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Thompson on Hollywood

Weekend Preview: Horror Rules the Weekend with 'Woman in Black,' 'Kill List' and 'Innkeepers'; Madonna's 'W.E' Lands

This week, your best bets for weekend theater-going are all films that aim to thrill and chill. While Madonna's "W.E" has failed to get much critical support -- one critic dubbed it "a royal disaster" -- it may be worth the trip to check out Andrea Riseborough's breakout performance. The UK's "The Woman in Black," starring "Harry Potter"'s Daniel Radcliffe, as well as SXSW horror hits "Kill List" and "The Innkeepers," are nabbing upbeat reviews. Ti West's entertaining "Innkeepers" is being hailed as an ode to old-school horror. Details, reviews and trailers below:
  • By Sophia Savage
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  • February 2, 2012 12:44 PM
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Now and Then: In Political Films, Reality Trumps Fiction

"The Ides of March," George Clooney's latest directorial effort, promises by its very title a mixture of danger, betrayal, and warped power. What we get, though, is more disquisition than thrill ride, a technically sound but ultimately unfeeling film about the cynicism of modern politics.
  • By Matt Brennan
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  • January 23, 2012 4:39 PM
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Now and Then: In 'Contagion' and 'Children of Men,' Disaster Runs Cold and Hot

The opening minutes of "Contagion" are all surface, literally. A bowl of peanuts on the bartop, a swiped credit card, an elevator button, the human hand: each is a vector of death itself, a pandemic already in motion. With the rasp of a cough, a title card tells us we're in "Day 2." It's terrifying.
  • By Matt Brennan
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  • January 9, 2012 11:02 AM
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Exclusive Featurette: A Look Inside the Cult of Martha Marcy May Marlene; Olsen and Durkin Vie for Oscar Slots

Fox Searchlight's mighty marketing machine is in full force right now as they seek to not only push "The Descendants" and "Shame" into movie theaters and the Oscar race, but a less obvious indie contender, "Martha Marcy May Marlene" ($1.6 million in limited release to date). Check out this exclusive featurette, complete with footage, commentary from breakout dramatic actress Elizabeth Olsen (younger sibling of the Olsen twins) and a psychologist who specializes in Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. They address the nature of Martha's experience both within and outside a cult led by a charismatic, seductive Svengali leader ("Winter's Bone" Oscar nominee John Hawkes). More likely than Olsen landing a slot as best actress is "Martha" writer-director Sean Durkin's shot at scoring an original screenplay nomination--as usual that field is wide open.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • November 16, 2011 11:57 AM
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Apocalypses Now and Then: Von Trier’s Melancholia vs. Anderson’s Magnolia

In his “Now and Then” column this week, Matt Brennan examines two visionary directors’ takes on the end of the world as we know it — controversial Dane Lars von Trier’s Melancholia (on VOD now, in theaters Friday) and Paul Thomas Anderson’s sprawling 1999 classic Magnolia.
  • By Matt Brennan
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  • November 7, 2011 8:20 AM
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  • 1 Comment

Bond Expert Deciphers Skyfall Intelligence, Craig's Development as 007

So what have we learned after Thursday's press conference in London about Bond 23? Bill Desowitz, who is writing a book about the Bond films, parses the available 007 intelligence.
  • By Bill Desowitz
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  • November 3, 2011 11:01 AM
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Brand New Spy and Cult Classic Alias Play Spy Game--by Different Rules

In this week’s “Now and Then” column, Matt Brennan takes a look at two players in the small-screen spy game, the new Sky 1/Hulu comedy Spy and J.J. Abrams breakout cult hit, Alias.
  • By Matt Brennan
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  • October 31, 2011 3:45 AM
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Poster Watch: We Need To Talk Abou Kevin Poster is Dark, Eery, Atmospheric & Perfect

The new poster for Lynn Ramsay's We Need To Talk About Kevin is exactly what it should be for this dark, unsettling and--believe it or not--beautiful film about a mother's disparate relationship with her disturbed son. The film will have its Oscar qualifying run in LA and NYC starting December 9, followed by a limited theatrical release January 27 (through Oscilloscope). Watch the trailer here, and our interview with Swinton and Ramsay here. Full poster is below.
  • By Sophia Savage
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  • October 27, 2011 7:19 AM
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Almodovar Picks Horror Thrillers as AFI FEST Guest Artistic Director, Heads for LA

Almodovar Picks Horror Thrillers as AFI FEST Guest Artistic Director, Heads for LA
As you would expect, Pedro Almodovar's selection of films as guest artistic director at this November's AFI FEST is absolutely fabulous. (His current release The Skin I Live In, starring Antonio Banderas, is playing well in art houses.) Besides Almodovar's already planned screening of his own Law of Desire, which will play during AFI's Evening With Pedro Almodóvar Gala presentation on Monday, November 7, accompanied by Banderas, the flamboyant Spanish auteur's program of classic horror films and thrillers are all must-sees for any cinephile: Eyes Without a Face, (Georges Franju, 1960), Le Cercle Rouge (Jean-Pierre Melville, 1970), Nightmare Alley (Edmund Goulding, 1947) and The Killers (Robert Siodmak, 1946). And they all make perfect sense as movies that influenced Almodovar's own aesthetic.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • October 25, 2011 7:47 AM
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CASTING WATCH: John Cusack and Malin Akerman Hop On Board The Numbers Station

John Cusack, who's been busy with James McTeigue's The Raven (March 2012; the goods from Comic-Con), Lee Daniels' The Paperboy (in post; details) and Scott Walker's Frozen Ground (filming) has boarded The Number Station, along with Malin Akerman. Directed by Dane Kasper Barfoed and written by F. Scott Frazier, the action thriller will begin shooting in November.
  • By Sophia Savage
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  • October 25, 2011 6:12 AM
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