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Thompson on Hollywood

Movies Go to Facebook, Legos, Lebanon, Redbox and Wellywood

Media Watch: Vibe could be coming back to--digital--life, while it looks like those wild and crazy salad days at Conde Nast are finally over.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • August 12, 2009 2:39 AM
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  • 1 Comment

Nine Goes to the Movies

Nine Goes to the Movies
Nine is a popular number at the movies these days. Last week I saw Shane Acker's animated dystopian adventure 9, featuring the voice of Elijah Wood, which opens September 9, 2009. Wednesday night I see Neill Blomkamp's alien thriller District 9, produced by Peter Jackson. The German film Cloud 9 opens in New York this Friday and in LA on August 28. This fall I look forward to the Rob Marshall musical Nine. Earlier this year I missed the animated feature $9.99. I count four past movies named Nine, as well as such classics as Nine Months, The Whole Nine Yards, Nine Queens, Nine 1/2 Weeks and Nine to Five. Is any other number as frequently used in movie titles? I guess one and ten are just as common, finally. But why the plethora of nine titles in 2009?
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • August 11, 2009 7:51 AM
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  • 3 Comments

Jackson's Lovely Bones Trailer

Jackson's Lovely Bones Trailer
A while back, DreamWorks showed me some footage from Fran Walsh & Philippa Boyens and Peter Jackson's adaptation of Alice Sebold's bestseller The Lovely Bones ; I was knocked out by what I saw. The film looked strong, different, unusual. The images popped. Saoirse Ronin (Atonement) plays the 14-year-old girl who is murdered in 1973 and watches her family from "the inbetween."
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • August 5, 2009 4:14 AM
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  • 2 Comments

Studios Play it Safe

Studios Play it Safe
Steven Spielberg is directing a remake of the Universal/Broadway classic Harvey; he's seeking a star like Tom Hanks or Will Smith to star. Fox is partnering with DreamWorks/Reliance to produce the movie about a six-foot, invisible rabbit.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • August 3, 2009 2:47 AM
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  • 10 Comments

District 9 Wows Comic-Con

District 9 Wows Comic-Con
The hit of Comic-Con was Peter Jackson protege Neill Blomkamp's debut movie, the sci-fi thriller District 9. When Halo fell apart, Jackson and Blomkamp assembled this movie about what happens when aliens come to earth and we treat them badly. The creatures were designed as insect-like humanoids. Jackson was disappointed that Weta was so busy with James Cameron's Avatar that he wasn't able to commandeer his own people for the VFX and had to go elsewhere. "You have to empathize with the alien characters," Jackson said. "They have to have an alien head with the human psychography of a face that you can recognize and extract emotion from. It wasn't easy on our budget."
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • August 1, 2009 11:07 AM
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  • 2 Comments

Cameron talks Avatar

When I talked to James Cameron at Comic-Con (below), he admitted that he and producer Jon Landau know that they have a lot of heavy lifting to do before the 3D sci-fi epic Avatar hits screens on December 18. 24 minutes of footage played great at the Con, where Cameron announced that Fox will screen 15 minutes in IMAX on August 21 for free on 35 screens around the country. But the VFX-packed fantasy lacks major stars and is not based on anything (god forbid, it's an original), so the movie will need a major marketing push from Fox. Which is what the Con was all about.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • July 30, 2009 2:58 AM
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  • 0 Comments

Comic-Con: Visionaries Jackson, Cameron Talk Future

By far the high point of the Con for me was EW editor Jeff Giles' interview with Peter Jackson and James Cameron. The two men respect each other enormously. Weta's achievement with The Lord of the Rings' Gollum convinced Cameron that he might be able to forge ahead with Avatar, which had been collecting dust for more than a decade.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • July 26, 2009 5:23 AM
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  • 0 Comments

Time's 100 Influentials: Entertainment

This year, Time asked other "influentials" to write up their top 100 selections of the World's Most Influential People. That way we get filmmaker Peter Jackson profiling his Heavenly Creatures discovery, this year's best actress Oscar winner Kate Winslet; Roger Ebert pays tribute to documentarian Werner Herzog; best supporting actress Oscar-winner Penelope Cruz lands praise from Elegy co-star and fellow Oscar-winner Sir Ben Kingsley; Claire Danes does the honors for Zac Efron; Alec Baldwin does his 30 Rock writer-director-co-star Tina Fey; You've Got Mail's Meg Ryan likes Tom Hanks; and Padma Lakshmi hearts Slumdog Millionaire Oscar-winner A.R. Rahman. Leonardo DiCaprio jumps the entertainment side to write up environmentalist Van Jones; Arnold Schwarzenegger praises Democrat and uncle-in-law Edward Kennedy; and Oprah Winfrey fusses over Michelle Obama. (My fave wrap-up of President Barack Obama's first 100 days is on Slate: his "Facebook page.")
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • April 30, 2009 6:35 AM
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  • 0 Comments

Mortensen Open to Role in The Hobbit

Viggo Mortensen mentioned the possibility of appearing in the Peter Jackson/Guillermo del Toro production of J.R.R. Tolkein's The Hobbit while accepting the Jameson Empire Icon Award Monday night in London:
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • March 31, 2009 6:40 AM
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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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  • 0 Comments

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