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Must Sees: Fantastic Mr. Fox, The Messenger

Must Sees: Fantastic Mr. Fox, The Messenger
The movie most likely to succeed this weekend is Roland Emmerich's 2012, which I look forward to seeing with a crowd. The critic-proof doomsday movie is expected to do $40-50 million on over 3400 screens. I just want to see the VFX. That's what Emmerich is good at. Even in the trailer John Cusack looks embarrassed.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • November 14, 2009 1:12 AM
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  • 3 Comments

Oscar Talk Episode 6

Oscar Talk Episode 6
In our sixth Oscar Talk podcast, In Contention's Kris Tapley and I debate the foreign and animation races, The Fantastic Mr. Fox, The Messenger, Where the Wild Things Are and The Last Station.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • October 16, 2009 10:49 AM
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  • 1 Comment

Coraline's Selick Leaves Laika

It seems odd that when a movie breaks out and does as well as Coraline ($120 million worldwide), that the filmmaker would leave the animation company behind it. But Henry Selick and Portland, Oregon-based Laika have parted ways at the expiration of Selick's contract as Laika supervising director. Often the same creative drive and energy that makes a movie like Coraline possible--believe me, without Selick it would not be the same movie-- makes a director tough to work with. Laika, which also produces commercials, intends to continue making stop-motion animation.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • October 7, 2009 4:00 AM
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  • 2 Comments

Disney's Next Move: Who Will Replace Cook?

Something had to give at Disney. But motion picture chief Dick Cook was such a fixture at the studio that despite Disney chairman Robert Iger's public complaints about the quality of the movies, I figured production chief Oren Aviv would be the target. Disney's output has been suspect ever since Aviv replaced Nina Jacobson at the studio. Cook, who over 38 years rose up through the ranks to run distribution before he took over running movies, was clearly comfortable with Aviv, who came from the marketing side, but had written the high-concept hit, National Treasure. So Cook and Aviv were both strong marketers, but hit a rough box office patch in the last year.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • September 20, 2009 8:48 AM
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  • 2 Comments

Lasseter Talks Miyazaki and Ponyo

Lasseter Talks Miyazaki and Ponyo
I've been spending a lot of time with John Lasseter lately. In May, the Disney/Pixar animation chief brought Up to open the Cannes Film Fest, where animator Pete Docter got the full auteur treatment. Then Lasseter brought Japanese master Hayao Miyazaki, who he says had a huge influence on Up, to do a U.S. tour to support his latest, Ponyo, from closing night June 28 of the Los Angeles Film Festival and accepting an award at Berkeley to July's Comic-Con and a full-scale Academy tribute.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • August 14, 2009 10:30 AM
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  • 4 Comments

Nine Goes to the Movies

Nine Goes to the Movies
Nine is a popular number at the movies these days. Last week I saw Shane Acker's animated dystopian adventure 9, featuring the voice of Elijah Wood, which opens September 9, 2009. Wednesday night I see Neill Blomkamp's alien thriller District 9, produced by Peter Jackson. The German film Cloud 9 opens in New York this Friday and in LA on August 28. This fall I look forward to the Rob Marshall musical Nine. Earlier this year I missed the animated feature $9.99. I count four past movies named Nine, as well as such classics as Nine Months, The Whole Nine Yards, Nine Queens, Nine 1/2 Weeks and Nine to Five. Is any other number as frequently used in movie titles? I guess one and ten are just as common, finally. But why the plethora of nine titles in 2009?
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • August 11, 2009 7:51 AM
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  • 3 Comments

Comic-Con: Disney 3-D Panel Showcases Burton, Depp, Zemeckis, Tron Legacy

Thursday was a long day. The official Comic-Con movie program began in Hall H with Disney's 3-D panel. "A lot of you are going to stay here all day," said host Patton Oswalt. The 6000-strong crowd roared. Bob Zemeckis broke his Comic-Con cherry with footage from the start of Christmas Carol, which stars Jim Carrey in five roles. Instead of heavy make-up, it's the Zemeckis brand of motion capture (in 3D and IMAX 3D), which I find stilted. (People tell me that seeing Polar Express in IMAX was transformative.) The audience went "Ooooh" when they first put on their 3D glasses as Scrooge inspected Marley's dead body and was visited by his green, chained ghost. "It's a ghost story," Zemeckis said.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • July 24, 2009 3:12 AM
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  • 0 Comments

Trailer Watch: Alice in Wonderland Heads for #SDCC

You have to hand it to Tim Burton. As crazy awful as Hollywood can be, this canny visual stylist somehow manages to hang onto his imagination and personal imprint while navigating the studio system with aplomb. And most of his films--even art-house opera Sweeney Todd--are accessibly commercial. (Next up: a remake of my fave childhood vampire soap opera, Dark Shadows.)
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • July 22, 2009 3:08 AM
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#SDCC: Directors Visit Comic-Con for First Time

Comic-Con 2009 is front-loaded. Most of the key movie stuff happens on the first day, Thursday July 23, and Friday, with Iron Man 2 the main play on Saturday. (Here's the EW Iron Man 2 cover-preview.) The trick is to balance the crowded Hall H panels, trawling the exhibition floor, backstage interviews, screenings and parties with actual blogging. Yikes.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • July 15, 2009 2:14 AM
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Weekend Catch-Up: Holiday B.O., Harry Potter Review, Brennan, Klein R.I.P., Andreessen Fun

After a lazy holiday weekend, I herewith share with you my gleanings of what's been going on.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • July 5, 2009 4:23 AM
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  • 0 Comments

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