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McCarthy Joins indieWIRE Blog Network

McCarthy Joins indieWIRE Blog Network
Ex-Variety critic Todd McCarthy is joining the indieWIRE blog network. His first post goes up on Todd McCarthy’s Deep Focus Thursday night, and he'll file his first review out of the gate at the Cannes Film Festival, of Ridley Scott's Robin Hood.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • April 30, 2010 2:02 AM
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  • 2 Comments

Kick-Ass Rides Buzz for OK Opening, Reveals Critics' Divide

Kick-Ass Rides Buzz for OK Opening, Reveals Critics' Divide
Controversy sells, and Lionsgate rode a swell of debate over the R-rated superhero action comedy Kick-Ass to a robust box office lead on Friday, an estimated $7.5 million in 3,065 runs. It may or may not make the $20 million opening benchmark some predicted; Date Night could wind up number one. This is the sort of movie that is banking on a core fan following--the folks that responded enthusiastically to early footage at Comic-Con last year--but needs to widen its appeal in order to really score. Lionsgate only invested $15 million to acquire it plus some $25 million in marketing, so it should come out ahead.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • April 17, 2010 5:04 AM
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  • 1 Comment

Critics Update: Variety, Salon, Movieline Moves

Many people seem to be failing to recognize the distinction between the end of the old media economic model that could afford to pay critics six-figure salaries and the new paradigm which demands that critics deliver more for less--often online. Certainly, indieWIRE is not paying its new in-house critic Eric Kohn what Variety was paying Todd McCarthy. And despite what Variety editor Tim Gray's carefully-worded editorial suggests, he did not offer new deals to its laid-off critics McCarthy and David Rooney before delivering them their new unemployed status. Nor has it closed new deals with them since the March lay-offs. Meanwhile, as I announced Friday, Mail.com's Jay Penske, the owner of Deadline and Hollywoodlife, has lured Salon critic Stephanie Zacharek to review for another one of his flotilla of entertainment sites, Movieline. Salon tried to keep her, but Movieline made her an offer she couldn't refuse. She will definitely class up the joint, which has lost one of its three initial hires from Defamer, Seth Abramovitch; Kyle Buchanan and S.T. VanAirsdale remain. Zacharek leaves colleague Andrew O'Hehir behind; Salon plans to reconfigure her job.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • April 12, 2010 11:02 AM
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  • 0 Comments

Treme: Another HBO Must-See from The Wire's David Simon

Treme: Another HBO Must-See from The Wire's David Simon
I couldn't wait to watch Sunday night's latest HBO series, Treme, from The Wire's David Simon, set in post-Katrina New Orleans. I was not disappointed. TOH critic Tim Appelo has the review:
  • By Tim Appelo
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  • April 11, 2010 11:26 AM
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  • 5 Comments

Zacharek Leaves Salon for Movieline

Zacharek Leaves Salon for Movieline
Salon film critic Stephanie Zacharek is leaving her gig after 11 years, saying in a thoughtful exit post that she's moving "on to a new adventure elsewhere on the Web."
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • April 9, 2010 8:56 AM
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  • 2 Comments

Disney/ABC To Close At the Movies Balcony

Driving another nail into the coffin of genteel film criticism, Disney/ABC is finally closing down the At the Movies balcony for good. Started by Gene Siskel and Roger Ebert, continued by Ebert and Richard Roeper, then a series of guest critics ending with Michael Phillips, At the Movies was cut off at the knees by the idiotic idea of putting two young would-be critics, Ben Lyons and Ben Mankiewicz in the show. At the Movies came back to life--as far as I was concerned--with the return of Michael Phillips and A.O. Scott. But I guess these two gentleman critics couldn't turn the ship around in time.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • March 24, 2010 12:36 PM
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  • 11 Comments

NY Film Fest To Add McCarthy to Selection Committee

Todd McCarthy got some good news and bad news Monday. While he lost his job (after 31 years) as chief critic at venerable trade Variety, he will go to the Cannes International Film Festival as the newest member of the New York Film Festival selection committee. The official announcement is expected shortly came Friday. McCarthy talks to the NYT.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • March 10, 2010 8:12 AM
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  • 0 Comments

Variety Cuts Its Life's Blood: Critics McCarthy and Rooney

Variety Cuts Its Life's Blood: Critics McCarthy and Rooney
At Saturday's HBO Oscar party, I enjoyed dishing about the upcoming Cannes line-up with Todd McCarthy, Variety's film critic for three decades, who is the paper's biggest star and the main reason readers all over the world read the august trade. His reviews post first, and are the best-read thing in Variety, bar none. The day after the Oscars, publisher Neil Stiles confirmed that as a cost-cutting measure, film critics Todd McCarthy and Derek Elley and theater critic David Rooney are out, set loose as possible freelance contributors. (No talks on such deals have yet taken place.)
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • March 8, 2010 9:17 AM
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  • 12 Comments

Dennis Lehane Talks Shutter Island

Dennis Lehane Talks Shutter Island
The thing to remember about Shutter Island is that it's closely based on the novel by Dennis Lehane. James Cameron collaborator Laeta Kalogridis wrote the adaptation that lured Leonardo DiCaprio and Martin Scorsese. Read the book and you will see how closely she hewed to the original. Whatever the movie's strengths or weaknesses--and it has both--they come from the book. I'd argue that as cinematic as this paranoid thriller is, it works better as a book than a movie. That's because Scorsese faced the challenge of making this high-wire reality vs. fiction puzzle into a plausible, believable narrative that didn't throw the audience for a complete loop. Some buy it, some don't.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • February 24, 2010 1:34 AM
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  • 4 Comments

What the Flick?! Online Video Talk Show Goes Live February 19

What the Flick?! Online Video Talk Show Goes Live February 19
I was as unhappy as anyone with the last iteration of At the Movies--the disastrous match-up of celeb-hugger Ben Lyons and Hollywood scion Ben Mankiewicz. But the latter, at least, had some potential as a professional cinephile, if not a serious film critic (I am blissfully happy with the current hosts, evenly-matched alpha males Michael Phillips and Tony Scott).
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • February 18, 2010 12:22 AM
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  • 2 Comments

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