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Thompson on Hollywood

Weekly Wrap: SFIFF, Cannes, Must See Summer Box Office, Casting Updates, Celebs Sell, Brad Pitt

BOX OFFICE & UPCOMING
  • By Sophia Savage and Anne Thompson
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  • April 29, 2011 8:15 AM
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Weekend Preview: Fast Five Pumps Testosterone, Prom Tween Fantasy, 13 Assassins, Cave 3-D, The Arbor

It's a weekend of extremes, with the Fast Five testosterone-fest, a Prom tween fantasy, not one but 13 Assassins and a Hoodwinked Too! that no one asked for. Several indie gems are mixed in with some less-inspiring releases: we recommend Werner Herzog's Cave of Forgotten Dreams in 3-D and Clio Bernard's documentary on playwright Andrea Dunbar, The Arbor, a film that turns the term 'documentary' on its head but "once you settle in, [Bernard's technique] proves enormously effective," writes ThePlaylist. "Barnard is able to expertly weave the narrative, dropping hints of the darkness early on while never quite giving the game away."
  • By Sophia Savage
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  • April 29, 2011 5:59 AM
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SFIFF 54 Day Six: The Mill on the Cross, Hot Coffee, Hahaha, The Sleeping Beauty, Leonard Cohen

Meredith Brody reports on the latest festival screenings from San Francisco:
  • By Meredith Brody
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  • April 28, 2011 5:35 AM
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Fast Five Could Beat Last Installment's $70.95 Million Weekend

With Fast Five, Justin Lin, by all accounts, has delivered the best Fast and Furious installment so far--adding Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson to chase the original lead duo Vin Diesel and Paul Walker--and Universal is cautiously optimistic, saying that it is tracking as well in the same range as the fourth. Anthony D'Alessandro looks at the performance of the franchise to date--and predicts the coming weekend's performance. Gas-strapped Americans are expected to break their piggy banks this weekend to see Universal’s auto five-quel Fast Five, which has scored the first "fresh" reviews of the series. Should the gross rival the $70.95 million April record bow of the 2009 installment, it will not only herald a new entry for the month's annals, but finally move up the summer B.O. season start date – a bar that distributors have continually tried to reach, but consistently miss (2002's The Scorpion King--$36.1 million--and last year’s A Nightmare on Elm Street--$32.9 million scored less than tentpole numbers). Over the past decade, as filmmakers tinkered with the series' beefcake-and-babe dramatis personae –Vin Diesel stepped out of two installments while bad girl Michelle Rodriguez has been M.I.A. for three -- ticket sales have gassed out and revved up.
  • By Anthony D'Alessandro
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  • April 27, 2011 12:53 PM
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Doctor Who Season Six Premiere Review: A Monster-of-the-Week, Hide-in-a-Tunnel Adventure

Decades-long Doctor Who fan David Chute eagerly anticipated the Season Six premiere starring Matt Smith and Alex Kingston (trailer below), and made me and a pal watch it with him. I applaud his review, excerpted: Vastly shinier production values aside, this was a Monster of the Week, hide-in-a-tunnel adventure, a 1970s scarf and curls throwback. Monument Valley was little more than a handsome backdrop; no organic connection that I could see with the events that unfolded there. The aliens' trick of making you forget them the second you looked away mimicked without improving upon the Weeping Angels of the great Blink episode, which moved when you looked away. (Moffatt recycling Moffatt.)
  • By David Chute
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  • April 27, 2011 10:06 AM
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  • 4 Comments

Prom Early Reviews: Formulaic Tween Fantasy Flick or Stereotype Reinforcer?

Prom Early Reviews: Formulaic Tween Fantasy Flick or Stereotype Reinforcer?
Disney's Prom opens April 29. It stars Aimee Teegarden, Thomas McDonell, DeVaugh Nixon, Danielle Campbell, Yin Chang, Nolan Sotillo, and more. Joe Nussbaum directs a script from Katie Wech. Reviews, picture and the trailer are below.
  • By Sophia Savage
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  • April 27, 2011 6:44 AM
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  • 5 Comments

Elvis Mitchell Ankles Movieline: Why?

Elvis Mitchell is such a fascinating, complicated character that he deserves a mini-series. I am not kidding. I could have predicted--would have placed bets--that he wouldn't last as film critic at Movieline, that it was a bad match--mainly because Mitchell is not internet savvy. To succeed online, you have to be able to interact with your readers on Twitter and Facebook, market yourself, have an instinct for building traffic for your stories. Mention Twitter to Mitchell and his eyes go blank. Why did he go there as co-chief film critic with ex-Salon scribe Stephanie Zacharek? For the money. Well, the trouble with making a hefty salary is that when you do not deliver, you make a convenient line-item deletion. And Movieline is in cost-cutting mode of late: they pared back the masthead and cut off all freelancers a few weeks ago, including Alonso Duralde.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • April 24, 2011 7:13 AM
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  • 28 Comments

Weekend Box Office: Rio Rolls Over New Openers Madea's Big Happy Family, Water for Elephants

Weekend Box Office: Rio Rolls Over New Openers Madea's Big Happy Family, Water for Elephants
Niche fans for Tyler Perry and Rob Pattinson turned out for Madea's Big Happy Family and Water for Elephants, respectively, but family toon Rio continued to rock the box office. Anthony D'Alessandro reports:Family films shined brightly at the Easter weekend box office as kids kept Fox’s Blue Sky Studio kid pic Rio in the top spot with $26.8 million while grandmoms and moms shelled out $25.75 million to see Lionsgate’s Tyler Perry’s Madea’s Big Happy Family. Fox execs were also crowing about solid returns for its $40-million Reese-Witherspoon-Robert Pattinson depression-era romance Water for Elephants, which beat its $15 million estimate with $17.5 million. Thanks to the bunny holiday, Hop jumped 17% in its fourth frame and secured a timely figure of $100.5 million.
  • By Anthony D'Alessandro
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  • April 24, 2011 5:04 AM
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  • 3 Comments

Weekly Wrap: Remembering Tim Hetherington, Cannes, Earth Day, Bourne, Reichardt's Filmmaking 101

Earth Day Is April 22: Films, Festivals To Celebrate, Protect and Inspire.
  • By Sophia Savage and Anne Thompson
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  • April 22, 2011 8:23 AM
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Weekend Preview: Madea, RPattz, Witherspoon & Elephants, Greatest Movie Ever Sold, Incendies

Weekend Preview: Madea, RPattz, Witherspoon & Elephants, Greatest Movie Ever Sold, Incendies
Tyler Perry fans and Robert Pattinson shriekers can flock to theaters this weekend. In the meantime, check out a variety of alternatives from the indiesphere.
  • By Sophia Savage and Anne Thompson
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  • April 22, 2011 7:15 AM
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  • 1 Comment

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