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Thompson on Hollywood

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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Toronto Wrap 2008: Best to Worst

With Toronto over and a slew of post-fest deals still rolling out, here's a wrap-up of what I saw and learned:
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • September 13, 2008 6:39 AM
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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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