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Thompson on Hollywood

Jews on Film: A Serious Man and An Education; Polanski, Sellers

Jews on Film: A Serious Man and An Education; Polanski, Sellers
Jews are popping up all over. The Coens based A Serious Man, which is an affectionate yet scabrous portrait of Jewish suburban family life, on their 60s Minnesota upbringing. An Education's Nick Hornby relied on Lynn Barber's two-year old memoir and faithfully included the sleazy seducer played by Peter Sarsgaard, who is Jewish. Suffice it to say, he's a money-grubbing entrepreneur with less-than-impeccable values. Even Tim Blake Nelson includes the Jewish mafia in his midwestern comedy, Leaves of Grass, which recently played Toronto. And we must not leave out Quentin Tarantino's controversial contribution to Jewish cinema, the anti-Nazi World War II movie Inglourious Basterds, which was a sleeper summer hit. UPDATE: The NYT's A.O. Scott addresses Jewish history as interpreted by Tarantino and the Coens.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • October 5, 2009 5:15 AM
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Buzz Boosts Zombieland, Moore, Paranormal Activity; Whip It Limps

Buzz Boosts Zombieland, Moore, Paranormal Activity; Whip It Limps
Lessons learned from the weekend box office:
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • October 4, 2009 9:49 AM
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  • 6 Comments

Toronto Day One: Creation, The Informant!, Jennifer's Body

Toronto Day One: Creation, The Informant!, Jennifer's Body
The reason why film festivals pick movies like Creation for opening night is that they have all the right credentials: respected producer (Jeremy Thomas) and director (Jon Amiel) and two major stars (Paul Bettany and Jennifer Connelly) willing to show up for the gala TIFF screenings and party. But Creation was DOA tonight.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • September 11, 2009 1:38 AM
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  • 8 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

Weekend B.O., District 9 No. One, Rise of Streep, Fall of G.I. Joe

Sony marketing took rookie Neill Blomkamp's $30-million VFX thriller to a terrific estimated $37 million--it wasn't the stunning reviews alone. All the Comic-Con raves and critics and folks on twitter and facebook had a viral impact. The R-rated sci-fi thriller opened well to its largely male base. A sustained hold will require other audience segments to come in--and I just don't know how this plays for women. They went to see The Time Traveler's Wife this weekend, which nabbed lousy reviews and came in at a solid $19 million.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • August 17, 2009 8:54 AM
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  • 4 Comments

Nine Goes to the Movies

Nine Goes to the Movies
Nine is a popular number at the movies these days. Last week I saw Shane Acker's animated dystopian adventure 9, featuring the voice of Elijah Wood, which opens September 9, 2009. Wednesday night I see Neill Blomkamp's alien thriller District 9, produced by Peter Jackson. The German film Cloud 9 opens in New York this Friday and in LA on August 28. This fall I look forward to the Rob Marshall musical Nine. Earlier this year I missed the animated feature $9.99. I count four past movies named Nine, as well as such classics as Nine Months, The Whole Nine Yards, Nine Queens, Nine 1/2 Weeks and Nine to Five. Is any other number as frequently used in movie titles? I guess one and ten are just as common, finally. But why the plethora of nine titles in 2009?
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • August 11, 2009 7:51 AM
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  • 3 Comments

Inglourious Basterds Premiere: Jolie & Pitt

Given that I'd already seen Quentin Tarantino's Inglourious Basterds twice, I blew off the L.A. premiere in favor of a family birthday dinner at El Cholo (Nora and Jake made red velvet cupcakes with white frosting). Luckily, there was plenty of other coverage. UPDATE: Here's Marc Malkin. And yes, Angelina wore black leather.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • August 11, 2009 6:00 AM
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  • 4 Comments

Young Victoria Goes to Apparition

Young Victoria Goes to Apparition
Over the weekend, Apparition closed a U.S. distribution deal for Toronto Film Festival closer The Young Victoria, starring Emily Blunt in what could be her breakout role carrying a movie as the youngest British monarch. As is typical these days, the new distrib run by Bob Berney and backer Bill Pohlad did not put up a minimum guarantee, but rather beat out several competitors (including Miramax, Overture and Roadside Attractions) by committing to $4.5 million in P & A and a 250-screen release. Appariiton will open the movie November 13. Sony Pictures Worldwide Acquisitions Group will handle all domestic ancillary rights. Alliance will release in Canada.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • August 10, 2009 7:45 AM
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  • 2 Comments

Inglourious Basterds: Recut, Nine Clips

Inglourious Basterds: Recut, Nine Clips
Quentin Tarantino's recut of Inglourious Basterds is one minute longer than the Cannes version, and much improved. It's a gorgeous movie with a great eclectic soundtrack crammed with everything from Ennio Morricone to a brilliant use of David Bowie's "Putting Out the Fire." (Trivia question: what movie debuted that song?)
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • August 9, 2009 1:52 AM
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  • 6 Comments

Downey Banks on Franchises Iron Man 2 and Sherlock Holmes

Downey Banks on Franchises Iron Man 2 and Sherlock Holmes
What a difference a year makes. With Iron Man and an Oscar nom for Tropic Thunder behind him, A-list movie star Robert Downey, Jr. had a good Comic-Con. Backstage after Iron Man 2, he suggested that he's uncomfortable marketing movies, although he knows he has to do it, and that he hated the whole Hall H thing. If that's true, it doesn't show. He works the crowd better than anyone. He was hawking not only Iron Man 2, which had a stellar reaction--probably the best of the annual comics confab--but he genuinely adored playing the character Sherlock Holmes.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • August 4, 2009 9:18 AM
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  • 0 Comments

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