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Sopranos Final Season Premiere

Photo of Anne Thompson By Anne Thompson | Thompson on Hollywood March 30, 2007 at 5:15AM

Stephen Schaefer covers HBO's New York Sopranos premiere at Radio City Music Hall:

Vanityfair200701_small Stephen Schaefer covers HBO's New York Sopranos premiere at Radio City Music Hall:

Without giving away any plot details, the “Sopranos” finale seems destined to struggle with the Big Issues even as it curdles and cackles with the blackest humor. Even in a family retreat far from New Jersey’s mean streets violence, “Sopranos” observes, disruptive, physically and psychologically demeaning violence, is never far. Nor is execution-style murder.

Carmela and Tony can have sex, exchange gifts but can they really comfort each other? As the song goes, Why was I born? Why am I living? What do I give? What am I giving?

As he celebrates his 47th birthday Tony (James Gandolfini) ponders, broods about his legacy. The cops and the Feds hover. A mob boss is dying and the void must be filled – but in these times who, really wants to be boss, the capo de capo? Christopher (Michael Imperioli) loses interest in the family business to make horror movies inspired by you-know-who with family money. As for the movie itself, Who’d have guessed Daniel Baldwin could ever be better than Ben Kingsley?

With little interest in his only son A.J. (Robert Iler), Tony curses how his chosen “son” Christopher has missed all that he’s tried to pass on to him. Rueful, ruminative and explosive, “Sopranos” is not going quietly into the night. But will Tony go? Really go?

Here's Variety's Steven Zeitchik on the HBO party. And here's a link to Vanity Fair's online Sopranos coverage. The in-depth April cover story on David Chase and the history of the show by Peter Biskind is one of the best magazine reads I've had in a long time. UPDATE: Here's Time's feature story.

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This article is related to: TV, HBO

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Born and raised in Manhattan, Anne Thompson grew up going to the Thalia and The New Yorker and wound up at grad Cinema Studies at NYU. She worked at United Artists and Film Comment before heading west as that magazine's west coast editor. She wrote for the LA Weekly, Sight and Sound, Empire, The New York Times and Entertainment Weekly before serving as West Coast Editor of Premiere. She wrote for The Washington Post, The London Observer, Wired, More, and Vanity Fair, and did staff stints at The Hollywood Reporter and Variety. She eventually took her blog Thompson on Hollywood to Indiewire. She taught film criticism at USC Critical Studies, and continues to host the fall semester of “Sneak Previews” for UCLA Extension.