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Thompson on Hollywood

Actress Watch: Multi-Talented Vanessa Paradis, Halle Berry Talks Career Extremes

Vanessa Paradis is multi-talented. She's been a pop singer since the age of 14, muse to Chanel's Karl Lagerfeld, partner of and parent with Johnny Depp, and recent co-star with Romain Duris in this year's charming French rom-com Heartbreaker (L'Amacoeur) - a must-see for Dirty Dancing fans. Interview Magazine has her chatting with interviewer Patti Smith. They talk music, playing dress-up, Gene Kelly, Paradis' version of "Hallelujah" (video below) and why having children make it seem "that half your brain doesn't belong to you anymore."
  • By Sophia Savage
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  • December 7, 2010 4:47 AM
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Lesley Manville Talks Another Year, Mike Leigh

Lesley Manville Talks Another Year, Mike Leigh
Of all the descriptions I've heard from various folks about the famed Mike Leigh process--whereby the writer-director starts at zero with a troupe of actors and winds up after a lengthy workshop period with a solid character-driven screenplay--long-term Leigh veteran Lesley Manville (All or Nothing, Topsy-Turvy) does it best. The actress is celebrating her first win, from the National Board of Review, for the role of a boozy sad-sack in Leigh's latest, Another Year. More may follow: the Academy voters have rewarded Leigh and his actors many times in the past.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • December 3, 2010 7:24 AM
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LACMA Premieres John Woo's Complete Red Cliff

Finally. LACMA concludes its Hard Boiled Hong Kong series with the Los Angeles premiere of John Woo's full-length third-century wuxia epic Red Cliff in all its glory. The five-hour version has everything--costumes, history, drama, battles, horses, burning armadas, romance--and an ensemble of gorgeous movie stars led by Tony Leung. At $80 million, it's the most expensive movie ever made in China, and it nearly did in Woo and producer Terence Chang. Magnolia released a shortened two-and-a -half hour version in theaters stateside which did not fare as well as the full-length version did around the world. See the whole thing if you can.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • November 23, 2010 11:10 AM
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Made in Dagenham Official Poster

Made in Dagenham Official Poster
Made in Dagenham releases November 19 following its festival circuit, from Toronto to last week's AFI Fest screening. Our Oscar Predicts Chart places star Sally Hawkins as a Long Shot Best Actress contender (remember her as Slasher in 2004's Layer Cake?), and Miranda Richardson as a Front Runner for Best Supporting Actor, while RottenTomatoes places the film at a very respectable 92%.
  • By Anne Thompson and Sophia Savage
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  • November 16, 2010 9:53 AM
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  • 0 Comments

Production Watch: Cooper's Carancho Remake, Mulligan is Daisy, Jane Eyre Trailer, Wuthering Heights

- The success of Scott Cooper's first film as writer-director, Crazy Heart---an Oscar vehicle for Jeff Bridges---gave him license to play with the big kids. While David Fincher gets flack for remaking the Swedish The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo (he's actually adapting the Stieg Larsson novel), Cooper is attached to direct a remake of Argentina's foreign language Oscar submission, Carancho (meaning Vulture, pictured), which played at Cannes and AFI Fest. Ricardo Darin (who starred in last year's Oscar-winning The Secret In Their Eyes) plays a personal injury attorney who helps as well as exploits his clients, and gets embroiled in a larger scheme. Cooper is shopping the rights to remake the film with an adaptation already written by Aaron Stockard (The Town, Gone Baby Gone). The original won't hit American screens until spring.
  • By Sophia Savage
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  • November 16, 2010 5:27 AM
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  • 4 Comments

Tsui Hark's "Detective Dee and the Mystery of the Phantom Flame" Lands U.S. Distrib

One of the best films I saw in Venice, Hong Kong action maestro Tsui Hark's Detective Dee and The Mystery of the Phantom Flame, finally landed a U.S. release from new distributor Indomina Releasing, which has been on a buying spree lately and coughed up nearly $500,000, reports Film Business Asia, to acquire the rip-roaring action epic, which was a big hit in China (trailer below).
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • November 9, 2010 4:35 AM
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  • 3 Comments

Script Watch: Jessica Alba Disses Writers, Haggis Romantic Ensemble, Nemirovsky's "Suite Francaise"

- Some actors think that a script is irrelevant. According to Elle cover-girl Jessica Alba: “Good actors never use the script unless it’s amazing writing. All the good actors I’ve worked with, they all say whatever they want to say.” Which "good actors" could she be referring to? Her co-stars in Fantastic Four? The Killer Inside Me? Paul Walker in Into The Blue? She does offer a hint of self-awareness when she adds: "I know I haven’t been swimming in the deep end with some of the movies I’ve done. I wasn’t trying to. I knew what they were.” She co-stars with Ben Stiller in this Christmas' Little Fockers and intends to reinvent herself as the next Lucille Ball. Wonder if she'll just be making it up as she goes along?
  • By Sophia Savage
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  • November 7, 2010 7:00 AM
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  • 1 Comment

French Film Festival, Online

French Film Festival, Online
To spotlight France's young filmmakers, the first ever online French film festival will run January 14 to 29, 2011, thanks to Unifrance and Allociné, France's Centre National de la Cinématographie and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Ten features (either from first or second time directors, with recent French releases), ten shorts and select classic films will be available via Video On Demand with several language subtitle options. They will award three prizes: one voted by online public viewers, another by foreign bloggers and another by the international press.
  • By Sophia Savage
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  • November 4, 2010 6:14 AM
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Godard Anti-Semitism Issue Clouds Honorary Oscar

Godard Anti-Semitism Issue Clouds Honorary Oscar
The Academy of Motion Pictures Arts & Sciences may be regretting its decision to award Jean-Luc Godard, 79, an honorary Oscar on November 13. First, it seemed that the French-Swiss filmmaker indicated might not show up. Then he allowed that he might. Then he admitted that he couldn't.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • November 4, 2010 5:00 AM
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  • 2 Comments

In Production: Sci-Fi Shakespeare, Pitt's Jesse James Reunion, Wong Kar Wai's Grandmasters

- Genre-mixing on well-known tales is the new thing: take the upcoming Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter (in which Tom Hardy may play the vampire lead), Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, The Tempest, Snow White and the Huntsman, Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters, Joe Wright's The Little Mermaid, and so on. Thus it comes as no surprise that Production Weekly (and ThePlaylist) are announcing Henry5, a sci-fi thriller version of Shakespeare's Henry IV and Henry V. Among the actors attached are Michael Caine, Ray Winstone, Gerard Depardieu, Derek Jacobi and Vinnie Jones. The project comes from Arclight's production division Darclight Films and will be directed by Michael Anderson, who also co-wrote the script adaptation with Andrew Hislop and Steve Wilkinson (who is producing alongside Nigel Wooll). ThePlayist has more.
  • By Sophia Savage
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  • November 4, 2010 3:27 AM
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  • 0 Comments

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