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Thompson on Hollywood

Trailer Watch: Client 9: Rise and Fall of Eliot Spitzer, Inside Job

Two excellent Wall Street exposes, Alex Gibney's Client 9: The Rise and Fall of Eliot Spitzer (on demand October 1, theaters November 4) and Charles Ferguson's Inside Job (NYFF October 1, NY October 8, LA October 15) serve as brainy fact-packed companion pieces to Oliver Stone's commercial sequel Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps, which opened at number one this weekend. Here are trailers for both Oscar-worthy docs:
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • September 26, 2010 5:43 AM
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Oscar Watch: Waiting for Superman Meets Zuckerberg on Oprah

Oscar Watch: Waiting for Superman Meets Zuckerberg on Oprah
Paramount has sent out "for Your Consideration" six-city screening invites for Martin Scorsese's Shutter Island and Davis Guggenheim's Waiting for Superman, which got serious Oprah Winfrey love this week, with two shows devoted to the controversial American education expose. The second show also featured Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg, who didn't say much as Winfrey explained that he was reluctant to appear and had wanted to make his contribution to the Newark city schools anonymously.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • September 25, 2010 11:00 AM
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  • 1 Comment

Trailer Watch: Bollywood Robot Stars Rai, Rajni

Screenwriter Damon Lindelof (Lost) just tweeted that he was going to India, possibly to see this movie, Shankar's Robot, due out September 24, starring Aishwarya Rai and Rajnikanth, plus a lot of visual effects and music by A. R. Rahman. Looks like Hollywood remake fodder to me.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • September 24, 2010 11:56 AM
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  • 1 Comment

Howl Review: Doc/Drama Hybrid Misfires, Franco Soars

Howl is an ambitious and admirable film from documentarians Rob Epstein and Jeffrey Friedman (The Times of Harvey Milk). The filmmakers started out trying to make a documentary, but wanted to be able to show poet Allen Ginsberg as a young man, delivering the searing, profane classic poem “Howl” in 1955. They workshopped the movie at various Sundance labs, but the transition from doc to dramatic feature is an awkward one. The documentarians fell into the trap of trying to make everything based on real life, including the “Howl” obscenity trial that made Ginsberg famous—but putting well-known actors Bob Balaban, David Straithairn and Jon Hamm, skilled as they are, into the courtroom just serves to underscore its inauthenticity.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • September 24, 2010 11:23 AM
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Two Social Network Clips, NYFF Press Conference, Live MySpace Webcast

Check out these two clips from David Fincher's The Social Network, starring Jesse Eisenberg as Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg, which opens the NYFF Friday night. And here's a link to the NYFF press conference. Billionaire Zuckerberg, 26, appears on Oprah Friday to announce his $100-million donation to the Newark schools, one week before The Social Network opens. "People don't care what people say about you in a movie," he told ABC's Diane Sawyer, "they care what you build." Fascinating interview. Eisenberg got the eyes right.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • September 24, 2010 4:03 AM
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  • 4 Comments

Video: Phoenix on Letterman

David Letterman welcomed a slim and shaved Joaquin Phoenix back on The Late Show after a year and half, saying that on February 11, 2009, "he looked like he was sitting on a piece of cheese and swallowed a live mouse." Letterman wasn't in on the act, but said, "I'd be half a dumbbell not to be in on it," he said. "He was a side of beef in a suit. It's like he brought out the heavy bag and turned me loose. What else could I do?" Letterman played into Phoenix's hands, he told him: "You came out looking for a beat-down and you got one."
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • September 23, 2010 9:25 AM
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More: Video, TV

Magnolia/Magnet Add Fest Fave 13 Assassins to Asian Roster

Continuing to show their ownership of Asian action fare, Magnolia's genre label Magnet Releasing scooped up U.S. rights to Takashi Miike’s 19th century samurai action flick 13 Assassins, which recently played the Venice and Toronto fests, will screen at the London fest and closes Fantastic Fest in Austin.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • September 23, 2010 6:01 AM
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Trailer Watch: Kate Winslet as Mildred Pierce

One of the great, satisfying page-turners is James M. Cain's 1941 Mildred Pierce, which was turned into an excellent 1945 movie starring Joan Crawford. (Several of Cain's hardboiled novels worked as films, including The Postman Always Rings Twice and Double Indemnity). Well, the Killer team of Christine Vachon and Todd Haynes have adapted the novel into a five-part HBO mini-series. The trailer ran before HBO's debut of Boardwalk Empire Sunday night.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • September 20, 2010 3:25 AM
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TIFF Client 9: The Rise and Fall of Eliot Spitzer Review, and Alex Gibney Talks

Alex Gibney's hugely entertaining Eliot Spitzer doc, Client 9: The Rise and Fall of Elliot Spitzer, is a leading contender for this year's doc Oscar. The movie is full of surprises. In my flip cam interview with Gibney (below) he explains how the story he tells turned out far different from what he thought it would be, and why Wall Street Masters of the Universe were so eager to go on camera to chortle over Spitzer's dramatic comedown: "They wanted to stamp on Spitzer's grave," Gibney admits. 'It's not stretching the truth to say they hated this man."
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • September 17, 2010 12:43 PM
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  • 1 Comment

Clip Watch: Mirren, Willis Play CIA Seniors in Red

Summit introduced their grown-up thriller Red at Comic-Con, where star Helen Mirren wore an American Splendor t-shirt in solidarity with the late great Harvey Pekar.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • September 17, 2010 9:46 AM
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  • 0 Comments

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