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Thompson on Hollywood

Sundance Video: Mark Duplass Talks Humpday

Mark Duplass is revealed in Sundance hit Humpday (which should land one of four possible buyers at any minuteUPDATE was acquired by Magnolia) as more than the digital writer-director with his brother Jay of Puffy Chair and Baghead but a gifted improvisational actor. He and Humpday co-star Josh Leonard (who starred in The Blair Witch Project) collaborated closely Mike-Leigh-style with writer-director Lynn Shelton. The results are hilarious--but also cut close to the bone. It took skill to pull this off. Here's my review.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • January 20, 2009 2:55 AM
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Sundance: Buzz Central

Well, as of Sunday enough people have seen enough movies so that a critical mass of buzz is building around certain films. Word moves like electricity after each screening. Even though some of these pics (more than usual) were screened before the fest, cautious buyers waited to see how they played and were received by critics. Now they have some idea.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • January 20, 2009 2:53 AM
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Sundance Watch: Gordon-Levitt Talks 500 Days of Summer

Along with an enthusiastic Saturday night crowd at the Eccles, I enjoyed Fox Searchlight's anti-rom-com 500 Days of Summer, directed by music video veteran Marc Webb, who lucked out by casting two rising stars with great chemistry, Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Zooey Deschanel. It's in the same genre as Juno or Nick and Nora's Infinite Playlist, and falls right inside Searchlight's marketing sweet spot: young adults of both sexes. It opens this July.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • January 20, 2009 2:43 AM
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Sundance: Brooklyn's Finest Is Tragic Opera

Arriving at Sundance weighted with expectations, Brooklyn's Finest is a creative noble failure, one of those damn-the-torpedoes passion projects that flounders on its own ambition. Ex-Warners exec Basil Iwanyk developed the script by Michael C. Martin and brought in director Antoine Fuqua (Training Day), but when Warner Bros. passed, the filmmakers raised financing through Avi Lerner's Millenium Films. Fuqua made the movie on location in Brooklyn for something under $20 million with a strong cast: Don Cheadle, Richard Gere, Wesley Snipes, Ellen Barkin and Ethan Hawke, who is stellar.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • January 18, 2009 3:01 AM
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Sundance Watch: Humpday Scores Laughs

Humpday was the best of the three movies I screened today at the Eccles. The third feature from Seattle photographer/filmmaker Lynn Shelton is deceptively entertaining.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • January 18, 2009 2:58 AM
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Sundance Hot Titles

My flight from LAX to Salt Lake City was delayed. Every seat was taken, many of them by industry folks heading to Park City for the Fest which launched Thursday night. I enjoyed a pleasant sunset drive up the mountain with Robin Schorr, who recently left River Road to put together a new development company with funding from a private investor. She told me to see Big Fan, from writer-turned-director Robert Siegel (The Wrestler). The voice behind Ratatouille, Patton Oswalt, breaks out in this one, I hear.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • January 17, 2009 3:04 AM
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Sundance First Look: The Greatest

It's Sundance time.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • January 7, 2009 3:33 AM
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Sundance Watch: Line-Up Announced

Todd McCarthy talks to Sundance Film fest director Geoff Gilmore about the Sundance 2009 competition feature, documentary and world cinema line-ups. One can only hope that given the current economic climate, last year reps the attendance peak of a fest that desperately needs to scale back anyway; if a lot of companies and folks can't make it this year, I'm going to be greedy and selfish and say, "all the more for us!"
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • December 3, 2008 8:47 AM
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Post-Fest Lament: Directors Missing in Action

There's something missing from our American movies. After watching a mess of films in Telluride, Toronto and New York, I realized I was seeing great foreign films and mediocre American ones. What's the missing ingredient? Many of our great directors. Where's Lawrence Kasdan, Jim McBride, Bob Rafelson, Robert Towne, Joe Dante, Walter Hill, William Friedkin, Phil Kaufman? These directors should all be working at the top of their game.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • October 8, 2008 12:27 PM
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Toronto Winners and Losers

So far, the big winner on the fall fest circuit, based on critical, audience and exhib reaction, is Slumdog Millionaire, the pic that Warners let get away.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • September 14, 2008 8:11 AM
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