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The Last Station Brings Tolstoy Family to Telluride

The Last Station Brings Tolstoy Family to Telluride
The Last Station is a straight-on period biopic starring Christopher Plummer as the aged Leo Tolstoy, the famed Russian author of War and Peace, constantly at war with his mercurial wife Sophya (Helen Mirren). Paul Giamatti, a scheming Tolstoy disciple, wants to share the author's copyrights with the masses, while Sophya fights for her husband's love and her children's inheritance. Caught in the middle is Tolstoy's loyal, vegetarian, celibate secretary (James McAvoy). Plummer and Mirren are equally matched blazing adversaries and McAvoy is wonderfully reactive as the virginal acolyte who not only loses his innocence, but starts to learn about love and marriage.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • September 5, 2009 9:20 AM
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  • 2 Comments

Telluride Day One: The Road, Waking Sleeping Beauty

Telluride Day One: The Road, Waking Sleeping Beauty
At LAX this morning I chatted with indie press agent Laura Kim and ex-Disney exec Peter Schneider, who produced Don Hahn's documentary Waking Sleeping Beauty. The doc tells the story of how Michael Eisner, Jeffrey Katzenberg and the 80s generation of Disney animators woke up the sleeping Disney animation giant between 1984 and 1994. Schneider, who has been working on Broadway, showed the film to ex-Disney chairman Michael Eisner, who isn't a fan. The current Disney management--Bob Iger and Dick Cook--are supportive of the movie, however. In fact, Leonard Maltin told me on the shuttle through the splendid Rockies this afternoon, Cook has been supportive of a number of Disney animation docs that needed help with clips, cooperation, and even release, from Frank and Ollie to Walt & El Grupo, about a Disney excursion to Latin America. It's in Disney's interest to keep fanning the old Walt flame.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • September 3, 2009 12:12 PM
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  • 4 Comments

Vanity Fair New Establishment Favors Editor Cronies

The one year that I covered the Hollywood side of the Vanity Fair New Establishment List, I found that the final list reflected less accurate reporting than who was a possible cover subject or socialized with editor Graydon Carter. This year the nasty economy allowed VF to trim some familiar names while the Hall of Fame protects some Carter cronies.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • September 3, 2009 8:16 AM
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  • 1 Comment

Stringray Sam: Coming Soon to Screens of All Sizes

Just as several folks steered me to check out Stingray Sam, the episodic six-part serial musical space-western designed for mobile phones that debuted at Sundance 2009, writer-director-musician Cory McAbee, one of many filmmakers these days taking distribution into their own hands, posted the following:
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • September 3, 2009 4:38 AM
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  • 0 Comments

Weinsteins Pre-Buy The King's Speech, Starring Colin Firth

Signaling that it is in the hunt and willing to pay for projects, The Weinstein Co. has pre-bought various international and North American rights to The King's Speech, Tom Hooper's biopic about King George VI (father of Queen Elizabeth II), who suffered from a severe stammer. Geoffrey Rush plays the man who helps the king take control of his speech. The See-Saw Films and Bedlam production is set to start shooting later this year; the Weinstein Co. is slating it for 2010 release. Firth and Rush co-starred in the Weinsteins' Oscar-winning Shakespeare in Love.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • September 2, 2009 9:13 AM
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  • 0 Comments

Apparition Picks Up Boondock Saints II

Apparition's Bob Berney is adding another movie to his burgeoning release slate, which kicks off September 18 with Jane Campion's Toronto-bound period romance, Bright Star. The latest release is Boondock Saints II: All Saints Day, set to open October 30, marking yet another distribution deal with Sony Worldwide Acquisitons Group, which also pacted with Apparition to release Black Dynamite. Other releases include Toronto closing nighter The Young Victoria and Terrence Malick’s The Tree Of Life, starring Sean Penn and Brad Pitt.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • September 2, 2009 7:47 AM
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  • 3 Comments

Festival Season: Feast and Famine, Ten Hot Toronto Pick-Ups

Festival Season: Feast and Famine, Ten Hot Toronto Pick-Ups
Going into the fall festival season in Venice, Telluride, Toronto and New York, we know the following:
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • September 1, 2009 10:07 AM
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  • 3 Comments

Weekend Fires, Festival Watch, New Moon Pics, Battsek Talks

Weekend News:Two Los Angeles County firemen were killed in a vehicle crash as they fought the Station fire near Acton after a long weekend battling fierce blazes in the Angeles National Forest brought on by hot, dry Southland weather. The Mt. Wilson tower-cam continued recording Sunday as wildfires threatened the mountain's radio and TV towers. Thousands of area residents were evacuated and sought shelter at local schools as their homes were endangered.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • August 31, 2009 6:12 AM
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  • 0 Comments

Weekend Box Office: The Horror!

The Final Destination got a major lift from premium 3-D ticket prices as rivals cried foul, "no fair." The Weinstein Co. inexplicably competed with itself as Rob Zombie's Halloween II came in third after strong second-week holdover Inglourious Basterds.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • August 30, 2009 12:53 PM
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  • 0 Comments

Trailer Watch: Men Who Stare at Goats

Trailer Watch: Men Who Stare at Goats
Grant Heslov's comedy The Men Who Stare at Goats looks pretty funny, I must say. I love George Clooney in full-on dimwit mode (see: O Brother, Where Art Thou?). The film is based on non-fiction writer Jon Ronson's book of the same name about a special paranormal military unit.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • August 28, 2009 4:28 AM
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  • 1 Comment

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