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Thompson on Hollywood

Weekly Wrap: Zimmer and Reeves Talk, Oscar Buzz Builds, Casting Franchises, Shifting Media

INTERVIEWS- We analyze Let Me In's box office and awards potential and talk to Let Me In writer-director Matt Reeves.
  • By Sophia Savage
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  • October 15, 2010 11:00 AM
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  • 0 Comments

Sony Wants Jolie as Cleopatra, but Can They Land Cameron?

Sony envisions a mouth-watering Cleopatra franchise with Hollywood's only female action star, Angelina Jolie, as the mighty Egyptian Queen. James Cameron, post-Avatar, is being conjured to take on this project, reports Deadline's Mike Fleming, because he's one of the few directors Sony chairman Amy Pascal would trust with such a risky mammoth-budget 3-D period spectacle. But can she and producer Scott Rudin land him? (The answer I hear is yes).
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • October 15, 2010 7:20 AM
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  • 9 Comments

Boardwalk Empire Four Recap

Boardwalk Empire Four Recap
Boardwalk Empire Episode Four is recapped by Tim Appelo, below (SPOILER ALERT):A man’s character is his fate, and crucial characters come fatefully into focus in the fourth Boardwalk Empire (“Anastasia”). Al Capone (Stephen Graham) welcomes Jimmy (Michael Pitt) to Chicago by sneaking into a whorehouse in the wee hours, shushing Jimmy’ favorite mattressback, the Chinatown opium-loving beauty Pearl (ingénue-to-watch Emily Meade), and shooting the snoozing Jimmy in the ear. It’s a blank, but it bloodies and scares the bejesus out of Jimmy. Capone is getting even for WW I vet Jimmy’s razzing disbelief of Scarface Capone’s false claim that the Huns gave him his scar. “Lookit Mr. Solider Boy! You’d piss yer pants if you were wearin’ [any].”
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • October 11, 2010 5:00 AM
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  • 1 Comment
More: Reviews, TV, HBO

Boardwalk Empire Episode 3 Recap: Things Get Pissy

Boardwalk Empire Episode 3 Recap: Things Get Pissy
Things get nasty in Boardwalk Empire Episode Three, writes Tim Appelo in this spoiler-filled recap/review:Boardwalk Empire haters, quit yer bitchin.’ Like the train Jimmy hops in the last scene, the story builds up steam and gets rolling in Ep. 3, “Broadway Limited” (penned by Margaret Nagle with the period verve that earned her HBO FDR show Warm Springs 16 Emmy noms and 5 wins). It helps that the episode’s scariest, most lawless place isn’t some back alley or speakeasy -- it’s the doc’s office. First, the gangster too fat to die from bullets in the premiere Scorsese episode’s massacre scene gets smothered in hospital by a pillow wielded by Eli (Shea Whigham), the sheriff brother of top mobster Nucky (Steve Buscemi). Nobody wants the fat man to finger Jimmy (Michael Pitt) for the shootout.
  • By Tim Appelo
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  • October 4, 2010 5:24 AM
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  • 4 Comments
More: Reviews, TV, HBO

Boardwalk Empire Recap: Money and Relationships, Clunky Dialogue

Boardwalk Empire Recap: Money and Relationships, Clunky Dialogue
Because everyone we know is watching and debating the merits of Boardwalk Empire every week, TOH critic Tim Appelo is keeping the conversation going. He favors Tim Van Patten's slick camera moves, but worries about some clunky over-familiar dialogue. (Spoiler Alert!)Everybody made a big deal about the Scorsese-directed pilot of Boardwalk Empire, but Timothy Van Patten’s followup is in some ways better. No muzzle-flash valentines to the St. Valentine’s Day Massacre this time, but instead of endless setups and proud pans of HBO’s multimillion-dollar period set, we get some actual storylines unspooling. Last week we saw Nucky’s nooky naked; this week we get a peek at his unguarded heart. And Van Patten beats Scorsese’s bookend iris shots with the opening scene (pan down with the Chicago snow to mob boss Big Jim’s funeral) and the finale (a Baltimore flapper rolls her averted eyes and mechanically works the crankshaft of crass businessman Baxter in his Tin Lizzie – until the gory, half-dead survivor of the first episode’s massacre staggers zombielike out of the woods and into their headlamps). And Van Patten’s old-time movie moves work as well as Scorsese’s: I like the wipe from the closeup of Capone stomping reporter Eddie Corrigan’s face to Nucky at his desk.
  • By Tim Appelo
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  • September 27, 2010 6:13 AM
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  • 2 Comments
More: Reviews, TV, HBO

