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Thompson on Hollywood

Sundance Video: Ed Helms and Miguel Arteta Talk Comedy on Cedar Rapids

Fox Searchlight brought two new movies to Sundance, and both played like gangbusters: Ed Helms and Miguel Arteta's midwestern comedy Cedar Rapids (February 11), which I've seen--it's hilarious-- and Tom McCarthy's Win Win, starring Golden Globe winner Paul Giamatti as a high school wrestling coach (March 18).
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • January 26, 2011 8:06 AM
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Studios, Celebs Make Videos for It Gets Better Project: See Sony, Pixar, DeGeneres

With Chaz Bono's new doc Becoming Chaz (which was acquired by Oprah Winfrey's OWN network)debuting at Sundance, along with David Weissman's historic doc We Were Here, awareness of gender issues is front and center at Sundance--if not everywhere else.
  • By Sophia Savage
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  • January 26, 2011 7:38 AM
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Sundance Watch: Weinstein Co. Aggressively Acquires My Idiot Brother in Seller's Market

Buying at Sundance is a game of grabbing one title at a time: each distrib circles the hit titles, grabs one, and retires from the fray. (Sony Pictures Classics, Magnolia IFC tend to have bigger appetites.) What buyers don't want in a heated bidding situation is to overpay for a weak title or wind up needing product and going home with nothing. Weinstein Co. did not land Margin Call (which went to Lionsgate/Roadside) or Like Crazy (which went to Paramount) or Take Shelter, starring Michael Shannon, or Morgan Spurlock's The Greatest Movie Ever Sold, which both went to Sony pre-fest. Sony saw the Spurlock doc before anyone had seen the completed picture--Sony saw the first hour of the film, says Spurlock. James Marsh's dramatic chimp doc Project Nim went to HBO before the fest, which is seeking a theatrical partner.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • January 24, 2011 12:58 AM
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Sundance Panel: Martha Marcy May Marlene

One of the best-reviewed films at Sundance is Sean Durkin's Martha Marcy May Marlene, starring one of several Sundance "it girls," Elizabeth Olsen as a young woman who is drawn into an isolated cult led by John Hawkes. Check out the press conference moderated by exec producer Ted Hope.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • January 23, 2011 10:05 AM
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IMDb Founder Col Needham Talks Sundance

IMDb founder Col Needham is a big film buff, and he takes his Sundance picks seriously. I caught him with the Flip Cam at the Eccles Saturday night:
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • January 23, 2011 9:55 AM
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Sundance Watch: Drake Doremus Talks Like Crazy Sale, Felicity Jones Breaks Out

The Sundance Fest's biggest sale so far is Like Crazy, the follow-up film from Drake Doremus, who showed Douchebag here last year. That movie was a minor improv road comedy of the Mumblecore variety. (Speaking of which, SXSW grad Joe Swanberg's first Sundance entry, Uncle Kent, has earned dismissive reviews here.)
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • January 23, 2011 8:31 AM
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Sundance Watch: Hope and Vachon Do Hulu

Two of the cannier producers with taste who have been supplying films at Sundance for decades are Ted Hope (The Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind) and Killer Films' Christine Vachon (Mildred Pierce). This year Hope not only executive produced director Sean Durkin's impossibly-titled cult film Martha Marcy May Marlene, which played well here (amid buyer interest) and broke out the festival's "it-girl" Elizabeth Olsen--sister of Mary-Kate and Ashley, who also stars in a solo one-shot tour-de-force Silent House--but is conducting with Vachon a series of interview shows produced by Digital Artists that are being streamed on Hulu.com. Check out their interview with Olsen:
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • January 23, 2011 12:15 AM
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Ryan Gosling Promos Blue Valentine, Sings for Jimmy Kimmel

It's not news: Ryan Gosling is talented. Jimmy Kimmel is another story. Gosling has been promoting the socks off Blue Valentine for a while now. Herewith, our video interviews with Gosling and director Derek Cianfrance (a year ago at Sundance) as well as co-star Michelle Williams.
  • By Sophia Savage
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  • January 21, 2011 4:39 AM
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Oscar Watch Exclusive: Tom Hooper Talks Directing Style in The King's Speech

In a wide-ranging discussion about his directing approach on The King's Speech, Tom Hooper talks (in the video below) about framing star Colin Firth in wide-lens close-ups so that there was "nothing between him and the character." He mentions one of the visual themes in the film was finding "a visual analogue to stammering which became about framing Colin in relationship to negative space."
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • January 20, 2011 4:17 AM
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Jim Sturgess Talks The Way Back, Heartless, Singing the Beatles

Jim Sturgess was deep in the throes of working on a thriller when he auditioned for Peter Weir's The Way Back. The young Brit felt "a combination of intimidation and awe and desperation" going up for a part in a Weir film. "I had quite a strange entrance into the movie," he recalls, "because when I found out that Peter was casting for the film and wanted to see me, I was in the middle of shooting a film back in London called Heartless, where I was playing a kind of psychotic, delusional, manic-depressive, suicidal character in a comedy, a British rom-com." When he met with Weir, he had been doing two weeks of night shoots and looked terrible, and left feeling disappointed. The actor ended up putting himself on tape and sent Weir a letter. "Thank god I did that," he says now, as Weir offered him the key role of a Polish Gulag survivor who leads a gang of escapees across 4000 miles to freedom.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • January 18, 2011 8:04 AM
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