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Thompson on Hollywood

Telluride: Red Riding, The Last Station

The first day of Telluride screenings kicked off Friday with IFC's North American debut of Brit TV's Red Riding trilogy, produced by Andrew Eaton and directed by Juian Jarrold, James Marsh and Anand Tucker. I screened Red Riding: 1974, the first installment of Tony Grisoni's adaptation of four novels by David Peace. Cocky young journalist/womanizer (Andrew Garfield) faces his own Chinatown in Yorkshire as he investigates a possible serial killer/rapist. Garfield (Boy A) is strong as a guy with a good heart who can't catch a break. The always impressive Rebecca Hall plays the femme fatale Faye Dunaway role and Sean Bean is the reporter's nemesis, a real estate thug. This noirish tale never lets up as it digs darker and deeper and nastier than you'd ever expect. I look forward to parts 2 and 3, as the Yorkshire story continues into 1980 and 1983. (Here's Todd McCarthy's rave review.) Red Riding is not playing Toronto.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • September 5, 2009 6:35 AM
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Festival Updates

Several Telluride titles are debuting in Venice, from John Hillcoat's The Road (which has a new poster and clips online) to Todd Solondz's Life During Wartime and Werner Herzog's Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans, starring Nic Cage.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • September 5, 2009 1:16 AM
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  • 0 Comments
More: Festivals

Telluride Program Notes

As I stood in line to board the charter from LAX to Telluride Thursday morning, a young man and an older woman, complete strangers, were comparing notes on how much they love to plot their weekend strategy when they get the program on the plane. The guy was meeting his family, as they've done for seven years, and the woman has been attending for 15 years. "It's like a military campaign," the guy said, "2 PM at the Galaxy, then 5 at the Palm..."
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • September 4, 2009 12:22 PM
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Telluride Day One: The Road, Waking Sleeping Beauty

Telluride Day One: The Road, Waking Sleeping Beauty
At LAX this morning I chatted with indie press agent Laura Kim and ex-Disney exec Peter Schneider, who produced Don Hahn's documentary Waking Sleeping Beauty. The doc tells the story of how Michael Eisner, Jeffrey Katzenberg and the 80s generation of Disney animators woke up the sleeping Disney animation giant between 1984 and 1994. Schneider, who has been working on Broadway, showed the film to ex-Disney chairman Michael Eisner, who isn't a fan. The current Disney management--Bob Iger and Dick Cook--are supportive of the movie, however. In fact, Leonard Maltin told me on the shuttle through the splendid Rockies this afternoon, Cook has been supportive of a number of Disney animation docs that needed help with clips, cooperation, and even release, from Frank and Ollie to Walt & El Grupo, about a Disney excursion to Latin America. It's in Disney's interest to keep fanning the old Walt flame.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • September 3, 2009 12:12 PM
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  • 4 Comments

Pre-Toronto Gurus 'O Gold

The old Gurus 'O Gold gang is back, 16 strong. We first selected 15 top contenders, given that the Academy voters will be choosing ten this year. It's all meaningless really, until more of them have been seen. You're just voting on track record and elements. Telluride and Toronto will start to tell that tale. Whether or not a studio will even attempt to launch a serious campaign will be determined by the fest reaction. Awards marketing budgets are tight this year.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • September 3, 2009 5:53 AM
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  • 1 Comment

Telluride Bound

Thursday morning I'll greet the charter shuttle folks at LAX as we head for the Rocky Mountains for the Labor Day Weekend four-day film rituals at Telluride. We're not supposed to know what the films are in advance (this is how the fest gets away with unannounced debuts) but there will likely be some Cannes holdovers (White Ribbon, Bright Star, A Prophet), some new entries (Bad Lieutenant, The Road, Life During Wartime, Up in the Air) and as always, a strong selection of rare classics, smart panels and tributes. This year the 36th fest will sing the praises of the late critic Manny Farber with a critics' panel and showing one of his fave films, and Alexander Payne serves as guest director, underwritten by a $50,000 grant from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • September 3, 2009 3:56 AM
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Festival Season: Feast and Famine, Ten Hot Toronto Pick-Ups

Festival Season: Feast and Famine, Ten Hot Toronto Pick-Ups
Going into the fall festival season in Venice, Telluride, Toronto and New York, we know the following:
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • September 1, 2009 10:07 AM
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  • 3 Comments

Weekend Fires, Festival Watch, New Moon Pics, Battsek Talks

Weekend News:Two Los Angeles County firemen were killed in a vehicle crash as they fought the Station fire near Acton after a long weekend battling fierce blazes in the Angeles National Forest brought on by hot, dry Southland weather. The Mt. Wilson tower-cam continued recording Sunday as wildfires threatened the mountain's radio and TV towers. Thousands of area residents were evacuated and sought shelter at local schools as their homes were endangered.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • August 31, 2009 6:12 AM
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Weekly Oscar-Talk Podcast Debut

Weekly Oscar-Talk Podcast Debut
I am happy to announce the debut of a weekly Friday kudo-podcast with In Contention's Kris Tapley. Here's the first Oscar Talk. We discuss the awards hopefuls so far and likely contenders coming out of upcoming fests; Meryl Streep’s remarkable emergence as a 60-year-old movie star; how the ten best picture slots could effect the Oscar race; new indie distribs Overture, Summit and Apparition; changing trends in Oscar campaigns; Paramount pushing Shutter Island to 2010; how Avatar Day went; and a Toronto preview.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • August 28, 2009 6:22 AM
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  • 6 Comments

Trailer Watch: Men Who Stare at Goats

Trailer Watch: Men Who Stare at Goats
Grant Heslov's comedy The Men Who Stare at Goats looks pretty funny, I must say. I love George Clooney in full-on dimwit mode (see: O Brother, Where Art Thou?). The film is based on non-fiction writer Jon Ronson's book of the same name about a special paranormal military unit.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • August 28, 2009 4:28 AM
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  • 1 Comment

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