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Thompson on Hollywood

2011 Sundance Film Fest Theatrical Acquisitions Underperform – Set Low Expectations for 2012

What does "Our Idiot Brother" have in common with "The Kids Are All Right," "Precious," "Sunshine Cleaning," "Once," "Little Miss Sunshine" and "March of the Penguins”? Like those other titles (distributed between 2005-2011), it was the highest-grossing film in theaters among those acquired at the Sundance Film Festival (SFF) the year it premiered.
  • By Tom Brueggemann
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  • January 16, 2012 4:20 PM
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  • 7 Comments

London Boulevard and Melancholia Hit VOD Before Theaters

Two indie films with strong casts are available right now on VOD before they hit movie theaters on November 11. Magnolia is releasing controversy-magnet Lars von Trier's Melancholia, starring Cannes best actress winner Kirsten Dunst, on OnDemand, iTunes, Amazon, Vudu, Playstation and Zune.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • October 7, 2011 9:34 AM
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  • 8 Comments

Werner Herzog Talks 'Into the Abyss,' Looks "deep into the heart of ourselves" (video)

Herzog Talks Into the Abyss, Opens DOC NYC, Looks "deep into the heart of ourselves"
One reason that Werner Herzog's docs are so compelling and entertaining is that his powerful personality is all over them, commenting, narrating, querying. Herzog's docs, as lauded as they are, are often overlooked by the Oscar documentary branch, which nominated while Encounters at the End of the World but did not recognize Grizzly Man, Into the Abyss and Cave of Forgotten Dreams (which was not screened in 3-D). (Michael Moore cites these oversights in his successful quest for changing the Academy rules.) "It's not easy to figure out how the system works," says Herzog. "It doesn't give me sleepless nights. This one is more what they think the documentary is supposed to be. It's so straightforward. No radioactive albino crocodiles. No commentary."
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • October 3, 2011 8:18 AM
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  • 0 Comments

Toronto Wrap: Best of Fest, Oscar Boosts, Winners and Losers

Toronto Wrap: Best of Fest, Oscar Boosts, Winners and Losers
The trick with the fall film festivals is to gauge expectations going in vs. what was actually achieved. Various distributors launched their fall slates, and watched with pleasure or horror at how their movies were received by audiences and critics. Oscar contenders either moved forward in the awards race, or were pushed back. Other indies hoped their films would be picked up by the right distributor in time for this year's Oscar race. Some were, some weren't. It's tough for films that have already debuted at other festivals to pick up new momentum, although the press will bank features for release. The biggest noise goes to the new players, always.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • September 21, 2011 7:04 AM
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  • 2 Comments

Micro-Indie Myth of the American Sleepover Intros New Director, Actress

Micro-Indie Myth of the American Sleepover Intros New Director, Actress
At last year's Cannes, I was completely engaged by rookie David Robert Mitchell’s micro-budget indie The Myth of the American Sleepover (Critics’ Week), which is a deceptively simple reworking of the American Graffiti trope: a bunch of high school kids at summer’s end seek connection.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • July 5, 2011 5:30 AM
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  • 0 Comments

YouTube Commercial Kings Rhett and Link Talk New TV Show

Rhett & Link: Commercial Kings, a new television show premiering tonight on IFC, plots two best friends as they journey across the United States to understand the country--via advertising.
  • By Maggie Lange
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  • June 24, 2011 10:23 AM
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  • 0 Comments

Trailer Watch: Salvation Boulevard Stars Kinnear, Brosnan, Connelly, Tomei, Harris, Gaffigan

Salvation Boulevard premiered at Sundance--one of the funnier pictures on display there-- and was picked up by IFC. Check out the new trailer below. George Ratliff directs and co-wrote the adaptation based on Larry Beinhart's 2009 book (Beinhart also wrote American Hero, upon which 1997's Wag the Dog is based). Here is IFC's trailer for the religious comedy, starring Greg Kinnear, Pierce Brosnan, Jennifer Connelly, Marisa Tomei, Ed Harris, Isabelle Fuhrman and Jim Gaffigan.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • May 24, 2011 4:03 AM
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  • 0 Comments

Cannes: Sleeping Beauty Intros Director Leigh, Keeps Audience at Bay, Bought by Sundance Selects

Cannes: Sleeping Beauty Intros Director Leigh, Keeps Audience at Bay, Bought by Sundance Selects
Walking on the Croisette, I ran into Jane Campion, who was in town to support Australian novelist-turned-director Julia Leigh. Campion said that her "challenging" film Sleeping Beauty would never have gotten made if she hadn't agreed, when approached by Screen Australia, to "mentor" the project. Campion believes in this brainy writer-director, who came up with a fascinating way to confront moviegoers' comfort zone around female sexuality and prostitution.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • May 16, 2011 1:02 AM
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  • 3 Comments

Cave of Forgotten Dreams' Herzog Likes All-Purpose Title for All His Films: Gazing into the Abyss

In this AV Club Cave of Forgotten Dreams Q & A, director Werner Herzog admits that the title Gazing into the Abyss would work for just about any of his films. It's true. Here's our exclusive clip from Cave.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • April 27, 2011 11:09 AM
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  • 0 Comments

Berlin Dealbook: EFM's Satisfied Buyers, Headshot, Blind Bastard Club, Stake Land, Happy (UPDATE)

Berlin Dealbook: EFM's Satisfied Buyers, Headshot, Blind Bastard Club, Stake Land, Happy (UPDATE)
Berlin market dealmaking continues, while reaction to the quality of the fest pics is mixed.
  • By Sophia Savage
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  • February 17, 2011 6:29 AM
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  • 0 Comments

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