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Telluride Watch: Up in the Air Will Fly

Telluride Watch: Up in the Air Will Fly
Folks lined up for two hours on a rainy Telluride Saturday to get into Up in the Air. Hundreds were turned away. Writer-director Jason Reitman (and obsessive airline mile collector) played the crowd like a pro, hoping that the movie would live up to their expectations. He didn't need to worry. The director, who debuted Juno here two years ago at the same theater, delivers a winner. Loosely based on Walter Kirn's novel, Reitman's updated movie, which he started working on six years ago, has become, with the economic downturn, far more timely. It's a witty, charming and moving exploration of a world we all recognize.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • September 6, 2009 4:25 AM
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  • 2 Comments

Telluride Day One: The Road, Waking Sleeping Beauty

Telluride Day One: The Road, Waking Sleeping Beauty
At LAX this morning I chatted with indie press agent Laura Kim and ex-Disney exec Peter Schneider, who produced Don Hahn's documentary Waking Sleeping Beauty. The doc tells the story of how Michael Eisner, Jeffrey Katzenberg and the 80s generation of Disney animators woke up the sleeping Disney animation giant between 1984 and 1994. Schneider, who has been working on Broadway, showed the film to ex-Disney chairman Michael Eisner, who isn't a fan. The current Disney management--Bob Iger and Dick Cook--are supportive of the movie, however. In fact, Leonard Maltin told me on the shuttle through the splendid Rockies this afternoon, Cook has been supportive of a number of Disney animation docs that needed help with clips, cooperation, and even release, from Frank and Ollie to Walt & El Grupo, about a Disney excursion to Latin America. It's in Disney's interest to keep fanning the old Walt flame.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • September 3, 2009 12:12 PM
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  • 4 Comments

Tarantino Reviews There Will Be Blood, Sunshine, Taxi Driver

Tarantino Reviews There Will Be Blood, Sunshine, Taxi Driver
Brit Sky Movies gave Quentin Tarantino a shot at programming, and he reviews his selections. Not surprising if you've ever spent any time with him, the guy's a perceptive and engaging critic.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • September 1, 2009 5:03 AM
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  • 3 Comments

Introducing New At the Movies Team

After they got the sack, the young and callow two Bens vanished from At the Movies, which is now gearing up for a Labor Day Weekend reboot. Just watching this preview of the Chicago Tribune's Michael Phillips and the New York Times' A.O. Scott makes me eager to get back into the At the Movies habit, spending time with two brainy film critics who will dig way deeper into movies than any ATM team since the original Ebert and Siskel. At a time when the overall film discussion seems to be dumbing down, these guys are going to smarten things up. Thank God.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • September 1, 2009 1:49 AM
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  • 12 Comments

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

Rotten Tomatoes vs. Metacritic

Rotten Tomatoes vs. Metacritic
The online movie critics aggregators Metacritic and Rotten Tomatoes each have their strong and weak points, supporters and detractors. I like smaller site Metacritic's lean and elegant interface and respect their brainy selection of 40 or so established film critics, whose taste and erudition I trust more than Rotten Tomatoes' less discriminating list of hundreds of critics. That group gives a better sense, however, of how a movie will actually fare with the public. And the fresh/rotten stamp is delicious.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • August 24, 2009 8:59 AM
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  • 21 Comments
More: Reviews

Tarantino's Inglourious Basterds Opens Strong

Tarantino's Inglourious Basterds Opens Strong
Quentin Tarantino's Inglourious Basterds opened strong Friday night, raking in an estimated $14.3 million. (We'll see how it holds.) Reviews were mixed, 69 on Metacritic. Richard Corliss, Roger Ebert and Jim Hoberman were thumbs up on this cinephile's fantasy, while Ken Turan, David Denby and Manohla Dargis were thumbs down on the slow-paced, often ridiculous alternative take on history. Here's New Yorker blogger Richard Brody and LA Weekly's Tarantino Q & A.. UPDATE: Looks like a $37-million opening, and great opening overseas, too. The film performed similarly to last weekend's District 9.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • August 23, 2009 2:36 AM
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  • 3 Comments

Internet: Critics' Friend, Young or Old

Internet: Critics' Friend, Young or Old
The latest film critics pile-on this week started with the suggestion from The New York Observer's Christopher Rosen that the NYT's A.O. Scott and the Chicago Sun-Times' Roger Ebert were attacking movie audiences for being so dumb. Then Drew McWeeny at Hitfix responded that older critics were losing their touch with younger audiences. And Glenn Kenny jumped into the fray on the young vs. old critics' divide.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • August 14, 2009 5:46 AM
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  • 4 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

The Time Traveler’s Wife: Flash in Pan or Classic?

The Time Traveler’s Wife: Flash in Pan or Classic?
With very few impediments to romance left in conventional storytelling, writers are forced to add a touch of fantasy or sci-fi to create artificial barriers to love.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • August 12, 2009 2:02 AM
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  • 11 Comments

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