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Thompson on Hollywood

AFI Fest Review: The Fighter is a Contender

AFI Fest Review: The Fighter is a Contender
The buzz on the street about David O. Russell's The Fighter--the boxing movie is a rousing crowd-pleaser, stolen by Christian Bale--was correct. "I had to do a lot of cheating, stealing and lying to get the movie made," said star and producer Mark Wahlberg at the start of the "secret" screening at AFI Fest (revealed via Paramount press release Tuesday morning). "I'm happy it got to the big screen. It took me such a long time to get the movie made that if you don't like the movie, I'll do two hours of hard labor. I did it to get the movie made and I will do it for anyone who doesn't like it."
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • November 10, 2010 9:39 AM
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  • 0 Comments

Love & Other Drugs Early Reviews: "Shockingly Conventional," "Addictive," "Verbal Tartness"

Love & Other Drugs Early Reviews: "Shockingly Conventional," "Addictive," "Verbal Tartness"
Last night I sat in a Fox screening room packed with critics to see Edward Zwick's Love & Other Drugs. Writer-director Zwick has done what I have long wanted him to do--get into the James L. Brooks/Nancy Meyers smart comedy mode--as he did with partner Marshall Herskovitz (who adapted Jamie Reidy's book Hard Sell with Zwick and Charles Randolph) for so many great TV series, from 30 Something to Relativity. While previous Zwick efforts such as Defiance, Blood Diamond and The Last Samurai have tended toward high-minded commercial dramas packed with action, Love & Other Drugs is a Jake Gyllenhaal-Anne Hathaway romantic comedy with dramatic overtones--and plenty of artfully constructed sex and nudity.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • October 26, 2010 5:45 AM
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  • 8 Comments

Keith Richards' Memoir Life Wins Raves

Keith Richards' Memoir Life Wins Raves
I bought my first issue of Rolling Stone in a long time to get a slice of the Keith Richards memoir Life (on sale October 26) and I will try to convince my book group (which tends to read fiction) to assign it. Friends and I talked about Life at dinner Saturday night (after which I had the pleasure of singing "Gimme Shelter" during a rousing session of Rock Band). And the NYT's Michiko Kakutani writes her most enjoyable book review in a while--a rave. UPDATE: Here's The NYorker's David Remnick.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • October 25, 2010 10:39 AM
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  • 1 Comment

For Colored Girls Early Reviews are Mixed

For Colored Girls Early Reviews are Mixed
If you're serious about an Oscar campaign, you don't hesitate to show your movie. I have yet to see For Colored Girls, which is why Lionsgate's "award season push" for Tyler Perry's reach toward mainstream credibility reeks of a distributor making nice to a favorite house director. Nothing new, and totally understandable--Perry has made Lionsgate a ton of money.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • October 23, 2010 3:43 AM
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  • 19 Comments

The Fall, Del Toro's Second The Strain Installment, Earns Raves

The Fall, Del Toro's Second The Strain Installment, Earns Raves
Guillermo del Toro and Chuck Hogan's book The Fall, the second installment of their planned trilogy which kicked off last year with The Strain, is nabbing stellar reviews. As you'd expect from Del Toro, the vampire trilogy is dark and distinctively not Twilight:
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • October 20, 2010 8:35 AM
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  • 0 Comments

Mad Men's Jaw-Dropping Season Four Finale: "A pretty girl walks by and everything's out the window."

Tim Appelo recaps Mad Men's Season Four finale (packed with Spoilers, needless to say). I am not the only one drooping with disappointment that my fave series is going into hiatus. Sigh. “A secretary is not a pet, nor an erector set,” they sang in the 1961 Robert Morse musical How To Succeed in Business Without Really Trying -- but try telling that to Don Draper. In Mad Men’s jawdropper fourth-season finale, he drop-kicks his brilliant, drop-dead gorgeous girlfriend Dr. Faye Miller and pops the question to his secretary du jour, Megan –better known as “Who the hell is that?” (as Roger Sterling blurted when Don announced the engagement). Draper secretaries come and go like Spinal Tap drummers, but Megan turned a one-night stand into a giant diamond.
  • By Tim Appelo
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  • October 20, 2010 6:50 AM
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  • 0 Comments

