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Thompson on Hollywood

Toronto Watch: Bigelow Talks Hurt Locker

Kathryn Bigelow is one of those directors--not unlike Steven Soderbergh, Spike Lee and Darren Aronofsky, who also have films in the Toronto Fest-- who has more talent and style and smarts than she does strong commercial sense. But perhaps because she was ready to prove her mettle, she went against the grain and did her own thing with The Hurt Locker, financed independently, and delivered her best and most accessible movie, an Iraq War thriller which could break out tough guy Jeremy Renner as a leading man.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • September 10, 2008 8:07 AM
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Toronto Watch: Burn After Reading Press Conference

The Coens amuse me. So do their press conferences. They perform a little tap dance with journalists, who after all are trying to write something about their movie. Saturday's Burn After Reading press conference wasn’t as jammed and enthusiastic as you might expect with Brad Pitt there.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • September 7, 2008 8:04 AM
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Toronto Watch: Wrestler Screens Well

Buyers packed into Toronto's Elgin Theatre Sunday night for the North American premiere of Darren Aronofsky's The Wrestler, which arrived at the Fest with a Golden Lion from the Venice Film Festival. Aronofsky tried to cool the crowd down, saying, "There's no way we're going to live up to that hype. It's a gentle, small film." French sales company Wild Bunch believed in the film, he said, and if any North American buyer "is interested, I have a phone number for you afterward."
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • September 7, 2008 7:36 AM
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Toronto Watch: Learning from Cannes, Venice and Telluride

Heading to Toronto, movies are seeking a fall media platform, or Oscar credibility, or a distributor, or both. The Toronto Star polled attending media on their best picks. There's plenty of info out there to help make choices among the hundreds of pics on display, especially from the key fests Cannes, Venice and Telluride. Here's a Guide.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • September 3, 2008 7:28 AM
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Telluride Watch 3: Benjamin Button, Slumdog Millionaire, and Awards Buzz

One of the tricks of the fall film fest trade is to launch a few movies that will gain awards season traction. Telluride has often done well picking some of these pics in advance, such as Brokeback Mountain, Walk the Line and last year's Juno. So given this year's short supply of completed specialty division fare, as many distribs have opted to take the late-year approach to chasing Oscar, Telluride dug up its own indie and foreign gems to help them get some attention.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • September 1, 2008 6:25 AM
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Telluride Watch 2: Fincher's Button Preview, Prodigal Sons

The first day of the 35th Telluride Film Festival started off hot and dry at the annual patron's brunch up the mountain. Tributee Jean Simmons sat under a melon-colored hat and blue umbrella, charming eager listeners, still beautiful. She remembered her then-husband, director Richard Brooks, telling Burt Lancaster during the filming of Elmer Gantry, "More teeth!" "Burt worked out on a trapeze every morning," Simmons said.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • August 30, 2008 6:23 AM
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Toronto Watch: Actresses Weisz, Hawkins, Williams Will Pop

Given the hundreds of movies unspooling in Toronto, key press in LA and NY are getting a head start on some of the screenings that will get piled up there. It's impossible to see everything.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • August 27, 2008 5:38 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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Comic-Con: Ball's True Blood on HBO is Twilight for Adults

[Posted by Liz Shannon Miller]At the standing-room-only panel for HBO's "True Blood," author Charlaine Harris admitted that she'd always thought her vampire fiction might work as a series for HBO. But Alan Ball had no idea of that when he found the first "True Blood" book while killing time in a Borders. Quickly becoming a fan of Harris's Southern Gothic vampire romance, Ball felt that to condense the books for a film would "do them a disservice," and instead approached Harris about adapting the books for television. "Several people had approached me about working with the material," Harris said, "But Alan's was definitely the most interesting artistically. I've felt very comfortable entrusting my babies to him."[Here's the True Blood website.]
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • July 25, 2008 8:09 AM
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Comic-Con: Comedies Pineapple Express, Tropic Thunder and the City of Ember Train

I saw three summer comedies in a row this week, two from the Judd Apatow factory, Step Brothers and Pineapple Express, plus Ben Stiller's Tropic Thunder, which screened at Comic-Con last night (Pineapple Express screens here too). UPDATE: Here's Todd McCarthy's Tropic Thunder review.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • July 24, 2008 8:05 AM
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