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Thompson on Hollywood

Weekend Preview: Tough Girls vs. Male Juveniles, Must-Sees Hanna & Meek's Cutoff

Comedies Your Highness and Arthur present mainstream escapist fun and antics (from the likes of Danny McBride, James Franco and Russell Brand), as well as thankless supporting females (Natalie Portman, Zooey Deschanel, Greta Gerwig, Jennifer Garner) while Focus's Hanna leads the line of strong female leads (Saoirse Ronan and Cate Blanchett), followed by Meek's Cutoff's Michelle Williams and Soul Surfer's Annasophia Robb and Helen Hunt. Vera Farmiga steals the show in well-reviewed indie release Henry's Crime; Uma Thurman adds star power to Ceremony. The Flixster forecast puts must-see Hanna on top. Details, reviews, pictures and trailers for this weekend's offerings are below.
  • By Sophia Savage
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  • April 8, 2011 5:23 AM
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  • 1 Comment

Your Highness Clip: Franco Tells McBride To Shut Up, Talks Tears, Deschanel's "Cookies"

Check out this Your Highness clip at NME, in which James Franco shows his sensitive side and tells Danny McBride to shut up.
  • By Sophia Savage
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  • April 6, 2011 8:45 AM
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Joe Wright on Hanna, Karenina, David Lynch, Fairy Tales; Slams Sucker Punch's Sexual Objectification

Check out a taste of Vanity Fair's interview with Hanna director Joe Wright. On why he was attracted to a character like Hanna: "I've always been drawn to characters like Chauncey Gardener and E.T.—characters who, because of never having seen or experienced the world before, are fascinated by the electric kettle or see the objectification of women in a clearer light." Vanity Fair says that's funny because Sucker Punch director Zack Snyder would say the same thing, and play the irony card. Wright adds:"I haven’t seen Sucker Punch, but I think the main issue with female empowerment is the sexual objectification of women. Looking at the poster of Sucker Punch, I would say that is perpetuating the sexual objectification, therefore I can’t see how that is empowering…I don’t really believe in irony. I think irony is a kind of hiding place for dishonesty. It’s an intellectual trick, but there’s no heart in irony. There needs to be heart in our social change."
  • By Sophia Savage
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  • April 6, 2011 6:27 AM
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  • 1 Comment

Arthur Early Reviews: "Dispiritingly Witless," "Crude instead of Whimsical"

Arthur Early Reviews: "Dispiritingly Witless," "Crude instead of Whimsical"
In this remake of the 1981 classic, Arthur, Russell Brand takes on Dudley Moore's comic drunk, joined by Helen Mirren (in John Gielgud's butler role) and rival girlfriends Greta Gerwig and Jennifer Garner. Directed by Jason Winer (TV's Modern Family) from Peter Baynham's revamp of Steve Gordon's original script, this ensemble relationship comedy is failing to find critical validation. Early reviews, photos and the trailer are below.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • April 6, 2011 3:51 AM
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  • 2 Comments

Your Highness Early Reviews: "Utterly Batshit Insane, Misguided, Chaotic, Teenage Titillation"

Your Highness Early Reviews: "Utterly Batshit Insane, Misguided, Chaotic, Teenage Titillation"
Your Highness opens April 8 with Danny McBride, James Franco, Natalie Portman and Zooey Deschanel (trailer below). Pineapple Express's David Gordon Green directs. The script comes from McBride and his Eastbound & Down co-writer Ben Best.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • April 5, 2011 7:37 AM
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  • 4 Comments

Oscar-Winner In a Better World's Box Office Slashed by Harsh Reviews UPDATED

Oscar-Winner In a Better World's Box Office Slashed by Harsh Reviews UPDATED
Since when is winning an Oscar a bad thing? In his disparaging NYT review of In a Better World, A.O. Scott uses its recent foreign Oscar win as a warning sign: “In a Better World,” directed by the Danish filmmaker Susanne Bier and written by Anders Thomas Jensen, is an elegant, somber scourge for the guilty conscience of the affluent, liberal West. Or, to put it another way, “In a Better World” is the winner of the 2011 Academy Award for best foreign language film...Everything about In a Better World feels just a little too easy: a better movie might have let in more of the messiness of the world as it is. This one falls into cheap manipulation, winding up the audience with foreboding music and the spectacle of blond children in peril.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • April 4, 2011 5:15 AM
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  • 13 Comments

Relativity to Hire New Marketing and Distribution Head to Sell Summer Slate

The departure of Relativity Media marketing and distribution chief Peter Adee June 1 after ten months is a typical "blame the messenger" move. In other words, it's age-old industry practice to scapegoat marketing heads when movies aren't working. Adee came in when Relativity acquired Overture's distribution and marketing infrastructure and staff of 43. The MGM and Universal marketing vet knows his stuff. That said, the LAT's use of the word "outspoken" speaks volumes. Part of Adee's job was to figure out how to get along with Relativity's "outspoken" CEO, Ryan Kavanaugh (pictured).
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • April 4, 2011 3:46 AM
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Weekend Box Office: Hop Best Opener of Year, Followed by Solid Thrillers Source Code and Insidious

Weekend box office was up 6 percent over last weekend, led by Russell Brand family pic Hop, which exceeded expectations with the best opening of the year so far, followed by strong ticket sales for indie thrillers Source Code and Insidious. Anthony D'Alessandro reports:Universal’s live-action toon Hop leaped past its industry projections this weekend and bore a litter of cash with $38.1 million – the best bow to date, inching past Rango’s first frame which grossed a few thousand less. Although the frame also served up a number of competitors to Hop--Summit Entertainment’s Source Code earned $15 million in second, FilmDistrict’s horror film Insidious stabbed $13.5 million in third and the PG-13 re-release of Weinstein Co.’s The King’s Speech fell outside the top 10 with $1.19 million--the Easter Bunny comedy had a lock on families.
  • By Anthony D'Alessandro
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  • April 3, 2011 4:30 AM
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Weekend Preview: Hop, Insidious and Must-Sees Source Code and Oscar-Winner In A Better World

It's a mixed bag at the box office this weekend, and the LAT warns that "Easter may still be weeks away, but that won't stop the holiday's iconic bunny from bouncing right over the competition at the box office this weekend." However, there are finer eggs in the basket if you are willing to hunt for them. Susanne Bier's Oscar-winning In A Better World offers serious cinematic substance, and Source Code offers stylish sci-fi action from Moon's outside-the-box director Duncan Jones. The Office funny man Rainn Wilson stars alongside Ellen Page in super-hero dark comedy Super.
  • By Sophia Savage
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  • April 1, 2011 5:00 AM
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  • 1 Comment

Hanna Earns Early Raves: "Futuristic Fairy Tale, Arthouse Action Movie, Chase Thriller"

Director Joe Wright delivers a tour-de-force E-ride thriller with Focus Features's Hanna, starring an athletic Saoirse Ronan, who able carries the movie, supported by Cate Blanchett and Eric Bana. But don't expect much depth--or dialogue for that matter-- from the director of Atonement and Pride & Prejudice. The movie sets up its premise: Hanna has been raised in isolation by protective parent Bana, and enters the world prepared to defend herself from Blanchett and her agents who are out to kill her. Then a masterfully executed chase ensues. Look out for one of Wright's signature long takes.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • March 31, 2011 7:00 AM
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  • 0 Comments

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