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Thompson on Hollywood

Carlos: IFC's Long-Form Experiment, Embraced by Critics, Globes

Carlos: IFC's Long-Form Experiment, Embraced by Critics, Globes
As movies become tougher and tougher to finance and release, more and more filmmakers are turning to long-form TV. One of the titles that has been a surprisingly strong winner in year-end voting is critic-turned-filmmaker Olivier Assayas's Carlos, a five-hour French/English viewing marathon which was financed and shown by Canal Plus in Europe and Sundance Channel in the U.S. and released in theaters stateside by IFC Films, which also distributed Assayas's Summer Hours and learned some lessons from another long-form experiment, Steven Soderbergh's Che, which sold out the Ziegfeld in New York for a week. "There's an audience out there for event films," says IFC chief Jonathan Sehring. Until Michael Winterbottom's thriller The Killer Inside Me, Che was IFC's most successful theatrical/VOD release, totaling between $3 and 4 million.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • December 27, 2010 7:43 AM
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  • 2 Comments

Jeff Bridges Duets with Cookie Monster on SNL, Raises Star Profile

Jeff Bridges hosted Saturday Night Live (video below), yet another example that his public profile, post-Crazy Heart Oscar and with new releases TRON: Legacy and True Grit, is higher than it's ever been. (He's also been ardently pursuing a music career.) Remember, Bridges is infamous, Star Man and The Big Lebowski excepted, for being a beloved character actor who has never been a movie star. He never put butts in seats. But maybe that has changed. The box office performance of the Coens' True Grit (trailer below) will be a test of that--as will nabbing another Oscar nomination.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • December 20, 2010 9:20 AM
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  • 1 Comment

The Fighter's Dicky Eklund HBO Backstory

The Fighter is based on real characters from Lowell, Massachusetts, and the HBO doc on Dicky Eklund (played by Christan Bale), is up on Snagfilms.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • December 20, 2010 8:11 AM
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  • 2 Comments
More: Genres, Video, TV, Drama, HBO

Gender Watch: Geena Davis and PTC on Sexualization of Women and Girls On Screen

- Blue Valentine had to fight to get a fair R rating from the MPAA because the films shows female oral sex - female pleasure - while mainstream film and television continues to promote women and girls as objects of and targets for male desire without any examples of how to articulate or assert themselves against cultural stereotypes. The attention given to Blue Valentine's rating signifies our culture's imbalance in male vs. female sexual perspective and power. We are so used to seeing women as objects of desire, that when they are recipients of pleasure we don't know how to deal. It's not enough to show girls or women rolling their eyes in annoyance or acceptance of "the way things are" - we need to see them changing the paradigm. Below, two forces trying to do just that:
  • By Sophia Savage
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  • December 16, 2010 6:29 AM
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  • 3 Comments

IndieWIRE Blog Network Launches James on ScreenS

Please welcome a new addition to the indieWIRE Blog Network. Ex-New York Times critic Caryn James launches her first blog, James on screenS, which is plural because she will be reviewing not only new films but smart TV as well. She starts off with a review of Ricky Gervais's HBO comedy special; here's her precis of what she has planned:I’ll be covering film, television, the web, whatever is most interesting on any screen. After all, that’s how we watch. I’ll have new pieces every day, usually more than once. Of course I’ll review, everything from popcorn movies to foreign films, cable series to smart network sitcoms. But I’ll also be a guide through the huge swamp of stuff we’re all surrounded by, offering tips about that overlooked film now arriving on DVD, the best show on TV tonight, what movies to catch this weekend at a theater or on VOD. I’ll include links to amusing videos, and comment on what’s happening in the film and television worlds (just in time for movie awards season). No bloggy cliches –I hardly care what I ate for lunch, why should you? But I sometimes meet and interview fascinating actors and directors, and you’ll find that here too.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • December 15, 2010 7:45 AM
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  • 1 Comment

Roger Ebert Launches New "At the Movies" on PBS January 21--Without Elvis Mitchell

Roger Ebert Launches New "At the Movies" on PBS January 21--Without Elvis Mitchell
Elvis Mitchell strikes again. The elusive film critic/interviewer has a long history of committing to jobs (and magazine deadlines, and dinner dates) without necessarily coming through. And he was supposed to cohost the new PBS Roger Ebert Presents At the Movies weekly TV series with AP critic Christy Lemire. But the dreadlocked ex-NYTimes critic and host of KCRW-FM's The Treatment has been dropped, though not for lack of chemistry, tweets Ebert, setting the record straight: "Elvis and Christy had great chemistry, as anyone could see who bothered to watch the pilot we posted." (Pilot and Ebert's own blog announcement are on the jump.)
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • December 15, 2010 4:50 AM
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  • 1 Comment

Paul Giamatti Talks Barney's Version, Win Win, Too Big to Fail, Hangover II and Gibson

Paul Giamatti Talks Barney's Version, Win Win, Too Big to Fail, Hangover II and Gibson
Paul Giamatti is one of those actors who has enough of a global following, thanks to Sideways and HBO mini-series John Adams, to help get certain movies made. Barney's Version is one of them. You can see why he'd want to dive into the best Mordecai Richler character since Duddy Kravitz. The movie is worth seeing for how the actors run with their roles--from doting Dad Dustin Hoffman to Jewish princess Minnie Driver, hippie girlfriend Rachelle Lefevre and dream wife Rosamund Pike. Sony Pictures Classics is giving the film a qualifying run this week in New York and L.A. before a January 11 release.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • December 7, 2010 2:00 AM
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  • 1 Comment

Economist Film Project Selects Docs for PBS

The Economist Magazine is launching a collaboration with PBS News Hour called The Economist Film Project. The year-long initiative, which starts in January, seeks to showcase thoughtful and provocative documentary films from around the world. The Economist will select short and feature length films from established and emerging filmmakers on subjects that are in line with the mag's interest in economics, the environment, social and human rights, government and politics, religion, media and culture. Selected film segments will air on PBS NewsHour and online for the following year, and will be put in context with related Economist articles. The magazine's deputy editor, Gideon Lichfield, says the project:
  • By Sophia Savage
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  • December 6, 2010 7:46 AM
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  • 1 Comment

International Documentary Award Winners Are "Waste Land,""Women Rebel"

Lucy Walker's Oscar short-list documentary Waste Land took two top honors as distinguished feature as well as the previously announced Pare Lorentz Award at the 2010 International Documentary Association (IDA) Awards Friday night, hosted by Morgan Spurlock. Waste Land follows artist Vik Muniz on a journey from his home in Brooklyn to his native Brazil to visit the world's largest garbage dump.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • December 4, 2010 6:00 AM
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  • 0 Comments

SAG Awards Nominations Ballots Mail Tomorrow

The Screen Actors Guild nominating committee is mailing their nomination ballots tomorrow for the 17th annual SAG Awards, taking place on January 30th (on TNT and TBS). Votes, which can be cast via these paper ballots or online, are due by December 13, and they will be announced at West Hollywood's Pacific Design Center on December 16. The film and television nominees will be selected by two separate panels made up of some 2,100 randomly selected SAG members. Submissions for consideration in categories of each actors' choosing (or those representing them), were due October 28. Final voting will be done via postcard and online, and must be completed by noon on January 28. Nomination categories are listed below:
  • By Sophia Savage
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  • November 23, 2010 4:45 AM
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  • 0 Comments

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