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Thompson on Hollywood

Restrepo Documentarian Tim Hetherington Confirmed Killed in Libya UPDATED

Having survived many dangerous photographic missions in his life, as well as repeated trips to the lethal Restrepo outpost in Afghanistan--now abandoned by U.S. military--where he shot Oscar-nominated doc Restrepo with co-director Sebastian Junger, British photojournalist and Vanity contributor Tim Hetherington, 41, has died during fighting in Misrata between Muammar Gaddafi's soldiers and Libyan rebels, along with photographer Chris Hondros.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • April 20, 2011 4:04 AM
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  • 7 Comments

EXCLUSIVE Clip: Werner Herzog's Cave of Forgotten Dreams in 3-D

EXCLUSIVE Clip: Werner Herzog's Cave of Forgotten Dreams in 3-D
Cave of Forgotten Dreams, Werner Herzog's 3-D exploration of the world's oldest paintings in the Chauvet Cave in southern France, is an enchanting ride. Rather than using 3-D as a device to escape into fantasy, Cave of Forgotten Dreams opens our eyes to a real and fragile history that makes us marvel at our own existence. Herzog invites us "to reflect on our primal desire to communicate and represent the world around us, evolution and our place within it, and ultimately what it means to be human."
  • By Sophia Savage
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  • April 19, 2011 5:30 AM
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  • 0 Comments

Tina Fey Bossypants Excerpts: The Mother's Prayer for Its Daughter

In case you live under a rock, 30 Rock creator-star Tina Fey's new book, Bossypants, is getting good reviews like this one in the LAT:But any concern that Fey, like so many before her, has been ruined by fame is quickly dispelled by "Bossypants," a book that reminds you why Fey has succeeded where so many have failed — because she is precise, professional and hilarious. At first, "Bossypants" appears to be just more of the same — there's Fey on the cover looking fabulous but not owning it (her airbrushed face is framed by two large and hairy male arms) and the back is filled with fake and self-deprecating quotes regarding her appearance and talent. Pay them no mind; inside lies a collection of autobiographical essays that should (but of course won't) prove once and for all that pretty is nowhere near as important as funny, and funny doesn't work without that rare balance of truth and heart.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • April 18, 2011 12:14 PM
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  • 1 Comment

Malcolm Venville Talks Henry's Crime, Chekhov's Cherry Orchard, Vera Farmiga Acting Clip

Calling all Chekhov fans! The best part of Malcolm Venville's Henry's Crime is its use and interpretation of Anton Chekhov's The Cherry Orchard. Keanu Reeves's character ends up co-starring in the play across from Vera Farmiga's character, integral to his plan to rob the bank he was already wrongly convicted of robbing. Below, Venville explains to us the use of The Cherry Orchard in the film:
  • By Sophia Savage
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  • April 15, 2011 10:13 AM
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  • 2 Comments

Morgan Spurlock Talks Funding, Making, Selling Doc The Greatest Movie Ever Sold

Morgan Spurlock Talks Funding, Making, Selling Doc The Greatest Movie Ever Sold
There's no question that Morgan Spurlock's The Greatest Movie Ever Sold is a high-concept brand-friendly crowd-pleaser. But the brand that comes out ahead on this breezily entertaining doc is Spurlock himself. At 40, he's that magic combo of canny producer-writer, visual director, and eager-to-please, comedic performer who somehow remains likably authentic and serious about engaging and educating his audience. This is hard to do! "If you make someone laugh, you make someone listen," he says.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • April 15, 2011 7:48 AM
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  • 3 Comments

Peter Jackson Posts First The Hobbit Report, Complete with Maori Ceremony and Andy Serkis in Dots

Peter Jackson looks happy to be back in Wellywood recreating for The Hobbit many of the same sets from The Lord of the Rings. As the film was about to start shooting, he admits during a Maori opening ceremony, he had thought for a long time that he would not want to return to the world of The Lord of the Rings, but he changed his mind. Movies can be stressful and hard to make, he says, but it's really about the people you work with. UPDATE: Watch it below:
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • April 14, 2011 2:13 AM
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  • 0 Comments

