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Thompson on Hollywood

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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  • 0 Comments

#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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  • 0 Comments

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

First Look: Tim Burton's Alice in Wonderland

USA Today presents a first look at Tim Burton's Alice in Wonderland, starring Johnny Depp, Helena Bonham-Carter and Anne Hathaway, pictured here as the Mad Hatter and the white and red queens, respectively. The on-line story allows you to explore cool large photos via zooms.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • June 21, 2009 6:45 AM
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  • 0 Comments

Family Films: Disney's Ponyo Works, Indie Hachiko Remake Doesn't

One's Japanese, the other isn't. And there's the rub.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • June 18, 2009 3:15 AM
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Six Lessons of Summer Box Office

First the media touted the uptick in 2009 theatrical business, now they're pointing to a downturn compared to last summer's b.o., a few big flops and the absence of blockbusters. "Through Sunday, summer B.O. revs stood at $1.46 billion, compared to $1.47 billion last year," reports Variety.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • June 17, 2009 3:04 AM
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  • 0 Comments

Summer Movies: Drag Me to Hell, Away We Go

Every once in a while I am reminded that my taste is not the same as the mass audience. I can usually call a blockbuster like 300 or Star Trek--in other words, I ignore the tracking and opening weekend predictions to insist--THIS MOVIE IS SO GOOD IT WILL DO BUSINESS. Sometimes, thank God, word-of-mouth counts for something, so that a movie becomes A MUST-SEE.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • June 5, 2009 8:16 AM
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  • 0 Comments

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