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Thompson on Hollywood

Oscar Powers Netflix's Top Ten Most-Rented List

Oscar Powers Netflix's Top Ten Most-Rented List
Netflix's ten most-rented list of all time (list below) reminds us of the long-tail Power of Oscar. And it should remind Netflix, as it splits its DVD and streaming business and alienates many of its customers who are used to relying on its deep long-tail arcania, that their solid customer base is smart adults, not the great unwashed, something they seem to be in danger of forgetting as they focus on TV and mainstream acquisitions and let smaller movies go.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • October 3, 2011 11:09 AM
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  • 4 Comments

Boardwalk Empire Season 2 Review - Nucky Nosferatu

Boardwalk Empire Season 2 Review - Nucky Nosferatu
As its second season begins, David Chute finds that he admires Boardwalk Empire but does not love it.We took it as a sign during Boardwalk Empire’s first season that the show’s fabulously expensive exterior and interior sets never felt lived in. Compare Boardwalk’s boardwalk, a beautiful sweep of CG-enhanced Hollywood carpentry, with Deadwood’s Deadwood, an assortment of tents and swaybacked outhouses, awash in mud and dust and struggling humanity. Even the Harlan County, Kentucky, of Justified, cobbled together from various locations in Southern California, conveys a more organic sense of place. The characters are convinced that they were born and raised and rooted there, and so do we.
  • By David Chute
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  • September 27, 2011 3:50 AM
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  • 5 Comments

Geeking Out with Cameron at the 3D Summit: Titanic, Avatar, Theme Parks

Geeking Out with Cameron at the 3D Summit: Titanic, Avatar, Theme Parks
This week, in his Immersed in Movies column, Bill Desowitz talks to James Cameron at the 3D Summit. Don't try to convince James Cameron that 3-D is faltering. He's still a true believer, despite some recent 3-D blowback. He laughed if off as growing pains and negative media spin at the 3D Entertainment Summit this week at the Hollywood & Highland Center, but said it's nothing that can't be fixed with a change of perception and better 3-D authoring and presentation.
  • By Bill Desowitz
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  • September 23, 2011 5:14 AM
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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

Albert Brooks Talks Drive, Comedy as Anger, Tweeting and Stanley Kubrick

Albert Brooks Talks Drive, Comedy as Anger, Tweeting and Stanley Kubrick
People often underestimate how good comedians can be as actors. Who knew Albert Brooks could play dark? Revered by a cadre of loyal followers for his riotous passive-aggressive romcom protagonists, Brooks’ turn as gangster Bernie Rose in Nicolas Winding Refn’s Drive dumbfounded many critics, who gave him raves.
  • By Anthony D'Alessandro
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  • September 19, 2011 2:08 AM
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  • 6 Comments

Fall/Holiday Preview: Five Glorious VFX Films to Watch, None Set in Present

Fall/Holiday Preview: Five Glorious VFX Films to Watch, None Set in Present
Bill Desowitz lists five VFX films to watch this fall and winter season, and the reasons why:With all due respect to the highly-anticipated The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn-- Part 1 and Mission: Impossible-- Ghost Protocol, in which Edward and Bella and Tom Cruise's Ethan Hunt spiritually go to hell and back, the real VFXy films to look out for this fall/holiday season are Hugo, Real Steel, Immortals, Anonymous, and Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows. They possess the necessary CG eye candy and potential Oscar prestige, plus there's not a contemporary story among them.
  • By Bill Desowitz
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  • September 16, 2011 2:04 AM
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  • 0 Comments

In the No, Run-Up to Telluride: The Show from Swinton and Clooney to Veloso and Waters

In the No, Run-Up to Telluride: The Show from Swinton and Clooney to Veloso and Waters
We have several folks covering festivals this year--David Gritten and The Playlist are in Venice while Meredith Brody and I are in Telluride--along with Eugene Hernandez, who's covering for indieWIRE. Here's Meredith's first missive:Part of the appeal and the mystique of the Telluride Film Festival, aka the Show, is that you’re buying a pig in a poke. Since the Festival doesn’t release any of its program, whether new titles, tributes, or revivals, in advance, you have to trust in its distinguished reputation -- as Roger Ebert has memorably written, “[It’s] like Cannes died and went to heaven…” -- and take a leap into the void.
  • By Meredith Brody
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  • September 2, 2011 3:44 AM
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Another Trip to the Moon with Méliès: Behind the Digital Restoration of VFX Landmark

Another Trip to the Moon with Méliès: Behind the Digital Restoration of  VFX Landmark
While waiting for Hugo (Nov. 23), Martin Scorsese's 3-D valentine to Georges Méliès, TOH columnist Bill Desowitz writes a fascinating account of how digital advances made possible the painstaking restoration of the first movie blockbuster from the father of special effects, A Trip to the Moon (1902). The new version of the landmark 14-minute short, which premiered at the Cannes Film Festival, will screen at Telluride this weekend and at the Academy's Goldwyn Theater on Tuesday. What a way to mark the 150th anniversary of Méliès's birth.
  • By Bill Desowitz
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  • September 2, 2011 3:35 AM
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Oscar Talk: Venice and Telluride, Carnage, Ides of March, W.E., Contagion, The Artist

Oscar Talk: Venice and Telluride, Carnage, Ides of March, W.E., Contagion, The Artist
In Contention's Kris Tapley is here in Telluride with me, while Guy Lodge is in Venice. We all got on Skype for this week's Oscar Talk, which delves into early reaction to Venice titles from George Clooney (The Ides of March), Madonna (W.E) and Roman Polanski Carnage and a movie Kris and I saw in L.A., Steven Soderbergh's Contagion, as well as Cannes title The Artist, which is showing in Telluride. Friday Kris and I should get a crack at The Descendants, Martin Scorsese's George Harrison doc and Albert Nobbs, starring Glenn Close.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • September 2, 2011 3:00 AM
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  • 0 Comments

Oscar Talk: From The Help, Rise of the Apes and Woody to the Fall Fest Circuit and Beyond

Oscar Talk: From The Help, Rise of the Apes and Woody to the Fall Fest Circuit and Beyond
Oscar Talk is back. The first podcast of the fall season with In Contention's Kris Tapley runs for a good hour, so gird your loins, Oscar mavens, listen and weep. We cover the Cannes films, the summer releases, the Fall Festival entries and the end-of-year possibilities. We talk Meryl and Glenn and Malick and Chastain, debate the merits of sleeper Warrior and admit that we both cried over cancer patient Joseph Gordon-Levitt in 50/50. Next week we'll post from Telluride. The award season begins.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • August 26, 2011 4:00 AM
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  • 4 Comments

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