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No Doubt About Viola Davis

Powerhouse theater dynamo http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0205626/">Viola Davis, 43, keeps showing up in tiny movie roles--the crackhead in Antwone Fisher, the mother in the hospital in World Trade Center, the anxious Mrs. Miller in Doubt--and each time blows them out of the park. While filming Doubt, Davis was so worried about holding her own in her one 11-minute confrontation with Meryl Streep that she completely failed to recognize that her nose was running. Although writer-director John Patrick Shanley convinced the studio to let him reshoot the scene in order to slow down the pacing, the snot remained. The pivotal confrontation comes as Sister Aloysious tries to find out what Mrs. Miller knows about her son's relationship with Father Flynn (Philip Seymour Hoffman).
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • December 29, 2008 9:51 AM
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Eastwood Scores With Gran Torino

The last time I cried on the way home from a movie was Million Dollar Baby. As I drove, I thought about the movie's battered girl in the hospital bed, surrounded by heartless relatives, and the coach who who loved her like a father. Down came the tears.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • December 11, 2008 9:28 AM
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Awards Watch: Slumdog Leads National Board of Review

Slumdog Millionaire's awards momentum continues to build with Thursday's National Board of Review announcement. Remember, this not particularly illustrious group is helpful for just that--building a list of winners who keep on winning. Being left off is no badge of shame, but it can be a telltale sign of weakness. Also, this group tends to reflect movies that were screened early, and carries a certain New York bias.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • December 4, 2008 8:55 AM
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More: Awards, Oscars

Holiday Boxoffice: Four Christmases, Twilight, Australia

For once, women are dominating movie theaters. That's because there's more than enough for them to see. (OK, they're not going to see Transporter 3.) Usually, though, they're starved and I hope Hollywood takes the lessons of 2008 to heart, from Sex and the City and Mamma Mia! to Twilight and Australia, all movies designed to appeal to women. Lots of women.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • November 26, 2008 8:30 AM
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Oscar Watch: Return of the Carpetbagger

To know that David Carr is in touch with the online zeitgeist, just read this week's New York Times media column about Google. Carr gets it. And once a year, when he morphs into The Carpetbagger, he gets to shows his stuff to a media world that is struggling to make the transition from print to pixels.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • November 24, 2008 8:13 AM
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The Curious Case of Benjamin Button: Review

I saw The Curious Case of Benjamin Button on Saturday (following the aborted Thursday screening), and have been trying to sort it out ever since.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • November 23, 2008 8:08 AM
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Trailer Preview: The Wrestler

Fox Searchlight will send out its first trailer for The Wrestler today. Their mission: to make filmgoers want to see a movie that looks very male--Mickey Rourke plays a down-on-his-luck, aging wrestler facing the end of his career who suddenly needs to reach out to his daughter, poignantly played by Evan Rachel Wood, and a stripper pal, Marisa Tomei. Communicating with women is not his strong suit.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • November 20, 2008 8:04 AM
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Oscar Watch: Revolutionary Road Review

I saw Revolutionary Road over the weekend, and moderated a panel Saturday with director Sam Mendes, Leonardo DiCaprio (nominated three times), Kate Winslet (nominated five times), Oscar-winner Kathy Bates, theater actor Michael Shannon (W.), cinematographer Roger Deakins (nominated seven times) and composer Thomas Newman (nominated eight times).
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • November 18, 2008 5:51 AM
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Oscar Watch: Early Benjamin Button Review

EDITED TO READ: So, to be clear: THIS IS NOT A REVIEW. Not a Variety review or a review at all. What it is: Notes from a viewer's responses to a screening of David Fincher's The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, starring Brad Pitt as the man who ages backwards. Get annoyed, growl, sneer, be jealous... whatever you like, just don't call it a review. The person is neither a reviewer nor associated with the film in any way.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • November 12, 2008 5:40 AM
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Oscar Watch: Doubt Reviews

Let the fur fly. In the first review of Doubt, Todd McCarthy is casting seeds of doubt on Meryl Streep's performance.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • November 6, 2008 5:27 AM
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