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Thompson on Hollywood

Rush Hour 3 Review: Ratner Winds Up Action Comedy Trilogy

I was agreeably surprised by Brett Ratner's action-comedy Rush Hour 3, but given that it was threequel I wasn't expecting much. This time Ratner drops the bickering fish-out-of-water duo Chan and Tucker into Paris and gives Chan more comedy and Tucker more action, with entertaining results. It will do very well, although the competition in the next couple weeks from the likes of Bourne Ultimatum and Superbad is as intense as any period all summer.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • August 2, 2007 9:41 AM
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Comic-Con Wrap: Iron Man, Marvel, Hulk, Watchmen, Narnia, Golden Compass, Shoot 'Em Up

While Comic-Cons past have heralded the advent of such future blockbusters as 300 and Superman Returns, this year only Jon Favreau’s new Marvel entry starring Robert Downey, Jr. as the mighty Iron Man roused the fan hordes in the 6000-seat Hall H to rise up and give a standing O. The crowds also responded well to Pixar's Wall-E, from Finding Nemo creator Andrew Stanton, about a robot trash compactor left behind on earth, who is being "voiced" by sound wizard Ben Burtt, who created the whistle-language for Star Wars' R2D2.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • July 31, 2007 4:34 AM
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Movie Musicals: Singing Along with The Sound of Music

I've always wanted to go to the annual Sound of Music singalong at the Hollywood Bowl. So when a friend organized a group dinner and bought tickets, I happily went along. Besides, I wanted to see Nora in her usher uniform.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • July 3, 2007 5:25 AM
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Women in Film: Journos Pick Top 100

It was Philadelphia Inquirer critic Carrie Rickey's idea. After realizing that the American Film Insititute's nomination ballot for last year's list of 100 best American movies comprised 400 titles, of which 4.5 were directed by women, she suggested that the Alliance of Women Film Journalists, of which she is one of 27 members, vote for their own list of best 100 movies of all time. The AWFJ sent in lists of films to create a ballot of their own, and voted for 100. (As a member, I voted too.) The top 100 list will be announced June 25. I have been leaked five, none of which were on the AFI's list of 400 nominees:
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • June 11, 2007 6:46 AM
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DiCaprio Talks, Cannes Party Hopping

It was fun taking a breather at the Hotel du Cap Saturday to interview Leo DiCaprio. Warner Independent shuttled various journos from the Palais along the Mediterranean coast to the Cap d'Antibes. We walked through the sun-dappled woods to a series of cabanas by the water, where we hung out until Leo arrived. He was wearing Prada shades, a blue shirt and jeans, but eventually took the shades off; he was smart and charming. Here's the story I filed on the web. And here's Variety's review.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • May 20, 2007 7:31 AM
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Greetings from Lucasland

I went up to SF last week with some Variety folks for a meeting at Lucasfilm's Presidio digs, complete with tour. We pulled up at the Letterman Digital Art Center on a gorgeous sunny spring day. The new white buildings fit into the rolling landscape as if they belonged there; George Lucas brought over the same Mission vibe that he had at the Mill Valley Skywalker Ranch. The big new 35 mm/Christie 2K screening room, which holds 296 removeable seats and a computer hook-up, was stunning too. (There are two smaller ones and seven "view stations" as well.) We watched a cool history timeline of ILM FX, from 1977's Star Wars through Willow, The Abyss, T2, and Jurassic Park to particle effects in Twister and the wave in Perfect Storm, as well as some trailers for ILM's summer tentpole trifecta Pirates 3, Transformers (a scary one) and Evan Almighty, which actually looks funny. (Davy Jones' eyes in Pirates 2? CGI.) The Letterman conference room boasts a stunning view of the Golden Gate Bridge. And a guy named Kevin Woolley actually invented the motion capture suit with dots! The floors are raised 18 inches with fiberoptic cables running under them. The cafeteria boasts a sushi chef and a pizza oven.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • May 3, 2007 8:54 AM
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300's Miller is Hot

Graphic novelist Frank Miller is on a roll. On some level, all those Batman movies were inspired by his Dark Knight comics. After the back-to-back successes of Sin City and 300, Sin City 2 is well on its way. And now, Warners has acquired Ronin, to be shot 300-style, reports Variety:
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • May 2, 2007 2:15 AM
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Cotillard is Strong Oscar Contender for Piaf Biopic La Vie en Rose

I've been tracking the French Edith Piaf biopic La Vie en Rose since Picturehouse president Bob Berney picked it up after screening some footage during last May's Cannes Fest. His instincts were correct. The movie, which opens stateside on June 8, is beautifully done. Luckily Piaf's life is so gut-wrenching and the music holds up so well that writer-director Olivier Dahan's rags-to-riches story arc manages to skirt the edges of cliche. It helps that Marion Cotillard's Piaf is a richly-layered, nasty, gifted, wounded character.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • April 19, 2007 4:49 AM
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Best Brit Directors

Danny Boyle's Sunshine is a hit in the U.K. I can't wait. Until then, we can revel in the Brits' celebration of their superior directing talent pool. The London Telegraph film critics have picked a top 21 list, for some reason, of the best British directors of all time.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • April 15, 2007 4:54 AM
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300: Model Paradigm for Future Success

As I suggested a few weeks ago, the global blockbuster 300 will have a huge impact on the movie business, because for better or for worse, both aesthetically and economically, it provides a useful new paradigm for how to succeed at the movies. That's why it will be widely imitated: it was made for $64 million, shot (on film, btw) on Montreal soundstages, with actors with no cut of the back-end gross. (Here's Businessweek's take.)
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • April 10, 2007 2:19 AM
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