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Thompson on Hollywood

Berlinale: Take 'Ajami' Director Scandar Copti's Workshop on Directing Actors

If you are attending the Berlinale, there's still time to register for Scandar Copti's two day workshop on directing actors. The intensive workshop, limited to 25 participants, takes place February 16-17 and will focus on Copti's method to elicit natural performances from actors.
  • By Sophia Savage
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  • January 2, 2013 12:31 PM
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Films that Should Never Be Remade - From 'The Goonies' and 'Die Hard' to 'Deer Hunter' and 'Shawshank'

You'd think the great auteurs would be safe from remakes -- it's hard to imagine someone taking on a Quentin Tarantino, Paul Thomas Anderson, Terrence Malick or David Lynch film, for example. But that hasn't stopped Hollywood from remaking everything from "The Haunting" to "Psycho."  Studio heads figure the lazy new generation doesn't know the classics. And marketers want to cash in on easy-sell branded titles and fan followings -- it's the way it works. But more often than not, when less-than-great movies get remade into even less great "reboots" like 2012's "Total Recall," they flop with audiences anyway. And when the great ones get remade, like Federico Fellini's "8½," even canny movie stars like Daniel Day-Lewis and Marion Cotillard can't save them.
  • By Sophia Savage
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  • December 27, 2012 5:11 PM
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  • 12 Comments

Immersed in Movies: Cinematographer Don Burgess Talks 'Flight'

Being reunited with director Robert Zemeckis on "Flight" was just like old times for cinematographer Don Burgess. The last time they worked together was on "The Polar Express" in 2004, Bob Z's first foray into performance capture. But in terms of live action, you have to go back to "Cast Away" in 2000...
  • By Bill Desowitz
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  • December 24, 2012 3:08 PM
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Now and Then: Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas

Early in "Meet Me in St. Louis," Esther Smith (Judy Garland) pines for the boy next door. Lent silky grace by Garland's perfect warble, Esther describes love — and, by extension, Vincente Minnelli's 1944 classic. "I want it to be something strange and wonderful," she says. "Something I'll always remember."
  • By Matt Brennan
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  • December 24, 2012 2:51 PM
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Highlights from LA Times Directors Roundtable with Bigelow, Affleck, Russell, Lee, Hooper and Gervasi

Six directors talk shop for the LA Times' directors roundtable. John Horn is joined by Kathryn Bigelow ("Zero Dark Thirty"), Ben Affleck ("Argo"), Tom Hooper ("Les Miserables"), David O. Russell ("Silver Linings Playbook"), Ang Lee ("Life of Pi") and Sacha Gervasi ("Hitchcock") to discuss their films, working with actors...
  • By Sophia Savage
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  • December 21, 2012 3:59 PM
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Jarecki Talks Political Campaign for Sundance Doc Winner 'The House I Live In' - Coming to Digital and VOD Platforms January 15

UPDATE: Eugene Jarecki's incisive and incendiary "The House I Live In" arrives on all digital and VOD platforms on January 15. FilmBuff is handling the release, following its theatrical run last October...
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • December 21, 2012 12:26 PM
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Trailer Watch: Sun-Soaked Love in Terrence Malick's 'To The Wonder'

Terrence Malick's "To The Wonder" was not received with the same enthusiasm as "The Tree of Life," but as usual it has its lovers and haters -- this is to be expected with the auteur's uncompromising work. "To The Wonder," which premiered at Venice and Toronto earlier this year and stars Ben Affleck, Olga Kurylenko, Rachel McAdams and Javier Bardem, will be released stateside April 12 by Magnolia Pictures. Take a look at the trailer below, which echos themes from "Tree of Life" in a more romantic context. It features the trademark sun-soaked imagery from Malick's go-to cinematographer, Emmanuel Lubezki.
  • By Sophia Savage
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  • December 19, 2012 1:48 PM
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Now and Then: 'Brazil,' Terry Gilliam's Dystopia — And Ours, Too

To my discredit, I had never seen "Brazil." It sat atop my pile of screeners for a few weeks, its length and reputation forbidding. Like all dystopian fictions, Terry Gilliam's 1985 epic is a prophecy of sorts, guesswork for a grim future. And it turned out he was right.
  • By Matt Brennan
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  • December 18, 2012 4:20 PM
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Bret Easton Ellis Throws a Misogynistic Hissy Fit Because 'Zero Dark Thirty' Director Kathryn Bigelow is a Woman

It's almost not worth mentioning, because sexism from a misogynist really doesn't deserve any attention-- but Bret Easton Ellis attempting to degrade Kathryn Bigelow and her latest directorial effort--which happens to be kicking ass on the awards circuit--is an embarassment (for him)...
  • By Sophia Savage
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  • December 6, 2012 4:12 PM
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  • 12 Comments

Now and Then: In Harmony, 'Life of Pi' and 'Beasts of the Southern Wild' Are the Best Films of the Year

One is a grand, sea-borne spectacle, a master's first glorious foray into 3-D. The other, like its breakout star, is a furious miniature whose impact far outweighs its size. But both "Life of Pi" and "Beasts of the Southern Wild" are fervently alive to the world of nature, of spirit — two halves of the same double helix.
  • By Matt Brennan
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  • December 4, 2012 4:25 PM
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  • 4 Comments

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