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Thompson on Hollywood

Exclusive Clip: Never Let Me Go

Exclusive Clip: Never Let Me Go
Pre-Toronto, we're happy to reveal a new, exclusive clip of Never Let Me Go (here's TOH's positive review). Director Mark Romanek and writer Alex Garland's adaptation of Kazuo Ishiguro's novel features Carey Mulligan, Keira Knightley and Andrew Garfield as students of Hailsham boarding school, a mysterious institution set in an alternative past in Britain. The three struggle to define their existence and the nature of love after being confronted with a dark destiny.
  • By Cameron Carlson
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  • September 9, 2010 2:59 AM
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  • 1 Comment

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

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

Venice Opens with Aronofsky's Black Swan: Too Intense?

Venice Opens with Aronofsky's Black Swan: Too Intense?
The opening night selection of the sexy R-rated violent thriller Black Swan was something of a gamble for Fox Searchlight and the Venice Fest, which landed loyal fan Darren Aronofsky--after rousing Venice receptions for both The Fountain and The Wrestler, which won the Golden Lion. He talked Searchlight into accepting the opening night invite--and now has to work Telluride and Toronto as well.Why the risk? Well, Searchlight covered their bets by making sure some stateside critics timed their early reviews--which were largely positive--with Venice.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • September 2, 2010 9:18 AM
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  • 5 Comments

HBO Acquires Toronto Fest Doc Precious Life

Israeli documentary Precious Life marks an early pre-Toronto Film Festival sale as HBO acquires U.S. rights. Directed by Israeli broadcaster Shlomi Eldar and produced by Ehud Bleiberg and Yoav Ze’evi, Precious Life tells the story of a four-month-old Palestinian boy from Gaza who lacks an immune system and requires a bone marrow transplant. This can only be done in an Israeli hospital.  As his doctor pleads for help, Israeli journalist Shlomi Eldar decides to document this complex drama about Israeli and Palestinian doctors’ attempt to save the kid's life.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • August 31, 2010 10:13 AM
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Clip Watch: The Town Stars Affleck, Renner as Boston Robbers

Three things we know Ben Affleck can do: write (Good Will Hunting), direct (Gone Baby Gone) and deliver a strong Boston accent, on display in this clip from his sophomore directing effort, The Town. Jeremy Renner (The Hurt Locker) is in there with him. The cops-and-robbers flick debuts in Venice, followed by Toronto. I will report back soonest.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • August 30, 2010 11:00 AM
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Yes it's True: Roadside Picks Up Biutiful Before Toronto

It's official. As I reported here, Lionsgate subsid Roadside is releasing Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu's Cannes entry Biutiful. They are partnering with Liddell Entertainment, which is supplying P & A, on a planned December opening. I knew the announcement had to be made before Toronto! Javier Bardem, who nabbed a best actor prize in Cannes, has a shot at an Oscar nomination if they all play their cards right. CAA, which reps Inarritu, orchestrated this hybrid deal. As I reported, ex-Lionsgate exec Tom Ortenberg is officially consulting on the film, Roadside and producer Jon Kilik confirm.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • August 25, 2010 7:28 AM
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Trailer Watch: Boyle's 127 Hours Stars Franco as Ralston

Trailer Watch: Boyle's 127 Hours Stars Franco as Ralston
Danny Boyle's 127 Hours is going to Telluride, Toronto and London, where the media will check out what is a daring subject for a movie. Hiker Aron Ralston survived being trapped on a Utah canyoneering trip for five days in 2003 by a boulder on a solo hike miles from any possible rescue by doing what he had to do: sawing off his arm with a dull knife. He had not told anyone where he was going.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • August 24, 2010 12:56 PM
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  • 2 Comments

Toronto Announces 102 Additional Titles

The Toronto International Film Festival has announced 102 new titles (total lineup is now 246) for its Contemporary World Cinema, Masters, Visions, Vanguard and Discovery programs. Among the newbies are German Run Lola Run director Tom Tykwer's Three (pictured), Norwegian director Bent Hamer with the world premiere of Home For Christmas, and American Kelly Reichardt with her latest, Meek's Cutoff, screening as part of the Contemporary World Cinema Programme.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • August 24, 2010 8:52 AM
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  • 0 Comments

TIFF Adds 44, Last Night Closes Fest, Eastwood Debuts Hereafter, Let Me In Opens Fantastic Fest

TIFF Adds 44, Last Night Closes Fest, Eastwood Debuts Hereafter, Let Me In Opens Fantastic Fest
The fall fest shuffle continues as first Venice, then Telluride, Toronto, New York and finally London all lay in their programming. There's plenty of overlap among the new titles (as opposed to recycled Cannes fare, much of it from Sony Pictures Classics and IFC), but basically Venice gets to unveil their opener, Darren Aronofsky's ballet thriller Black Swan (Fox Searchlight) which then proceeds to Telluride (which never announces its program, which most folks respect, but THR has published its "unofficial" list) and Toronto. UPDATE: Here's the new trailer.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • August 17, 2010 3:16 AM
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  • 1 Comment

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