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Thompson on Hollywood

Weekend Preview: Washington's 'Safe House,' 'In Darkness,' 'Rampart,' 'The Vow' and 'Star Wars' in 3-D

If you like the idea of seeing "Star Wars: Episode 1 - The Phantom Menace" (and paying for it) in 3-D, go forth. However, if you want to enjoy some grittier contemporary cinema...
  • By Sophia Savage
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  • February 9, 2012 2:35 PM
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Weekend Preview: Horror Rules the Weekend with 'Woman in Black,' 'Kill List' and 'Innkeepers'; Madonna's 'W.E' Lands

This week, your best bets for weekend theater-going are all films that aim to thrill and chill. While Madonna's "W.E" has failed to get much critical support -- one critic dubbed it "a royal disaster" -- it may be worth the trip to check out Andrea Riseborough's breakout performance. The UK's "The Woman in Black," starring "Harry Potter"'s Daniel Radcliffe, as well as SXSW horror hits "Kill List" and "The Innkeepers," are nabbing upbeat reviews. Ti West's entertaining "Innkeepers" is being hailed as an ode to old-school horror. Details, reviews and trailers below:
  • By Sophia Savage
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  • February 2, 2012 12:44 PM
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Weekend Preview: Sex & Power Dominate The Box Office: Shame, Sleeping Beauty, Coriolanus, Outrage, The Lady

Forget feel-good holiday movies: themes of sex and power dominate this weekend's newcomers. Feast on the dark side before more heartwarming Christmas fare hits multiplexes--"War Horse" will loosen your tear ducts and we can assume 9/11 drama "Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close" will do the same. (Then there's that "feel bad movie" of Christmas, "The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo.")
  • By Sophia Savage
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  • December 2, 2011 12:40 PM
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WEEKEND PREVIEW: Oscar Front-runner The Descendants; Twilight, Tyrannosaur, Tomboy & More

There is something you can see in Alexander Payne's "The Descendants" that you will likely never ever see in real life: George Clooney as a cuckolded husband and the father of two daughters. But the film is down to earth, offering something you rarely see these days at the movie theater: Situations you can relate to, characters you care about, whose highs and lows don't revolve around super powers or the apocalypse. You will want to see "The Descendants" eventually, as Fox Searchlight's multiple Oscar campaigns hit full strength. Gurus o' Gold has "The Descendants" leading picture, director, screenplay and actor categories. Consider this essential viewing. Here's our interview with Payne and Oscar Talk on Clooney.
  • By Sophia Savage
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  • November 17, 2011 2:06 PM
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WEEKEND PREVIEW: Unmissable Apocalyptic Melancholia, Herzogian Into the Abyss, J Edgar & More

  • By Sophia Savage
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  • November 10, 2011 1:29 PM
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  • 1 Comment

WEEKEND PREVIEW: Ratner's Tower Heist Set to Topple Indie Docs & Dramas

Brett Ratner's timely Tower Heist taps into anti-Wall Street sentiment and is just what you'd expect: competent, breezy, escapist entertainment. The well-cast Madoff-inspired comedy--which stars Ben Stiller, Matthew Broderick, Tea Leoni, Alan Alda and Eddie Murphy in a supporting comeback bid-- is expected to take in $29 million this weekend, while A Very Harold & Kumar Christmas 3D could score $15.5 million.
  • By Anne Thompson and Sophia Savage
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  • November 3, 2011 6:34 AM
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WEEKEND PREVIEW: Like Crazy, Anonymous, Puss in Boots, In Time, The Rum Diary and More

