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Thompson on Hollywood

Oscar Watch: Waiting for Superman Meets Zuckerberg on Oprah

Oscar Watch: Waiting for Superman Meets Zuckerberg on Oprah
Paramount has sent out "for Your Consideration" six-city screening invites for Martin Scorsese's Shutter Island and Davis Guggenheim's Waiting for Superman, which got serious Oprah Winfrey love this week, with two shows devoted to the controversial American education expose. The second show also featured Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg, who didn't say much as Winfrey explained that he was reluctant to appear and had wanted to make his contribution to the Newark city schools anonymously.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • September 25, 2010 11:00 AM
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  • 1 Comment

TIFF Client 9: The Rise and Fall of Eliot Spitzer Review, and Alex Gibney Talks

Alex Gibney's hugely entertaining Eliot Spitzer doc, Client 9: The Rise and Fall of Elliot Spitzer, is a leading contender for this year's doc Oscar. The movie is full of surprises. In my flip cam interview with Gibney (below) he explains how the story he tells turned out far different from what he thought it would be, and why Wall Street Masters of the Universe were so eager to go on camera to chortle over Spitzer's dramatic comedown: "They wanted to stamp on Spitzer's grave," Gibney admits. 'It's not stretching the truth to say they hated this man."
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • September 17, 2010 12:43 PM
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  • 1 Comment

TIFF Interview: Inarritu Expected Biutiful, Starring Bardem, to "Provoke Extreme Reactions"

TIFF Interview: Inarritu Expected Biutiful, Starring Bardem, to "Provoke Extreme Reactions"
Biutiful, Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu's long-awaited follow-up to Babel (which scored seven Oscar nominations in 2007 including best picture), came into Toronto with a stateside distrib (Lionsgate's Roadside Attractions), and played well here. Javier Bardem's performance as a down-and-out psychic in Barcelona, Spain, which shared the best actor prize in Cannes, is definitely on the Oscar radar.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • September 17, 2010 3:59 AM
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TIFF Between a Rock and Hard Place: Boyle and Franco Talk 127 Hours

I interviewed 127 Hours producer Christian Colson and writer Simon Beaufoy, the same team who worked with Danny Boyle on Slumdog Millionaire, just before my flipcam chat with Boyle and James Franco (below).
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • September 16, 2010 3:09 AM
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  • 0 Comments

IFC Makes Second Toronto Buy: Herzog's Cave of Forgotten Dreams, in 3-D

IFC Films has acquired all U.S. rights (except TV) to Werner Herzog’s 3-D documentary Cave of Forgotten Dreams, which explores the ancient walls of Chauvet-Pont-d’Arc cave in the south of France. Herzog was able to get access to areas that have been off-limits by deploying special no-heat lights.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • September 15, 2010 11:15 AM
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  • 0 Comments

Exclusive Interview: With Somewhere, Sofia Coppola Grows Up

Exclusive Interview: With Somewhere, Sofia Coppola Grows Up
Sofia Coppola's Somewhere, which was the surprise winner of the Golden Lion in Venice, will be released by Focus Features this December.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • September 14, 2010 3:22 AM
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  • 14 Comments

TIFF: Tony Goldwyn Talks Conviction, Betty Anne Waters, Hilary Swank, Sam Rockwell

At this year's Toronto Film Fest, indieWIRE interviewed filmmakers and stars at Live at the Lounge every day. In my talk with Conviction director Tony Goldwyn (video below), he admitted, as David Schwimmer had several days earlier with rape drama Trust, that serious dramas are the hardest films to finance.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • September 13, 2010 11:19 AM
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  • 0 Comments

TIFF: Affleck Talks The Town

TIFF: Affleck Talks The Town
After playing Venice and Toronto, Ben Affleck's sophomore directing effort The Town, in which he stars himself this time, opens Friday. It's a straightforward entertaining character-driven genre piece set in Boston based on a novel by Chuck Hogan about a Charlestown gang of bank robbers who are under avid pursuit by the FBI. Affleck is trying to make a movie that's both smart and mainstream; he gives himself a juicy role as a wily robber who falls in love with a bank staffer (Rebecca Hall) and then looks to get out. Jeremy Renner is charismatic and dangerous as his trigger-happy partner in crime, while Jon Hamm is wasted in a dull role as an FBI agent. Blake Lively is believably sexy and pathetic as Affleck's angry, drug-addicted ex-girlfriend scorned.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • September 13, 2010 3:48 AM
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  • 3 Comments

Venice Wrap: Best of Fest, Winners and Losers, Golden Lion Goes to Somewhere

Venice Wrap: Best of Fest, Winners and Losers, Golden Lion Goes to Somewhere
The Venice Film Festival, the oldest in the world, is winding up its 67th edition, my first. (UPDATE: The Golden Lion award went to Sofia Coppola's Somewhere on Saturday amid charges of favoritism on the part of jury president Quentin Tarantino; they once dated.) Venice is more intimate than Cannes, with less of a junket/market/party/circus feel, and very European. And yet for seven years fest director Marco Muller has lured more than a few star-studded Hollywood event films to the Lido (the small island is a vaporetto-ride from the most elegant tourist attraction in Europe). (Check out my flip cam interview with Muller below).
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • September 11, 2010 12:09 PM
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Fassbender/McQueen Reunite, Studio Critique, Love And Other Drugs, Mulligan Talks Never Let Me Go

- The Guardian calls Hollywood's summer box office victory - approximately a 2.4% lead on 2009 - a hollow one; "the abiding memory of summer 2010 will be of a decline in standards" (the standards of storytelling, not technical effects). The arguments behind this hollow victory include the decline in actual people in theatre seats (lowest since 1997) and the rise in revenue (thanks, 3-D), the root of which conflicts with studios' growing challenge to stay relevant amongst growing sources of alternative entertainment (if they're only making movies for profit, they're undermining the argument for preserving the relevance of film). The Guardian also disses too many studio-approved screenplays that "too often settle for tired storylines, hackneyed dialogue and vacuous characters hiding behind music video sensibilities and loud explosions." The Guardian does see hope in the next year (including Never Let Me Go, but warns another "creatively impoverished" season of films will descend upon us sooner or later.
  • By Sophia Savage
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  • September 8, 2010 7:30 AM
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  • 1 Comment

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