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Thompson on Hollywood

How Christian Berger Shot the Twin Horrors of Hungary's 'The Notebook' in CinemaScope

Janos Szasz's "The Notebook," last year's foreign Oscar film entry from Hungary, explores the dark side of inseparability among innocent yet cruel twin boys. And DP Christian Berger ("The White Ribbon"), who is now busy prepping Angelina Jolie's next directorial effort, "By the Sea," which will co-star the newly married Jolie and Brad Pitt, was immediately drawn to the brutal topic.
  • By Bill Desowitz
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  • August 29, 2014 2:01 PM
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Ben Kingsley's Tightrope with Mythology, from Attenborough's 'Gandhi' to Upcoming 'Boxtrolls,' 'Exodus,' and 'Jungle Book'

Ben Kingsley relayed how sad it was that Richard Attenborough had suffered a massive stroke and could hardly string a sentence together, and that he had visited him not too long ago. But our entire conversation, which covered "The Boxtrolls," "Exodus: Gods and Kings," "The Walk," and "The Jungle Book," sprang from the actor finding those seminal moments of inner truth and character flaws in a script that he can build on from the inside out.
  • By Bill Desowitz
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  • August 26, 2014 4:43 PM
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How Joseph Gordon-Levitt Blew Up Frank Miller & Robert Rodriguez's Return to Sin City, 'A Dame to Kill For'

It's hard to believe that it's been nine years since "Sin City." So much has changed and we're worse off, in many ways, which makes the timing just right to slip back into Frank Miller's deliriously noir hell hole. If anything, "A Dame to Kill For" is bolder yet more cohesive and emotionally involving. It's certainly more immersive in 3-D and it's all green screen with no sets whatsoever. As a result, this dream-like world where "Shock Corridor" collides with "Kiss Me Deadly seems even more tactile and surreal.
  • By Bill Desowitz
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  • August 22, 2014 12:52 PM
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Director John Bruno Talks the Stormy Waters of 'Deepsea Challenge 3D' & "The Ultimate Stress Test" of James Cameron (TRAILER)

For John Bruno, it was surreal directing James Cameron's record-breaking solo voyage into the deepest part of the ocean in the Mariana Trench for the "Deepsea Challenge 3D" doc. That's because the journey into the abyss this time was real after first working with Cameron as VFX supervisor on "The Abyss" 26 years ago.
  • By Bill Desowitz
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  • August 8, 2014 2:00 PM
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How Lasse Hallstrom Spiced Up 'The Hundred-Foot Journey' with Sexy Food, 35 mm, and A.R. Rahman

"I don't think it's about the close-ups of the food," says "The Hundred-Foot Journey" director Lasse Hallstrom. "I think it's about the sensuality of the performances. Another attraction with this story was that I could play around with merging the sounds, the languages [and the tasty hybrid score by composer A.R. Rahman]. There’s a lot of different languages that are not translated, so it’s another spice, another color of the film that I appreciated."
  • By Bill Desowitz
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  • August 7, 2014 2:25 PM
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The Female Superhero Finally Strikes Back

Suddenly there's momentum for female superhero movies, thanks to Warner Bros. and DC breaking the ice with Gal Gadot's Wonder Woman in "Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice." This has led to Sony entering the female fray with a Spider-Man spinoff scripted by Lisa Joy ("Burn Notice," "Pushing Daisies"). No confirmation yet if it's Spider-Woman, but it's a significant development. And word is, Marvel is developing its own female counter-attack by turning the spotlight on Scarlett Johansson's Black Widow, with a script to be written by "Guardians of the Galaxy's" Nicole Perlman (but who tweeted on Monday that there has been no active development since turning in her treatment in 2011).
  • By Bill Desowitz
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  • August 5, 2014 3:51 PM
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  • 4 Comments

ILM Gets Trippy with Scarlett Johansson's VFX in Luc Besson's 'Lucy'

Industrial Light & Magic embraced something completely different with Luc Besson's heady sci-fi actioner, "Lucy," in which Scarlett Johansson plays a badass and brainy super-gal who taps her full cerebral capacity in blazing a new evolutionary trail for humanity.
  • By Bill Desowitz
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  • August 1, 2014 1:01 PM
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'Guardians of the Galaxy' Director James Gunn Looks Forward -- and Back

"Guardians of the Galaxy" is the most irreverent Marvel departure, and, thanks to writer-director James Gunn ("Slither"), we're reminded that sci-fi can be fun. What's old is new again. But even though it wasn't his intention to give us a nostalgia trip while creating his own colorful galaxy of rogues and villains, it's an occupational hazard of turning archetypes on their heads.
  • By Bill Desowitz
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  • July 31, 2014 1:44 PM
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Dowdle Brothers Talk Supernatural Paris Catacombs of 'As Above, So Below' at Comic-Con (TRAILER)

The found-footage sub-genre has really come of age, and the Dowdle Brothers ("Quarantine") give it their own supernatural spin with "As Above, So Below" (Aug. 29). But although they were playing with an Indiana Jones-like archaeological bit of horror, John Erick and Drew told me after the Legendary panel in Hall H that the project didn't coalesce until Legendary producer Thomas Tull pitched them the Paris catacombs concept.
  • By Bill Desowitz
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  • July 29, 2014 4:54 PM
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Guillermo Del Toro Talks the Horror and Romance of 'Crimson Peak' at Comic-Con

Guillermo del Toro, who's become quite the Comic-Con fixture, hugging fanboys and journos alike, admits that his gothic horror-romance, "Crimson Peak" (Oct. 16, 2015), is the biggest movie he's ever made. "Not only the scope is bigger, but I'm going to use a word that I don't normally touch, and that's ambition. This is an ambitious movie from the thematic point of view and from the visual point of view."
  • By Bill Desowitz
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  • July 29, 2014 12:01 PM
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  • 3 Comments

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