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Thompson on Hollywood

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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Oscar Video Exclusive: How Pixar Made Day & Night Short

The frontrunner in the Oscars' animated shorts category is a popular one from Pixar, Day & Night which played in theaters in front of Toy Story 3 last year.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • February 17, 2011 10:35 AM
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  • 2 Comments

New School of Superheroes: Bale, Cavill, Evans, Garfield, Hemsworth, Reynolds & Palicki in Tights

New School of Superheroes: Bale, Cavill, Evans, Garfield, Hemsworth, Reynolds & Palicki in Tights
Entertainment Weekly's latest issue profiles the new generation of superheroes, represented on the cover by new Superman Henry Cavill. As his director Zack Snyder puts it: “Other actors put that suit on and it’s a joke, even if they’re great actors. Henry put it on, and he exuded this kind of crazy-calm confidence that just made me go, ‘Wow. Okay, this is Superman.’ If you can put on that suit and pull it off, that’s an awesome achievement.” An even better achievement? Still having a career after the spandex has lost its stretch.  Ryan Reynolds says of his Green Lantern character: “He’s not in the mainstream the way Superman or Spider-Man is.” And he once considered himself a purely comedic actor: “I looked like Dick Van Dyke, so I thought I was going that route.”
  • By Sophia Savage
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  • February 17, 2011 8:56 AM
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  • 1 Comment

Video: Hulu Pacts with Criterion--And Netflix Couldn't Care Less

Reaction is mixed to news that Hulu and Criterion Collection have announced an exclusive new content partnership that will bring more than 800 titles to the Hulu Plus subscription service, including works from such auteurs as Ingmar Bergman, Charlie Chaplin, Federico Fellini, Jean-Luc Godard, Akira Kurosawa, François Truffaut and Orson Welles.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • February 17, 2011 6:19 AM
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Poster Exclusive: Ozon 70s Comedy Potiche Stars Deneuve, Depardieu

One of my favorite films at the Venice Film Festival was writer-director Francois Ozon's feminist 70s comedy Potiche, starring Catherine Deneuve and Gérard Depardieu. Here's an exclusive first look at Music Box Films' new poster for the American release on March 25.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • February 17, 2011 12:50 AM
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Oscar Watch: The King's Speech's Helena Bonham Carter Could Win Best Supporting Actress

Oscar Watch: The King's Speech's Helena Bonham Carter Could Win Best Supporting Actress
The King's Speech is an Oscar favorite, and depending on how strong it is, the Brit drama could carry some awards on its coattails. While Inception, The Social Network, True Grit and Alice in Wonderland could steal some wins from The King's Speech in the technical categories, recent BAFTA winner Helena Bonham Carter could score a supporting actress nod--in a wide open field including The Fighter's dueling Melissa Leo and Amy Adams, True Grit's young newcomer Hailee Steinfeld, and Animal Kingdom's 48-year Australian veteran Jacki Weaver--for her high-brow yet low-key performance as the future Queen Mum in The King's Speech.
  • By Anne Thompson and Sophia Savage
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  • February 16, 2011 7:22 AM
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  • 2 Comments

Oscar Watch: Hereafter VFX Breakdown

Oscar Watch: Hereafter VFX Breakdown
Scanline VFX (300, 2012) and VFX supervisor Michael Owens lavished so much time and energy on the nine-minute tsunami at the start of Clint Eastwood's Hereafter that the movie won the Visual Effects Society (VES) award for outstanding supporting visual effects in a feature motion picture as well as a hotly contested spot in the final VFX Oscar five.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • February 16, 2011 12:58 AM
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Trailer, Poster Watch: Williams in Meek's Cutoff, Brand vs. Mirren in Arthur, Biopic Soul Surfer

No one harbors any illusions that Kelly Reichardt's minimalist western Meek's Cutoff will be the next True Grit. And while Michelle Williams is by far the biggest name in a strong ensemble-- Bruce Greenwood, Paul Dano, Will Patton, Shirley Henderson and Zoe Kazan--she's hardly doing a showy star turn. But I admire this rigorous, dusty, austere road movie about pioneers who are lost and thirsty on their long trek west. If anything the movie reminds me of Gus Van Sant's under-appreciated desert epic Gerry. The new poster is designed by Marlene McCarty. Here's my Venice Fest review:
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • February 16, 2011 12:44 AM
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Oscar Video: Inception ASC-winner Pfister Talks Working with Nolan in 35 mm, Tech Panel Q & A

In a surprise win, American director of photography Wally Pfister, who has been working with Chris Nolan for twelve years, ever since Memento, collected his first American Society of Cinematographers' award for Inception Sunday. He beat out Oscar favorite Roger Deakins, who collected the BAFTA for True Grit on Sunday. Check out my flip cam interview with Pfister (below), who talks about working with Nolan; Pfister has received Oscar nominations for Batman Begins, The Prestige, The Dark Knight and now, Inception, one of eight noms for the film.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • February 14, 2011 9:19 AM
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  • 0 Comments

FilmDistrict's Berney Talks 2011 Slate, Del Toro Pick-Up Don't Be Afraid of the Dark

Miramax has been shopping its Disney holdovers to outside distributors. Focus acquired John Madden's Israeli thriller The Debt, starring Helen Mirren, Ciaran Hinds and Sam Worthington. And FilmDistrict, capitalizing on distrib exec Bob Berney's long relationship with Guillermo del Toro (Pan's Labyrinth), has acquired U.S. rights to his production, the horror film Don't Be Afraid of the Dark. Footage played well at July's Comic Con; Del Toro had been worried about how the movie would be handled by Disney and then, new owner Miramax. He is worried no longer. “Miramax has done an inspired job finding the right home for our film that took 15 years to get made," said Del Toro. "Partnering with Bob Berney is always an exciting privilege." (The filmmaker talked to me in Toronto about producing the film, below.)
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • February 14, 2011 4:50 AM
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  • 1 Comment

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