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Thompson on Hollywood

Telluride Watch 2: Fincher's Button Preview, Prodigal Sons

The first day of the 35th Telluride Film Festival started off hot and dry at the annual patron's brunch up the mountain. Tributee Jean Simmons sat under a melon-colored hat and blue umbrella, charming eager listeners, still beautiful. She remembered her then-husband, director Richard Brooks, telling Burt Lancaster during the filming of Elmer Gantry, "More teeth!" "Burt worked out on a trapeze every morning," Simmons said.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • August 30, 2008 6:23 AM
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Cruise's Star Status in Flux

Clearly, Tom Cruise is not the mega-star he was when MGM chairman and CEO Harry Sloan gave him and then-partner Paula Wagner a piece of United Artists. Now he has the flop Lions for Lambs behind him and Bryan Singer's tarnished Valkyrie looming ahead--the film that looks like more of an expensive art house play than a commercial one. And having lost his partner Wagner last week, Cruise now runs UA alone (with ongoing help from hard-charging MGM prexy Mary Parent).
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • August 19, 2008 5:33 AM
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Wagner Bolting UA; Valkyrie Will Open in December

When Bryan Singer first approached United Artists with the idea of making Valkyrie, he wanted to do it for about $25 million. Then Tom Cruise got interested and the budget exploded. The same thing happened to Lions for Lambs -- to Cruise and Robert Redford, it seemed like a modest little movie; at $35 million plus marketing, it was still too expensive for what it was. The idea of UA being an indie was impossible with the players involved. Now Valkyrie, which several people I know have seen and liked, has bad buzz and will be judged as a costly star vehicle, which is quite different from a $25 million movie with no marquee star. Finally, MGM has decided to give the pic a shot in late December, after it screened well. It had been pushed back to February. This makes sense; if the movie is a smart arty picture with great performances, year-end award season support is probably just what it needs.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • August 13, 2008 8:59 AM
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Twilight: Will Male Critics Ever Understand Its Femme Appeal?

According to a San Diego State University study released on July 22, if things are bad for male film critics, they are worse for women.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • July 27, 2008 8:17 AM
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Comic-Con: Comedies Pineapple Express, Tropic Thunder and the City of Ember Train

I saw three summer comedies in a row this week, two from the Judd Apatow factory, Step Brothers and Pineapple Express, plus Ben Stiller's Tropic Thunder, which screened at Comic-Con last night (Pineapple Express screens here too). UPDATE: Here's Todd McCarthy's Tropic Thunder review.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • July 24, 2008 8:05 AM
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Mamma Mia! Review: Escapist Musical for Dark Times

As a fan of movie musicals, Meryl Streep and the hunky stars playing her trio of ex-lovers, Pierce Brosnan, Colin Firth and Stellan Skarsgard, I was eagerly looking forward to Mamma Mia! The Movie.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • July 8, 2008 7:39 AM
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Wanted Leads Off LAFF

The LA Film Fest opened with the premiere Thursday night of Universal's Wanted, followed by a Westwood block party. Spirits were high, because the smart director's showcase played.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • June 20, 2008 6:16 AM
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AFI Tributes Beatty; Clinton, Fonda and Nicholson Show

Yes, Jack Nicholson showed up after the Laker game, slightly hoarse, to honor his bud, Warren Beatty, at the 36th annual AFI Life Achievement fete. Count on Beatty, 71, to attract smarter-than-average tributes. "You drag me in with all these politicos," said Nicholson, who earned an Oscar nomination for Beatty's historic drama Reds. "I'm representing all the fair-weather friends you have in the city who went to the Lakers game."
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • June 13, 2008 5:47 AM
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Cannes Day Seven: Eastwood Talks Changeling

Clint Eastwood's Changeling screened well Tuesday, although the press conference was slightly muted, partly because so many of the world press had already interviewed Angelina Jolie for Kung Fu Panda. Here's Todd McCarthy's review, which hit the web within minutes of the end of the press screening, because Todd saw the film in L.A. and prepared the review in advance. And here's Kenneth Turan's LAT feature. Here's a collection of reviews.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • May 21, 2008 4:39 AM
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Twilight MySpace Teaser Trailer Clicks Over 2 Million Views

Summit Entertainment is doing cartwheels. That's because they're already in production on a movie, Twilight, based on the first book in a trilogy vampire saga by book phenom Stephenie Meyer.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • May 8, 2008 5:28 AM
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