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Thompson on Hollywood

Dardennes' Cannes Grand Prix Winner The Kid with a Bike Nabs More Awards

Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne's The Kid with a Bike (from Belgium) has won several awards in Italy. The filmmakers will be presented with the Fiesole Award to Film Masters (Premio Fiesole ai Maestri del Cinema) on July 8, the Flaiano International film Prize (Premio internazionale Flaiano del cinéma) on July 10 in Pescara, and in September the Robert Bresson Award in Venice. The film is currently playing in Belgium, France, Italy and Switzerland. There is currently no US release date, though it was picked up by Sundance Selects out of Cannes, where the Dardennes won yet another prize, the Grand Prix.
  • By Sophia Savage
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  • July 5, 2011 4:33 AM
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You Can't Force Funny: Jeff Daniels Sings the Blues

Watch Jeff Daniels strum his stuff in Funny or Die’s absurd riff, “Forcin’ the Blues with Jeff Daniels." There’s a particularly silly shout-out to his impeccable acting choices towards the end.
  • By Maggie Lange
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  • July 4, 2011 2:00 AM
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HBO Doc Shows Why DA Needed Exiting Sex Crimes Unit Chief Friel's Division in Strauss-Kahn Case

HBO Doc Shows Why DA Needed Exiting Sex Crimes Unit Chief Friel's Division in Strauss-Kahn Case
There's no question that my reaction to the Dominique Strauss-Kahn case was influenced by having seen Lisa Jackson's Sex Crimes Unit, which played at the Los Angeles Film Festival before beginning its run on HBO June 20. Jackson got unprecedented access to the respected Unit of the New York District Attorney's office that specializes in sex crimes. You see how the attorneys work under unit chief Lisa Friel, who unexpectedly announced last week that she will be leaving the division.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • July 3, 2011 11:42 AM
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  • 2 Comments

Video: A Quick Look at Google +

I have not been invited yet to Google +, although frustratingly, others have invited me to join. But Google had to shut down that option after too many people rushed to sign up. Check out Google's demonstration video for Google +. If you're like me, Facebook has become this huge mass of disparate folks ranging from close family and friends to work colleagues and acquaintances and people I don't even know. Twitter is easier--anyone can follow me, and I can select who I follow. But when one group starts live-tweeting a movie or football game--that could be done as a Google + hangout without either imposing it on disinterested Twitter followers or asking people to temporarily unfollow you.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • July 3, 2011 11:03 AM
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  • 1 Comment

Weekly Wrap: Transformers Good News for 3-D, Oscar Lineup Shaping Up, Original Content in the Works

BOX OFFICE
  • By Sophia Savage and Anne Thompson
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  • July 1, 2011 7:42 AM
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Transformers 3 Set to Slaughter 2-D Field; Plus Terri, Aurora, Perfect Host, Uninspired Larry Crowne

Transformers 3 Set to Slaughter 2-D Field; Plus Terri, Aurora, Perfect Host, Uninspired Larry Crowne
Michael Bay's Transformers: Dark of the Moon, in all its 3-D glory, is going to score huge and remind us that good acting doesn't always accompany box office success. The visual payoff, especially in IMAX 3-D, is worth the ticket price, and reinstates 3-D as a positive cinematic achievement after months of disappointments. One critic speculates: “One gets the feeling that if [director Michael] Bay could stop including people in his films altogether we’d all have a much better time with this franchise.” Tom Hanks' adult-targeted counterprogrammer Larry Crowne, despite having America's Sweetheart (Julia Roberts) and America's Other Sweetheart (Hanks himself), is having a hard time convincing anyone it's worthwhile. The WSJ's John Anderson says: "You wonder who thought any of this was funny."
  • By Sophia Savage
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  • July 1, 2011 5:35 AM
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  • 2 Comments

Trailer Watch: Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy Stars Oldman, Firth, Hardy, Strong

Trailer Watch: Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy Stars Oldman, Firth, Hardy, Strong
Take one of John Le Carre's best Cold War international espionage thrillers--1974's Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy--adapt it with strong writers (the late Bridget O’Connor and her husband and writing partner Peter Straughan) and cast a strong Brit ensemble (Colin Firth, Tom Hardy, Mark Strong, Benedict Cumberbatch) led by Gary Oldman as George Smiley, the one spy you can trust. Add Let the Right One In director Tomas Alfredson and you may have a winner. See the new trailer below.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • June 30, 2011 5:14 AM
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  • 3 Comments

Trailer Watch: Steven Spielberg's War Horse Looks Like Oscar Bait

Trailer Watch: Steven Spielberg's War Horse Looks Like Oscar Bait
It's going to be Spielberg vs. Spielberg at the Oscars this year. That is, assuming that both his December openers, wide-release The Adventures of Tintin: The Secret of the Unicorn and platformed drama War Horse, wind up inside the Oscar wheelhouse. The most popular filmmaker of our time, Spielberg has won some and lost some where the Oscars are concerned--best picture winner Schindler's List is the exception that proves the rule.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • June 29, 2011 8:29 AM
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  • 6 Comments

Trailer Watch: Outer Space Horror in APOLLO 18, In Theaters September 2

While some of the most spectacularly glitzy effects in Michael Bay's third Transformers take place on the moon--where the Apollo 13 mission is actually motivated by exploration of an abandoned Autobot space ship--we can assume that Dimension Films' similarly-themed APOLLO 18, which hits theaters September 2, is taking the polar opposite approach: think low-tech Blair Witch/Cloverfield. Gonzalo Lopez-Gallego directs a script by Brian Miller.
  • By Anne Thompson and Sophia Savage
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  • June 29, 2011 8:13 AM
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  • 0 Comments

Johansson Sings, Cranston for Affleck's Argo, Denzel Washington for Katrina Drama, Patel for Sorkin

- Scarlett Johansson will star in Judd Apatow's Can A Song Save Your Life?, written and to be directed by John Carney (Once). The musically themed story will pair a young songstress with "a washed up A&R man." They form a bond and sing, putting Johansson's singing talent to use. Carney confirms to The Sunday Business Post: "‘I went out to Los Angeles to meet Scarlett a couple of months ago. She was everything you could imagine – very hot, elegant and she’s really smart." Mark Ruffalo and Jim Carrey are rumored as possible co-stars. ThePlaylist has more.
  • By Sophia Savage
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  • June 29, 2011 5:24 AM
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  • 1 Comment

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