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Thompson on Hollywood

Trailer Watch: The Last Station Stars Mirren, Plummer, McAvoy

I discovered Michael Hoffman's excellent literary adaptation The Last Station at Telluride; here's my feature. Sony Pictures Classics picked it up and is mounting an Oscar campaign for James McAvoy for best actor, Helen Mirren for best actress and Christopher Plummer for supporting (that's because they're putting him up for best actor for The Imaginarium of Dr. Parnassus). I figure Mirren has the best shot. The movie opens December 4.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • November 25, 2009 6:47 AM
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John Woo Talks Red Cliff

John Woo Talks Red Cliff
John Woo's historic epic Red Cliff is one of the best films of the year. Already a huge hit in Asia, which financed the original two-part $80-million five-hour war film (the most expensive movie ever produced in China), the two-and-a half-hour western cut of Red Cliff launched stateside last week in New York without much fanfare, and opens on 30 screens in 15 markets including L.A. this holiday weekend. The reviews are strong (Tomatometer 86%, Metascore 73.)
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • November 25, 2009 1:12 AM
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  • 4 Comments

Avatar May Debut at Knowles Butt-Numb-A-Thon

AICN's Harry Knowles has long cultivated close friendships with powerful filmmakers. Peter Jackson showed him The Lovely Bones before any one else, and now I hear that James Cameron, who often calls Knowles when he wants to promote something, is trying to override studio Twentieth Century Fox's antipathy toward the Austin-based webmaster (who likes to blast co-chairman Tom Rothman) by giving him Avatar to screen at his annual December 24-hour film marathon Butt-Numb-A-Thon. The BNAT shows classic films as well as such premieres as The Passion of the Christ, Jackson's The Lord of the Rings trilogy and King Kong, Dreamgirls, Chicago, Magnolia, Knocked Up, 300 and V for Vendetta.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • November 24, 2009 9:37 AM
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  • 2 Comments

Joseph Gordon-Levitt Makes 'Em Laugh on SNL

I have always dug Joseph Gordon-Levitt, from success d'estime Brick to Searchlight hit 500 Days of Summer. But did I know he had Donald O'Connor in him? No! Check out his gut-splitting, floor-to-ceiling rendition of Singing in the Rain's "Make 'Em Laugh:"
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • November 23, 2009 11:24 AM
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  • 3 Comments
More: Video, TV

Avatar Featurette Hypes Hardware

This Avatar international featurette invites viewers to engage with the exotic planet Pandora and the human hardware that James Cameron and Co. designed for this movie. We see Sam Worthington arriving on the hostile planet where scientist Sigourney Weaver and pilot Michelle Rodriguez do their rounds, under the watchful eye of tough-talking macho-security chief Stephen Lang.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • November 20, 2009 2:49 AM
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Hillcoat Talks The Road

It's been a long haul for the film adaptation of the 2006 Cormac McCarthy bestseller The Road, which producer Nick Wechsler acquired before it was published. With backing from 2929 Entertainment and distributor The Weinstein Co., he approached Australian director John Hillcoat after he had made the much-admired 2005 western The Proposition, a stylishly gritty take on the genre written by Nick Cave and starring Guy Pearce and Danny Huston as estranged brothers.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • November 19, 2009 9:23 AM
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  • 0 Comments

Kevin Smith vs. Bruce Willis: "A Lion in Winter"

Kevin Smith has been open about his difficulties directing Bruce Willis on the set of his new comedy co-starring Tracy Morgan, A Couple of Cops. "He's undirectable," he said. At the New Moon premiere Smith kidded producer James Jacks, saying, "Dude, why didn't you tell me!" The movie may have turned out okay (here's an early AICN review), but point is, Smith and I agreed, the glory days for stars are over.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • November 19, 2009 7:44 AM
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  • 5 Comments

The Twilight Saga: New Moon Premiere

The hot ticket in Hollywood Monday night was the Twilight Saga: New Moon premiere in Westwood. While diehard fans camped out all weekend for the chance to win tickets to the event, Hollywood dads scored tickets to win points with their daughters. One father after another scratched his head over the movie, but their teenagers were all smiles. The Mann Village in Westwood was packed with young girls. Director Todd Field flew in from Maine with his daughter and a pal; also spotted with their kinder were Larry David, Jim Stern and Kevin Smith, who said, "Now I know how clueless my parents felt when they took me to see The Empire Strikes Back."
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • November 17, 2009 7:11 AM
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  • 6 Comments

Ten Things I Learned at the Governors Awards

Ten Things I Learned at the Governors Awards
1. The Governors Awards will not be televised. At the orange Grand Ballroom at Hollywood and Highland Saturday night, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences gave out four honorary Oscars at a new annual event on the awards calendar. Academy executive director Bruce Davis, president Tom Sherak, Oscar show producers Bill Mechanic and Adam Shankman, and Oscar-host-to-be Alec Baldwin all attended this relaxed, celebratory black-tie cocktail and dinner party. The ceremony awarding four honorary Oscars to actress Lauren Bacall, producers John Calley and Roger Corman and cinematographer Gordon Willis, punctuated by repeated standing ovations, lasted three hours and 18 minutes, to be exact.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • November 15, 2009 8:13 AM
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  • 5 Comments

South Park Skewers The Cove and Avatar

Bad news: the dolphin-killing expose The Cove did not land an International Documentary Association best feature nomination.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • November 14, 2009 8:54 AM
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  • 3 Comments

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