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Thompson on Hollywood

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

'The Right Stuff' 30th Anniversary Blu-ray Celebrates Superheroes of a Bygone Age

Chuck Yeager and the other "flyboys" of the Space Race wore no capes, carried no hammers, hid no secret identities. But writer-director Philip Kaufman's classic adventure "The Right Stuff," celebrating its 30th anniversary this year, leaves no room for doubt. These guys were superheroes.
  • By Matt Brennan
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  • November 7, 2013 12:53 PM
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  • 3 Comments

'Applause' Comes to DVD, Knockout Star Paprika Steen Talks Backstage Alcoholism Drama, Denmark vs. America (EXCLUSIVE VIDEO)

Denmark's 2010 festival hit and Oscar submission "Applause" is finally coming out on DVD via Kino Lorber on November 26. Directed by rookie Martin Pieter Zandvliet, "Applause" features a must-see incendiary performance by Paprika Steen as Thea, a recovering alcoholic stage actress playing Martha in "Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf" just as she's trying to repair her damaged relationship with her family. TOH sat down with the Danish star for a flip cam interview, below.
  • By Sophia Savage
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  • October 28, 2013 3:44 PM
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  • 0 Comments

NOFF Review: In Neil LaBute's 'Some Velvet Morning,' Sex on a Slow Boil (VIDEO)

Stanley Tucci doesn't receive nearly enough credit for being sexy as hell. Unconventionally handsome, a craftsman of the second fiddle, he's the thinking man's fantasy of middle age. But in Neil LaBute's surprising two-hander "Some Velvet Morning," the allure is twisted, and Tucci elicits another variety of attraction: the hint of menace.
  • By Matt Brennan
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  • October 19, 2013 3:29 PM
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  • 0 Comments

NOFF Review: Naomie Harris' Breakout Performance Can't Save Staid, Reverent 'Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom' (TRAILER)

"You alone are small," a Xhosa elder tells Nelson Mandela and his contemporaries during a rite of passage marking the transition from adolescence to manhood. "Together, your people are big." A wise sentiment, and perhaps a cautionary one: "Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom" is a lesson in the cinematic pitfalls of portraying a figure who's larger than life.
  • By Matt Brennan
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  • October 17, 2013 2:37 PM
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In Criterion's New Boxed Set, Bergman and Rossellini Make Love Among the Ruins

In 1947, Ingrid Bergman dashed off an admiring letter to Italian director Roberto Rossellini. Inspired by his neorealist classics "Rome, Open City" and "Paisan," she suggested he might use her multilingual talents. "I am ready to come and make a film with you," she wrote, as though it were destined all along. To watch the fruit of their collaboration is to believe it was.
  • By Matt Brennan
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  • September 25, 2013 12:51 PM
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'Our Nixon' Review: Forty Years Later, An Intimate Portrait of Nixon, and Ourselves (TRAILER)

Songwriter Kirsty MacColl's "They Don't Know (About Us)" makes a fitting title track for "Our Nixon." The found-footage documentary, woven from 500 hours of Super 8 shot by Watergate convicts H.R. Haldeman, John Ehrlichman, and Dwight Chapin, isn't just a portrait of the Nixon's peculiar boys club. It's a time capsule from a bygone age.
  • By Matt Brennan
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  • August 30, 2013 12:03 PM
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  • 2 Comments

Ophuls' 'The Earrings of Madame de...' on Blu-ray from Criterion: Before the New Wave, a New Woman (VIDEO)

More tears are shed over answered prayers than unanswered ones, Saint Teresa of Avila reputedly opined, but she never met Louise, Madame de... (Danielle Darrieux). For the vain, tragic heroine of Max Ophuls' "The Earrings of Madame de..." (1953), the price of a direct line to the heavens comes in a foreign currency. (Watch Paul Thomas Anderson's introduction to the Criterion Blu-ray, below.)
  • By Matt Brennan
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  • August 7, 2013 11:33 AM
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  • 0 Comments

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