Harry Shearer Talks Expose The Big Uneasy, Media Coverage of Katrina, Spike Lee's "Canards"

Harry Shearer Talks Expose The Big Uneasy, Media Coverage of Katrina, Spike Lee's "Canards"
The tagline for Harry Shearer's The Big Uneasy, a Katrina doc that digs into the Army Corps of Engineers' role in the post-hurricane New Orleans flood, reads "Natural Disaster? You Don't Know the Half Of It." Shearer is well-known to public radio listeners for his weekly Sunday talkfest Le Show; the Renaissance man is not only a sharp and funny writer-actor-producer-director and mockumentarian (This is Spinal Tap, For Your Consideration, The Simpsons) but a well-versed media commentator and blogger for The Huffington Post. The half-time New Orleans resident is dead-serious when covering the Katrina debacle. On the eve of the hurricane's fifth anniversary, he decided that putting his own more deeply reported documentary into the conversation might help bring the mainstream media up to speed.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • April 13, 2011 11:27 AM
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  • 1 Comment

Appreciating Sidney Lumet; Obits, Spike Lee Tweets, Photos and Clips UPDATED

Appreciating Sidney Lumet; Obits, Spike Lee Tweets, Photos and Clips UPDATED
We raised a toast to Sidney Lumet at dinner Saturday night at the Ashland Independent Film Festival--filmmaker Morgan Spurlock, Ashland Independent Film Festival director Joanne Feinberg, film critic Shawn Levy and fellow Oregonian Terri Mintz, and DC Shorts Festival director Jon Gann. We talked about how many great films Lumet made, crammed with strong performances, how he was a New York independent, his and Paddy Chayefsky's amazingly prophetic TV critique Network (see clip) and Lumet's must-read book, Making Movies, a primer for any aspiring filmmaker: "While the goal of all movies is to entertain, the kind of film in which I believe goes one step further. It compels the spectator to examine one facet or another of his own conscience. It stimulates thought."
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • April 10, 2011 7:58 AM
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  • 2 Comments

EXCLUSIVE: Barbara Kopple Talks HBO Gun Control Doc, Gun Fight: "Reason is Lost"

EXCLUSIVE: Barbara Kopple Talks HBO Gun Control Doc, Gun Fight: "Reason is Lost"
Academy Award-winning filmmaker Barbara Kopple (Harlan County, U.S.A., American Dreams, Shut Up and Sing) is premiering her latest, HBO Documentary's Gun Fight, on HBO April 13, three days before the fourth anniversary of the Virginia Tech shooting (33 people killed) and a week before the 12 year anniversary of the Columbine Massacre (12 people killed).
  • By Sophia Savage
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  • April 8, 2011 8:29 AM
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  • 0 Comments

Joe Wright on Hanna, Karenina, David Lynch, Fairy Tales; Slams Sucker Punch's Sexual Objectification

Check out a taste of Vanity Fair's interview with Hanna director Joe Wright. On why he was attracted to a character like Hanna: "I've always been drawn to characters like Chauncey Gardener and E.T.—characters who, because of never having seen or experienced the world before, are fascinated by the electric kettle or see the objectification of women in a clearer light." Vanity Fair says that's funny because Sucker Punch director Zack Snyder would say the same thing, and play the irony card. Wright adds:"I haven’t seen Sucker Punch, but I think the main issue with female empowerment is the sexual objectification of women. Looking at the poster of Sucker Punch, I would say that is perpetuating the sexual objectification, therefore I can’t see how that is empowering…I don’t really believe in irony. I think irony is a kind of hiding place for dishonesty. It’s an intellectual trick, but there’s no heart in irony. There needs to be heart in our social change."
  • By Sophia Savage
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  • April 6, 2011 6:27 AM
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  • 1 Comment

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