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Thompson on Hollywood

The Tourist Reviews: "Retro," "Ludicrous Fairy Tale," Jolie "Sexy As Hell"

The Tourist is one of the oddest star vehicles to come out of the Hollywood dream factory in some time. It's determinedly retro, and as directed by The Lives of Others' Florian Henckel Von Donnersmarck--in a bid for big-studio acceptance--it's sincere in a way that few American directors would have managed. It's not hip at all. Von Donnersmarck is trying to make an old Hollywood fantasy surrounding two gorgeous movie stars. I can't imagine any men going to see this movie, which mainly offers romantic escape. The reviews are execrable: The Tomatometer is 17% rotten.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • December 10, 2010 7:18 AM
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  • 0 Comments

Interview Watch: The Tourist's Material Beauty, Gosling and the New Hollywood Male Prototype

Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck tells the NYTimes that "I live outside my comfort zone always," which helps to explain why the German director-writer chose to follow up best-foreign-language Oscar winner The Lives of Others with Sony's lavish guilty-pleasure film The Tourist starring high-wattage Angelina Jolie and Johnny Depp. Foreign directors rarely have successful crossovers into big-budget studio fare, admits Sony co-president Michael Barker, "other than Roman Polanski with Chinatown and Milos Forman with One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest."
  • By Sophia Savage
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  • December 9, 2010 5:04 AM
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Star Watch: Pitt, Penn in Tree of Life Trailer, Winslet on Mendes' Bond, Depp On Jolie and Paradis

- Stay calm, Terrence Malick fans. The LAT says there's truth to the hype. They provide a sneak peak at the film's trailer (which Fox Searchlight is attaching to Black Swan Friday) and debuted several stills. The trailer suggests a "mystical, rich and satisfying film…a big-canvas movie in the best sense, one with both cosmic significance and intimate drama," writes Steven Zeitchik. The shots in the trailer include "visual poetry --  shots of vast landscapes and religious half-light and spinning planets," and declares a resulting "sense of excitement about what Malick has just shown you and a sense of curiosity about what lies behind it."
  • By Sophia Savage
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  • December 3, 2010 7:47 AM
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  • 0 Comments

Gender Watch: Tourist's Jolie Talks to Vogue, Black Swan's Portman Writes

- Angelina Jolie is Vogue's December cover girl (photos by Mario Testino), which, as usual, coincides with the release of her latest, The Tourist with Johnny Depp, out December 10. The woman doesn't have an agent, and why would she? The mold or model doesn't apply to her, and yet The Tourist's director Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck (The Lives of Others) confirms to Vogue that “she gets every single script that has a female role aged between eighteen and 40—every script. And she just follows her feeling, holds her own counsel. She’s probably the only global megastar that doesn’t even have an agent—she doesn’t even have a publicist.” Vogue's Vicki Woods was taken in and distracted by her famous face but says once you "clear away the craziness and tabloid clatter that swirls around the Jolie-Pitt family (or “brand”)…you find a practical woman with terrific forward-planning skills." Jolie, on playing the role that was originally written for Tom Cruise in Salt:“I felt it was a weird thing that every time you ask for a strong female role, it’s written in this strange way where it uses sexuality far too much. Or it’s all about being a woman and beating a man. So it wasn’t a surprise to me that the only way to do a strong female role properly was to not have originally written for a woman.”
  • By Sophia Savage
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  • November 12, 2010 6:51 AM
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  • 0 Comments

Cameron To Direct Avatar 2 & 3; Who Will Direct Cleopatra?

James Cameron has made up his mind. He can't get Avatar out of his head. And he's doing the right thing, shooting two sequels to Avatar (possibly back to back), because he's going to give audiences more of what they want. (Reminder: Avatar grossed $ $2.8 billion worldwide, bolstered by premium 3-D prices, and tops Blu-ray sales records.) And he'll plow some of the huge R & D that went into the cost of Avatar back into the sequels (presumably making them less expensive--although you know he'll want to up the VFX ante). And he will remind us of what top-of-the-line 3-D can be. Immersive. Engrossing. Welcoming us into another world, in this case, Pandora. Don't you want to go back there? Holiday 2014 and 2015 seem very far away. But now Cameron knows what he is going to do next.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • October 27, 2010 4:49 AM
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  • 1 Comment

Oscar Round-Up: Best Actress Buzzing, Quoting The Social Network, Does Winter's Bone Have a Chance?

