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Thompson on Hollywood

Di Bonaventura Sees Old People; Scores with Red

Di Bonaventura Sees Old People; Scores with Red
The beauty of success in the movie industry is that it often comes to people who zig when others zag, who have the balls to call something and fight for it. Recession times don't encourage risk-taking, so I am happy to report that producer Lorenzo di Bonaventura has not given up the maverick streak encouraged by his bosses during his glory days running production at Warner Bros. (Training Day, Three Kings, The Matrix). Now a heavyweight producer at Paramount, Di Bonaventura (Transformers, Salt) saw the potential in the dark DC graphic novel Red--about a CIA agent who fights against the dying of the light the only way he knows how--and kept pushing to get it made. That involved trying and failing to get Warners (which has a deal with DC) to back it, extricating the title from DC and finding another financeer, which turned out to be Summit, whose production chief Eric Feig, another smart cookie, saw the gold in Twilight early on, and saw it in Red too.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • October 24, 2010 3:50 AM
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  • 2 Comments

The Hobbit's Cast, And A Good Day for New Zealand Cinema

While Peter Jackson and Warner Bros. deal with the issue of whether or not to shoot The Hobbit in New Zealand, the director has confirmed the casting of the film. (UPDATE: Video of Jackson and co-producer and co-writer Philippa Boyens' NZ TV interview below.)
  • By Sophia Savage
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  • October 22, 2010 8:45 AM
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  • 1 Comment

Oscar Watch: Rockwell Nails Conviction Role

Oscar Watch: Rockwell Nails Conviction Role
Sometimes, there comes a moment in a working actor's life where just the right role suddenly galvanizes awards attention. I've been tracking Sam Rockwell since he broke out at Sundance in 1996 with Tim DiCillo's Box of Moon Light. Rockwell has been knocking out great juicy performances ever since--often in smaller indie films such as George Clooney's Confessions of a Dangerous Mind, or David Gordon Green's Snow Angels. He's also a stalwart supporting player in Frost/Nixon, The Green Mile and The Assassination of Jesse James, and hilarious in Galaxy Quest and Iron Man 2. He held his own opposite Mickey Rourke--not an easy thing to do. Jon Favreau rewarded Rockwell with a role in the upcoming sci-fi western Cowboys and Aliens. And Rockwell also held the screen against himself in the complex and moving BAFTA-winning sci-fi indie Moon, which generated serious Oscar talk last year--but didn't have a proper Oscar campaign behind it.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • October 22, 2010 6:29 AM
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  • 3 Comments

Oscar Watch: Palm Springs, Santa Barbara Fests Push Oscar Hopefuls Like Mulligan, Franco

Oscar Watch: Palm Springs, Santa Barbara Fests Push Oscar Hopefuls Like Mulligan, Franco
It isn't news that Oscar campaigners take advantage of fall film fests in L.A. and NY that are designed to draw awards attention. MCN's David Poland rants about con-man Carlos Abreu's bogus Hollywood Film Festival (which I refuse to take seriously) and IFP's Gotham Awards, which are far more legitimate in that they are designed to put the spotlight on indie films. Any fest that boosts Lena Dunham's Tiny Furniture or Let Me In is fine by me.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • October 19, 2010 7:10 AM
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  • 1 Comment

Zuckerberg Denies Social Network Frame is Accurate

In a "Startup School" conference at Sanford University, Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg talks about how he dropped out of Harvard and how the The Social Network's framing device is the thing that's most wrong with the movie.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • October 18, 2010 11:19 AM
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  • 2 Comments

Weekly Wrap: Zimmer and Reeves Talk, Oscar Buzz Builds, Casting Franchises, Shifting Media

INTERVIEWS- We analyze Let Me In's box office and awards potential and talk to Let Me In writer-director Matt Reeves.
  • By Sophia Savage
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  • October 15, 2010 11:00 AM
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  • 0 Comments

What Went Wrong With Tamara Drewe?

What Went Wrong With Tamara Drewe?
Something went terribly wrong with Tamara Drewe, an entertaining romantic comedy that played well at Cannes from one of the great Brit directors, Stephen Frears, starring hottie-on-the-rise Gemma Arterton. Sony Pictures Classics opened it last weekend to disastrous business: $19,300 on four screens, a $4,825 per-screen average. Here's why.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • October 14, 2010 11:08 AM
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  • 10 Comments

Oscar Watch: Hans Zimmer Talks Inception Score

Oscar Watch: Hans Zimmer Talks Inception Score
Christopher Nolan's Inception, which has crossed the $800-million mark worldwide, certainly will be one of this year's ten best picture Oscar nominees. Warner Bros. will bring the movie back into the public eye when it promos the DVD release in early December. One key contributor to the film's success is composer Hans Zimmer, who has been consistently strong of late (Sherlock Holmes marked his seventh Oscar nomination; he won for The Lion King). Released on iTunes July 9, the Inception soundtrack was a top ten bestseller.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • October 10, 2010 9:19 AM
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  • 1 Comment

Trailer Watch: The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest, Rapace Interview

Music Box Films is opening the third installment of the Swedish global hit Millennium trilogy (based on the Stieg Larssen novels), The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest, stateside on October 29.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • October 4, 2010 10:11 AM
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  • 0 Comments

Video: John Turturro Talks Naples Music Doc Passione

Video: John Turturro Talks Naples Music Doc Passione
Italian-American actor-director John Turturro is beloved by the Italians—Venice Fest audiences treat him like a huge star. In fact, ill-fated Romance and Cigarettes, which was caught in the backdraft at the end of United Artists, was such a hit in Italy that financeers stepped up to hire Turturro to direct a doc about the music of Naples. Passione is not unlike Fatih Akin’s Crossing the Bridge: it’s a “musical adventure” showcasing the music, old and new, of Naples, via a mix of old footage and new performances by the city’s top artists. The film was exhilarating, and more than one moviegoer walked out of the theater humming. I also admired Turturro's Mac and Illuminata, even though American moviegoers have yet to click with his movies.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • October 2, 2010 1:34 AM
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  • 0 Comments

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