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Career Watch: Does 'Divergent''s Shailene Woodley Have the Right Stuff to Be a Movie Star?

Critics fell hard for Shailene Woodley in her film debut as George Clooney’s pained yet perceptive teen daughter in 2011’s "The Descendants." But now that she is the heroine of "Divergent," a just-opened sci-fi action franchise based on a popular series of young-adult novels, the 22-year-old actress is presumed to be in the running as the next Jennifer Lawrence ("The Hunger Games") or Kristen Stewart ("The Twilight Saga"). However, what she really is--according to reviewers at least-- is the main saving grace of the first film in a trilogy that carries a tepid 41% approval rating at Rotten Tomatoes.
  • By Susan Wloszczyna
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  • March 24, 2014 6:06 AM
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  • 7 Comments

LISTEN: Three Seasoned Hollywood Reporters Debate the Future of Filmed Entertainment (EXCLUSIVE PODCAST)

On the occasion of the publication of "The $11 Billion Year: From Sundance to the Oscars, an Inside Look at the Changing Hollywood System," which covers one year at the movies-- 2012, from January's Sundance Film Festival through Oscar night 2013, when "Argo" won Best Picture--I invited two seasoned film industry reporters to debate with me the future of filmed entertainment ahead of last Sunday's screening of "Argo" at The Egyptian Theatre. We do not always agree.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • March 19, 2014 3:56 PM
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  • 2 Comments

On 'The $11 Billion Year' Promo Tour, from NY to LA

I'll be signing copies of "The $11 Billion Year" on Sunday March 16 at 6 PM at Hollywood's Egyptian Theatre, followed by a Q & A on the future of movies with The Hollywood Reporter's Kim Masters and the LA Times' John Horn, regulars on KCRW's "The Business," and a screening of Ben Affleck's Oscar-winner "Argo."
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • March 14, 2014 5:20 PM
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  • 1 Comment

Production Designer Adam Stockhausen Talks 'The Grand Budapest Hotel' (VIDEOS)

Imagine going from "12 Years a Slave" to "The Grand Budapest Hotel." That's exactly what happened to production designer Adam Stockhausen, who was able to convey beauty in the darkest of dramas, but when it came to Wes Anderson's witty caper, there was no holding back the Czech Republic eye candy: a pink hotel, a dollop of yellow butter cream, and the sugary Mendl's bakery.
  • By Bill Desowitz
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  • March 7, 2014 3:53 PM
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  • 1 Comment

Talking the 'Bad Grandpa' Makeup with Oscar-Nominated Stephen Prouty

So will the Oscar for best makeup and hairstyling go to Stephen Prouty for his impressive transformation of Johnny Knoxville's hysterical and horny 86-year-old Irving Zisman in "Jackass Presents: Bad Grandpa"? It's a triumph of old school craft, which required a complete re-imagining to believably pull it off and provide Knoxville with better flexibility for his comedic turn.
  • By Bill Desowitz
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  • February 25, 2014 2:57 PM
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Talking 'Grandmaster' Costume Design with Oscar-Nominated William Chang

William Chang is certainly "The Grandmaster" of production/costume design and editing in terms of his long-time collaboration with director Wong Kar-wai. And even though he's received his first Oscar nomination for costume designing the lyrical Ip Man martial arts extravaganza, you can't separate his contribution to the overall look and editorial style of the movie.
  • By Bill Desowitz
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  • February 24, 2014 2:04 PM
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  • 0 Comments

Arthouse Audit: 'Wind Rises' and 'Elaine Stritch' Pull Crowds, 'In Secret' Sags

The range of new art films this weeks shows the diversity of the specialized world, with an acclaimed animated feature, another show business documentary, two subtitled films and a higher-budget period drama all debuting to quite variable results. "The Wind Rises" and "Elaine Stritch: Shoot Me" are the standouts.
  • By Tom Brueggemann
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  • February 23, 2014 4:08 PM
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Anatomy of a Scene: Revisiting 'Hang Me' from 'Inside Llewyn Davis'

The opening of "Inside Llewyn Davis" is a remarkable achievement: It not only sets the melancholy mood of Greenwich Village in '61 with the eponymous singer (Oscar Isaac) performing "Hang Me, Oh Hang Me" at the iconic Gaslight, but it also sets us up for a confusing circular odyssey. I got the lowdown on the Coen brothers' bizarre tale about folk music with the Oscar nominated cinematographer Bruno Delbonnel and sound mixer Skip Lievsay (also nominated for "Gravity").
  • By Bill Desowitz
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  • February 21, 2014 2:03 PM
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Talking Editing with the Oscar Nominees

Editorially, all five films take us out of our comfort zones in this strange season of survival and rebirth: from the chameleon-like con of "American Hustle" to the abduction at sea in "Captain Phillips" to the weightless terror of "Gravity" to the ticking clock death sentence of "Dallas Buyers Club" to the horror of having your life and liberty snatched away in "12 Years a Slave." I got an insider's view from Jay Cassidy ("American Hustle"), Christopher Rouse ("Captain Phillips"), John Mac McMurphy ("Dallas Buyers Club"), Mark Sanger ("Gravity"), and Joe Walker ("12 Years a Slave").
  • By Bill Desowitz
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  • February 20, 2014 4:28 PM
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  • 1 Comment

Anatomy of a Scene: Solomon Northup Chained in '12 Years a Slave'

One of the most important yet difficult decisions in Steve McQueen's "12 Years a Slave" was how to depict Solomon Northup (Chiwetel Ejiofor) waking up in bondage. Fortunately, they hit on the idea in the cutting room to tell it out of sequence, the result of which was disconcerting for Northup and viewer alike, and which laid the groundwork for a more intimate narrative approach by staying with his POV. I discussed this crucial scene with the two Oscar nominees, production designer Adam Stockhausen and editor Joe Walker.
  • By Bill Desowitz
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  • February 19, 2014 4:26 PM
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  • 3 Comments

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