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Thompson on Hollywood

Super 8 ILM VFX Master Dennis Muren Talks Spielberg, Going Back to 70s

Super 8 ILM VFX Master Dennis Muren Talks Spielberg, Going Back to 70s
Dennis Muren is the godfather of visual effects artists. Hired by George Lucas in 1976 to work on Star Wars and help launch Industrial Light & Magic (ILM), he went on to make the key breakthroughs that led to where VFX are today. Muren has won nine Oscars, including Visual Effects awards for Jurassic Park, Terminator 2: Judgment Day, The Abyss, Innerspace, Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, Return of the Jedi, E.T., and The Empire Strikes Back. He masterminded everything from the miniature dogfighters in Star Wars to the first fully CG larger-than-life Hulk.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • June 20, 2011 8:40 AM
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  • 2 Comments

Trailer Watch: The Skin I Live In Teaser is Crazy, Sexy, Scary

Sony Pictures Classics will release Pedro Almodovar's The Skin I Live In this November. In the meantime check out the new teaser trailer, as well as our interview with star Antonio Banderas (who Anne Thompson calls "riveting as a Frankenstein-like psychopathic skin surgeon bent on revenge"), pictures, and review round-up from Cannes.
  • By Sophia Savage
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  • June 20, 2011 6:00 AM
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The Muppets New Trailer, Seven Things Joel Stein Learned on Set, Muppets Last by "Not Being Cynical"

The Muppets New Trailer, Seven Things Joel Stein Learned on Set, Muppets Last by "Not Being Cynical"
Time humorist Joel Stein recently reported on his visit to the set of Disney's The Muppets, which arrives just days before Turkey time on November 23 (check out the new trailer below). James Bobin directs from a script (by Jason Segel and his Forgetting Sarah Marshall director Nicholas Stoller) based on Jim Henson's beloved characters. Segel also stars alongside Amy Adams and cohorts Zach Galifianakis, Emily Blunt, Ed Helms, Jack Black, Neil Patrick Harris, Rashida Jones and more. Here are some highlights from Stein's visit:
  • By Sophia Savage
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  • June 20, 2011 5:32 AM
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  • 1 Comment

Weekly Wrap: Box Office, Summer Trailers, Academy, Next for Coens, Bale, Russell, Affleck, Crowe

BOX OFFICE
  • By Sophia Savage and Anne Thompson
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  • June 17, 2011 9:23 AM
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Green Lantern and Mr. Popper's Penguins Could Disappoint, Buck, Page One, Art of Getting By

No one expected Warners' DC movie Green Lantern to score with critics (it managed a mere 22% Tomatometer score), as opposed to well-reviewed Super 8 and X-Men: First Class, which are still going strong at the box office. But Warners is putting $100 million of marketing muscle behind the $200 million movie. An entire franchise is at stake. They're so confident that they introduce a new villain at the end. (Anyone who's read the comics already knows he's a bad guy.) Box office prognosticators are upbeat, predicting a $50 to 60 million weekend; so far the movie is off to a strong start on 3816 screens, 2711 of them 3-D.
  • By Anne Thompson and Sophia Savage
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  • June 17, 2011 5:22 AM
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Trailer Watch: Brad Pitt Stars in Moneyball, Which Could Be Oscar Contender

Brad Pitt stars as manager Billy Beane in Sony's Moneyball (September 23), a baseball movie about the come-from-behind Oakland A's. Robin Wright, Jonah Hill and Philip Seymour Hoffman co-star in the drama adapted by Steven Zaillian (Schindler's List) from Michael Lewis's nonfiction bestseller. Bennett Miller, who had been looking for the right follow-up to Capote, took over the directing reins after Steven Soderbergh fell out of the Scott Rudin (The Social Network) production. Judging from this trailer, this movie looks like a winner, and an Oscar-contender to boot. With The Tree of Life giving Pitt extra cred with Academy voters, who are bound to be polarized on the film, Moneyball looks like a slow lob down-the-middle home run for Pitt.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • June 16, 2011 8:42 AM
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  • 3 Comments

Has Hollywood Stopped Trying? The Smurfs vs. Mr. Popper's Penguins

It's Thursday and another fun-filled summer weekend at the movies is looming. There's good news in the Hollywood forecast: Jurassic Park may be rebooted, Jon Hamm and Melissa McCarthy may star together in a comedy, Angelina Jolie and David O. Russell may pair for Maleficent and the Coens are doing a musical. But check out this more sobering look at how Hollywood has stopped trying.
  • By Sophia Savage
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  • June 16, 2011 8:21 AM
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Hooper's Les Mis Wants Hugh Jackman; Winslet, Brolin, Reitman Triple Threat

- Tom Hooper's Les Miserables may star Hugh Jackman and Paul Bettany. Jackman is in talks to star as tenor Jean Valjean. The project is produced by veteran theater maestro Cameron Mackintosh (whose version of the play served as the basis for William Nicholson's script) and will feature Claude-Michel Schoenberg's original score. Working Title's Tim Bevan and Eric Fellner are also producing. Bettany may be targeted for the role of police inspector Javert. We know at least one of these boys can sing (see Jackman perform at the Tonys with Neil Patrick Harris, below). It's hard not to love Jackman. He was even (SPOILER ALERT) the third best part of X-Men: First Class (with mere seconds of screen time), right behind stars Michael Fassbender and James McAvoy. Who else would you like to see in Hooper's Les Miserables?
  • By Sophia Savage
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  • June 16, 2011 7:58 AM
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Video Watch: Brad Pitt and Jonah Hill Star in Bennett Miller's Baseball Drama Moneyball

Brad Pitt stars as Billy Beane in Moneyball (September 23), a baseball drama about the Oakland A's. Robin Wright, Jonah Hill and Philip Seymour Hoffman co-star in the drama adapted by Steven Zaillian (Schindler's List) from Michael Lewis's nonfiction bestseller. Bennett Miller (Capote) took over the directing reins after Steven Soderbergh fell out of Sony's Scott Rudin production.
  • By Sophia Savage
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  • June 15, 2011 9:25 AM
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  • 1 Comment

Green Lantern Reviews: "Inert, Underwhelming," Reynolds "Little More than a Torso and a Smirk"

Green Lantern Reviews: "Inert, Underwhelming," Reynolds "Little More than a Torso and a Smirk"
Warner/DC's Green Lantern wants to blow your mind, starting June 17, one day after its premiere at the Los Angeles Film Festival. Even the more generous reviews below suggest that we shouldn't expect a mind-blowing quality film. (We see it Wednesday.) Best case scenario: the comics fanbase will jump into the bizarre universe they know so well. Worst case is topliner Ryan Reynolds, co-stars Blake Lively, Peter Sarsgaard, Mark Strong and Angela Bassett and director Martin Campbell will wish they hadn't gone green, and the movie's prohibitive estimated $300-million cost won't yield big enough returns. Tentpoles, after all, are supposed to deliver profits to support the studio.
  • By Sophia Savage
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  • June 15, 2011 5:44 AM
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  • 5 Comments

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