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Thompson on Hollywood

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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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"

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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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

WonderCon Highlights: Thor, Immortals, Cowboys & Aliens, Three Musketeers, Priest, Star Trek Sequel

Check out some of the reveals and soundbites from San Francisco's WonderCon on upcoming films Immortals, Cowyboys & Aliens, Star Trek Sequel, Green Lantern, The Three Musketeers, Thor and Priest:
  • By Sophia Savage
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  • April 4, 2011 7:30 AM
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Weintraub Talks His Way: from Presley, Sinatra, the Mafia and Soderbergh to His Two Women

Jerry Weintraub is one of those larger-than-life Hollywood figures who helped to define the image of what a movie producer is. At age 73 he 's enjoying a resurgence of sorts that began with Steven Soderbergh's Oceans Eleven series and continued with his autobiography When I Stop Talking, You'll Know I'm Dead (back on top of paperback bestseller lists) and now, the entertaining Doug McGrath TV doc His Way, which debuts on HBO April 4.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • April 4, 2011 7:15 AM
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CinemaCon Video: Hugh Jackman & Shawn Levy Talk Real Steel, The Wolverine

CinemaCon Video: Hugh Jackman & Shawn Levy Talk Real Steel, The Wolverine
At CinemaCon, CinemaBlend chats up Real Steel's director Shawn Levy (Date Night) and star Hugh Jackman on the futuristic boxing sci-fi drama. Jackman also talks about his training for The Wolverine, a character he's prepared to play "for the rest of his life." Disney's Real Steel hits theatres October 7.
  • By Sophia Savage
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  • March 31, 2011 6:14 AM
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Video Interview: Hunter S. Thompson Talks to Keith Richards

I am having a blast reading Rolling Stone Keith Richards' memoir Life, which has been on the NYT Bestseller list for 21 weeks now. It's delightfully written in a recognizable entertaining voice. Obviously co-writer James Fox put a lot of work into it, but the book still rings true.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • March 28, 2011 12:19 PM
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Elizabeth Taylor: Obits, Video Clips, Photo Galleries, Memories

The Web lit up like a Christmas tree this morning with the sad but not unexpected news of Elizabeth Taylor's death of congestive heart failure in Los Angeles at age 79. Fifty-three years ago--almost to the day--Taylor escaped dying in a plane crash. The petite actress had been in failing health for many years. Taylor was fragile even back in 1993 when she attended Cannes to run the amfAR auction at the height of her AIDS activism. I'll never forget walking up the red carpet stairs of the Palais behind Sylvester Stallone as he advanced to meet Taylor, waiting for him at the top, wearing white and holding her beloved little white dog in her arms. As had always been the case throughout her 70-year career spanning 50 films, the media went wild around Taylor, who was so beautiful that folks tended not to remember what an accomplished actress she really was.
  • By Anne Thompson and Sophia Savage
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  • March 23, 2011 5:43 AM
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  • 2 Comments

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