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Thompson on Hollywood

Berney and Pohlad Announce Apparition, Malick's Tree of Life

Berney and Pohlad Announce Apparition, Malick's Tree of Life
Finally, ex-Picturehouse chief Bob Berney and Bill Pohlad of River Road Entertainment have announced their new company, Apparition, on the eve of taking Jane Campion's Cannes entry Bright Star to Telluride (my spies predict) and Toronto for a September 18 release.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • August 6, 2009 6:38 AM
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Downey Banks on Franchises Iron Man 2 and Sherlock Holmes

Downey Banks on Franchises Iron Man 2 and Sherlock Holmes
What a difference a year makes. With Iron Man and an Oscar nom for Tropic Thunder behind him, A-list movie star Robert Downey, Jr. had a good Comic-Con. Backstage after Iron Man 2, he suggested that he's uncomfortable marketing movies, although he knows he has to do it, and that he hated the whole Hall H thing. If that's true, it doesn't show. He works the crowd better than anyone. He was hawking not only Iron Man 2, which had a stellar reaction--probably the best of the annual comics confab--but he genuinely adored playing the character Sherlock Holmes.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • August 4, 2009 9:18 AM
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Comic-Con Aids Independents

Comic-Con Aids Independents
Producer-turned-director Matthew Vaughn needs a hit. Layer Cake was a great audition piece, but Stardust was a flop. Much is riding on his next indie venture, the indie-financed $45 million action picture Kick-Ass, which no studio would finance. In an unusual move, Vaughn took 11-minutes of footage of the Hard-R movie (adapted by Jane Goldman from the Mark Millar comic) to Comic-Con, to rouse the fans. From the stage in the cavernous Hall H he exhorted them to vote with their thumbs. The plan: to boost its value with a North American distributor.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • August 3, 2009 11:46 AM
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  • 1 Comment

District 9 Wows Comic-Con

District 9 Wows Comic-Con
The hit of Comic-Con was Peter Jackson protege Neill Blomkamp's debut movie, the sci-fi thriller District 9. When Halo fell apart, Jackson and Blomkamp assembled this movie about what happens when aliens come to earth and we treat them badly. The creatures were designed as insect-like humanoids. Jackson was disappointed that Weta was so busy with James Cameron's Avatar that he wasn't able to commandeer his own people for the VFX and had to go elsewhere. "You have to empathize with the alien characters," Jackson said. "They have to have an alien head with the human psychography of a face that you can recognize and extract emotion from. It wasn't easy on our budget."
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • August 1, 2009 11:07 AM
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  • 2 Comments

Superman's Routh Talks Reboot

Superman's Routh Talks Reboot
Twilight star Rob Pattinson is handling his new fame with grace, according to Brandon Routh, who has endured his own E-ride through the vagaries of celebrity. "He's getting much worse, more outrageous media attention than I did," says Routh. "He was in something brand new. He's handling it well. He's seems to be a sensible guy. He's not getting a big head."
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • July 30, 2009 10:00 AM
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Kathryn Bigelow Talks Hurt Locker

Kathryn Bigelow Talks Hurt Locker
Summit picked up Kathryn Bigelow's riveting, intense Iraq thriller The Hurt Locker out of Toronto, where I interviewed the director at the start of her long road to the Oscars (below). Jeremy Renner breaks out with this movie, which drew raves when it opened June 26 in limited release. Finally, The Hurt Locker didn't need ten best picture slots this year: the movie overcame considerable obstacles en route to landing on many critics' ten-best lists and winning one award after another.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • July 30, 2009 8:22 AM
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Cameron talks Avatar

Cameron talks Avatar
When I talked to James Cameron at Comic-Con (below), he admitted that he and producer Jon Landau know that they have a lot of heavy lifting to do before the 3D sci-fi epic Avatar hits screens on December 18. 24 minutes of footage played great at the Con, where Cameron announced that Fox will screen 15 minutes in IMAX on August 21 for free on 35 screens around the country. But the VFX-packed fantasy lacks major stars and is not based on anything (god forbid, it's an original), so the movie will need a major marketing push from Fox. Which is what the Con was all about.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • July 30, 2009 2:58 AM
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An Education Poised for Awards Contention

Lone Scherfig and Nick Hornby's An Education emerged from Sundance as a serious awards contender. Anyone who saw the film there witnessed a remarkable debut: Carey Mulligan boasts Audrey Hepburn-style class, charisma and smarts. In the film, she's well-cast as a sharp and sexy 60s high schooler bursting to break out into the bigger world. Peter Sarsgaard (with an impeccable British accent) is the older rake who gives her what she wants and steals her innocence in the bargain. Sony Pictures Classics should steer this picture to critical praise and major awards.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • July 30, 2009 1:21 AM
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Comic-Con: Iron Man 2

The audience in Hall H was ramped up for Iron Man 2. They booed moderator Scott Mantz of Access Hollywood, who plowed on. (I had read some Tweets complaining about him earlier today.) Sure enough, he was flustered and not in tune with the Hall H crowd, which is fairly sophisticated.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • July 27, 2009 5:28 AM
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Comic-Con: Visionaries Jackson, Cameron Talk Future

By far the high point of the Con for me was EW editor Jeff Giles' interview with Peter Jackson and James Cameron. The two men respect each other enormously. Weta's achievement with The Lord of the Rings' Gollum convinced Cameron that he might be able to forge ahead with Avatar, which had been collecting dust for more than a decade.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • July 26, 2009 5:23 AM
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  • 0 Comments

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