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Thompson on Hollywood

VENICE REVIEW: Anderson's 'The Master' Impresses and Befuddles; Phoenix & Hoffman Both Outstanding

What has Paul Thomas Anderson wrought with “The Master”? A film that’s majestic and masterly if not a masterpiece, which draws sustenance from masters of the past, filmic, literary and artistic, and is pinioned by two colossal characters as it recounts the early, stuttering formation of a Scientology-style self-help belief system.
  • By Matt Mueller
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  • September 1, 2012 11:16 AM
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  • 1 Comment

Venice Film Festival: Spike Lee Rocks the Biennale with 'BAD25'

Venice is buzzing this year with superb documentaries from high-profile film figures. Jonathan Demme’s “Enzo Avitabile Music Life” was a spirited portrait of the Neopolitan singer-songwriter who may not be widely known but whose zeal, talent and exhilarating performances with other figures in his field had me reappraising my assumptions about that woollily defined genre called world music; and more on Sarah Polley’s revelatory “Stories We Tell” later. But it was Spike Lee who rocked the Lido today with his rousing, passionate, breathlessly paced and frequently moving paean to Michael Jackson, which focuses intently on the creative process that went into generating the songs and videos for his third album, BAD – an album which spawned some of the greatest pop hits of all time, including its title track, ‘Man In The Mirror’ and ‘Smooth Criminal’.
  • By Matt Mueller
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  • August 31, 2012 1:44 PM
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Venice Trailer: 'The Iceman' Stars Michael Shannon, Winona Ryder, and Many Gunshots

"The Iceman" stars Academy Award nominee Michael Shannon ("Revolutionary Road," "Boardwalk Empire") as a notorious hit man - responsible for the death of 100 men associated with different crime rings around New York. While his career provides the action, his split from his family life provides the drama: the devoted father and husband managed to keep his career a secret from his wife (Winona Ryder) and children over the decades he acted as a brutal mercenary.
  • By Maggie Lange
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  • August 30, 2012 7:46 PM
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Venice Review: ‘The Reluctant Fundamentalist’ - Muscularly Charismatic, But Exasperating

Before its unveiling, some found “The Reluctant Fundamentalist” a peculiar choice as Venice opener by new artistic director Alberto Barbera, even taking into account Mira Nair’s history here (the Indian-born, New York-based filmmaker won the Golden Lion with “Monsoon Wedding” in 2001)...
  • By Matt Mueller
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  • August 30, 2012 10:53 AM
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Venice Days' Spotlight on Female Filmmakers: 'Womens Tales' in Conversation with Nair, Bier & Cavani

The Venice International Film Festival's Venice Days kicks off its ninth edition with "Women's Tales," featuring four short films by young female directors: Zoe Cassavetes, Lucrecia Martel, Giada Colagrande and Massy Tadjedin.
  • By Sophia Savage
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  • August 28, 2012 12:58 PM
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Sony Pictures Classics Takes Redford's Venice & Toronto Bound 'The Company You Keep'

Sony Pictures Classics has taken U.S. rights to Robert Redford's upcoming Weather Underground drama "The Company You Keep." The movie boasts an impressive cast: Redford, Shia LeBeouf, Julie Christie, Brendan Gleeson, Terence Howard, Richard Jenkins, Anna Kendrick, Brit Marling, Stanley Tucci, Nick Nolte, Chris Cooper, and Susan Sarandon.
  • By Sophia Savage
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  • August 24, 2012 12:56 PM
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Visit the Lido Without Spending the Big Bucks: Ten Venice Features to Stream Online

For the first time in the history of the Venice Film Festival (August 29-September 8), 10 features films and 13 short films from the Orizzonti section of the fest will be available for streaming all over the world, concurrent with the films' debuts on the Lido.
  • By Beth Hanna
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  • August 22, 2012 1:02 PM
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Finally, Venice Makes 'The Master' Official

Harvey Weinstein likes to milk his PR. We all know that Paul Thomas Anderson's "The Master," which made its LA debut at an unannounced 70 mm screening at the Aero Theatre last Saturday (TOH review here), was set to show at the 69th Venice Biennale. Sure enough, the official release finally arrived, announcing four new titles including "The Master," starring Philip Seymour Hoffman, Joaquin Phoenix and Amy Adams, which will be shown in 70 mm. Chances are also good the film will turn up in Toronto.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • August 7, 2012 11:41 AM
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  • 1 Comment

Sony Pictures Classics Acquires 'At Any Price'

In advance of festival premieres at Venice and Toronto, Sony Pictures Classics has scooped up all North American and Eastern European rights (excluding CIS and Russia) to Ramin Bahrani's "At Any Price," starring Dennis Quaid, Zac Efron, Kim Dickens and Heather Graham, which debuted in the Cannes market.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • August 3, 2012 6:53 PM
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Spike Lee to Receive Jaeger-LeCoultre Award at Venice Film Fest

Along with premiering his out-of-competition Michael Jackson documentary "Bad 25" at the Venice Film Festival (August 29 - September 8), Spike Lee will also be honored by the fest with the Jaeger-LeCoultre Glory to the Filmmaker Award.
  • By Beth Hanna
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  • August 3, 2012 12:22 PM
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  • 0 Comments

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