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Thompson on Hollywood

Production Watch: Bale in Nanjing Heroes, Dark Knight Rises; Stone & Garfield In Spiderman(s)

- China's premiere director Zhang Yimou (Hero, the Beijing Olympic Games) has named Christian Bale to star in Nanjing Heroes. The $90 million period epic tells the story of the Nanjing Massacre, when Japanese troops killed thousands of Chinese in the capital city (1937). Bale will play an American priest who assists citizens in escaping impending death. Zhang also announced the hiring of special effects house Dark Side FX (The Dark Knight). The film will mix English and Mandarin (40/60), he said. No Chinese film or director has ever taken home an Academy Award in a major category. (Zhang himself had back-to-back Oscar nominations for Ju Dou in 1990 and Raise the Red Lantern in 1991.) "It's the overall strategy for Chinese cinema to approach the world and broaden its influence," Zhang told THR. The casting of Bale was not a box office ploy, but rather "a coincidence because the script happened to have an English-speaking part in the lead." Shooting Nanjing Heroes will begin shooting January 10. Bale will be due on The Dark Knight Rises set May 2011.
  • By Sophia Savage
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  • December 22, 2010 6:45 AM
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What Went Wrong with Hollywood Romantic Comedies?

What Went Wrong with Hollywood Romantic Comedies?
What went wrong with the romantic comedy genre this year? Have the Hollywood studios lost the winning formula for pulling the date crowd? Anthony D'Alessandro lists five reasons why the rom-com has lost its mojo:Hollywood enjoyed a lovely honeymoon with romantic comedies in 2009 with such hits as The Proposal ($164 million) and It’s Complicated ($112.7 million). But this year, the genre has been nothing but a forgettable one-night stand at the domestic B.O. James L. Brooks’ $110 million Reese Witherspoon headliner How Do You Know is the latest rom-com in a long string to break its heels, opening to a tear-jerking $7.5 million. But Reese Witherspoon isn’t the only American Sweetheart with runs in her stockings: cover girls Jennifer Aniston, Anne Hathaway, Rachel McAdams and Katherine Heigl also lost face with fickle moviegoers.
  • By Anthony D'Alessandro
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  • December 21, 2010 8:49 AM
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  • 18 Comments

Black Swan Psychology Art vs. Science; Sex vs. Sexy: Which Sells Movies?

Black Swan Psychology Art vs. Science; Sex vs. Sexy: Which Sells Movies?
- Black Swan offers fuel for an Art vs. Science debate. Consider these professional-opinion-posturings on Black Swan ballerina Nina (Natalie Portman) and her mental state. Nadine Kaslow (Dept. of Psychiatry, Emory University) says: "It was intense and disturbing and fascinating and mysterious…What was a hallucination and what was real? When people are psychotic, it's difficult, even as a therapist, to know what's real and what's not."
  • By Sophia Savage
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  • December 21, 2010 4:42 AM
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  • 2 Comments

Scott's State of Cinema, Firth's King George Speech, Franco Fights Boredom

A year from now, most 2010 releases will be forgotten, to be replaced by sequels and flashy remakes. As the first decade of the twenty-first century closes, the NYT's A.O. Scott explores the themes of 2010 (defining the first year of the new decade, perhaps). He shares thirty examples of films from 2010 that "defy expectations and break patterns." 2010 will only become the "answer to a trivia question" for films that maintain their relevance over time, he asserts. Was 2010 a good year in film? "Who cares?…The movies — good and bad alike — shed a blinking, blurry light on the times, illuminating our collective fears, fantasies and failures of will." Below, a sampling of his postulations on the Cinematic State of Things:
  • By Sophia Savage
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  • December 20, 2010 5:35 AM
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Weekend Box Office: TRON: Legacy Scores Big, How Do You Know is Non-Starter

Disney scored a big, not boffo, opening with 3-D sequel TRON: Legacy, which delivers a level of 3-D VFX not seen since James Cameron's Avatar. Clearly, the wow factor still puts butts in seats, but the movie cost more than $150 million. Who knew Jeff Bridges would win an Oscar and become a star in his 60s? He plays two roles in TRON, including his digital younger self. Stumbling out of the starting gate is James L. Brooks' $110 million not-so-romantic comedy How Do You Know, which was savaged by critics. Anthony D'Alessandro does the numbers:
  • By Anthony D'Alessandro
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  • December 19, 2010 4:43 AM
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  • 12 Comments

Cameron Mitchell and Lindsay-Abaire Talk Rabbit Hole

Cameron Mitchell and Lindsay-Abaire Talk Rabbit Hole
There are so many ways for a movie to go wrong, especially a grief-stricken family drama like Rabbit Hole. It could easily have become emotionally overwrought, too sincere or depressing, or been-there predictable.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • December 17, 2010 10:56 AM
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Weekly Wrap: Awards Season Heats Up, Mirren Speaks, The Breathtaking Tree of Life, Miramax Sequels

Weekly Wrap: Awards Season Heats Up, Mirren Speaks, The Breathtaking Tree of Life, Miramax Sequels
AWARDS
  • By Sophia Savage
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  • December 17, 2010 10:11 AM
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Oscar Watch: Adams, Bale, Wahlberg Promote The Fighter with Brio and Charm

Oscar Watch: Adams, Bale, Wahlberg Promote The Fighter with Brio and Charm
-The award season is in full flurry, with Golden Globes nominations Tuesday and SAG's own announcement Thursday. Among the stars on the promo circuit are the cast of underdog contender The Fighter.
  • By Sophia Savage
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  • December 15, 2010 6:30 AM
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Beauty Watch: Theron vs. Roberts as Evil Queen, Portman and Cassel Talk about Women

Beauty Watch: Theron vs. Roberts as Evil Queen, Portman and Cassel Talk about Women
We've been tracking the rival Snow White projects since September, and the latest is that Charlize Theron and Julia Roberts are both being wooed to play (beautiful) Evil Queens. Theron is in negotiations for Universal's Snow White and the Huntsman, with director Rupert Sanders (Michael Fassbender is currently rumored to be in the lead for the Huntsman, and four unknowns for Snow White, including The Tempest's Felicity Jones), while Roberts is Relativity's choice for The Brothers Grimm: Snow White, to be directed by Tarsem Singh. No word on whether Natalie Portman is still Relativity's choice for Snow White, or if Disney's Snow and the Seven is still planned (our guess is no).
  • By Sophia Savage
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  • December 14, 2010 5:05 AM
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  • 1 Comment

The Fighter's Success Has Many Fathers

The Fighter's Success Has Many Fathers
Careful what you wish for.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • December 14, 2010 4:18 AM
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  • 0 Comments

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