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Thompson on Hollywood

Scorsese Rides the Cannes Whirlwind

Martin Scorsese rode into Cannes on Friday. He turned up at the American Pavilion to dedicate the Roger Ebert Conference Center. "Welcome back," fest delegate general Thierry Fremaux said to Ebert, who had been unable to attend for several years as he battled throat cancer. While he used a mechanical voice box at the ceremony, at the reception Ebert communicated with Scorsese, Fremaux, director Paul Cox, Sony Pictures Classics' Michael Barker and Tom Bernard, and critics Pierre Rissient and Kenneth Turan via writing pad. Ebert's blogging the fest and had seen just one film at Cannes so far, Bright Star.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • May 15, 2009 9:41 AM
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Star Trek: Early Reviews

Early word on the J.J. Abrams, Roberto Orci and Alex Kurtzman's reinvention of Star Trek--beyond the early peak Paramount gave Fantastic Fest earlier this month and the footage screened for journos last November--has been strong. One exhib emailed me after an exhibitor's screening:
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • April 21, 2009 8:51 AM
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ShoWest: Roger Ebert Honored

After a video montage in which directors Steven Spielberg, Martin Scorsese, Clint Eastwood, and Oliver Stone paid tribute to Roger Ebert, Sony Pictures Classics co-president Michael Barker presented ShoWest's Career Achievement in Film Journalism Award to the Pulitzer-Prize winning critic of the Chicago Sun-Times. "Roger Ebert is the most popular, most respected, most honored, and most eclectic film critic in American history," Barker said, citing Ebert as "one of the few saviors of independent film--films of all shapes and sizes--American independent features, foreign films, documentaries, and animated films. Ask any independent filmmakers who Roger has championed. Errol Morris will tell you Roger gave him his career. Louis Malle used to tell everyone Roger Ebert saved My Dinner With Andre and Atlantic City from disaster, Robert Altman the same with several of his films. Pan's Labyrinth, Memento, Monster, Hoop Dreams, Roger and Me--we would not know these movies in the way we know them if it were not for Roger Ebert. This is fact."
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • April 3, 2009 5:42 AM
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More Media Upheaval, Leibovitz and Watchmen Reviews

The L.A. media ranks continue to be winnowed. The Media News Group is turning long-time Daily News critic Bob Strauss into an entertainment editor, leaving colleague Sean Means in Salt Lake City (who is keeping track of the declining numbers of film critics) as one of the chain's surviving movie reviewers. At least Strauss has a job. For the moment. The Daily News' film critic Glenn Whipp and TV critic David Kronke are gone. And Media News' Denver Post, which asked its employees to take a week off without pay before March 1, is now the surviving paper in Denver: The Rocky Mountain News published its last edition last week.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • March 2, 2009 6:10 AM
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Sundance Fest Wraps

The Sundance wraps are coming in:
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • January 29, 2009 7:07 AM
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Sundance Hot Titles

My flight from LAX to Salt Lake City was delayed. Every seat was taken, many of them by industry folks heading to Park City for the Fest which launched Thursday night. I enjoyed a pleasant sunset drive up the mountain with Robin Schorr, who recently left River Road to put together a new development company with funding from a private investor. She told me to see Big Fan, from writer-turned-director Robert Siegel (The Wrestler). The voice behind Ratatouille, Patton Oswalt, breaks out in this one, I hear.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • January 17, 2009 3:04 AM
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Critics Vent on Film Criticism

It hasn't been a good year for film criticism. Here's a round-table interview with established film critics. And here's David Poland's plaint about the LAT hiring former L.A Times entertainment editor Betsy Sharkey as film critic. With so many unemployed professional critics out there, it seems a shame to deny one a prime slot. But that's not what's going on. The LAT doesn't want to let one of their good people go, and gave her an available gig.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • December 23, 2008 7:32 AM
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My Top Ten List, Film Comment's Top 20 Poll

Wendy and Lucy tops Film Comment's annual critics poll of 20 best films of 2008:
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • December 19, 2008 9:47 AM
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Twilight: Will Male Critics Ever Understand Its Femme Appeal?

According to a San Diego State University study released on July 22, if things are bad for male film critics, they are worse for women.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • July 27, 2008 8:17 AM
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Lyons and Mankiewicz To Replace Ebert and Roeper

During negotiations to extend Richard Roeper's contract for At the Movies, Disney ABC Domestic Television abruptly ended the talks. Thus Roeper, followed by the show's co-founder, Roger Ebert, left the show. On Tuesday, Disney ABC will announce announced that E! Entertainment critic Ben Lyons and Turner Classic Movies host Ben Mankiewicz are take over hosting duties on a revamped At the Movies aimed at a younger demo. I have never seen either of these guys. But the hue and cry is going to be fun to watch. The older target demo for Ebert and Roeper will protest. And the younger demo probably doesn't care!
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • July 21, 2008 7:59 AM
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