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Thompson on Hollywood

Lasseter Talks Miyazaki and Ponyo

Lasseter Talks Miyazaki and Ponyo
I've been spending a lot of time with John Lasseter lately. In May, the Disney/Pixar animation chief brought Up to open the Cannes Film Fest, where animator Pete Docter got the full auteur treatment. Then Lasseter brought Japanese master Hayao Miyazaki, who he says had a huge influence on Up, to do a U.S. tour to support his latest, Ponyo, from closing night June 28 of the Los Angeles Film Festival and accepting an award at Berkeley to July's Comic-Con and a full-scale Academy tribute.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • August 14, 2009 10:30 AM
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  • 4 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

Paramount Dumps Stiller Picture, Marc Pease Experience

Paramount will open The Marc Pease Experience on a contractually minimal ten-market release outside of New York and L.A. on August 21, sources close to the movie confirm. Todd Louiso's orphaned indie film starring Ben Stiller and Jason Schartzman is a casualty of the demise of Vantage--and the departure of ex-Vantage chief John Lesher. "Their business model changed completely," said one source. "They have no specialty marketing division. The company doesn't exist."
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • August 11, 2009 4:19 AM
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  • 2 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

Lee Revamps Ride with the Devil

In the stellar career of Ang Lee, one movie stands out like a sore thumb, not only as one of his few boxoffice clunkers, but as a film which he edited for a studio. "Of the 11 films I worked on with Ang, it's the only one that was not his cut," says Lee's longtime writer-collaborator James Schamus, who will appear with Lee onstage at the Walter Reade after the work-in-progress director's cut of Ride with the Devil screens August 10 during the Film Society at Lincoln Center's complete Lee retrospective.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • August 6, 2009 11:31 AM
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  • 3 Comments

Letter to the Studios: How Not to Market Adult Dramas

Here's the first of a series of pieces (which do not necessarily reflect my POV) by guest bloggers on various aspects of the entertainment industry. Now based in Nampa, Idaho, Mike Kaplan is a veteran filmmaker (Never Apologize) and marketer who has managed campaigns for Stanley Kubrick (2001: A Space Odyssey) and Robert Altman (Short Cuts) among others. More recently, please note, Kaplan helped to introduce Clive Owen to American audiences with the sleeper hit Croupier and You'll Sleep When I'm Dead. Here's his argument for how the studios are killing adult dramas--through misguided marketing. Kaplan came up in a film industry that made producing and marketing films for grown-ups its first priority. That is no longer the case.
  • By Mike Kaplan
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  • August 5, 2009 9:34 AM
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  • 15 Comments

Cameron's Blue Avatar, Swinton Hauls Movies, Moore Traverses Fest, Ebert's Best Movies

James Cameron’s new poster for Avatar is an extreme close-up of a blue Nav'i alien from the Planet Pandora. It’s an arresting image that makes you stop and pay attention. Cameron wants you to know he’s taking you somewhere you’ve never been before. Jeff Wells hates this poster. There’s plenty of time between now and December 18 for the Fox marketers to figure out their message. I suspect that one reason they’re showing the 15 minutes in IMAX theaters on August 21 is that they know showing the film is their best approach.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • August 5, 2009 3:30 AM
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  • 2 Comments

Downey Banks on Franchises Iron Man 2 and Sherlock Holmes

Downey Banks on Franchises Iron Man 2 and Sherlock Holmes
What a difference a year makes. With Iron Man and an Oscar nom for Tropic Thunder behind him, A-list movie star Robert Downey, Jr. had a good Comic-Con. Backstage after Iron Man 2, he suggested that he's uncomfortable marketing movies, although he knows he has to do it, and that he hated the whole Hall H thing. If that's true, it doesn't show. He works the crowd better than anyone. He was hawking not only Iron Man 2, which had a stellar reaction--probably the best of the annual comics confab--but he genuinely adored playing the character Sherlock Holmes.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • August 4, 2009 9:18 AM
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  • 0 Comments

Hollywood Confronts New Austerity

Hollywood Confronts New Austerity
Patrick Goldstein calls around to nail down the new austerity hitting Hollywood. And Kim Masters details pay cuts for Denzel Washington and Tom Cruise, as well as how cost-cutter Disney is trying to deal with spendthrift producer Jerry Bruckheimer, the exemplar of Hollywood's old ways.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • August 4, 2009 4:27 AM
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  • 0 Comments

Studios Play it Safe

Studios Play it Safe
Steven Spielberg is directing a remake of the Universal/Broadway classic Harvey; he's seeking a star like Tom Hanks or Will Smith to star. Fox is partnering with DreamWorks/Reliance to produce the movie about a six-foot, invisible rabbit.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • August 3, 2009 2:47 AM
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  • 10 Comments

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