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Thompson on Hollywood

Jamie Foxx Presents: Thunder Soul, A Tribute To Kashmere's Funk Powerhouse

Music doc Thunder Soul is a heartfelt celebration of Funk and the transformative powers of a great teacher. Mark Landsman's doc, which won an audience award at SXSW and Los Angeles Film Fest, among other fests last year, also earned an Indie Spirit nomination. It's about how in the 1970s one teacher turned Houston's Kashmere High School jazz band into a tight-grooving funk award-winner, years in a row. (Think Glee on Funk steroids.) Landsman follows the alumni from Kashmere, who after 35 years, travel home to play a tribute concert for 92-year-old Conrad Johnson.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • February 4, 2011 7:52 AM
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Hammer & DiCaprio Join List of Hunks Who Kiss On Screen: See Videos

Armie Hammer says that Clint Eastwood's J. Edgar biopic with Leonardo DiCaprio will feature more than one lip-locking scene. "It's not a kissing scene—it's a ton of kissing scenes," he told E! at the SAG Awards. Hammer plays Clyde Tolson, the alleged secret lover of J. Edgar Hoover (played by DiCaprio). Shooting is set to begin this month, and in true Eastwood style, the boys will be getting down to business without much fussing around. Adds Hammer:"I'm so excited to work with Clint, and from what I hear, he's not the type of director who has a ton of rehearsals and takes. I think we're just sort of thrown in there and have to make it happen…I actually just met [Leo] for the first time Saturday at the DGA Awards. Sure, we talked business. He's a talented actor. I'm not nervous or afraid of it being awkward. The script is great. The scenes are in there for a reason. I'm really excited."
  • By Sophia Savage
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  • February 2, 2011 6:20 AM
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The Fighter: Russell, Adams, Leo, McGee and Boston Sisters Talk, Swear for SAG Q & A

The Fighter's David O. Russell was joined by fellow Oscar-nominees Amy Adams and Melissa Leo as well as Jack McGee and five of the film's infamous sisters for a SAG Q & A on January 26 at LA's Harmony Gold Theater. (Leo and Christian Bale wound up winning the two supporting categories at the SAG Awards Saturday.) Check it out:
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • February 1, 2011 7:23 AM
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Sundance Video: Alex Gibney Talks Ken Kesey and Neal Cassady on Magic Trip

With Magic Trip, Oscar-winning documentarian Alex Gibney (Taxi to the Dark Side) and his longtime editor Alison Ellwood have cut together a rich piece of 60s history using archive video and audio of the iconic literary figures on the famous cross-country Magic Bus trip recounted by Tom Wolfe in The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test. Gibney talks (our video interview is below) about how Ken Kesey created the original footage that he uses in Magic Trip. "It's archival cinema verite," Gibney says. "I wanted more of an immersion experience... it's like the origin story of the 60s."
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • February 1, 2011 7:20 AM
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Sundance Video: Robert Redford at Sundance 2011, Buck, Owning Chaz, Oprah Winfrey

Sundance Video: Robert Redford at  Sundance 2011, Buck, Owning Chaz, Oprah Winfrey
Sundance Festival and Channel founder Robert Redford opened up the Fest with his customary press conference, where he talked about new Sundance initiatives and Slamdance. As a big supporter of the doc Buck, about the original inspiration for his film The Horse Whisperer, it was no surprise when the film sold to Sundance Selects. Redford opened the fest with the debut screening of Sing Your Song, a doc about his old friend, Harry Belafonte, 82.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • January 28, 2011 8:32 AM
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Weekly Wrap: Sundance DealBook & Interviews, Oscar Nomination Reactions, Projects in Production

SUNDANCE DEALBOOK
  • By Sophia Savage
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  • January 28, 2011 7:57 AM
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EXCLUSIVE: Kenner, Weiss Talk HBO Doc "When Strangers Click"

HBO doc When Strangers Click premieres Valentine's Day. Below, director Oscar nominee Robert Kenner (Food, Inc.) and producer Marc Weiss answer some questions about why they made this film about finding love and human connection online, as well as their process: What was the most surprising thing you learned during the making of When Stranger Click?
  • By Sophia Savage
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  • January 28, 2011 7:48 AM
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Sundance Video: Miranda July Talks Roadside Acquisition The Future

Sundance Video: Miranda July Talks Roadside Acquisition The Future
The best film that I saw at Sundance was triple threat Miranda July's The Future, an accessibly entertaining wild ride of a sci-fi relationship movie, in which she casts herself as the bad guy and you know that she is likely to leave her lunky boyfriend, played by Hamish Linklater--one of the talent discoveries of the festival (who is not, thankfully, an it-girl). A New Yorker writer, video artist and performer, July's voice comes through loud and clear. After winning kudos for 2005 Sundance entry Me You and Everyone We Know (which first broke out John Hawkes, this year's Winter's Bone Oscar-nominee), she went on to complete a book of short stories and a performance piece which she then used as the starting point for The Future. Breaking up with boyfriend Miguel Arteta also contributed to this narrative.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • January 28, 2011 7:06 AM
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Sundance Video: James Marsh Talks HBO's Project Nim, Roadside Lands U.S. Theatrical Rights

James Marsh is a happy man. Not only did his stylish, unsettling and provocative doc Project Nim, about a chimp raised by a series of human parents during the 70s, land a berth at Tiffany cabler HBO, which bought all rights before the festival, but it went on to play well at Sundance (the awards show is Saturday) and will be released theatrically by Roadside. Here are reviews from THR, Variety and indieWIRE.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • January 28, 2011 12:38 AM
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Sundance Video: Zachary Quinto and J.C. Chandor Talk Margin Call

Margin Call is one of several low-budget ($3.5 million), accessibly commercial smart films for adults debuting at Sundance that got made with a major cast willing to work for nothing against the promise of worthy material and a decent back end.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • January 27, 2011 3:50 AM
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