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Thompson on Hollywood

Revivals: The Return of Schwarzenegger and the Western

Remakes and reboots are a dime a dozen these days, but roots run deeper for some more than others. Arnold Schwarzenegger, 63, is getting back to work. And having been pronounced dead, the western genre is being welcomed by a new generation in both classic and hybrid forms.
  • By Sophia Savage
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  • March 7, 2011 9:14 AM
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  • 1 Comment

Weekend Box Office: Animation Rules as Rango Wins Opening Duel with Adjustment Bureau

As the studios chase branded entertainment, the one genre open to original thinking is animation. Who can blame Gore Verbinski, after three Pirate movies, for heading back to the old West with a John Logan homage to westerns, top-of-the-line Industrial Light and Magic animation, and Johnny Depp leading a cast of great character actors? After a slow winter lacking an Avatar or Alice in Wonderland to perk up attendance, audiences returned to multiplexes to check out Rango, the winter's second hit western (after True Grit) and a slew of other new entrants.
  • By Anthony D'Alessandro
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  • March 6, 2011 5:45 AM
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  • 0 Comments

Rango, Adjustment Bureau, Beastly, Take Me Home Tonight, I Saw the Devil: Blockbuster Weekend?

2011 is due for its first blockbuster weekend. From Johnny Depp's animated Rango and Matt Damon and Emily Blunt's The Adjustment Bureau to teen flick Beastly, 80s throwback Take Me Home Tonight and Korean horror film I Saw the Devil, all the demographic bases are covered. We recommend Damon and Blunt's effortless on-screen chemistry, the wondrously imaginative Rango, and indie festival favorites Abel and Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives. Film details, reviews and trailers are below.
  • By Sophia Savage
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  • March 4, 2011 8:30 AM
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  • 0 Comments

Weekly Wrap: Awards Season Climax, Oscar Parties & Video, Box Office, Oscar Contenders at Work

- Oscar Talk: Final Edition, Oscar Wrap.
  • By Anne Thompson and Sophia Savage
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  • March 4, 2011 7:20 AM
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  • 0 Comments

Stieg Larsson's Millenium Trilogy: Brother Says There Won't Be A Fourth Book

Word and Film's Christine Spines interviews Stieg Larsson's brother Joakim on whether a fourth Millennium series book will see the light of day. The answer? No.
  • By Sophia Savage
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  • March 3, 2011 6:50 AM
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  • 3 Comments

Oscar Box Office Bump for King's Speech and Black Swan

Oscar Box Office Bump for King's Speech and Black Swan
While Oscar wins can have a big impact on subsequent box office, some years they just don't. This year has seen a big boost in ticket sales from Oscar nominations on quite a few awards contenders. Anthony D'Alessandro looks at the numbers; see Oscar Bump Chart (below).Oscars have been handed out, but award season still isn’t over at the box office.  A best picture win can translate into an extra 20% bump after Oscar night, while an actress or actor trophy can trigger an extra 30-50% in a film’s domestic cume.   Fox Searchlight’sBlack Swanwill expand Friday from its current 617 locales to 681.  At $103.83 million, the film recently inched out The Chronicles of Narnia 3($103.81 million) to become Fox’s highest-grossing 2010 domestic release.   Meanwhile the Weinstein Co. is plotting to unspool its PG-13 take on King’s Speech at some point down the road, but will continue to play out its R-rated reel currently at 2,386 sites.  No matter what version of King’s Speech audiences attend --with or without the ‘F’ words-- Weinstein Co. president David Glasser insists that there’s are still crowds who haven’t seen the period piece, despite its 93% domestic B.O. boost between noms and Oscar Night.
  • By Anthony D'Alessandro
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  • March 3, 2011 6:26 AM
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  • 3 Comments

Meek's Cutoff Early Reviews: "Beckettian Harshness," Williams Is "Show-Stealingly Brilliant"

Kelly Reichardt's austere western Meek's Cutoff hits theatres April 8. A roundup of early reviews is below.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • March 3, 2011 6:25 AM
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  • 0 Comments

Rango Early Reviews: "One Spectacular-Looking Movie," "Chaotic," "Wildly Imaginative" (UPDATED)

Rango is a gorgeous CGI animated homage to the Hollywood western from Pirates of the Caribbean director Gore Verbinski, ILM, screenwriter John Logan and a great voice cast led by Johnny Depp. The VFX masters at ILM put their genius to work on a piece of CGI animation (blessedly not in 3-D) , and the results are wondrous, from the character animation to the action sequences. But while Logan is an Oscar-nominated studio scribe (The Aviator) who knows his westerns, this is not a Pixar film. On the one hand the pacing lags, and on the other, they don't seem to have a handle on how to make it play for both adults and kids. (Younger viewers in the theater were bored.) But for any student of animation or western buff, Rango is a must-see.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • March 1, 2011 9:27 AM
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  • 0 Comments

Weekend Box Office: Gnomeo & Juliet Elves Bash Cage's Drive Angry 3D and Farrelly's Hall Pass

Animated holdover Gnomeo & Juliet surged ahead of yet another set of weak openers as the box office continues in the doldrums.(Here's our six reasons why.) See weekend trailers and Top Ten Box Office Chart below. Anthony D'Alessandro has the numbers:A band of CGI elves had the last laugh as Disney’s Gnomeo & Juliet stole the box office with $14.2 million, kicking former marquee champs, the Farrelly Brothers and Nicolas Cage, in the groin. The Farrelly’s Hall Pass, distributed by Warner Bros./New Line, slid to second with a $13.4 million three-day after showing signs of a No. 1 win on Friday with $4.6 million.  Summit Entertainment’s Cage headliner Drive Angry 3D from Nu Image Pictures crashed and burned in ninth with $5.1 million – the lowest opening for a 3D live-action feature after Gulliver’s Travels ($6.3 million bow) and another sign in Nicolas Cage’s apocalyptic career. The success of Gnomeo proves that when there’s crap at the box office, family titles flourish, a pattern seen last April when the fourth frame of How to Train Your Dragon bested the bows of Jennifer Lopez’s The Back-up Plan and DC comics also-ran The Losers.  After filing fourth on Friday with $3.16 million, Gnomeo climbed 101% yesterday to $6.3 million. 
  • By Anthony D'Alessandro
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  • February 27, 2011 5:48 AM
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  • 1 Comment

The Adjustment Bureau Early Reviews: Damon & Blunt Own It With Heart-Fluttering Chemistry

The Adjustment Bureau Early Reviews: Damon & Blunt Own It With Heart-Fluttering Chemistry
Hollywood has a good track record when it comes to adapting California sci-fi writer Philip K. Dick, who was praised by Adam Gopnik for his "mixture of mordant comedy and wild metaphysics."
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • February 25, 2011 9:00 AM
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  • 2 Comments

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