Trailer Watch: Kate Winslet as Mildred Pierce

One of the great, satisfying page-turners is James M. Cain's 1941 Mildred Pierce, which was turned into an excellent 1945 movie starring Joan Crawford. (Several of Cain's hardboiled novels worked as films, including The Postman Always Rings Twice and Double Indemnity). Well, the Killer team of Christine Vachon and Todd Haynes have adapted the novel into a five-part HBO mini-series. The trailer ran before HBO's debut of Boardwalk Empire Sunday night.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • September 20, 2010 3:25 AM
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  • 1 Comment

Boardwalk Empire: Best TV Pilot of 2010 and Third-Best Scorsese Movie of This Century

Boardwalk Empire: Best TV Pilot of 2010 and Third-Best Scorsese Movie of This Century
I have ordered my TiVo Season Pass to Martin Scorsese and Terence Winter's Boardwalk Empire, which starts on HBO tonight. TOH critic Tim Appelo has already seen it. "(Steve) Buscemi and (Michael) Pitt have roles to kill for, their best career catapults yet," Appelo writes in his rave review:In the Scorsese-directed kickoff episode of Boardwalk Empire (HBO, Sundays 9 pm), the nude flapper floozy Lucy (Paz de la Huerta) flops her boobs at the camera, bouncing atop Atlantic City gangster Enoch “Nucky” Thompson (Steve Buscemi), and bellowing nasally, “GIDDYAP, COWBOY!” “Stop with the ‘cowboy’ shit!” snaps Nucky.
  • By Tim Appelo
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  • September 19, 2010 7:44 AM
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  • 14 Comments

Garner/Renner Get Addicted, Boardwalk Empire's Williams, Jacki Weaver, The Fighter Trailer

- Jennifer Garner will play the trophy wife addicted to prescription drugs and Jeremy Renner will play the lifeless pharmacist catering to (and falling for) the woman and the addiction via their disastrous extra-marital affair in Better Living Through Chemistry. (This seems to be a trend: another upcoming title is Love and Other Drugs.) THR is calling it a dramatic thriller, not a romantic comedy. Garner was at her post-Alias best in 2007's action/drama The Kingdom. This picture seems the most promising of her handful of projects in development (mostly comedies). And Renner's role sounds like a treat for The Town star to crack and crumble with. Writers Geoff Moore and David Posamentier will make their directorial debuts with this project.
  • By Sophia Savage
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  • September 17, 2010 12:10 PM
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  • 1 Comment

Daily Show vs. America, Reality TV Wins, HBO Subscriber Drama

- Has Jon Stewart's career benefited from the fall of America? New York Magazine points out that America's decade of domestic decline has provided The Daily Show with plenty of material, and "unfortunately things are getting even funnier." Stewart says he likes to figure out "where the media is trying to build the narrative and where the story lines are going to go,” in order to position his political satire a bit higher on the joke spectrum than a kick in the groin. Since the beginning of the new century, with politicians increasingly appearing as mouthpieces for cable producers and the media transforming the way it is delivered and processed, Stewart has built longevity via counter-culture-political-comedy: "As truth has been overrun by truthiness and facts trampled by lies, he and The Daily Show have become an invaluable corrective—he’s Cronkite, the most trusted man in America."
  • By Sophia Savage
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  • September 13, 2010 5:30 AM
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  • 0 Comments

Modern Crime Families, Networks TV's New Challenges, Mad Men's Peggy Olson

- The LA Times thinks the family that slays together stays together. Pop culture's healthy appetite for criminals (nothing new) has been fed with low-key gems Animal Kingdom and Winter's Bone, and while they are no Godfather trilogies in scale, they deliver the same family-on-the-wrong-side-of-the-law drama that we love. And those of use who have had a void in our lives since The Sopranos ended will find hope in HBO's upcoming Boardwalk Empire. We are easily charmed by anyone that breaks the law, it's fun to be vicariously bad through our favorite TV characters (Dexter, anyone?), and there's something about the blood-bound clans that really get our attention - always has been. But our affection for (or identification with) contemporary crime families signals an evolution, suggests the LAT:
  • By Sophia Savage
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  • September 6, 2010 5:30 AM
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  • 0 Comments

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