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Thompson on Hollywood

How Hawks' 1948 Classic 'Red River' Drew a New Map for the Western (NEW CRITERION DVD REVIEW)

"Funny how different you feel," cattleman Nadine Groot (Walter Brennan) relates near the end of "Red River," "when you know you're going somewheres." He's right, but his is a sojourner's satisfaction, marking the conclusion of a long expedition. For viewers of Howard Hawks' mythic 1948 Western, the foremost pleasure is in the odyssey itself.
  • By Matt Brennan
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  • June 18, 2014 6:05 AM
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  • 0 Comments

Los Angeles Film Festival: How Rookie Kimberly Levin Made Indie Farm Drama 'Runoff'

More and more these days, getting a movie made is about a tenacious filmmaker making it happen. Theater and television writer/director Kimberly Levin didn't wait for CAA to raise financing. She forged ahead with the drama "Runoff," filmed near her hometown Louisville, Kentucky. The film made its world premiere at the Los Angeles Film Festival Thursday night, where buyers are circling. Here's Variety's rave review.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • June 13, 2014 1:27 PM
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  • 0 Comments

Happy 118th Birthday, Howard Hawks: TOH! Picks His 16 Must-See Films (VIDEO)

In 2012, when Sight & Sound Magazine released the results of its most recent decennial poll, fans of Howard Hawks searched the top fifty "Greatest Films of All Time" in vain. Is the reputation of classical Hollywood cinema's most versatile master in decline? We offer you 16 reasons why you should remember Hawks, from "Red River" to "Scarface."
  • By TOH!
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  • May 31, 2014 2:10 PM
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  • 3 Comments

Can 'Cosmos' Save Science Television?

With his nondescript blazers and mild manner, astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson is an unlikely radical. But make no mistake: in an age of evolution skeptics and climate change deniers, the defense of science he levies as the host of "Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey" is nothing short of revolutionary.
  • By Matt Brennan
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  • March 31, 2014 11:25 AM
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  • 1 Comment

How HBO's 'Looking' Went from Boring to Brilliant

"Looking" began like most blind dates: awkwardly. It made introductions and exchanged pleasantries, but it was unsure of itself, and of us. With time, though, it eased up and leaned in close, becoming one of the best new series of the year. [SPOILERS below if you're not up to date.]
  • By Matt Brennan
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  • March 10, 2014 2:03 PM
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  • 10 Comments

A Southerner's Defense of Bayou Gothic 'True Detective'

Emily Nussbaum may be my favorite critic working today -- her New Yorker column is my North Star of trusted opinion in the televisual wilderness. But she gets "True Detective" wrong, wrong, wrong.
  • By Matt Brennan
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  • February 27, 2014 3:56 PM
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  • 19 Comments

Four Reasons 2014 Will Be the Year of the Immigrant on Film (VIDEO)

From reportorial nonfiction to epic drama, from the couch to the art house, immigrants past and present will be at the forefront of 2014's film offerings -- not to mention your cable news network of choice. As the Congressional debate over immigration reform heats up and the midterm election gears begin to turn, here are four things to watch for:
  • By Matt Brennan
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  • January 27, 2014 1:24 PM
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  • 0 Comments

25 Years After Playing Young Tom Hanks in 'Big,' David Moscow Looks Back on Child Stardom, Penny Marshall's Direction, and The Making of a Classic

The second audition of David Moscow's career involved Penny Marshall, Robert De Niro, and a script about a 12-year-old Jersey boy who wishes "to be big."
  • By Matt Brennan
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  • December 19, 2013 12:58 PM
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  • 0 Comments

Robert Altman's 'Nashville': The First Modern TV Musical (VIDEO)

"Treme" embarked on its final season Sunday. "Smash" is gone. "Glee" and "Nashville" soldier on, but the bloom of pop-cultural significance is off their respective roses. With this age of the hour-long musical television series fast coming to a close, I set out searching for its origins, and I found it at the movies. Robert Altman's "Nashville" (1975) may be the finest American film of the 1970s -- and the first modern TV musical, too.
  • By Matt Brennan
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  • December 4, 2013 1:17 PM
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  • 1 Comment

Truth, Fiction, and Somali Pirates: 'Captain Phillips' vs. 'Stolen Seas'

One is a riveting Hollywood adventure, the other a searching and nuanced documentary, but "Captain Phillips" and "Stolen Seas" -- which, taken together, comprise the year's most engaging double bill -- traverse similar narrative and thematic terrain. Both ask, in every sense one might mean the phrase, where the truth lies.
  • By Matt Brennan
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  • November 19, 2013 4:24 PM
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  • 4 Comments

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