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Thompson on Hollywood

Jews on Film: A Serious Man and An Education; Polanski, Sellers

Jews are popping up all over. The Coens based A Serious Man, which is an affectionate yet scabrous portrait of Jewish suburban family life, on their 60s Minnesota upbringing. An Education's Nick Hornby relied on Lynn Barber's two-year old memoir and faithfully included the sleazy seducer played by Peter Sarsgaard, who is Jewish. Suffice it to say, he's a money-grubbing entrepreneur with less-than-impeccable values. Even Tim Blake Nelson includes the Jewish mafia in his midwestern comedy, Leaves of Grass, which recently played Toronto. And we must not leave out Quentin Tarantino's controversial contribution to Jewish cinema, the anti-Nazi World War II movie Inglourious Basterds, which was a sleeper summer hit. UPDATE: The NYT's A.O. Scott addresses Jewish history as interpreted by Tarantino and the Coens.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • October 5, 2009 5:15 AM
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Weekend Movie Guide: A Serious Man is Must-See

Weekend Movie Guide: A Serious Man is Must-See
Cinephile Must-SeesA Serious Man Tomatometer 86% Metascore 74This dark Jewish comedy was the best movie I saw in Toronto; top-notch Coens.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • October 3, 2009 4:46 AM
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  • 1 Comment

Toronto Update, Awards, Auteurs, Moore, Coens, Beatles

Toronto WatchHot off their fab launch of A Serious Man at Toronto, the Coens swear they have no interest in returning to The Big Lebowski, even if audiences do. A Serious Man won the updated IndieWIRE critics poll for 34 new Toronto films that did not play Sundance or Cannes. Magnolia has picked up North American rights to Tilda Swinton-starrer I Am Love.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • September 23, 2009 5:19 AM
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  • 1 Comment

Toronto: Winners, Losers, Oscar Contenders

There was plenty to see in Toronto. Here's how the films shook out for me.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • September 20, 2009 3:20 AM
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  • 0 Comments

Toronto Wrap: Indie Bloodbath

Toronto Wrap: Indie Bloodbath
If industry-watchers didn't see it coming, they figured it out at this year's Toronto Film Festival.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • September 19, 2009 9:09 AM
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  • 17 Comments

Toronto Day Two: The Coens Deliver with A Serious Man

Joel and Ethan Coen's Latest, A Serious Man, is a portrait of a period (1967) and place (Minnesota) and milieu (Jewish) that the brothers know very well. They cast it with excellent actors; Richard Kind as pathetic Uncle Arthur and Adam Arkin as a well-heeled lawyer are probably the only recognizable names. The writer-directors start the movie off in a wintry shtetl, evoking the dread spirit the dybbuk hovering over an uneasy marriage. This movie is utterly assured, personal, serious, sad and very funny.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • September 11, 2009 9:51 AM
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  • 0 Comments

TIFF: Toronto Gets Started

I'm checked in. Not enough hangers. The air conditioning works. The weather is balmy, humid, not too hot. I will install the new BlackBerry TIFF program app that's similar to the iPhone app at the Seattle Film Fest, and this year they're handing out a transit pass. Cool.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • September 10, 2009 3:43 AM
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  • 0 Comments

TIFF Watch: A Serious Man Clips

TIFF Watch: A Serious Man Clips
I'm making a quick transition between Telluride and Toronto, trying to catch up and get prepped, knowing that I will feel under the gun and behind for the next ten days, no matter what. It's the nature of the beast, even in relatively calm Telluride. Wednesday, travel day, I will post the first draft of my Oscar Predicts chart, which I will adjust frequently going forward into awards season.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • September 8, 2009 7:37 AM
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  • 1 Comment

Critics Faves: Arty or Artful?

Critics Faves: Arty or Artful?
In the fall season, as hundreds of movies are launched and weighed at film festivals, critics come into their own. They don't hold much sway with audiences in the summer. But in the fall, suddenly, what they think does matter.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • August 31, 2009 8:58 AM
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  • 12 Comments

#TIFF: 30 Must-See Movies

#TIFF: 30 Must-See Movies
It's hard to narrow down the must-see Toronto Film Fest list to 30. After all there are 335 films at TIFF09. (I'm including movies that I've already screened in L.A., Sundance or Cannes.) Some fall openers are launching at TIFF, 100 pictures are available for acquisition, and a select few will emerge with their Oscar hopes intact. Reaction from media and audiences will determine which films earn a full-on Oscar push. And I'm listing the pictures in alphabetical order.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • August 27, 2009 8:12 AM
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  • 7 Comments

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