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Thompson on Hollywood

Mad Men: Create Your Own Avatar

Join Don Draper's world. That's my avatar, ready to share a few drinks with the dapper Madison Avenue ad exec. If only. You too can create your own Mad Men avatar. They're proliferating over the web like kudzu.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • August 1, 2009 11:18 AM
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TV's Revenge of the Boomer Women

It's the revenge of the boomer women. As the movie business has largely abandoned the female demo, especially older segments, television has picked up the slack. Here's my story at More Magazine, which boasts Saving Grace star Holly Hunter on the cover. I'm still catching up with the last season of Damages, starring the ravishing Glenn Close. The ABC soap opera Brothers and Sisters, starring mighty matriarch Sally Field, is a guilty pleasure. And this summer's manna from heaven is Nurse Jackie, starring Sopranos great Edie Falco as a complicated, fallible, sexy New York hospital nurse who cares about saving lives--while popping pills and cheating on her husband.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • August 1, 2009 5:43 AM
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SDCC Interview: Cameron Talks Avatar

Here's my Comic-Con interview with James Cameron about how his undersea expeditions informed his return to moviemaking, Avatar. He digs into how he perfected the art of performance capture to allow the warmth of his actors to come through. He wants to do some consciousness-raising with SAG on what performance capture really involves. During Friday's panel with Cameron and Peter Jackson, the two men discussed how resistant actors have been to such acting as Andy Serkis as Gollum.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • July 25, 2009 5:45 AM
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SNL Portman Short is Hulu Hit

When you're a squeaky clean white Harvard grad with a demure pixie appeal, what better way to spruce up your street cred than rap on Saturday Night Live? Natalie Portman did, with aplomb (back in 2007) and it's one of the most popular shorts on Hulu. The long tail lives.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • May 7, 2009 5:36 AM
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Broderick/Parker Expecting Twins, Sex and City Sequel

Matthew Broderick is in the news these days, not only for giving blocked director Kenneth Lonergan a reported $1 million to finish his long-stalled movie Margaret (which stars Anna Paquin and Allison Janney), but he and wife Sarah Jessica Parker are expecting twins, via a surrogate mother. UPDATE: Broderick gives a comeback performance in Josh Goldin's Wonderful World, writes Jan Stuart.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • April 29, 2009 6:52 AM
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Grey Gardens Blurs Lines Between Cable Movies and First-Run

These days, many of the people who aren't interested in what's playing at the multiplex are checking out the new movie opening on HBO instead. Hollywood only has itself to blame. Ignore the adult audience and they'll get out of the moviegoing habit, rent DVDs and subscribe to HBO. This weekend many folks watched the opening of Grey Gardens, starring movie stars Jessica Lange and Drew Barrymore (both strong Emmy contenders for Big and Little Edie) instead of going out to see new movie State of Play (which earned a barely respectable 63% on Metacritic to Grey Garden's 77). There was a time when Grey Gardens would have been a theatrical release. Now it's an HBO film--reviewed by the Two Bens on At the Movies:
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • April 20, 2009 7:21 AM
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Tarantino Hypes Inglourious Basterds on American Idol

Tuesday night, American Idol mentor Quentin Tarantino returned to the show sporting a Nazi haircut. Needless to say he didn't miss a chance to hype his World War II action epic set to debut at Cannes, Inglourious Basterds, with new footage. Here's the clip featuring Brad Pitt and Mike Myers as a British military mastermind who plots to wipe out Nazi leaders. The Weinstein Co. opens the movie stateside August 21.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • April 15, 2009 8:26 AM
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Oprah Boosts Spike Lee, Secret Life of Bees

While Oprah may not be willing to promote Barack Obama on her show these days, she doesn't hesitate to use her considerable clout with women to sell movies she believes in. She delivered for helmer Spike Lee, exhorting her millions of viewers to see his revisionist World War II epic The Miracle at St. Anna, for which he was duly grateful. The movie needs her help; it scored a miserable 29 % on Rotten Tomatoes.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • October 3, 2008 8:43 AM
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More: TV, Books, Genres

Comic-Con: Ball's True Blood on HBO is Twilight for Adults

[Posted by Liz Shannon Miller]At the standing-room-only panel for HBO's "True Blood," author Charlaine Harris admitted that she'd always thought her vampire fiction might work as a series for HBO. But Alan Ball had no idea of that when he found the first "True Blood" book while killing time in a Borders. Quickly becoming a fan of Harris's Southern Gothic vampire romance, Ball felt that to condense the books for a film would "do them a disservice," and instead approached Harris about adapting the books for television. "Several people had approached me about working with the material," Harris said, "But Alan's was definitely the most interesting artistically. I've felt very comfortable entrusting my babies to him."[Here's the True Blood website.]
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • July 25, 2008 8:09 AM
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Lyons and Mankiewicz To Replace Ebert and Roeper

During negotiations to extend Richard Roeper's contract for At the Movies, Disney ABC Domestic Television abruptly ended the talks. Thus Roeper, followed by the show's co-founder, Roger Ebert, left the show. On Tuesday, Disney ABC will announce announced that E! Entertainment critic Ben Lyons and Turner Classic Movies host Ben Mankiewicz are take over hosting duties on a revamped At the Movies aimed at a younger demo. I have never seen either of these guys. But the hue and cry is going to be fun to watch. The older target demo for Ebert and Roeper will protest. And the younger demo probably doesn't care!
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • July 21, 2008 7:59 AM
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