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Thompson on Hollywood

TIFF: Genre Films Sell in Toronto Buying Spree

As TIFF wound down, the weekend sale of Will Ferrell's $6 million dark comedy Everything Must Go to Lionsgate/Roadside marked a more frenetic Toronto sales market than last year, when many sales took months to close. Horror film Insidious also sold, to Sony Worldwide Acquisitions Group, probably for 2011 Screen Gems release. "It's a genre distributor's wet dream," says IM Global's Stuart Ford, who wasn't worried about landing North American distribs for these and two more titles at Toronto this year--all were modestly-budgeted and pre-sold in foreign territories. "The market is still challenging, but healthier than it was a year ago. There's more supply and demand. While you're not seeing many movies sell on the spot, the stronger material is likely to find the right distribution home."
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • September 19, 2010 5:16 AM
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TIFF Client 9: The Rise and Fall of Eliot Spitzer Review, and Alex Gibney Talks

TIFF Client 9: The Rise and Fall of Eliot Spitzer Review, and Alex Gibney Talks
Alex Gibney's hugely entertaining Eliot Spitzer doc, Client 9: The Rise and Fall of Elliot Spitzer, is a leading contender for this year's doc Oscar. The movie is full of surprises. In my flip cam interview with Gibney (below) he explains how the story he tells turned out far different from what he thought it would be, and why Wall Street Masters of the Universe were so eager to go on camera to chortle over Spitzer's dramatic comedown: "They wanted to stamp on Spitzer's grave," Gibney admits. 'It's not stretching the truth to say they hated this man."
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • September 17, 2010 12:43 PM
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Affleck Admits That I'm Still Here is a Stunt

Affleck Admits That I'm Still Here is a Stunt
Of course Casey Affleck finally comes clean in the NYT--just before I'm Still Here goes into wider release. Joaquin Phoenix was acting. “It’s a terrific performance, it’s the performance of his career,” he says.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • September 16, 2010 10:09 AM
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  • 9 Comments

TIFF: Magnolia's Magnet Acquires Kim Jeewoon's I Saw the Devil

TIFF: Magnolia's Magnet Acquires Kim Jeewoon's I Saw the Devil
I love the Korean western The Good the Bad and the Weird; Magnet Releasing, Magnolia's genre label, has acquired North American rights to Kim Jewoon's I Saw the Devil. More at indieWIRE.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • September 15, 2010 11:31 AM
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Venice: Joaquin Phoenix is Not Here

Venice: Joaquin Phoenix is Not Here
Rookie director Casey Affleck is playing out his hand on the bizarre Joaquin Phoenix documentary I'm Still Here, which debuted in Venice Monday to rousing applause, and is still inspiring huge debate. What the hell is Phoenix doing? Committing career suicide? Creating an indelibly accurate portrait of a miserable depressed self-medicating and deluded actor? Doing an Andy Kaufman-type performance piece, egged on by Affleck?
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • September 6, 2010 6:53 AM
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  • 4 Comments

Swinton Talks I Am Love, Orlando Reissue, and a Film with Uncle Boonmee Director

Swinton Talks I Am Love, Orlando Reissue, and a Film with Uncle Boonmee Director
Tilda Swinton is a brainy actress who swings easily from passion indie projects (The Deep End, Julia and the upcoming I Am Love) to studio fare, from arch-villains to objects of desire, and from mother in the Scottish highlands to glamourous globe-trotting movie star. She won an Oscar as George Clooney's nemesis in Michael Clayton, made love to Clooney in Burn After Reading and Brad Pitt in The Curious Case of Benjamin Button and keeps turning up in Narnia as ice queen Jadis. (After her cameo in The Limits of Control, she's committed to star in Jim Jarmusch's next, whatever that turns out to be.) She's as beautiful without makeup as she is with it. The next passion project she is developing is in collaboration with this year's Cannes Palme d'Or winner Apichatpong Weerasethakul. They've known each other for years. (UPDATE: He talks about her at Cannes.)
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • June 15, 2010 11:30 AM
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  • 2 Comments

PBC: Top Producers Dish on Lousy Filmmaking Present, Death of Drama and Cable Future

PBC: Top Producers Dish on Lousy Filmmaking Present, Death of Drama and Cable Future
Amid the general doom and gloom for studios and indies alike, at this weekend's Produced By Conference, producers Mark Gordon, Marshall Herskovitz, Richard Zanuck, Larry Gordon, and Mark Johnson marked some cautious upbeat notes, reports Amy Dawes:
  • By Amy Dawes
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  • June 7, 2010 8:41 AM
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Tribeca: Gibney Brings Three Pics to Fest, Sells My Trip to Al-Qaeda to HBO

Tribeca: Gibney Brings Three Pics to Fest, Sells My Trip to Al-Qaeda to HBO
At a time when filmmakers the world over are struggling for funds and distribution outlets, a documentary filmmaker is doing well to sell his movie before it debuts at a fest like Tribeca. Now more than ever, as the breakout documentary hit is largely confined to the likes of pop culture entertainers Morgan Spurlock and Michael Moore, often the best sale to make is to HBO Documentary Films, which pays serious upfront dollars, throws you a premiere, and even markets your movie. That's more than most distributors are coughing up in this DIY era.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • April 15, 2010 12:22 PM
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  • 3 Comments

Action Stars Li, Lau, Kaneshiro Shine in The Warlords

Action Stars Li, Lau, Kaneshiro Shine in The Warlords
Thursday night I saw the Chinese b.o. juggernaut The Warlords, Peter Chan's breathless $40 million period action epic starring Asian megastars Jet Li, Andy Lau and Takeshi Kaneshiro as three blood brothers who fight for the imperial army, which won best film and best director at the Hong Kong Film Awards and the Golden Horse Awards. While the mayhem slows down occasionally to allow some dramatic exposition and a pivotal romance with Jinglei Xu, the movie slams through one bloody battle after another. The three leads are terrific, especially Li, who is a fierce marvel in action, and a powerful, emotive actor.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • March 26, 2010 8:23 AM
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#SXSW: Gore-Epic Centurion Makes World Debut

#SXSW: Gore-Epic Centurion Makes World Debut
Monday night I squeezed into the last seat at Fantastic Fest's midnight surprise screening of Neil "The Descent" Marshall's Romans vs. Picts epic Centurion at the Alamo Draft House.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • March 16, 2010 5:28 AM
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  • 1 Comment

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