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Thompson on Hollywood

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

Inglourious Basterds: Recut, Nine Clips

Inglourious Basterds: Recut, Nine Clips
Quentin Tarantino's recut of Inglourious Basterds is one minute longer than the Cannes version, and much improved. It's a gorgeous movie with a great eclectic soundtrack crammed with everything from Ennio Morricone to a brilliant use of David Bowie's "Putting Out the Fire." (Trivia question: what movie debuted that song?)
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • August 9, 2009 1:52 AM
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  • 6 Comments

Julie & Julia Targets Women, G.I. Joe Goes for Guys

Julie & Julia Targets Women, G.I. Joe Goes for Guys
Am I the only one who feels bombarded by too much PR on Julie & Julia? It’s worth seeing for the incandescent performance of Meryl Streep as the big, bubbly, adorable chef Julia Child, who was very much a product of her time. Stanley Tucci is equally charming as her mousy, adoring husband. Both should earn awards attention at year's end. I wish that the filmmakers had bucked the conventional wisdom that holds that a period story must be framed by a contemporary one to lure younger viewers. The sections with Amy Adams as blogger Julie Powell cooking for her namby-pamby husband were boring.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • August 7, 2009 7:00 AM
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  • 2 Comments

Disney/ABC Replaces Lyons and Mankiewicz with Adult Critics Scott and Phillips

Disney/ABC Replaces Lyons and Mankiewicz with Adult Critics Scott and Phillips
Yes! Sometimes the grown-ups win.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • August 5, 2009 11:45 AM
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  • 11 Comments

Bollywood: Love Aaj Kal

Bollywood: Love Aaj Kal
The Naz in Artesia on Saturday night was packed with a crowd unlike any you'd see at your local multiplex on a standard opening weekend. Entire families of every age and both sexes--from ancient crones to young moms rocking infants in baby carriages in the aisles--turned out en masse to see Love Aaj Kal, the latest Bollywood musical starring sexy leading man Saif Ali Khan. He plays two characters, one a lovelorn man in 1965 trying to win a young beauty from her resistant family, the other a "modern" hipster seeking success and a laissez-faire attitude to marriage who finally sees the error of his ways. Willowy Deepika Padukone plays his love interest. Directed by Imtiaz Ali, the romance opened huge on 2800 screens last weekend all over the world, breaking Hindi-language boxoffice records in the U.S., Australia and the U.K..
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • August 4, 2009 4:45 AM
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  • 3 Comments

Lists: 50 Best Movies of All Time, Again

It's a list that keeps on giving: the 50 best movies of all time. With this global critics list at The One-Line Review, at least, the more things change, the more they stay the same. There's Citizen Kane at number one, and having shown the movie to my USC film criticism class, I get why the movie holds on to that top spot, decade after decade. The damn thing holds up. Pauline Kael said it was a comedy and she was right. It's entertaining, funny, unique, utterly timely and resonant today. Kids understand it perfectly. It doesn't age, even in black-and-white.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • July 13, 2009 5:49 AM
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  • 0 Comments

Cheri Looks Good, Falls Flat

It’s hard to get everything to go right on a movie. Many little things can turn a promising project into something that never quite gels.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • June 23, 2009 11:20 AM
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  • 0 Comments

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