Oscar Round-Up: Best Actress Buzzing, Quoting The Social Network, Does Winter's Bone Have a Chance?
Buzz is building around this year's best actress Oscar race: "Unlike most years when men dominate the critical buzz for strong roles," asserts TheStar's Zorianna Kit. Well, that's debatable: last year boasted the Sandra Bullock/Meryl Streep flirtation, Carey Mulligan's breakout performance, Mo'Nique, Helen Mirren, Kathryn Bigelow winning for best director…and so on. But certainly this year boasts an abundance of actresses to pick from, including some who grabbed our attention in untraditional roles, from Annette Bening in The Kids Are All Right to Jennifer Lawrence in Winter's Bone--and many have not yet seen fall fest fave Natalie Portman in Black Swan. Fasten your seat belts.
  • By Sophia Savage
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  • October 21, 2010 4:07 AM
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  • 2 Comments

Sony Wants Jolie as Cleopatra, but Can They Land Cameron?

Sony envisions a mouth-watering Cleopatra franchise with Hollywood's only female action star, Angelina Jolie, as the mighty Egyptian Queen. James Cameron, post-Avatar, is being conjured to take on this project, reports Deadline's Mike Fleming, because he's one of the few directors Sony chairman Amy Pascal would trust with such a risky mammoth-budget 3-D period spectacle. But can she and producer Scott Rudin land him? (The answer I hear is yes).
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • October 15, 2010 7:20 AM
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  • 9 Comments

Piling on Snow White, 360's Four-Poster Casting, BBC Lines Up Mendes, Campion, Hare

- Universal is finalizing a deal to land the latest public-domain brand-name fairy tale, Snow White and the Huntsman, written by Evan Daugherty and to be directed by commercials-turned-feature director Rupert Sanders.
  • By Sophia Savage
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  • September 30, 2010 7:21 AM
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  • 1 Comment

King, Schlessel, Berney Talk FilmDistrict, Plan to Release Depp's Rum Diary, London Boulevard

When a market contracts, it offers opportunities to fill the void. As expected, having imported Sony heavyweight Peter Schlessel as president, producer Graham King of GK Films, backed by his financing partner Tim Headington, is pushing forward to fill the current distribution gap with FilmDistrict.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • September 27, 2010 12:19 PM
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  • 5 Comments

Portman Offered Gravity, Defining Adult Films, Toronto's Most Anticipated

- In the ongoing saga of who will replace Angelina Jolie in the lead role in Alfonso Cuaron's Gravity--she twice rejected the starring role--Natalie Portman has been offered the role, thanks to rave reviews on her Black Swan performance. With or without Black Swan's vote of confidence, Portman is a strong (but young) choice. The age range of the character in Gravity is apparently flexible. Should Portman accept the role, this will be a chance for her to stand out (although Robert Downey Jr. carries some of the load), a la Tom Hanks in Cast Away or James Franco in 127 Hours. Risky Business lists Portman's growing collection of possible projects, including a Terrence Malick film with Brad Pitt, a Tom Stoppard piece written specifically for her, not to mention Pride and Prejudice and Zombies and Tom Tykwer's star-packed (Hanks, James McAvoy, Halle Berry, Ian McKellan) Cloud Atlas (both slated for 2011). All along, the actress has made diverse choices, ranging from Heat (1995), which RottenTomatoes rates highest of all her films, when she was 14 (the unheard of Free Zone [2005] is the lowest) to Star Wars (1999, 2002, 2005) and Garden State (2004).
  • By Sophia Savage
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  • September 8, 2010 3:35 AM
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  • 1 Comment

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