Oscar Watch: Reeves Talks Let Me In--Not an Oscar Contender

Oscar Watch: Reeves Talks Let Me In--Not an Oscar Contender
Let Me In is one of those strange tweener movies that is neither fish nor fowl. It was a fall festival hit, but movie audiences like their movies to fit into neat and tidy categories, and this one defiantly refuses to do that. Here's why.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • October 13, 2010 10:32 AM
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  • 13 Comments

Boardwalk Empire Four Recap

Boardwalk Empire Four Recap
Boardwalk Empire Episode Four is recapped by Tim Appelo, below (SPOILER ALERT):A man’s character is his fate, and crucial characters come fatefully into focus in the fourth Boardwalk Empire (“Anastasia”). Al Capone (Stephen Graham) welcomes Jimmy (Michael Pitt) to Chicago by sneaking into a whorehouse in the wee hours, shushing Jimmy’ favorite mattressback, the Chinatown opium-loving beauty Pearl (ingénue-to-watch Emily Meade), and shooting the snoozing Jimmy in the ear. It’s a blank, but it bloodies and scares the bejesus out of Jimmy. Capone is getting even for WW I vet Jimmy’s razzing disbelief of Scarface Capone’s false claim that the Huns gave him his scar. “Lookit Mr. Solider Boy! You’d piss yer pants if you were wearin’ [any].”
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • October 11, 2010 5:00 AM
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  • 1 Comment
More: Reviews, TV, HBO

Boardwalk Empire Episode 3 Recap: Things Get Pissy

Boardwalk Empire Episode 3 Recap: Things Get Pissy
Things get nasty in Boardwalk Empire Episode Three, writes Tim Appelo in this spoiler-filled recap/review:Boardwalk Empire haters, quit yer bitchin.’ Like the train Jimmy hops in the last scene, the story builds up steam and gets rolling in Ep. 3, “Broadway Limited” (penned by Margaret Nagle with the period verve that earned her HBO FDR show Warm Springs 16 Emmy noms and 5 wins). It helps that the episode’s scariest, most lawless place isn’t some back alley or speakeasy -- it’s the doc’s office. First, the gangster too fat to die from bullets in the premiere Scorsese episode’s massacre scene gets smothered in hospital by a pillow wielded by Eli (Shea Whigham), the sheriff brother of top mobster Nucky (Steve Buscemi). Nobody wants the fat man to finger Jimmy (Michael Pitt) for the shootout.
  • By Tim Appelo
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  • October 4, 2010 5:24 AM
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  • 4 Comments
More: Reviews, TV, HBO

Boardwalk Empire Recap: Money and Relationships, Clunky Dialogue

Boardwalk Empire Recap: Money and Relationships, Clunky Dialogue
Because everyone we know is watching and debating the merits of Boardwalk Empire every week, TOH critic Tim Appelo is keeping the conversation going. He favors Tim Van Patten's slick camera moves, but worries about some clunky over-familiar dialogue. (Spoiler Alert!)Everybody made a big deal about the Scorsese-directed pilot of Boardwalk Empire, but Timothy Van Patten’s followup is in some ways better. No muzzle-flash valentines to the St. Valentine’s Day Massacre this time, but instead of endless setups and proud pans of HBO’s multimillion-dollar period set, we get some actual storylines unspooling. Last week we saw Nucky’s nooky naked; this week we get a peek at his unguarded heart. And Van Patten beats Scorsese’s bookend iris shots with the opening scene (pan down with the Chicago snow to mob boss Big Jim’s funeral) and the finale (a Baltimore flapper rolls her averted eyes and mechanically works the crankshaft of crass businessman Baxter in his Tin Lizzie – until the gory, half-dead survivor of the first episode’s massacre staggers zombielike out of the woods and into their headlamps). And Van Patten’s old-time movie moves work as well as Scorsese’s: I like the wipe from the closeup of Capone stomping reporter Eddie Corrigan’s face to Nucky at his desk.
  • By Tim Appelo
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  • September 27, 2010 6:13 AM
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  • 2 Comments
More: Reviews, TV, HBO

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