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Thompson on Hollywood

Weekly Wrap: SFIFF, Cannes, Must See Summer Box Office, Casting Updates, Celebs Sell, Brad Pitt

BOX OFFICE & UPCOMING
  • By Sophia Savage and Anne Thompson
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  • April 29, 2011 8:15 AM
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Weekend Preview: Fast Five Pumps Testosterone, Prom Tween Fantasy, 13 Assassins, Cave 3-D, The Arbor

It's a weekend of extremes, with the Fast Five testosterone-fest, a Prom tween fantasy, not one but 13 Assassins and a Hoodwinked Too! that no one asked for. Several indie gems are mixed in with some less-inspiring releases: we recommend Werner Herzog's Cave of Forgotten Dreams in 3-D and Clio Bernard's documentary on playwright Andrea Dunbar, The Arbor, a film that turns the term 'documentary' on its head but "once you settle in, [Bernard's technique] proves enormously effective," writes ThePlaylist. "Barnard is able to expertly weave the narrative, dropping hints of the darkness early on while never quite giving the game away."
  • By Sophia Savage
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  • April 29, 2011 5:59 AM
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Fast Five Could Beat Last Installment's $70.95 Million Weekend

With Fast Five, Justin Lin, by all accounts, has delivered the best Fast and Furious installment so far--adding Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson to chase the original lead duo Vin Diesel and Paul Walker--and Universal is cautiously optimistic, saying that it is tracking as well in the same range as the fourth. Anthony D'Alessandro looks at the performance of the franchise to date--and predicts the coming weekend's performance. Gas-strapped Americans are expected to break their piggy banks this weekend to see Universal’s auto five-quel Fast Five, which has scored the first "fresh" reviews of the series. Should the gross rival the $70.95 million April record bow of the 2009 installment, it will not only herald a new entry for the month's annals, but finally move up the summer B.O. season start date – a bar that distributors have continually tried to reach, but consistently miss (2002's The Scorpion King--$36.1 million--and last year’s A Nightmare on Elm Street--$32.9 million scored less than tentpole numbers). Over the past decade, as filmmakers tinkered with the series' beefcake-and-babe dramatis personae –Vin Diesel stepped out of two installments while bad girl Michelle Rodriguez has been M.I.A. for three -- ticket sales have gassed out and revved up.
  • By Anthony D'Alessandro
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  • April 27, 2011 12:53 PM
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Doctor Who Season Six Premiere Review: A Monster-of-the-Week, Hide-in-a-Tunnel Adventure

Decades-long Doctor Who fan David Chute eagerly anticipated the Season Six premiere starring Matt Smith and Alex Kingston (trailer below), and made me and a pal watch it with him. I applaud his review, excerpted: Vastly shinier production values aside, this was a Monster of the Week, hide-in-a-tunnel adventure, a 1970s scarf and curls throwback. Monument Valley was little more than a handsome backdrop; no organic connection that I could see with the events that unfolded there. The aliens' trick of making you forget them the second you looked away mimicked without improving upon the Weeping Angels of the great Blink episode, which moved when you looked away. (Moffatt recycling Moffatt.)
  • By David Chute
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  • April 27, 2011 10:06 AM
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  • 4 Comments

Unite for Japan: Stars Ask for Donations for Post-Tsunami Relief

As I watched this video, I realized how upset I am about what happened in Japan. Ken Watanabe organized this plea for help, aided by Johnny Depp, Jamie Lee Curtis, Ben Stiller, John Legend, Jonah Hill, Paula Abdul, Ben Affleck and many others. The PSA launched today. Unite for Japan.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • April 27, 2011 7:49 AM
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Trailer Watch: Immortals Features Shiny Things Like Muscles, Women, Weapons and CGI

The new HD trailer for Tarsem Singh's Immortals showcases muscles, weapons and prop-babes. The film stars new Superman Henry Cavill, Luke Evans, Mickey Rourke, Freida Pinto, Isabel Lucas, John Hurt, Kellan Lutz, Stephen Dorff and Joseph Morgan. It hits theaters in 3-D November 11.
  • By Sophia Savage
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  • April 27, 2011 3:14 AM
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  • 1 Comment

Hot Cable Series The Killing, The Borgias, Game of Thrones Boost Breakout Stars

Hot Cable Series The Killing, The Borgias, Game of Thrones Boost Breakout Stars
Post-Oscar season, there's no question that these days, the best viewing to be found is on cable. Not only are AMC's critically-hailed Danish murder mystery remake The Killing, HBO's Tolkien light fantasy series Game of Thrones (adapted from George R.R. Martin's novels by top Hollywood scribe David Benioff and D.B. Weiss), and Showtime's The Borgias (adapted by writer-director Neil Jordan) compelling, gorgeously-mounted, well-written series, but they are breaking out --and reviving--talent as well.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • April 26, 2011 8:06 AM
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How Rookie Director Tadjedin Made Miramax/Tribeca's Last Night, Starring Knightley

How Rookie Director Tadjedin Made Miramax/Tribeca's Last Night, Starring Knightley
Last Night is a high-profile test of new indie distributor-on-the-block Tribeca Films' video-on-demand model. Screening April 25 at the Tribeca Film Festival following its Toronto Fest debut, the movie was released on VOD on April 20, opening night of the Fest, and will open theatrically in limited situations on May 6. (Caryn James likes it. Trailer is below.)
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • April 25, 2011 8:00 AM
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Trailer Watch: HBO Doc Lady Gaga Presents The Monster Ball Tour

Pop sensation Lady Gaga -- No. 12 on the Time 100 poll -- talks fame in this excerpt from upcoming HBO documentary (Lady Gaga Presents The Monster Ball Tour: At Madison Square Garden, May 7), in which she shows her human side. Of her fans, she says: "I just want to be a queen for them and sometimes I don't feel like one":
  • By Sophia Savage
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  • April 25, 2011 5:51 AM
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Trailer Watch: Life In A Day Releases July 24, Will Tug Your Heartstrings

Check out the new trailer for Life In A Day, which premiered at Sundance in January (and simultaneously on YouTube). The documentary, directed by Kevin Macdonald, produced by Ridley Scott and shot by people all over the world on July 24, 2010, is not to be missed. National Georgraphic is releasing the film, fittingly, on July 24. Here is Anne Thompson's review:
  • By Sophia Savage and Anne Thompson
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  • April 25, 2011 5:14 AM
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  • 0 Comments

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