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Thompson on Hollywood

Oscar Docs: Lucy Walker Talks Waste Land, Rival to Front Runners

Oscar Docs: Lucy Walker Talks Waste Land, Rival to Front Runners
The field of five Oscar-nominated docs is strong this year, not a weakling in the bunch. As street artist Bansky wages a campaign for Exit Through the Gift Shop against front-runner Inside Job, another film about art, Waste Land, could pose some competition. Justin Lowe reports from a recent screening at the Landmark Theatre in West LA, where director Lucy Walker presented her film for an invitation-only audience:Facing a formidable field of competitors for the best documentary Academy Award, Walker and the film itself made a convincing case for consideration among the top three contenders. Waste Land focuses on Rio de Janeiro’s community of catadores, waste recyclers who live and work in the slum adjacent to the Jardim Gramacho landfill, following Brazilian artist Vik Muniz from his studio in Brooklyn to the garbage dump for an ambitious project. An internationally recognized photographer who frequently employs non-traditional materials, Munoz’s goal at Jardim Gramacho, the world’s largest trash disposal facility, was to work with catadores from the waste pickers’ association known as ACAMJG to create large-scale portraits composed primarily of re-purposed solid waste.
  • By Justin Lowe
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  • February 22, 2011 4:58 AM
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Hitchcock/Truffaut Audio Interview

Every self-respecting cinephile owns a dog-eared copy of Hitchcock/Truffaut, the legendary interview between French critic/filmmaker Francois Truffaut and the great Alfred Hitchcock, translated by Helen Scott.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • February 21, 2011 9:14 AM
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  • 1 Comment

Video: Terry Gilliam Update, The Wholly Family Short Debuts, 1884 Promo

Video: Terry Gilliam Update, The Wholly Family Short Debuts, 1884 Promo
While The Man Who Killed Don Quixote continues to be stalled, irrepressible filmmaker Terry Gilliam will debut his new short The Wholly Family, reports Bleeding Cool (photos via Italian magazine Ciak), at the Bradford International Film Festival (March 16 to 27). The fest will present a retrospective of Gilliam's films (Jabberwocky (1977), Time Bandits (1981), Brazil (1984), The Adventures of Baron Munchausen (1988), Twelve Monkeys (1995), Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas (1998) and The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus (2009) along with its Fellowship Award. The short (still in post-production) is one of a series set in Naples funded by Italian pasta company Garofalo. Gilliam issued a statement:To be honoured by such an important festival pre-posthumously will force my family to treat me with some respect while I’m still alive. I will always be grateful for that.See Gilliam's behind-the-scenes Wholly Family video below.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • February 21, 2011 8:11 AM
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Back to the Future: The Adventures of Andre and Wally B

Back in 1984--two years after Tron, Lucasfilm backed what we can consider to be the first Pixar short, The Adventures of Andre and Wally B, written and directed by Alvy Ray Smith, animated by John Lasseter, with sound by Ben Burtt and help from the big Cray computer. Delightful. Steve Jobs bought this unit of Lucasfilm and turned it into Pixar two years later.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • February 21, 2011 1:52 AM
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Oscar Watch: Editors Award Dramatic Feature to The Social Network, Doc to Exit Through the Gift Shop

Oscar Watch: Editors Award Dramatic Feature to The Social Network, Doc to Exit Through the Gift Shop
At Saturday's ACE editing awards---where The Social Network won best dramatic feature, Exit Through the Gift Shop won best documentary, and Toy Story 3 won best animated feature, forecasting likely Oscar wins--I was moved by Steven Spielberg's warm tribute to ACE career award-winner Michael Kahn, age 75. (Video of show, tribute reel, interview with Kahn and full list of TV and film winners are below.)
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • February 20, 2011 6:06 AM
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  • 3 Comments

Oscar Animated Shorts Preview: The Lost Thing, Day & Night Are Best of Five

Oscar Animated Shorts Preview: The Lost Thing, Day & Night Are Best of Five
Depending on where you live, some combination of the Oscar-nominated shorts (animated, live action and documentary) may be playing in a theater near you, thanks to Shorts International and Magnolia Pictures (trailer, clips and detailed release info below). Four out of five of the animated shorts are quite strong.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • February 19, 2011 11:22 AM
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  • 5 Comments

Oscar Video: Susanne Bier Talks In a Better World

Oscar Video: Susanne Bier Talks In a Better World
After her foray into Hollywood filmmaking with DreamWorks' Things We Lost in the Fire, which boasted impeccable performances from Halle Berry and Benicio del Toro but was too dark to yield much box office, Denmark's star director Susanne Bier returned home to build yet another organic, thoughtful movie with her long-time collaborator, Anders Thomas Jensen. Bier, who had the first of her two children a year after she graduated from film school, feels supported in Denmark. She and Jensen go off to a retreat where she paces and acts out scenes, and he writes them up. "We are both obsessed with moral issues," she says. "We usually have one or two characters we are passionate about. How would we react in each case? Are we morally sound?"
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • February 19, 2011 2:09 AM
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Weekend Preview: Unknown, I Am Number Four, Big Mommas, Last Lions, Putty Hill

Weekend Preview: Unknown, I Am Number Four, Big Mommas, Last Lions, Putty Hill
It's no surprise that indie offerings Putty Hill and the doc The Last Lions score the best reviews of the motley crew of movies that opened for the holiday weekend. Unknown, Liam Neeson's follow-up to sleeper hit Taken is next.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • February 19, 2011 1:18 AM
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The Real James Franco Goes on Facebook and Twitter, Asks Apatow for Oscarcast Advice

The Real James Franco Goes on Facebook and Twitter, Asks Apatow for Oscarcast Advice
As we've said before, James Franco is everywhere. Well, now he's on Twitter and Facebook, too.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • February 18, 2011 8:07 AM
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SBIFF: Writers' Panel, It Starts With a Script, The Writer's Journey

SBIFF: Writers' Panel, It Starts With a Script, The Writer's Journey
My favorite assignment every year is moderating the Santa Barbara Film Festival screenwriters panel It Starts With the Script. This year it featured (right to left in photo) Aaron Sorkin (The Social Network), Scott Silver (The Fighter), David Seidler (The King's Speech), Charlie Mitchell (Get Low), Lisa Cholodenko (The Kids Are All Right) and Michael Arndt (Toy Story 3). Check out the videos below.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • February 18, 2011 7:05 AM
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