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Thompson on Hollywood

Los Angeles Film Festival: How Rookie Kimberly Levin Made Indie Farm Drama 'Runoff'

More and more these days, getting a movie made is about a tenacious filmmaker making it happen. Theater and television writer/director Kimberly Levin didn't wait for CAA to raise financing. She forged ahead with the drama "Runoff," filmed near her hometown Louisville, Kentucky. The film made its world premiere at the Los Angeles Film Festival Thursday night, where buyers are circling. Here's Variety's rave review.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • June 13, 2014 1:27 PM
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'Gore Vidal: The United States of Amnesia' Shows the Literary Lion's Intimate Side

Nicholas Wrathall met Gore Vidal for the first time at the Beverly Hills Hotel. They had brunch on an Easter Sunday while a life-size bunny gallivanted about the restaurant—a “surreal” experience, according to the director—but quickly connected over a discussion about the politics of Wrathall’s native Australia.
  • By Jacob Combs
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  • May 22, 2014 12:02 PM
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Who Needs an Oscar Nomination? Sony's 'The Lunch Box' Is Best of the Limiteds

A grab bag of new specialized openings were led by "The Lunch Box" (Sony Pictures Classics), a low-budget Indian film from a first-time director that nabbed attention at Cannes last May and showed significant early life in its two-city opening.
  • By Tom Brueggemann
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  • March 2, 2014 4:29 PM
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Niche Doc On-Demand Release Targets Batman Fans (VIDEO)

Documentaries lend themselves to targeted niche marketing and, as "Detropia" proved last year, self-distribution. All you need is a subject with a defined fan base. Funded by more than 1,000 Kickstarter donors, Brett Culp's "Legends of the Knight" is a case in point. Relying on community support with each screening benefiting a local charity, the movie has been pulling in Batman fans across the country.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • February 13, 2014 12:15 PM
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Should the New York Times Review Every New York Film Booking?

Before Sundance got started, The New York Times' Manohla Dargis raised a red flag about the issue of too many films flooding the marketplace. While her suggestion that fewer distributors should acquire films was the wrong answer to the right question, the subject became the hot topic of the festival, as folks on all sides of the question grappled with possible solutions.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • January 27, 2014 1:57 PM
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  • 6 Comments

'Mandela' Opens Strong with Weak Reviews, Spike Lee's 'Old Boy' Collapses, '12 Years a Slave' Passes 'Blue Jasmine' as Year's Best Indie Performer

With so many adult-oriented films playing in wide release over the holiday weekend, it was more difficult for narrower releases to gain traction. One, the second Weinstein potential awards contender in a row to open in just two cities, "Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom," exceeded expectations while the other, Spike Lee's remake of "Oldboy," performed weakly in several hundred theaters.
  • By Tom Brueggemann
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  • December 1, 2013 4:16 PM
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Indie Spirit Nominated 'Crystal Fairy': Michael Cera and Gabby Hoffmann Take a Psychoactive Voyage

"Crystal Fairy," which recently scored Indie Spirit nominations for the John Cassavettes Award and Best Female Lead (Gaby Hoffmann), was written and filmed while director Sebastian Silva and Michael Cera were in Chile waiting for production of their film "Magic Magic" to continue. A film of spontaneous perfection was born. It is not neat but it seems to be driven from a genuine impulse. Because it's 2013, this spontaneity comes with a healthy dose of irony and cynicism, but the film moves from flashes of heartfelt despair to abounding joy and back again.
  • By Maggie Lange
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  • November 29, 2013 1:48 PM
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'Applause' Comes to DVD, Knockout Star Paprika Steen Talks Backstage Alcoholism Drama, Denmark vs. America (EXCLUSIVE VIDEO)

Denmark's 2010 festival hit and Oscar submission "Applause" is finally coming out on DVD via Kino Lorber on November 26. Directed by rookie Martin Pieter Zandvliet, "Applause" features a must-see incendiary performance by Paprika Steen as Thea, a recovering alcoholic stage actress playing Martha in "Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf" just as she's trying to repair her damaged relationship with her family. TOH sat down with the Danish star for a flip cam interview, below.
  • By Sophia Savage
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  • October 28, 2013 3:44 PM
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Ted Sarandos Attacks Studios and Theaters for Stifling Innovation in Film Independent Forum Keynote Speech (VIDEO)

Netflix chief content officer Ted Sarandos delivered the Executive Keynote address at the 9th annual Film Independent Forum Saturday at the Director Guild Theatre. In the video below, he does not hesitate to target the major studios and theater chains for not seeing things the way he thinks they should.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • October 27, 2013 1:30 PM
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  • 3 Comments

NOFF Review: In Neil LaBute's 'Some Velvet Morning,' Sex on a Slow Boil (VIDEO)

Stanley Tucci doesn't receive nearly enough credit for being sexy as hell. Unconventionally handsome, a craftsman of the second fiddle, he's the thinking man's fantasy of middle age. But in Neil LaBute's surprising two-hander "Some Velvet Morning," the allure is twisted, and Tucci elicits another variety of attraction: the hint of menace.
  • By Matt Brennan
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  • October 19, 2013 3:29 PM
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