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Thompson on Hollywood

Critics Faves: Arty or Artful?

Critics Faves: Arty or Artful?
In the fall season, as hundreds of movies are launched and weighed at film festivals, critics come into their own. They don't hold much sway with audiences in the summer. But in the fall, suddenly, what they think does matter.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • August 31, 2009 8:58 AM
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  • 12 Comments

District 9: Oscar Contender?

District 9: Oscar Contender?
District 9 is a great movie that deserves every kudo and by all accounts played great for the Academy the other night.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • August 20, 2009 3:45 AM
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  • 3 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

Woodstock Now & Then, Mad Men Ads, Journalism Online, Shah Rukh Khan

The U.S. treatment of Bollywood star Shah Rukh Khan stirs up a ruckus back in India. Shalini Dore and Jon Brooks explain.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • August 17, 2009 8:16 AM
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  • 3 Comments

District 9 Must Do Well

District 9 Must Do Well
Root for District 9 to do well. The Comic-Con hit represents a lifeline to Hollywood. Commercial director Neill Blomkamp (with backing from Peter Jackson) has made an intense, unpredictable, edge-of-your-seat sci-fi thriller that throws you into the doc-like reality (think Cloverfield on steroids) of a battle between humans and insect-like aliens (“prawns”) in Jo’burg. The budget was lean ($30 million). No stars. Leading man Sharlto Copley had never acted in a feature before.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • August 13, 2009 4:02 AM
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  • 24 Comments

Movies Go to Facebook, Legos, Lebanon, Redbox and Wellywood

Media Watch: Vibe could be coming back to--digital--life, while it looks like those wild and crazy salad days at Conde Nast are finally over.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • August 12, 2009 2:39 AM
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  • 1 Comment

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

Jackson's Lovely Bones Trailer

Jackson's Lovely Bones Trailer
A while back, DreamWorks showed me some footage from Fran Walsh & Philippa Boyens and Peter Jackson's adaptation of Alice Sebold's bestseller The Lovely Bones ; I was knocked out by what I saw. The film looked strong, different, unusual. The images popped. Saoirse Ronin (Atonement) plays the 14-year-old girl who is murdered in 1973 and watches her family from "the inbetween."
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • August 5, 2009 4:14 AM
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  • 2 Comments

Studios Play it Safe

Studios Play it Safe
Steven Spielberg is directing a remake of the Universal/Broadway classic Harvey; he's seeking a star like Tom Hanks or Will Smith to star. Fox is partnering with DreamWorks/Reliance to produce the movie about a six-foot, invisible rabbit.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • August 3, 2009 2:47 AM
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  • 10 Comments

District 9 Wows Comic-Con

District 9 Wows Comic-Con
The hit of Comic-Con was Peter Jackson protege Neill Blomkamp's debut movie, the sci-fi thriller District 9. When Halo fell apart, Jackson and Blomkamp assembled this movie about what happens when aliens come to earth and we treat them badly. The creatures were designed as insect-like humanoids. Jackson was disappointed that Weta was so busy with James Cameron's Avatar that he wasn't able to commandeer his own people for the VFX and had to go elsewhere. "You have to empathize with the alien characters," Jackson said. "They have to have an alien head with the human psychography of a face that you can recognize and extract emotion from. It wasn't easy on our budget."
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • August 1, 2009 11:07 AM
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  • 2 Comments

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