Go, which bowed first in Toronto. The same will go for 360.
  • By Matt Mueller
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  • August 24, 2011 7:46 AM
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  • 0 Comments

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