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Thompson on Hollywood

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

Esquire Profiles Roger Ebert

Esquire Profiles Roger Ebert
Post-cancer surgery, jawless Chicago film critic Roger Ebert has found his voice: on-line. He's movingly profiled by Chris Jones in Esquire. The irony is that even though Ebert's not on Disney/ABC's At the Movies anymore, he is still the most powerful critic in America. Yes, his reviews are published in old-media newspaper The Chicago Sun-Times and syndicated around the country, but Ebert also tirelessly blogs and tweets. He's the new model film critic, and all others should take notice.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • February 17, 2010 9:13 AM
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  • 3 Comments

Santa Barbara Film Fest Panels, Up in the Air Wins Scripter Award

Sometimes I find myself covering so many things that I don't write about them right away. A case in point: my weekend trip to Santa Barbara. I'm still writing up the Sandra Bullock tribute and haven't transcribed my writers panel, which went well even without Quentin Tarantino, who did turn up the following day for Peter Bart's director's panel (clips below).
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • February 9, 2010 2:14 AM
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  • 0 Comments

Charlie Rose Oscar Panel: Scott, Insdorf, Zacharek, Stevens

Charlie Rose Oscar Panel: Scott, Insdorf, Zacharek, Stevens
It was great to see some new faces on Charlie Rose Tuesday night analyzing the Oscar nominations. Along with usual suspect A.O. Scott (critic for the NYT and At the Movies), Rose interviewed perky Columbia prof Annette Insdorf and two on-line critics, Louise Brooks-lookalike Dana Stevens (Slate) and Salon's red-maned Stephanie Zacharek.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • February 3, 2010 6:12 AM
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  • 2 Comments

#Sundance: Stewart's Welcome to the Rileys, Keener's Cyrus, Hoffman's Jack Goes Boating

Two of this year's Sundance it-girls are women of a certain age: Catherine Keener, who rocks in both Please Give and Cyrus (as John C. Reilly's ex-wife), and Melissa Leo, who stars in both The Dry Land and Welcome to the Rileys. The straight-forward Jake Scott drama is well-written by Ken Hixon (executive produced by Steve Zaillian) and executed by Kristen Stewart as a damaged stripper-prostitute and James Gandolfini as a lonely man still recovering from the teen death of his daughter. Leo is his equally wounded wife. It will be fascinating to see how distribs navigate the distance between Stewart's younger Twilight fanbase and this hard-R drama. This is also an issue for Apparition's The Runaways.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • January 24, 2010 7:30 AM
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  • 0 Comments

Flixster Acquires Rotten Tomatoes, Creating Movie Site Combine

Well, somebody is betting on the future of movie criticism.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • January 4, 2010 7:36 AM
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  • 0 Comments

Best Reviewed Movies of Decade: Pan's Labyrinth, Man on Wire

Best Reviewed Movies of Decade: Pan's Labyrinth, Man on Wire
The best-reviewed movies of the decade on Metacritic and Rotten Tomatoes are Pan's Labyrinth and Man on Wire, respectively.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • January 2, 2010 8:26 AM
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  • 2 Comments

LA Weekly Hires NY's Karina Longworth as Film Critic

LA Weekly editor Drex Heikes didn't waste any time choosing a replacement for Scott Foundas, who is repairing to NYC to take over Kent Jones' spot as programmer at the Film Society of Lincoln Center and New York Film Festival. Karina Longworth, grad of NYU, Cinematical, Netscape and Spoutblog, has landed the gig, which is a powerful national Voice Media podium. Congrats. She will do a great job and I look forward to her criticism. Yes, the avocation is alive and well--if under severe duress.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • December 24, 2009 9:33 AM
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  • 0 Comments

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