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Thompson on Hollywood

Lasseter Talks Miyazaki and Ponyo

Lasseter Talks Miyazaki and Ponyo
I've been spending a lot of time with John Lasseter lately. In May, the Disney/Pixar animation chief brought Up to open the Cannes Film Fest, where animator Pete Docter got the full auteur treatment. Then Lasseter brought Japanese master Hayao Miyazaki, who he says had a huge influence on Up, to do a U.S. tour to support his latest, Ponyo, from closing night June 28 of the Los Angeles Film Festival and accepting an award at Berkeley to July's Comic-Con and a full-scale Academy tribute.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • August 14, 2009 10:30 AM
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  • 4 Comments

Inglourious Basterds: Recut, Nine Clips

Inglourious Basterds: Recut, Nine Clips
Quentin Tarantino's recut of Inglourious Basterds is one minute longer than the Cannes version, and much improved. It's a gorgeous movie with a great eclectic soundtrack crammed with everything from Ennio Morricone to a brilliant use of David Bowie's "Putting Out the Fire." (Trivia question: what movie debuted that song?)
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • August 9, 2009 1:52 AM
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  • 6 Comments

Julie & Julia Targets Women, G.I. Joe Goes for Guys

Julie & Julia Targets Women, G.I. Joe Goes for Guys
Am I the only one who feels bombarded by too much PR on Julie & Julia? It’s worth seeing for the incandescent performance of Meryl Streep as the big, bubbly, adorable chef Julia Child, who was very much a product of her time. Stanley Tucci is equally charming as her mousy, adoring husband. Both should earn awards attention at year's end. I wish that the filmmakers had bucked the conventional wisdom that holds that a period story must be framed by a contemporary one to lure younger viewers. The sections with Amy Adams as blogger Julie Powell cooking for her namby-pamby husband were boring.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • August 7, 2009 7:00 AM
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  • 2 Comments

Universal Troubles Started With DreamWorks Exit

Universal Troubles Started With DreamWorks Exit
Universal execs are heaving a huge sigh of relief with the $23.5 million estimated opening weekend for Judd Apatow's edgy comedy Funny People, starring Adam Sandler, Seth Rogen and Apatow's wife, Leslie Mann. The movie scored mixed reviews and played best for men. Women hated it . It's a pity that the studio wasn't able to help Apatow whip his sprawling two and half hour comedy into submission. The movie was ambitious, brilliant, dark and out of control, and I suspect the box office will fall steeply on word-of-mouth.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • August 2, 2009 7:25 AM
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  • 9 Comments

Kathryn Bigelow Talks Hurt Locker

Kathryn Bigelow Talks Hurt Locker
Summit picked up Kathryn Bigelow's riveting, intense Iraq thriller The Hurt Locker out of Toronto, where I interviewed the director at the start of her long road to the Oscars (below). Jeremy Renner breaks out with this movie, which drew raves when it opened June 26 in limited release. Finally, The Hurt Locker didn't need ten best picture slots this year: the movie overcame considerable obstacles en route to landing on many critics' ten-best lists and winning one award after another.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • July 30, 2009 8:22 AM
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  • 1 Comment

Whip It: Angry Women Make Potent Box Office

On its surface, Drew Barrymore's directorial debut Whip It looks like a Fast & Furious-style look at an exotic world we don't know much about: roller derbies. The film opens in October and stars Barrymore and Juno star Ellen Page as a rebellious, angry teen roller derby contestant.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • July 13, 2009 8:09 AM
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  • 0 Comments

Oscar Watch: Summer Crop Could Go All the Way

With the field for the best picture Oscar broadened to ten, a batch of summer movies are now positioned for possible inclusion. Yes, year-end movies still have the advantage. It used to be that a summer movie had to be strong and the late-season weak for it to make the top five (think Sea Biscuit, Apollo 13, Forrest Gump, Saving Private Ryan, Gladiator). But this year, five summer movies could score a top ten slot, from crowd-pleasers Up, Star Trek and Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince to higher-end fare such as Public Enemies and Hurt Locker.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • July 13, 2009 5:54 AM
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  • 0 Comments

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince Will Open Huge

It's no surprise that as of Monday AM in advance of a Wednesday opening, MovieTickets.com is reporting over 1,300 sold out showings for Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince worldwide, including over 950 stateside midnight sellouts.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • July 13, 2009 2:39 AM
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  • 0 Comments

Harry Potter Meets Love Potion Number 9

In Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, when Potter isn't whisking through space on Dumbledore's arm (this is really a father-son fromance) or dipping his face into other people's creepy memories, he and pals Ron and Hermione are entangled in various teen love intrigues--one even involves a powerful love potion. Movieline goes to the source (Daniel Radcliffe and Emma Watson) to get the skinny on who hearts who.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • July 9, 2009 8:05 AM
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  • 0 Comments

Transformers: ROTF Passes $300 Million

Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen has passed the $300 million in 14 days. The sequel is so hugely successful that it encourages the studios to keep pursuing the same dispiriting tentpole dream. It's not a question of Michael Bay being a crap director. He's clearly in the zone of knowing what audiences want to see. I just worry that the studios will neglect creating original franchises in the first place, which demand creativity and imagination.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • July 8, 2009 8:16 AM
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  • 0 Comments

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