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Thompson on Hollywood

Rango, Adjustment Bureau, Beastly, Take Me Home Tonight, I Saw the Devil: Blockbuster Weekend?

2011 is due for its first blockbuster weekend. From Johnny Depp's animated Rango and Matt Damon and Emily Blunt's The Adjustment Bureau to teen flick Beastly, 80s throwback Take Me Home Tonight and Korean horror film I Saw the Devil, all the demographic bases are covered. We recommend Damon and Blunt's effortless on-screen chemistry, the wondrously imaginative Rango, and indie festival favorites Abel and Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives. Film details, reviews and trailers are below.
  • By Sophia Savage
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  • March 4, 2011 8:30 AM
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Potiche Early Reviews: Delicious French Feminist Comedy

A fest favorite at Venice, François Ozon's feminist comedy Potiche (New York and LA, March 24, followed by a national release), stars a comedic Catherine Deneuve as a 70s trophy wife who takes over her husband’s umbrella factory while he is away and loves it so much that she tries to take it back from him. She has been flirting with an old lover, Gerard Depardieu, for decades. Even though the vet French star is as big as a house, their scenes together are delicious. This comedy is commercial enough to score with a stateside art-house boomer audience. A round-up of early reviews, the poster and trailer are below:
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • March 4, 2011 8:30 AM
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I Saw the Devil Early Reviews, Kim Jee-woon and Lee Byung-hun Interview: Vengeance is Mine

Korean director Kim Jee-woon is the real deal. He's a smart visually canny director with a sharp sense of humor who adeptly plays with genres, from his sixth film, the wacky Oriental western hit The Good, The Bad, and the Weird to the serial killer thriller I Saw the Devil, which also features Good Bad Weird star Lee Byung-hun.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • March 3, 2011 9:29 AM
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Meek's Cutoff Early Reviews: "Beckettian Harshness," Williams Is "Show-Stealingly Brilliant"

Kelly Reichardt's austere western Meek's Cutoff hits theatres April 8. A roundup of early reviews is below.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • March 3, 2011 6:25 AM
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Rango Early Reviews: "One Spectacular-Looking Movie," "Chaotic," "Wildly Imaginative" (UPDATED)

Rango is a gorgeous CGI animated homage to the Hollywood western from Pirates of the Caribbean director Gore Verbinski, ILM, screenwriter John Logan and a great voice cast led by Johnny Depp. The VFX masters at ILM put their genius to work on a piece of CGI animation (blessedly not in 3-D) , and the results are wondrous, from the character animation to the action sequences. But while Logan is an Oscar-nominated studio scribe (The Aviator) who knows his westerns, this is not a Pixar film. On the one hand the pacing lags, and on the other, they don't seem to have a handle on how to make it play for both adults and kids. (Younger viewers in the theater were bored.) But for any student of animation or western buff, Rango is a must-see.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • March 1, 2011 9:27 AM
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The Adjustment Bureau Early Reviews: Damon & Blunt Own It With Heart-Fluttering Chemistry

The Adjustment Bureau Early Reviews: Damon & Blunt Own It With Heart-Fluttering Chemistry
Hollywood has a good track record when it comes to adapting California sci-fi writer Philip K. Dick, who was praised by Adam Gopnik for his "mixture of mordant comedy and wild metaphysics."
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • February 25, 2011 9:00 AM
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  • 2 Comments

Weekend Preview: Drive Angry 3D, Hall Pass, Of Gods and Men, Heartbeats

Of this weekend's new entries, the one I want to see most is French Oscar entry Of Gods and Men, which earned raves around the world but was unaccountably shut out by the foreign language committee. UPDATE: It also won the Cesar award for Best Film.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • February 25, 2011 8:00 AM
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Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark Review: Flamboyant and Uninspired

Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark Review: Flamboyant and Uninspired
Film and comics critic Simon Abrams (Village Voice, Comics Journal) ventured onto Broadway to see what all the fuss was about on Julie Taymor's endlessly previewed (performances started on November 28; the opening was postponed to March 15) and troubled Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark. He finds flamboyance in the service of uninspired storytelling:Nobody needs an introduction to Spider-Man after decades of comics and three blockbuster films (a reboot is under way). But Julie Taymor is determined to rework this eighth-told tale tale into mythic stature. The epic musical Turn Off the Dark’s spectacular failure comes down to its creators’ inability to realize what they could do with a beloved property with built-in mainstream appeal.
  • By Simon Abrams
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  • February 22, 2011 9:13 AM
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Depressed Holiday Weekend Box Office Taken by Unknown

Depressed Holiday Weekend Box Office Taken by Unknown
Unknown, Liam Neeson's follow-up to sleeper hit Taken, grabbed moviegoers at the Presidents Day weekend box office, which did little to pull Hollywood box office out of its ongoing depression. So far, first quarter box office is off 24 to 28 % from last year, reports Anthony D'Alessandro:
  • By Anthony D'Alessandro
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  • February 21, 2011 6:20 AM
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  • 1 Comment

Weekend Preview: Unknown, I Am Number Four, Big Mommas, Last Lions, Putty Hill

It's no surprise that indie offerings Putty Hill and the doc The Last Lions score the best reviews of the motley crew of movies that opened for the holiday weekend. Unknown, Liam Neeson's follow-up to sleeper hit Taken is next.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • February 19, 2011 1:18 AM
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  • 0 Comments

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