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Thompson on Hollywood

LA Film Critics Award-Winner Mazursky Talks Career, Kubrick, Tempest, Hollywood

LA Film Critics Award-Winner Mazursky Talks Career, Kubrick, Tempest, Hollywood
Paul Mazursky, 80, has always been a one-of-a-kind Hollywood filmmaker. He started out as an actor, wrote (often with a partner), directed and produced his films, and he hasn't stopped. He directed a 2006 documentary about a meeting of Hassidic Jews in the Ukraine (Yippee), directs theater and is prepping a Broadway musical version of Moon Over Parador. The director flourished inside the studio system during the 70s and 80s, a time when execs allowed all sorts of things to happen that they wouldn't today. Movies didn't cost as much. A single exec actually in charge of production could greenlight a movie. We talk about this in the flip cam interview below, as well as starting off his film acting career in 1953 on Stanley Kubrick's first film, Fear and Desire, Mazursky and Julie Taymor's different takes on Shakespeare's The Tempest, and what's wrong with Hollywood today, where it's hard to imagine any studio head greenlighting a film about an old man and his cat.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • January 14, 2011 6:35 AM
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  • 1 Comment

Ron Howard Goes Lowbrow with The Dilemma; Early Reviews

What was Ron Howard thinking? Did this popular A-list Oscar-winning director really want to make a lowbrow comedy that could be summed up in the following tweet from @giteshpandya:9:24pm via WebDilemma: Low on laughs but should sell to fans of formulaic buddy & relationship comedies. Could use some trimming. #mtrv
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • January 13, 2011 4:02 AM
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Fox Marketing Shuffle Signals Management Turmoil

Fox Marketing Shuffle Signals Management Turmoil
Pam Levine is out, ex-Disney exec Oren Aviv is in at Fox Marketing. Veteran industry watchers know that this means that studio co-chairmen Tom Rothman and Jim Gianopulos are under duress. When a major studio suffers a bad run at the box office and then lets go of a top marketing exec, it's considered a scapegoat maneuver. It usually signals that if the management team doesn't produce some hits in the following year, they could be next. (Here's the LAT.)
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • January 13, 2011 2:57 AM
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  • 1 Comment

Woody Allen's Midnight in Paris Lands at Sony Pictures Classics; The Fate of Past Partnerships

Sony Pictures Classics has acquired all North American rights for Woody Allen's Midnight in Paris. Allen's first Paris-shot film is the third to be financed by Spain's Mediapro (the first two were Vicky Cristina Barcelona in 2008 and Allen's latest, You Will Meet A Tall Dark Stranger). SPC has also teamed with Allen before, on Dark Stranger, 2009's Whatever Works and 1999's Sweet and Lowdown. Midnight in Paris stars Kathy Bates, Adrien Brody, Carla Bruni, Marion Cotillard, Rachel McAdams, Michael Sheen, and Owen Wilson.
  • By Sophia Savage
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  • January 11, 2011 6:01 AM
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  • 2 Comments

Gender Watch: Uphill Battle for Heroines in the Marketplace, From True Grit to Sucker Punch

It's an uphill battle for teenage movie heroines these days, writes LAT's Rebecca Keegan, who argues that female protagonists traditionally "alienate" male audiences. But things are looking up with True Grit's Hailee Steinfeld and Jennifer Lawrence in Winter's Bone. They are:"…the product of a film industry in which young women are infiltrating traditionally male genres like action films; female directors and producers are wielding increasing creative influence, and the culture is moving from a sexed-up, dumbed-down model of female adolescence to one marked by smarts, strength and scrap."
  • By Sophia Savage
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  • January 10, 2011 9:07 AM
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  • 2 Comments

True Grit Surges Past $100 Million at Sleepy Box Office; Cage and Paltrow Pics Are Soft

On its third go-round, True Grit surged on momentum and strong word-of-mouth to finally beat comedy sequel Little Fockers. The Oscar-buzzed Coen brothers western starring Jeff Bridges faced little or no competition, as many studio holiday entries collapsed. (See TOH's year-end box office wrap.) Anthony D'Alessandro reports:It was a ghost town at the cinema this weekend. Paramount’s True Grit continued to hang its B.O. high as it crossed the $100-million mark Sunday and pushed Universal’s family laffer Little Fockers to second place  ($13.8 million). Also falling short were two new wide entries, Relativity Media’s Nicolas Cage crusades actioner Season of the Witch ($10.7 million), and  Sony/Screen Gems' women's drama Country Strong ($7.3 million), starring Gwenyth Paltrow. Overall box office receipts totaled an estimated $114 million, off 29% from the same frame year ago when Avatar continued to be a phenomenon, grossing $50 million for the weekend.
  • By Anthony D'Alessandro
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  • January 9, 2011 5:13 AM
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  • 3 Comments

Year-End Box Office Wrap 2010: Winners and Losers Chart, Warners Leads Domestic Market Share

Year-End Box Office Wrap 2010: Winners and Losers Chart, Warners Leads Domestic Market Share
It was feast or famine at the 2010 domestic box office. The studios spent too much on too many uber-flops, but thanks to holdover Avatar and premium 3-D ticket prices, they enjoyed their second-best year at the domestic box office with $10.46 billion, off less than 2% from 2009’s all-time haul of $10.6 billion. The theatrical buoyancy of 3-D inflated the average stub from $7.46 in 2009 to $7.85 in the third quarter (per the National Association of Theater Owners). But the real trend is worrisome: higher ticket prices plus static turnstiles equals fewer butts in seats. Admissions fell 6% from 1.42 billion in 2009 to 1.33 billion last year. 
  • By Anne Thompson and Anthony D'Alessandro
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  • January 7, 2011 9:10 AM
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  • 3 Comments

Dancers on Black Swan's Lesbian Action/Horror, Critiquing The Fighter, Exit Through The Gift Shop

- It was inevitable that Black Swan would be divisive inside the ballet community. The Guardian pre-screened Black Swan for some of Britain's finest dancers. Here's a taste of their reactions:Tamara Rojo, The Royal Ballet: "I really have a problem with this film using an actress, not a dancer, to play Nina: the director seems to think that, in a few months, you can learn a profession that it takes years just to understand, let alone be good at. And in the film, Nina is supposed to be awesome."
  • By Sophia Savage
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  • January 7, 2011 8:20 AM
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Digital Viewing Transition: The Rise of Netflix

Digital Viewing Transition: The Rise of Netflix
In their excellent year-ahead discussion on KCRW's The Business, host Kim Masters and guests John Horn (the LAT) and Michael Schneider (Variety) agreed that 2011 marks a watershed year in the transition from traditional to digital viewing choices. They think the shift will come faster for movies than television. "The studios are burning along with huge overhead and a lot of movies that aren't working," says Masters, a confessed Luddite who defends theater-going.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • January 6, 2011 2:03 AM
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  • 1 Comment

The Social Network Aims For $200 Million Worldwide; DVD Hits January 11

Five-hundred million friends? They're getting closer. With The Social Network edging toward the $200 million mark worldwide (so far its cume is $93 million domestic and $104 million overseas), Sony's putting it back in 600 theaters on January 7. And with Oscars in its sights, Thursday night, the film gets a PR boost from a DVD/Blu-Ray Oscar party promoing its January 11 homevideo release, with eight hours of DVD bonus features.
  • By Sophia Savage
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  • January 5, 2011 8:35 AM
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  • 0 Comments

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