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Thompson on Hollywood

Weekend Preview: Directorial Debuts Transition B.O. from Summer to Fall; Higher Ground, Circumstance

Weekend Preview: Directorial Debuts Transition B.O. from Summer to Fall; Higher Ground, Circumstance
During this transitional August week, blockbusters make room for smaller films and usher in the September start of the fall awards season. There's not a single sequel hitting theaters this weekend, although Guillermo del Toro and Troy Nixey's horrific Don't Be Afraid of the Dark, which Roger Ebert writes "milks our frustration deliciously," is a remake of a TV movie. Nixey's is one of four films from first-time feature directors, including Vera Farmiga's impressive Higher Ground, which Variety calls "satirical yet sensitive"; Maryam Keshavarz's surprising underground portrait of Iran, Circumstance, which is "stirringly sensual". AP calls Rowan Joffe's Brighton Rock, based on Grahame Greene's 1939 novel, "an exercise in style over substance."
  • By Sophia Savage
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  • August 25, 2011 8:07 AM
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  • 2 Comments

Human Quotient of New Doc Semper Fi: Always Faithful Overcomes Flaws

Human Quotient of New Doc Semper Fi: Always Faithful Overcomes Flaws
Semper Fi: Always Faithful , Rachel Liebert and Tony Hardmon’s affecting if imperfect exposé of water contamination at U.S. Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune, takes its title from what the Corps website calls “more than a motto — a way of life.” Some life. From 1957 to 1987, the USMC exposed nearly one million people to toxic cleaning agents in Camp Lejeune’s drinking water. Then the Corps tried to cover it up. (Watch the trailer below.)
  • By Matt Brennan
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  • August 25, 2011 4:53 AM
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Trailer Watch: Martial Arts Epic True Legend Hits DVD/Blu-Ray in September

True Legend, the latest martial arts epic from famed Hong Kong director and choreographer Yuen Woo Ping, who has worked a lot with Jackie Chan and Michelle Yeoh, will be released on DVD and Blu-ray on Tuesday September 13. The movie starring Vincent Zhao and Jay Chou looks at a retired Qing dynasty general who wants to create a family and open his own martial arts school. See the trailer below.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • August 25, 2011 2:28 AM
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  • 1 Comment

Skin I Live In's Banderas Talks Almodovar Reunion, Betrayal

Pedro Almodóvar's upcoming The Skin I Live In, which debuted to mixed response at Cannes and stars Antonio Banderas and Elena Anaya, follows a haunted plastic surgeon as he experiments with synthetic skin on a mysterious woman (the trailer is posted below).
  • By Maggie Lange
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  • August 24, 2011 6:29 AM
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  • 0 Comments

Trailer Watch: Scorsese’s George Harrison Doc

Trailer Watch: Scorsese’s George Harrison Doc
Martin Scorsese’s documentary George Harrison: Living in the Material World will explore the late, great Harrison's life as a musician, filmmaker, philanthropist, artist, and arguably the most attractive Beatle. The three-and-a-half hour documentary, which will premiere in two parts at the New York Film Festival before heading to HBO, will include interviews from Harrison's peers, collaborators, and friends—including Eric Clapton, Paul McCartney, Yoko Ono, Ringo Starr, Phil Spector and Tom Petty.
  • By Maggie Lange
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  • August 24, 2011 5:09 AM
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  • 1 Comment

Vera and Taissa Farmiga Talk Higher Ground: Strength, Vulnerability, Self-Discovery, Courage

Vera and Taissa Farmiga Talk Higher Ground: Strength, Vulnerability, Self-Discovery, Courage
Vera Farmiga's Higher Ground premiered at Sundance last January to strong reviews. While Variety called it "a startlingly bold directing debut," as THR put it, "no one should really be surprised that Vera Farmiga brings the same meticulous craftsmanship and passion for truth found in her extraordinary acting to her debut as a director."
  • By Sophia Savage
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  • August 22, 2011 3:52 AM
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  • 1 Comment

TIFF Trailer Watch: Winterbottom's Trishna Moves Hardy's Tess of the d'Urbervilles to India

The teaser for Michael Winterbottom's Trishna, reveals a translation of Thomas Hardy's romantic English novel Tess of the d'Urbervilles to a modern-day setting in India. This is Winterbottom's third Hardy adaptation, following 1996's Jude (Jude the Oscure) and 2000's The Claim (The Mayor of Casterbridge). For Trishna, Winterbottom replaces the fervent English wilds with rural and urban Indian backdrops in Jaipur and Mumbai for a love affair between moneyed businessman Jay (Riz Ahmed, Four Lions) and working class Trishna (Freida Pinto, Slumdog Millionaire).
  • By Maggie Lange
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  • August 20, 2011 11:21 AM
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Indie Doc Double-Header: Battle for Brooklyn, Darwin Show Two Sides of America

They say you can’t fight City Hall, but you wouldn’t know it watching Battle for Brooklyn (trailer here). There’s so much sparring in Suki Hawley and Michael Galinsky’s new documentary about New York’s Atlantic Yards project that you’ll think you’ve stumbled into a screening of The Fighter . The opposing sides — the project developer, Forest City Ratner, and a grassroots organization that wants to sink said project, Develop Don’t Destroy — canvas, rally, plot, meet, speak, and, yes, battle over what city councilwoman Letitia James calls “the soul of Brooklyn.” It’s a credit to the filmmakers that Battle for Brooklyn convinces you they’re fighting for even more than that.
  • By Matt Brennan
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  • August 19, 2011 4:31 AM
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  • 0 Comments

Trailer Watch: Chris Evans as a Drug Addict Lawyer in Puncture

Marvel star Chris Evans (Captain America, Fantastic Four) is taking on a somewhat weightier role in the upcoming lawyer drama Puncture. But if the film's new trailer is any indication, Evans's bad-boy persona is still part of his appeal. Evans plays Mike Weiss, an unconventional but successful Houston lawyer who is a functioning drug addict. Paul Danziger (played by Mark Kassen, who served as a producer and director of the film along with his brother Adam), is his by-the-book, responsible foil and the other partner in their small personal injury firm.
  • By Jacob Combs
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  • August 19, 2011 2:45 AM
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Is Millennium Dumping Toronto's Trespass, Starring Kidman and Cage?

Is Millennium Dumping Toronto's Trespass, Starring Kidman and Cage?
Poor Nic Cage can't get a break from Millennium Entertainment. He co-stars with Nicole Kidman as husband and wife in Joel Schumacher's R-rated heist thriller Trespass, which is making its debut at the Toronto Film Festival (trailer below). The movie is scheduled to be released by Millennium Entertainment (formerly First Look) on October 14 in theaters and on VOD, followed a bit too swiftly by a Blu-ray release on November 1. "Millennium Entertainment will release TRESPASS on October 14, 2011 in theaters and at home – rent it with your remote control," invites the press release.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • August 18, 2011 10:31 AM
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  • 1 Comment

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