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Thompson on Hollywood

Toronto Film Festival's Essential 100 List

OK cinephiles. Who among you has seen all 100 on the Toronto International Film Festival's Essential 100? The full list is pasted below. True confession: I have seen all but the following 11, which I shame-facedly reveal below:
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • December 17, 2010 8:50 AM
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2010 Best Performances: Stand-Outs, Ensemble, Symbiotic

Here are Sophia Savage's Ten Stand-Out Performances, Five Best Ensemble Performances, and Best Symbiotic Performance of 2010 (in aphabetical order).
  • By Sophia Savage
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  • December 15, 2010 7:26 AM
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  • 1 Comment

Javier Bardem Talks Biutiful: "We Have to Reach People's Hearts, Not Their Pockets"

It's no surprise that the great Spanish actor Javier Bardem delivers yet another incendiary performance, under the director of Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu, in Biutiful, which won the best actor award in Cannes and finally opens stateside on December 29 for awards consideration. TOH's Sophia Savage interviewed Bardem on December 9.
  • By Sophia Savage
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  • December 10, 2010 4:43 AM
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  • 2 Comments

Interview Watch: The Tourist's Material Beauty, Gosling and the New Hollywood Male Prototype

Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck tells the NYTimes that "I live outside my comfort zone always," which helps to explain why the German director-writer chose to follow up best-foreign-language Oscar winner The Lives of Others with Sony's lavish guilty-pleasure film The Tourist starring high-wattage Angelina Jolie and Johnny Depp. Foreign directors rarely have successful crossovers into big-budget studio fare, admits Sony co-president Michael Barker, "other than Roman Polanski with Chinatown and Milos Forman with One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest."
  • By Sophia Savage
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  • December 9, 2010 5:04 AM
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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

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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  • 2 Comments

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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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

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