WEEKEND PREVIEW: Like Crazy, Anonymous, Puss in Boots, In Time, The Rum Diary and More
Quite an eclectic mix of films are on offer this weekend, from the charming young love saga Like Crazy, which has been building buzz for stars Anton Yelchin and Felicity Jones ever since director Drake Doremus premiered the intimate romance at Sundance (it's indieWIRE's Pick of the Week), to Roland Emmerich's anti-Shakespeare digital costume drama Anonymous, starring Rhys Ifans and Vanessa Redgrave, to Dreamworks's Puss in Boots -- the new franchise spawned by Shrek-- and Johnny Depp's disappointing return to Hunter S. Thompson, The Rum Diary. Topliners Justin Timberlake and Amanda Seyfried fail to carry In Time, which boasts a strong sci-fi premise that its writer-director, Andrew Niccol, can't adequately serve. Indie releases Janie Jones (think Somewhere meets Crazy Heart) and The Double (think The Recruit, but with Topher Grace and Richard Gere instead of Colin Farrell and Al Pacino) are both coming up rotten on the Tomatometer.
  • By Anne Thompson and Sophia Savage
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  • October 27, 2011 6:00 AM
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Weekend Preview: Martha Marcy May Marlene, Le Havre, Margin Call, Three Musketeers & More

Weekend Preview: Martha Marcy May Marlene, Le Havre, Margin Call, Three Musketeers & More
IndieWIRE Pick of the Week Martha Marcy May Marlene and Aki Kaurismäki's Le Havre are this weekend's best bets, scoring high with critics across the board. JC Chandor's Margin Call -- a showcase for talented actors -- is arriving at a propitious moment, and could Occupy the box office with the same conviction that protesters are sticking it to Wall Street. (Producer-star Zachary Quinto's pitch-perfect coming out was also well-timed.) Brit import Oranges and Sunshine offers earnest true-story TV-level drama; critics cite Norman's always-watchable Richard Jenkins; Paranormal Activity 3 serves up ample scares; and yet another The Three Musketeers proves just how cheesy 3-D profiteering can be.
  • By Sophia Savage
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  • October 20, 2011 6:46 AM
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Weekend Preview: Almodovar's The Skin I Live In is Best Bet of Disappointing Openings

Weekend Preview: Almodovar's The Skin I Live In is Best Bet of Disappointing Openings
While it may not be his greatest film, The Skin I Live In is still essential viewing for any Pedro Almodovar fan. Just gazing at stars Antonio Banderas, Elena Anaya and the gorgeous sets within this beyond-twisted melodrama is worth the ticket price. Given the star power spread across the other films on offer, you'd think there was much to look forward to, but critics are grasping at straws trying to say positive things about the likes of Fireflies in The Garden (Julia Roberts, Ryan Reynolds, Willem Dafoe), Trespass (Nicole Kidman, Nicholas Cage), Universal's remake of The Thing (Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Eric Christian Olsen, Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje, Joel Edgerton) and The Big Year (Jack Black, Steve Martin, Owen Wilson). Ami Canaan Mann's (Michael Mann's daughter) gritty debut Texas Killing Fields, inspired by actual events, is boosted by a strong cast (Sam Worthington, Jessica Chastain, Chloe Moretz). But it's a wasted opportunity; promising moments are weakened by an uninspired script and clumsy construction. Believe it or not, the Footloose remake is making critics tap their feet.
  • By Sophia Savage
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  • October 13, 2011 5:43 AM
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Weekend Preview: Ides of March, Real Steel, The Way, Dirty Girl, War Doc Hell and Back Again

Weekend Preview: Ides of March, Real Steel, The Way, Dirty Girl, War Doc Hell and Back Again
The star power of this weekend's leading men -- George Clooney and Ryan Gosling of political drama The Ides of March and Hugh Jackman of amped-up sci-fi actioner Real Steel -- will make a dent in Dolphin Tale and Moneyball's current top spots. In the indiesphere, Mateo Gil's Blackthorn takes a bite out of Butch Cassidy legend, while Emilio Estevez's The Way aims to inspire and Abe Sylvia's reedited Dirty Girl attempts to push indie girl Juno Temple into leading lady status. In the mood for something French? Phillippe Le Guay's The Women on the 6th Floor is a charming trifle. Powerful war documentary Hell and Back Again is scoring the best reviews; it's indieWIRE's pick of the week.
  • By Sophia Savage
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  • October 6, 2011 5:40 AM
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