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Thompson on Hollywood

Screenwriter James Vanderbilt Is On Fire: 'White House Down,' 'RoboCop,' 'Total Recall,' 'Amazing Spider-Man' & More

"Zodiac" writer-producer James Vanderbilt is hot. He wrote "The Amazing Spider-Man" (July 3). He is adapting Brit mini-series "Red Riding" for producers Steven Zaillian and Ridley Scott, and shares screenwriting credit on upcoming "Total Recall" and "RoboCop" remakes. This week, his "White House Down" screenplay was picked up by Sony.
  • By Sophia Savage
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  • April 3, 2012 4:59 PM
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  • 0 Comments

The Late Great John Calley: Businessman with Soul of Artist, Life Saver

The Late Great John Calley: Businessman with Soul of Artist, Life Saver
Longtime Hollywood producer and studio executive John Calley has died after a long illness. He was 81. While at Warner Bros. in the 1970s (as production chief, president, and vice chairman), the controversial and groundbreaking movies Calley supervised included Alan Pakula's All the President's Men, Stanley Kubrick's A Clockwork Orange, William Friedkin's The Exorcist and Don Siegel's Dirty Hairy.
  • By Anne Thompson and Sophia Savage
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  • September 13, 2011 9:47 AM
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  • 0 Comments

Amazing Spider-Man Comic-Con Thunder Stolen by Ifans Arrest

Amazing Spider-Man Comic-Con Thunder Stolen by Ifans Arrest
The big reveal at Sony's Friday The Amazing Spider-Man panel at Comic-Con was the villain of Marc Webb's superhero reboot, The Lizard, played by gifted Welsh actor Rhys Ifans, who is pixellated when in giant Lizard mode. In Hall H the studio screened a clip of Lizard terrorizing two school girls in a school lavatory, breaking up through a toilet. (The LAT made a fuss about Ifans here).
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • July 23, 2011 6:30 AM
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  • 1 Comment

The Amazing Spider-Man Trailer Hits on Eve of Comic-Con; Not So Amazing

The Amazing Spider-Man trailer has leaked all over the web just in time for Sony's presentation at Comic-Con and a full year before its July 3, 2012 release. Rather than show us something new, the official version below shows us what's already been done before, but this time with Andrew Garfield, Emma Stone and 3-D. (500) Days of Summer director Marc Webb weaves a seemingly familiar story with new faces. Check out Sam Raimi's 2002 Spider-Man trailer, also below.
  • By Sophia Savage
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  • July 20, 2011 12:33 PM
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  • 4 Comments

Marvel Plays Captain America Too Straight, Early Reviews UPDATED

Marvel Plays Captain America Too Straight, Early Reviews UPDATED
So far so good for Marvel Entertainment, which has churned out more blockbusters than stumbles. This year, both Thor and X-Men: First Class delivered, and Sony's 2012 reboot of Spider-Man will be previewed at Comic-Con, along with a full screening of Captain America: First Avenger, which always presented a challenge. How do you dust off a patriotic World War II Nazi-fighting hero--battling larger-than-life the Red Skull--and make ten-year-old boys believe in him again? Marvel bravely took on the task, starting out the movie with the discovery of a buried fighter plane in the Arctic, and reaching back in time to resurrect the origin story of Steve Rogers, a 90-pound weakling-turned-super-strong-war-hero.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • July 20, 2011 8:05 AM
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  • 7 Comments

Comic-Con Preview: The New (Amazing) Spider-Man, Twilight: Breaking Dawn, Masters of the Web UPDATE

Comic-Con Preview: The New (Amazing) Spider-Man, Twilight: Breaking Dawn, Masters of the Web UPDATE
As we gird our loins for this week's San Diego schlep to Comic-Con--which is not my idea of a good time, just getting into everything is an enormous chore--the revelations are coming fast and furious. Yes, we will see Cowboys and Aliens and Captain America there, and Steven Spielberg is making his first appearance with The Adventures of Tintin--as is another veteran filmmaker, Francis Ford Coppola, with his indie horror film TWIXT. DreamWorks/Disney is promoting Fright Night, with Colin Farrell on hand. Universal is presenting a panel on Snow White and the Huntsman, which hasn't even started shooting yet, but why miss an opportunity to highlight star Kristen Stewart, who's there anyway for Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn?
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • July 14, 2011 5:13 AM
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  • 1 Comment

Hero Complex Fest: Captain America, Favreau, Downey, Iron Man, Cowboys & Aliens, Avengers, Comic-Con

Hero Complex Fest: Captain America, Favreau, Downey, Iron Man, Cowboys & Aliens, Avengers, Comic-Con
Geoff Boucher has a good gig. His Hero Complex print/blog combo gets first crack--along with EW and MTV Movies--at the best access to the top genre movies, including set visits and early interviews. The guy's a strong reporter--he's been at the LAT for some 20 years--and his enthusiasm for the Comic-Con universe is genuine. The LAT has been promoing his second annual Hero Complex Film Festival, which took place last weekend.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • June 13, 2011 11:01 AM
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  • 2 Comments

Will Thor Be Latest Jewel in Marvel Crown? Marvel Talks Recipe for Success

Will Thor Be Latest Jewel in Marvel Crown? Marvel Talks Recipe for Success
Marvel Entertainment is a model for a company that has cannily looked out for its own interests as it seeks to exploit and protect its rich endowment of comic characters and stories. With Shakespearean actor-director Kenneth Branagh's epic adventure Thor hitting theaters May 6, Anthony D'Alessandro parses the Marvel performance thus far. Like the hammer-wielding god Thor, Marvel Entertainment has smashed the film industry’s bias against superhero projects ever since rolling out the 2000 feature adaptation of Spider-Man ($822 million worldwide B.O.), ushering in the golden age of comic-book cinema. To date, the Marvel feature adaptations, both licensed and inhouse productions, have racked up $7.4 billion at the global box office. The media company will continue to raise that figure with the 22nd Marvel superhero adaptation this weekend, Thor, which is on tap to rake in $55-$70 million at 3,955 theaters (the average domestic bow for a Marvel title is $65 million) after collecting $125 million abroad.
  • By Anthony D'Alessandro
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  • May 6, 2011 3:45 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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  • 3 Comments

New School of Superheroes: Bale, Cavill, Evans, Garfield, Hemsworth, Reynolds & Palicki in Tights

New School of Superheroes: Bale, Cavill, Evans, Garfield, Hemsworth, Reynolds & Palicki in Tights
Entertainment Weekly's latest issue profiles the new generation of superheroes, represented on the cover by new Superman Henry Cavill. As his director Zack Snyder puts it: “Other actors put that suit on and it’s a joke, even if they’re great actors. Henry put it on, and he exuded this kind of crazy-calm confidence that just made me go, ‘Wow. Okay, this is Superman.’ If you can put on that suit and pull it off, that’s an awesome achievement.” An even better achievement? Still having a career after the spandex has lost its stretch.  Ryan Reynolds says of his Green Lantern character: “He’s not in the mainstream the way Superman or Spider-Man is.” And he once considered himself a purely comedic actor: “I looked like Dick Van Dyke, so I thought I was going that route.”
  • By Sophia Savage
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  • February 17, 2011 8:56 AM
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  • 1 Comment

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