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Thompson on Hollywood

Now and Then: NBC's Big Miss, 'The New Normal,' Could Learn a Thing or Two from 'Sleepwalk With Me'

I look forward to each fall's slate of network comedies with roughly the same relish as I do a dental procedure. There are exceptions — "Modern Family" and "30 Rock," though they've struggled to stay fresh, started strong — but episodic comedy is hard to get right. Which is why I was surprised to find the season's best example of it at the movies.
  • By Matt Brennan
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  • September 11, 2012 12:09 PM
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Now and Then: For the Love of 'Bernie' and Jack Black

"Bernie" wears as many hats as a Texas cowboy. Somehow, and simultaneously, Richard Linklater's latest is a genuinely surprising confidence game, a homey slice of Southern life, and an eccentric black comedy of small-town manners. The most apt description is far simpler, though: "Bernie" is one of the best films of the year.
  • By Matt Brennan
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  • August 21, 2012 4:00 PM
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Now and Then: Waiting for Julie Delpy

Full disclosure: I'm a little bit in love with Julie Delpy, sometimes unaccountably so. She's neurotic, fretful, and sharp-tongued, a femme fatale with a French accent and Woody Allen specs. Her first film as a director was a mess. And yet she keeps growing on me, a habit I just can't seem to break...
  • By Matt Brennan
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  • August 14, 2012 11:42 AM
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Trailer Watch: Judd Apatow's Fear-Mongering 'This Is 40'

It's hard to determine whether we are meant to be depressed or uplifted watching the trailer for Judd Apatow's "This Is 40." Regardless, the film goes back to the "Knocked Up" characters Pete (Paul Rudd) and Debbie (Leslie Mann, the best part of "Knocked Up" by a mile) as they descend into the fearful decade of being 40-something. Joining them are "Bridesmaids" star Melissa McCarthy, token hot girl Megan Fox and someone who has actually survived their forties, John Lithgow.
  • By Sophia Savage
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  • August 7, 2012 3:20 PM
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Drafthouse Acquires 'Rubber' Director's Next, Surreal Sundance Entry 'Wrong'

Alamo Drafthouse distribution label Drafthouse Films has acquired North American rights to Quentin Dupieux's surreal Sundance entry "Wrong."
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • August 7, 2012 11:12 AM
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'Ronna & Beverly' Stars Join Paul Feig's Bullock & McCarthy Buddy Cop Comedy

Paul Feig has added "Ronna & Beverly" writer-performers Jessica Chaffin and Jamie Denbo ("Entourage," "Curb Your Enthusiasm") to his upcoming buddy cop comedy with Sandra Bullock and Melissa McCarthy.
  • By Sophia Savage
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  • July 30, 2012 4:23 PM
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Now and Then: Raunchy 'Klown' and the Problem with Sex Comedies

Frank (Frank Hvam), the hapless protagonist of the funny but disappointingly diagrammatic Danish film "Klown," musters only one nugget of wisdom for his 12-year-old charge, Bo (Marcuz Jess Petersen). It's sage advice from a professional man-child to a burgeoning one: "When grown-ups are horny, they do terrible things to those they love."
  • By Matt Brennan
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  • July 24, 2012 6:30 AM
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Trailer Watch: UK Phenomenon 'The Inbetweeners' to Charm Americans with Pussay Patrol

Check out the trailer for "The Inbetweeners," a 2011 UK box office smash being plugged as the "British answer to 'American Pie.'" So, it's British pie? Certainly a nice crashcourse in dirty slang from across the pond...
  • By Beth Hanna
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  • June 29, 2012 1:07 PM
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Now and Then: Hitchcock's First Classic, and an Underrated Modern Descendant

Alfred Hitchcock had been working as a director for more than a decade when he made "The 39 Steps" (1935), a film that's half trench coats, street lamps, and foreign agents. The other half is English wit, a marriage plot, and a MacGuffin: the first proof, long before his later masterworks, that he was a maestro of the unbalancing act.
  • By Matt Brennan
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  • June 26, 2012 2:53 AM
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Now and Then: 'Girls' Was the Season's Best New Series. When Did That Happen?

The pilot of "Girls" was an ugly, awkward little thing, delivering its one-liners with a nervous titter. Despite its refreshingly frank appraisal of modern sexual mores, its quartet of young women came off largely as archetypes, not characters. But I stuck with the series, and it paid off.
  • By Matt Brennan
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  • June 18, 2012 4:21 PM
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