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Thompson on Hollywood

Crafts Roundup: Editors Talk About the Journeys of Survival and Reinvention

With such an emphasis this year on survival and reinvention, the journeys required special editorial attention to shifts in tone and unconventional arcs while conveying internal struggles that we cared about. Here's a sampling from "12 Years a Slave," "Gravity," "All Is Lost," "American Hustle," "Before Midnight," and "The Secret Life of Walter Mitty."
  • By Bill Desowitz
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  • December 26, 2013 2:10 PM
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NYT Best Sellers Dominated by Films and TV: '12 Years a Slave,' 'Long Walk to Freedom,' 'Orange Is the New Black' and More

One of the revelations from the current New York Times list of non-fiction bestsellers is how many films land there. Solomon Northup's "12 Years a Slave," which was overshadowed upon its 1853 publication by abolitionist Harriet Beecher Stowe's "Uncle Tom's Cabin" and "A Key to Uncle Tom's Cabin" and long only known by historians, now sits at number three on the bestseller list. Impressive, and cool.
  • By Beth Hanna
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  • December 19, 2013 2:29 PM
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Why '12 Years a Slave' Is Returning to Theaters

Fox Searchlight is not out of the woods with "12 Years a Slave." The movie has been praised by critics and pulled a remarkable number of moviegoers in its run so far. What's too worry? Why the film will be re-released in select cities on January 17.
  • By Anne Thompson and Tom Brueggemann
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  • December 18, 2013 2:58 PM
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  • 1 Comment

Village Voice, Indiewire and Film Comment's Top Films of 2013: More Love for 'Llewyn Davis,' '12 Years a Slave' and 'Before Midnight'

Year-end critics polls of 2013's Top Ten films (or Top 50, as the case may be) continue to roll in. Below, check out the selections made by the Village Voice, Indiewire and Film Comment. All three outlets have their top three films in common (though in differing orders): "Inside Llewyn Davis," "12 Years a Slave" and "Before Midnight."
  • By Beth Hanna
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  • December 18, 2013 2:07 PM
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Critics Choice Movie Awards: '12 Years a Slave' and 'American Hustle' Tally 13 Nominations, Bullock Grabs Three, Lawrence Two, Johansson and Larson, One

Last year "Argo" began its drumbeat of wins from the Critics Choice Movie Awards, which are often a bellwether for the Oscars. "I want to thank the Academy," quipped Ben Affleck as he accepted his prize on the evening he was snubbed by the Academy director's branch. This year's Critics' Choice nominees are led by critics' faves “12 Years a Slave” and “American Hustle,” with thirteen nominations each.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • December 16, 2013 11:47 AM
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  • 1 Comment

TOH! Top Tens of 2013

TOH! contributors list their Top Ten Films of 2013.
  • By TOH!
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  • December 13, 2013 5:19 PM
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  • 1 Comment

Crafts Roundup: The Year of Immersive Sound in Survival Films

In the year of survival, sound has taken on supreme importance as an authentic, driving narrative force, and with the advent of Dolby Atmos, the theatrical experience has never been more immersive. "Gravity," "All Is Lost," "Captain Phillips," "Oblivion," "Rush," and "12 Years a Slave" are among the standouts in space, at sea, in a post-apocalyptic wasteland, on the dangerous Formula 1 track, and in physical/spiritual imprisonment.
  • By Bill Desowitz
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  • December 5, 2013 2:16 PM
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'Mandela' Opens Strong with Weak Reviews, Spike Lee's 'Old Boy' Collapses, '12 Years a Slave' Passes 'Blue Jasmine' as Year's Best Indie Performer

With so many adult-oriented films playing in wide release over the holiday weekend, it was more difficult for narrower releases to gain traction. One, the second Weinstein potential awards contender in a row to open in just two cities, "Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom," exceeded expectations while the other, Spike Lee's remake of "Oldboy," performed weakly in several hundred theaters.
  • By Tom Brueggemann
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  • December 1, 2013 4:16 PM
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Composer Nicholas Britell Talks the Powerful Spiritual-Field Songs in '12 Years a Slave'

Composer Nicholas Britell ("Gimme the Loot") provides a powerful musical accompaniment for Steve McQueen's "12 Years a Slave" with a series of spiritual-field songs and stringed waltzes (which are currently available on the Columbia Records soundtrack). These originals and recreations enable us to better understand and appreciate the rich musical heritage that sprung from such inhumanity.
  • By Bill Desowitz
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  • November 29, 2013 2:20 PM
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  • 1 Comment

Crafts Roundup: The Year of Cinematographers Capturing Turmoil On Screen

It's been a great year for cinematography, with such an emphasis on survival, turmoil and trying to find beauty or redemption within the suffering. The cinematographers of "Gravity," "12 Years a Slave," "Captain Phillips," "Nebraska," "Inside Llewyn Davis," "The Grandmaster," and "Rush" talk striking that cruel-beautiful visual balance, below.
  • By Bill Desowitz
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  • November 26, 2013 2:15 PM
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  • 3 Comments

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