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Thompson on Hollywood

The Visitor: Exclusive Film Clip and McCarthy

Actor-writer-director Tom McCarthy (who played the ambitious young reporter on The Wire), took some time after his last film, The Station Agent, to travel in the Mideast with the film--sponsored by the U.S. State Dept. Inspired by some of the people he met in Beirut and Oman, he started writing a script with two main characters, a closed-down professor and a Syrian illegal alien who plays African drums. "I leave time for writing to develop organically," McCarthy says. "I start with characters first, who I haven't seen before."
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • April 4, 2008 4:28 AM
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Leatherheads: Clooney Goes Retro

George Clooney is the sort of movie star who gets to do what he wants, especially if he's willing to direct himself. In this case the period football comedy Leatherheads had been languishing on the shelf at Universal for decades, and was going to be directed by Steven Soderbergh at one time. Clooney's version is a sweetly daffy valentine to classic Hollywood screwball comedies, Coen brothers comedies and romantic comedies. Clooney stars as a handsome over-the-hill football player who's pretty smart but gets beat up on the playing field and takes plenty of pratfalls and romances a wise-cracking reporter (Renee Zellweger).
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • April 1, 2008 4:45 AM
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Holiday Weekend Update: Good and Plenty

There's plenty to see in theaters this weekend.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • March 21, 2008 5:40 AM
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Judd Apatow Alert: Four Comedies Coming

We all know producer Judd Apatow has four movies coming up in 2008. But which ones will work at the boxoffice? By my guess, all of them. It's just a case of how high is high.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • March 19, 2008 5:48 AM
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Batman's Nolan Talks Dark Knight and Ledger

Summer 2008 is jam-packed with movies vying for screens every weekend from the start of May through Labor Day. Pamela McClintock lays out the stakes.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • March 9, 2008 6:51 AM
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Rolling Stones Shine a Light

While Martin Scorsese's Rolling Stone concert doc Shine a Light grabbed some flat reviews out of Berlin (here's ">Variety), I was delighted with it when I saw it Tuesday night. That's partly because Scorsese gives camera operating duties to 10 top cinematographers (Robert Richardson! Robert Elswit! Ellen Kuras! John Toll! Declan Quinn!) to shoot two Stones concerts at the Beacon Theatre in New York. The results are dazzling for those of us who get a kick out of swooping cameras and brilliant editing and the whirling Stones.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • March 6, 2008 7:06 AM
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WGA Awards: Cody vs. Gilroy, Coens vs. Harwood

You may recall that because of the Writers strike, the WGA Awards show was cancelled. How odd that the same day that on the WGA members are deciding the fate of the strike, they are also announcing the awards (at 7 PM Pacific).
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • February 9, 2008 7:36 AM
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Oscar Watch: Bay Hosts Transformers Tech Show

Transformers director Michael Bay returned to the scene of the crime Thursday night at the Cary Grant mixing stage at the Sony lot to revisit the Oscar-nominated achievements in VFX and sound. The place was packed with filmmaking geeks eager to hear and see the behind-the-scenes machinations that go into a formidable FX epic like Transformers.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • February 8, 2008 7:42 AM
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Sundance's Trouble the Water Reveals New Orleans Heroine

Ten days after Hurricane Katrina, documentary filmmakers Tia Lessin and Carl Deal were all set to shoot a film about National Guard troops being redeployed more than 7000 miles from Iraq to New Orleans to cope with the storm’s aftermath. Then the duo got shut down—thanks to their credits on Fahrenheit 9/11.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • January 25, 2008 8:10 AM
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Sundance Watch: Polanski Doc Goes to HBO Docs

Sheila Nevins' HBO documentary unit has acquired all U.S. rights including theatrical and video to Marina Zenovich's Polanski: Wanted and Desired, the hot buzz title of the 2008 Sundance Film Festival. Magnolia Films was also chasing the pic. It is revealing that the movie may not get a theatrical release in the current harsh market climate for docs. The sale closed Saturday night. Picturehouse, which is partially owned by HBO, would be happy to do the theatrical honors, but Nevins is not known for embracing theatrical. Submarine and Cinetic repped the title in the sale.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • January 20, 2008 5:06 AM
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