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Thompson on Hollywood

Sony Pictures Classics Acquires The Last Station

Sony Pictures Classics Acquires The Last Station
Sony Pictures Classics has added Telluride Film Festival hit The Last Station to its burgeoning 2009 slate of possible Oscar contenders. (Here's my Telluride feature on the movie.) The studio specialty subsidiary, which acquired North And Latin American rights, will push for Helen Mirren, Christopher Plummer and James McAvoy for Oscar nominations.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • October 2, 2009 2:51 AM
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  • 9 Comments

Oscar Talk 2: Bright Star, An Education, The Road, Up in the Air

Oscar Talk 2: Bright Star, An Education, The Road,  Up in the Air
In Contention's Kris Tapley and I talk 0scars again post-Telluride (Up in the Air, An Education, Bright Star and The Road) and pre-Toronto. And we disagree this time!
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • September 12, 2009 10:13 AM
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  • 2 Comments

Summer Wraps, Michael Moore, Fest Clips, Brit Wit, Remakes

Summer Wraps, Michael Moore, Fest Clips, Brit Wit, Remakes
Catching up after the holiday weekend and travel to and from fall film fests:
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • September 10, 2009 1:14 AM
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  • 1 Comment

The Road Will Open November 25

The Weinstein Co. has been moving around the release date of The Road, trying to figure out what it has. Well, post-Venice and Telluride, where the film earned mostly glowing reviews, it looks like Harvey and Bob Weinstein are going for a holiday play after all on a prime awards season spot, November 25. (The movie carries the Dimension label.) TWC was going to go wide with the movie on October 16.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • September 9, 2009 9:36 AM
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  • 0 Comments

Paranormal Activity Gets Release

Paranormal Activity Gets Release
Israeli emigre Oren Peli's microbudget haunted house film Paranormal Activity is one scary movie. Thanks to producer Jason Blum, Paramount picked up the $11,000 movie after some re-cutting and has set a September 25 release. Paranormal Activity scared the bejeezus out of the crowds at last weekend's Telluride Film Festival. (It's five-review ranking on Rotten Tomatoes is 100% fresh.)
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • September 8, 2009 12:08 PM
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  • 1 Comment

Telluride Wrap: Oscar Buzz for An Education, Up in the Air, The Road

Telluride Wrap: Oscar Buzz for An Education, Up in the Air, The Road
It was a solid if not stellar year at Telluride. Co-directors Tom Luddy and Gary Meyer persevered through the crazy economy by cutting back their budget (due to sponsor fall-offs) without sacrificing their high programming standards. "We made a commitment to figure out how to do more with less," says Meyer. After the well-publicized Into the Wild/Juno year of 2007, festival attendance broke records in 2008 but fell off slightly this year; passes sold more slowly, and absent sponsors didn't import the usual squads of corporate clients.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • September 8, 2009 5:17 AM
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  • 2 Comments

Telluride Update: Last Day

Telluride Update: Last Day
I've been running around seeing movies, doing interviews, attending the terrific Viggo Mortensen tribute and going to various social events with filmmakers. IFC and SPC held back-to-back dinners Saturday night, while Sunday night the Steinbergs hosted their annual closing night bash.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • September 7, 2009 4:34 AM
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  • 4 Comments

Telluride Watch: Up in the Air Will Fly

Telluride Watch: Up in the Air Will Fly
Folks lined up for two hours on a rainy Telluride Saturday to get into Up in the Air. Hundreds were turned away. Writer-director Jason Reitman (and obsessive airline mile collector) played the crowd like a pro, hoping that the movie would live up to their expectations. He didn't need to worry. The director, who debuted Juno here two years ago at the same theater, delivers a winner. Loosely based on Walter Kirn's novel, Reitman's updated movie, which he started working on six years ago, has become, with the economic downturn, far more timely. It's a witty, charming and moving exploration of a world we all recognize.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • September 6, 2009 4:25 AM
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  • 2 Comments

The Last Station Brings Tolstoy Family to Telluride

The Last Station Brings Tolstoy Family to Telluride
The Last Station is a straight-on period biopic starring Christopher Plummer as the aged Leo Tolstoy, the famed Russian author of War and Peace, constantly at war with his mercurial wife Sophya (Helen Mirren). Paul Giamatti, a scheming Tolstoy disciple, wants to share the author's copyrights with the masses, while Sophya fights for her husband's love and her children's inheritance. Caught in the middle is Tolstoy's loyal, vegetarian, celibate secretary (James McAvoy). Plummer and Mirren are equally matched blazing adversaries and McAvoy is wonderfully reactive as the virginal acolyte who not only loses his innocence, but starts to learn about love and marriage.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • September 5, 2009 9:20 AM
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  • 2 Comments

Telluride: Red Riding, The Last Station

The first day of Telluride screenings kicked off Friday with IFC's North American debut of Brit TV's Red Riding trilogy, produced by Andrew Eaton and directed by Juian Jarrold, James Marsh and Anand Tucker. I screened Red Riding: 1974, the first installment of Tony Grisoni's adaptation of four novels by David Peace. Cocky young journalist/womanizer (Andrew Garfield) faces his own Chinatown in Yorkshire as he investigates a possible serial killer/rapist. Garfield (Boy A) is strong as a guy with a good heart who can't catch a break. The always impressive Rebecca Hall plays the femme fatale Faye Dunaway role and Sean Bean is the reporter's nemesis, a real estate thug. This noirish tale never lets up as it digs darker and deeper and nastier than you'd ever expect. I look forward to parts 2 and 3, as the Yorkshire story continues into 1980 and 1983. (Here's Todd McCarthy's rave review.) Red Riding is not playing Toronto.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • September 5, 2009 6:35 AM
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  • 0 Comments

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