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Thompson on Hollywood

Portman Offered Gravity, Defining Adult Films, Toronto's Most Anticipated

- In the ongoing saga of who will replace Angelina Jolie in the lead role in Alfonso Cuaron's Gravity--she twice rejected the starring role--Natalie Portman has been offered the role, thanks to rave reviews on her Black Swan performance. With or without Black Swan's vote of confidence, Portman is a strong (but young) choice. The age range of the character in Gravity is apparently flexible. Should Portman accept the role, this will be a chance for her to stand out (although Robert Downey Jr. carries some of the load), a la Tom Hanks in Cast Away or James Franco in 127 Hours. Risky Business lists Portman's growing collection of possible projects, including a Terrence Malick film with Brad Pitt, a Tom Stoppard piece written specifically for her, not to mention Pride and Prejudice and Zombies and Tom Tykwer's star-packed (Hanks, James McAvoy, Halle Berry, Ian McKellan) Cloud Atlas (both slated for 2011). All along, the actress has made diverse choices, ranging from Heat (1995), which RottenTomatoes rates highest of all her films, when she was 14 (the unheard of Free Zone [2005] is the lowest) to Star Wars (1999, 2002, 2005) and Garden State (2004).
  • By Sophia Savage
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  • September 8, 2010 3:35 AM
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  • 1 Comment

Telluride Review: Weir's Triumphant The Way Back Is Slowed Down by History

Telluride correspondent Tim Appelo is not taking any guff on Peter Weir's The Way Back. He likes it.At the Floradora on Telluride’s main street, Peter Weir was like the dauntless pilgrims of his great escape movie The Way Back, who incredibly fled Stalin’s Siberian gulag and trekked through Mongolia and the Himalayas to India in quest of freedom and eventual homecoming. OK, he was just racing to make his Elks Park panel on “Human/Nature,” but he had to pack a lunch and confront ambiguously dangerous strangers on the way – not Mongol horsemen, but journalists trying to stamp their views on his new movie.
  • By Tim Appelo
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  • September 7, 2010 12:34 PM
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  • 1 Comment

Telluride Review: Errol Morris Goes for Laughs with Tabloid

Telluride Review: Errol Morris Goes for Laughs with Tabloid
Telluride critic Tim Appelo was surprised that documentarian (blogger/tweeter) Errol Morris's latest, Tabloid, is well, funny. Having spent some time with the man, he can be quite witty, as are his famous Oscar shorts. Dark humor informs all his films, even his dead-serious docs Fog of War and Standard Operating Procedure. I can't wait to see Tabloid in Toronto, where I'm scheduled to talk to Morris, and he is scheduled to dialogue with another seriously funny filmmaker, Werner Herzog.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • September 6, 2010 11:48 AM
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Oscar Talk: Venice and Telluride Film Festival

Oscar Talk: Venice and Telluride Film Festival
Anne Thompson is in Venice and Kris Tapley is in Telluride, but that doesn't stop the two from getting into this year's award hopefuls. Topics discussed include Darren Aronofsky's Black Swan, Tyler Perry's prospects, and Venetian rainstorms. Stay tuned for next week's Oscar Talk.
  • By Cameron Carlson
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  • September 5, 2010 6:12 AM
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  • 1 Comment

Telluride: 127 Hours So Intense, Medics Attend to Overcome Moviegoers at Two Screenings

Telluride: 127 Hours So Intense, Medics Attend to Overcome Moviegoers at Two Screenings
TOH Telluride correspondent Meredith Brody reports seeing on Saturday night "somebody being taken out on a gurney from the Galaxy" showing of 127 Hours and later that night at a second screening of the Danny Boyle film, "ambulances with multicolored flashing lights pulling into the Palm."
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • September 5, 2010 4:11 AM
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  • 4 Comments

Telluride Review: The King's Speech Heads for Oscars

Telluride Review: The King's Speech Heads for Oscars
Critic Tim Appelo reports from Telluride that The King's Speech is a serious Oscar contender. Buck Henry likened the Telluride Film Festival to Valhalla, the place where cinema’s great warriors go for eternal glory – say, tonight’s tribute honoree Claudia Cardinale. But Valhalla is Old Norse for “Hall of the Slain,” and Telluride is more like the Hall of the Newborns, a ward for indie gods getting their first worship. Is there a springier springboard to the Oscars than the Telluride Film Festival?
  • By Tim Appelo
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  • September 5, 2010 2:50 AM
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  • 1 Comment

Caravan 2010 – The Lead-Up to the 37th Annual Telluride Film Festival

Caravan 2010 – The Lead-Up to the 37th Annual Telluride Film Festival
Our roving festival correspondent Meredith Brody reports from Telluride this year. Here's her first missive: about getting there.
  • By Meredith Brody
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  • September 4, 2010 12:31 PM
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Fest Review Round-Up: Never Let Me Go, Tabloid, Somewhere

Fest Review Round-Up: Never Let Me Go, Tabloid, Somewhere
While the Venice Fest is on its fourth day, Telluride got under way Friday night with screenings of Mark Romanek's Never Let Me Go, Errol Morris's latest doc Tabloid and Peter Weir's prisoner-of-war drama The Way Back, which fewer people instantly reviewed. @EugeneNovikov tweeted: "THE WAY BACK (B) I was rapt for the first half- Weir at his hypnotic best - then becomes a bit repetitive and mechanical (if still powerful)." UPDATE: Here's the NYT's A.O. Scott.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • September 3, 2010 8:30 AM
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  • 11 Comments

Venice Day Two: Schnabel's Miral is Heartfelt, Political Palestinian Drama

Venice Day Two: Schnabel's Miral is Heartfelt, Political Palestinian Drama
While Julian Schnabel's Miral packs an emotional punch, he tells the wrong story. I was in tears during both of the film's bookend sections, which focus on real-life Hind Husseini (the great Hiam Abbass), a wealthy Palestinian woman who in 1948 takes it upon herself to feed, clothe, educate and house thousands of orphans left abandoned and destitute by the ongoing wars and strife in Jerusalem. Her sense of obligation and personal sacrifice moved me. She and American Willem Dafoe share feelings, but can never get together; as she tells him: "I have 2000 daughters." While Husseini remains a character in the drama, the screenplay, adapted by Palestinian/Italian broadcaster Rula Jebreal from her semi-autobiographical novel, focuses on Miral (Indian actress Freida Pinto), a young girl born in 1973 whose widower father (Alexander Sidding) brings her to the orphanage to live during the week.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • September 2, 2010 11:06 AM
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  • 4 Comments

Telluride 2010 Lineup Announced; Firth, Cardinale, Weir To Be Honored

Telluride 2010 Lineup Announced; Firth, Cardinale, Weir To Be Honored
In its 37th year, the Telluride Film Festival announces their 2010 lineup one day before the fun begins, including special tributes to this year's Silver Medallion recipients Colin Firth, Italian/Tunisian actress Claudia Cardinale (8 ½) and director Peter Weir (Master and Commander, The Truman Show, Dead Poets Society) in recognition of their contribution to the world of cinema. EDITOR'S UPDATE: Weir will unveil his new film, The Way Back, which just landed distributor Newmarket, and is not playing any of the other fall fests, so this is a real coup for Telluride. Darren Aronofsky is also winging from Venice to Colorado to show Black Swan, and Searchlight is also expected to bring Danny Boyle's 127 Hours; he had good luck debuting Slumdog Millionaire there.
  • By Sophia Savage
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  • September 2, 2010 5:59 AM
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  • 0 Comments

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