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Thompson on Hollywood

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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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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Summer Movies: Drag Me to Hell, Away We Go

Every once in a while I am reminded that my taste is not the same as the mass audience. I can usually call a blockbuster like 300 or Star Trek--in other words, I ignore the tracking and opening weekend predictions to insist--THIS MOVIE IS SO GOOD IT WILL DO BUSINESS. Sometimes, thank God, word-of-mouth counts for something, so that a movie becomes A MUST-SEE.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • June 5, 2009 8:16 AM
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Little Ashes: Will Twilight's Pattinson Pull Women?

We know how women respond to Rob Pattinson as Edward Cullen in Twilight . I knew the second I saw the first teaser trailer that he was a new heartthrob. He's dishy. In IFC's on-demand release, the British micro-indie How to Be, he plays a depressed loser version of himself. Not a big reach. On the other hand, Pattinson stretches quite a bit as Salvador Dali in Little Ashes, a European art film with a cultural pedigree. Set in Spain, the movie throws together three brilliant young university students: painter Salvador Dali (Pattinson), poet/dramatist Federico Garcia Lorca (Javier Beltran) and filmmaker Luis Bunuel (Matthew McNulty). Garcia Lorca and Dali form a powerful bond that is sexual, but Dali can't handle it.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • May 6, 2009 7:17 AM
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  • 0 Comments

Little Ashes: Will Twilight's Pattinson Pull Women?

We know how women respond to Rob Pattinson as Edward Cullen in Twilight . I knew the second I saw the first teaser trailer that he was a new heartthrob. He's dishy. In IFC's on-demand release, the British micro-indie How to Be, he plays a depressed loser version of himself. Not a big reach. On the other hand, Pattinson stretches quite a bit as Salvador Dali in Little Ashes, a European art film with a cultural pedigree. Set in Spain, the movie throws together three brilliant young university students: painter Salvador Dali (Pattinson), poet/dramatist Federico Garcia Lorca (Javier Beltran) and filmmaker Luis Bunuel (Matthew McNulty). Garcia Lorca and Dali form a powerful bond that is sexual, but Dali can't handle it.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • May 6, 2009 5:57 AM
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  • 0 Comments

Star Trek: Early Reviews

Early word on the J.J. Abrams, Roberto Orci and Alex Kurtzman's reinvention of Star Trek--beyond the early peak Paramount gave Fantastic Fest earlier this month and the footage screened for journos last November--has been strong. One exhib emailed me after an exhibitor's screening:
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • April 21, 2009 8:51 AM
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Star Trek Sneak Preview Reactions

In keeping with the current trend of letting the fanboys review a sci-fi universe movie before the critics get a crack at it, Paramount mounted a surprise Fantastic Fest sneak preview of Star Trek in Austin (in place of the scheduled Wrath of Khan). Leonard Nimoy attended. (Pictures are here.) Early reaction so far is upbeat. The next round of reactions are coming from the Sydney world premiere.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • April 7, 2009 5:23 AM
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ShoWest: Roger Ebert Honored

After a video montage in which directors Steven Spielberg, Martin Scorsese, Clint Eastwood, and Oliver Stone paid tribute to Roger Ebert, Sony Pictures Classics co-president Michael Barker presented ShoWest's Career Achievement in Film Journalism Award to the Pulitzer-Prize winning critic of the Chicago Sun-Times. "Roger Ebert is the most popular, most respected, most honored, and most eclectic film critic in American history," Barker said, citing Ebert as "one of the few saviors of independent film--films of all shapes and sizes--American independent features, foreign films, documentaries, and animated films. Ask any independent filmmakers who Roger has championed. Errol Morris will tell you Roger gave him his career. Louis Malle used to tell everyone Roger Ebert saved My Dinner With Andre and Atlantic City from disaster, Robert Altman the same with several of his films. Pan's Labyrinth, Memento, Monster, Hoop Dreams, Roger and Me--we would not know these movies in the way we know them if it were not for Roger Ebert. This is fact."
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • April 3, 2009 5:42 AM
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Duplicity: What Happened?

While a recession-fueled box office boom is lifting most boats, one notable exception is Tony Gilroy's Duplicity, which boasted the earmarks of a commercial Hollywood vehicle--big budget, exotic locations, thriller genre, two sexy movie stars--but may have been too costly for what was really a smart-house play. (It earned strong reviews, but only $27 million so far.) Part of the problem: Universal paid Julia Roberts $20 million.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • April 2, 2009 5:56 AM
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  • 0 Comments

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