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Thompson on Hollywood

Toronto Day Two: The Coens Deliver with A Serious Man

Joel and Ethan Coen's Latest, A Serious Man, is a portrait of a period (1967) and place (Minnesota) and milieu (Jewish) that the brothers know very well. They cast it with excellent actors; Richard Kind as pathetic Uncle Arthur and Adam Arkin as a well-heeled lawyer are probably the only recognizable names. The writer-directors start the movie off in a wintry shtetl, evoking the dread spirit the dybbuk hovering over an uneasy marriage. This movie is utterly assured, personal, serious, sad and very funny.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • September 11, 2009 9:51 AM
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  • 0 Comments

Toronto Day One: Creation, The Informant!, Jennifer's Body

Toronto Day One: Creation, The Informant!, Jennifer's Body
The reason why film festivals pick movies like Creation for opening night is that they have all the right credentials: respected producer (Jeremy Thomas) and director (Jon Amiel) and two major stars (Paul Bettany and Jennifer Connelly) willing to show up for the gala TIFF screenings and party. But Creation was DOA tonight.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • September 11, 2009 1:38 AM
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  • 8 Comments

TIFF: Toronto Gets Started

I'm checked in. Not enough hangers. The air conditioning works. The weather is balmy, humid, not too hot. I will install the new BlackBerry TIFF program app that's similar to the iPhone app at the Seattle Film Fest, and this year they're handing out a transit pass. Cool.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • September 10, 2009 3:43 AM
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  • 0 Comments

Summer Wraps, Michael Moore, Fest Clips, Brit Wit, Remakes

Summer Wraps, Michael Moore, Fest Clips, Brit Wit, Remakes
Catching up after the holiday weekend and travel to and from fall film fests:
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • September 10, 2009 1:14 AM
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  • 1 Comment

The Road Will Open November 25

The Weinstein Co. has been moving around the release date of The Road, trying to figure out what it has. Well, post-Venice and Telluride, where the film earned mostly glowing reviews, it looks like Harvey and Bob Weinstein are going for a holiday play after all on a prime awards season spot, November 25. (The movie carries the Dimension label.) TWC was going to go wide with the movie on October 16.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • September 9, 2009 9:36 AM
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  • 0 Comments

Paladin's Urman Heads for Toronto

Indie vet Mark Urman, former ThinkFilm and Senator exec, has wasted no time returning to the depleted indie distribution ranks. In July he formed Paladin, and will be hunting for pick-ups in Toronto. His latest pick-up debuted at last year's festival--Tennesee Williams' 20s romance Loss of a Teardrop Diamond, starring Bryce Dallas Howard, Ellen Burstyn and Ann-Margret, will open in NY and LA in December.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • September 9, 2009 6:20 AM
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Paranormal Activity Gets Release

Paranormal Activity Gets Release
Israeli emigre Oren Peli's microbudget haunted house film Paranormal Activity is one scary movie. Thanks to producer Jason Blum, Paramount picked up the $11,000 movie after some re-cutting and has set a September 25 release. Paranormal Activity scared the bejeezus out of the crowds at last weekend's Telluride Film Festival. (It's five-review ranking on Rotten Tomatoes is 100% fresh.)
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • September 8, 2009 12:08 PM
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  • 1 Comment

TIFF Watch: A Serious Man Clips

TIFF Watch: A Serious Man Clips
I'm making a quick transition between Telluride and Toronto, trying to catch up and get prepped, knowing that I will feel under the gun and behind for the next ten days, no matter what. It's the nature of the beast, even in relatively calm Telluride. Wednesday, travel day, I will post the first draft of my Oscar Predicts chart, which I will adjust frequently going forward into awards season.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • September 8, 2009 7:37 AM
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  • 1 Comment

Telluride Wrap: Oscar Buzz for An Education, Up in the Air, The Road

Telluride Wrap: Oscar Buzz for An Education, Up in the Air, The Road
It was a solid if not stellar year at Telluride. Co-directors Tom Luddy and Gary Meyer persevered through the crazy economy by cutting back their budget (due to sponsor fall-offs) without sacrificing their high programming standards. "We made a commitment to figure out how to do more with less," says Meyer. After the well-publicized Into the Wild/Juno year of 2007, festival attendance broke records in 2008 but fell off slightly this year; passes sold more slowly, and absent sponsors didn't import the usual squads of corporate clients.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • September 8, 2009 5:17 AM
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  • 2 Comments

Telluride Update: Last Day

Telluride Update: Last Day
I've been running around seeing movies, doing interviews, attending the terrific Viggo Mortensen tribute and going to various social events with filmmakers. IFC and SPC held back-to-back dinners Saturday night, while Sunday night the Steinbergs hosted their annual closing night bash.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • September 7, 2009 4:34 AM
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  • 4 Comments

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