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Thompson on Hollywood

Review: Documentary 'Casting By' Heralds the Unsung Yet Crucial Art of the Casting Director

“More than ninety percent of directing a picture is the right casting,” says Martin Scorsese at the outset of Tom Donahue’s engrossing documentary “Casting By,” which will be released in theaters November 1. And Scorsese’s not alone in his feelings -- Woody Allen, Robert Redford, Clint Eastwood and a legion of others put in face time in the film to trumpet the importance of the unsung, highly intuitive art of casting. The result is a cinephile’s treat.
  • By Beth Hanna
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  • October 24, 2013 12:33 PM
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  • 3 Comments

James Toback Talks HBO Cannes Doc 'Seduced and Abandoned,' Entertaining Double Act with Alec Baldwin

Last May, James Toback descended on Cannes with cohort Alec Baldwin to shoot in ten days the documentary "Seduced and Abandoned" (HBO, October 28). This May, Toback returned to Cannes to screen the film and discuss it with interested parties. Of which I am most definitely one, having thoroughly relished his supremely entertaining and frequently illuminating portrait of the sorry state of the film business today.
  • By Matt Mueller
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  • October 20, 2013 2:36 PM
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  • 1 Comment

Things I Learned at HBO's Emmy Party, from Sorkin's 'Newsroom' Status to Soderbergh's 'Glue'

HBO knows how to throw a good bash, and their annual Emmy after-party at the Pacific Design Center was a huge improvement on the sad and gloomy death-obsessed 65th Emmy Awards, which nonetheless drew the largest audience in eight years. Who are these mythical TV Academy voters who misled most of the Gold Derby Emmy predicters? I did terribly on my picks but came out ahead of many others, it turned out.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • September 23, 2013 4:23 PM
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TV IS THE NEW CINEMA: 'Boardwalk Empire' Season Premiere, Nussbaum TV Game, Johnson Directs 'Breaking Bad'

The season premiere of "Boardwalk Empire" was as lush and well-acted -- and as weirdly uncompelling -- as ever. Perhaps we've watched too many period gangster dramas, at this point, to be easily enthralled by a show that takes a staunchly traditionalist approach to the genre.
  • By David Chute
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  • September 10, 2013 4:32 PM
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  • 1 Comment

WATCH: First Trailer for Cary Fukunaga's HBO Series 'True Detective' Starring McConaughey and Harrelson

The first trailer for "Sin Nombre" and "Jane Eyre" director Cary Fukunaga's HBO drama series "True Detective," starring Matthew McConaughey and Woody Harrelson, has landed.
  • By Ryan Lattanzio
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  • September 9, 2013 12:52 PM
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  • 0 Comments

HBO Snags US Television Rights to Toronto-Bound Doc 'Dangerous Acts Starring the Unstable Elements of Belarus'

HBO Documentary Films has acquired U.S. television rights to the social revolution doc "Dangerous Acts Starring the Unstable Elements of Belarus" ahead of the film's TIFF world premiere this weekend.
  • By Ryan Lattanzio
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  • September 4, 2013 12:27 PM
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TV IS THE NEW CINEMA: Losing Faith in 'True Blood'

Having just completed its 6th season, "True Blood" seems to be taking a cue from "The Walking Dead," working out a dismal strategy for the near future. You can understand why they might be tempted. AMC's zombie apocalypse melodrama got a huge ratings spike over the past two seasons by dropping a lot of the slow-paced interpersonal drama and reframing itself a relatively straightforward horror/action series, delivering an exploding head or a crowbar to the eye every few minutes.
  • By David Chute
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  • August 21, 2013 7:45 PM
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  • 0 Comments

Should There Be a Best Casting Oscar?

Just because the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences has added a new, 17th branch for Casting Directors doesn't mean there will be a Best Casting Oscar anytime soon.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • August 19, 2013 3:31 PM
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  • 2 Comments

HBO Day at TCA: 'Seduced and Abandoned,' Spike Lee & Mike Tyson, Larry David's 'Clear History'

The buzzing environs of the Television Critics Association (TCA) conference on Thursday provided an eerie and apt setting for filmmaker James Toback to proclaim an epitaph for the moviegoing experience as we knew it: “We’re kidding ourselves if we think theatrical movies are part of the future,” he said. “Home entertainment will obliterate theatrical entertainment.”
  • By Amy Dawes
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  • July 25, 2013 10:17 PM
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Comic-Con: 'Game of Thrones' Panel Talks Red Wedding, Screens Video Tribute to Dead Characters (FULL PANEL VIDEO)

While many of us reporters at Comic-Con were looking for information and news about upcoming movies, the HBO "Game of Thrones" panel was unabashedly about sharing the past season with the 6000 fans packed into Hall H. They roared their approval for the shows two most popular stars, Emmy nominees Peter Dinklage and brunette Emilia Clarke. Showrunners Dan Weiss and David Benioff started things off with an In Memoriam clip (below), reminding us of all the characters we have already lost--and that there will be more to come when Season Four kicks off in Spring 2014.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • July 23, 2013 6:04 PM
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  • 0 Comments

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