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Thompson on Hollywood

Transformers 3 Set to Slaughter 2-D Field; Plus Terri, Aurora, Perfect Host, Uninspired Larry Crowne

Transformers 3 Set to Slaughter 2-D Field; Plus Terri, Aurora, Perfect Host, Uninspired Larry Crowne
Michael Bay's Transformers: Dark of the Moon, in all its 3-D glory, is going to score huge and remind us that good acting doesn't always accompany box office success. The visual payoff, especially in IMAX 3-D, is worth the ticket price, and reinstates 3-D as a positive cinematic achievement after months of disappointments. One critic speculates: “One gets the feeling that if [director Michael] Bay could stop including people in his films altogether we’d all have a much better time with this franchise.” Tom Hanks' adult-targeted counterprogrammer Larry Crowne, despite having America's Sweetheart (Julia Roberts) and America's Other Sweetheart (Hanks himself), is having a hard time convincing anyone it's worthwhile. The WSJ's John Anderson says: "You wonder who thought any of this was funny."
  • By Sophia Savage
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  • July 1, 2011 5:35 AM
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  • 2 Comments

Weekend Preview: Bad Teacher, Cars 2, Leap Year's Graphic Sex, Conan O'Brien, Better Life & More

While Cars 2 trends rotten and Cameron Diaz gets dirty for Bad Teacher, several worthwhile indies are also in theaters this weekend. ThePlaylist calls Conan O'Brien Can't Stop a "winning, charming, you’ll-miss-stuff-because-you’re-still-laughing-too-hard concert documentary and a peek behind Conan’s psychological curtain." It's also indieWIRE's Pick of the Week. NYT's Stephen Holden says If A Tree Falls's "sobriety and carefully balanced arguments make it an exemplary piece of reporting, although its emotional heat rarely rises to a boil," while Manohla Dargis says Chris Weitz's scaling down for A Better Life has "done him good."
  • By Sophia Savage
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  • June 24, 2011 5:30 AM
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  • 0 Comments

Green Lantern and Mr. Popper's Penguins Could Disappoint, Buck, Page One, Art of Getting By

No one expected Warners' DC movie Green Lantern to score with critics (it managed a mere 22% Tomatometer score), as opposed to well-reviewed Super 8 and X-Men: First Class, which are still going strong at the box office. But Warners is putting $100 million of marketing muscle behind the $200 million movie. An entire franchise is at stake. They're so confident that they introduce a new villain at the end. (Anyone who's read the comics already knows he's a bad guy.) Box office prognosticators are upbeat, predicting a $50 to 60 million weekend; so far the movie is off to a strong start on 3816 screens, 2711 of them 3-D.
  • By Anne Thompson and Sophia Savage
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  • June 17, 2011 5:22 AM
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  • 0 Comments

Weekend Preview: X-Men Lands with Naked Mystique, Indies Beginners and Submarine Are Must-Sees

It's a weekend of stellar and star-packed openings, with well-reviewed X-Men: First Class opening (finally fanboys get a glimpse at naked Jennifer Lawrence as Mystique, picture below), along with buzzing indies Beginners, Submarine and Beautiful Boy. While Christopher Plummer and Ewan McGregor shine in Mike Mills' Beginners, and in rookie Richard Ayoade's Submarine the "excruciating and the hilarious mingle nearly to perfection, Shawn Ku's Beautiful Boy throws a pity party. Stars Maria Bello and Michael Sheen give as much as they can, but their audience will be severely limited by this grief-stricken drama that labors more than it elevates.
  • By Sophia Savage and Anne Thompson
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  • June 3, 2011 4:27 AM
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  • 0 Comments

Thor Will Molest Your Eye Sockets, Plus: Something Borrowed, The Beaver, Last Night, Passion Play

Thor Will Molest Your Eye Sockets, Plus: Something Borrowed, The Beaver, Last Night, Passion Play
Finally, as summer is nigh, moviegoers are faced with a wide range of prospects this weekend. Jodie Foster's The Beaver delivers a solid family drama with a standout performance from Mel Gibson--even if it's duller than his tabloid life. Something Borrowed tries to be more than your average rom-com--and fails. Marvel's Thor is well inside the comfort zone for folks who grew up on the comic books; its strong cast and huge budget deliver, especially the magnificent Chris Hemsworth, whose "gigantic man-boobs and superhero six-pack molested our eye sockets in all of their 3D glory," reports MCN's Heather Havrilesky.
  • By Anne Thompson and Sophia Savage
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  • May 6, 2011 4:19 AM
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  • 1 Comment

Weekend Preview: Fast Five Pumps Testosterone, Prom Tween Fantasy, 13 Assassins, Cave 3-D, The Arbor

It's a weekend of extremes, with the Fast Five testosterone-fest, a Prom tween fantasy, not one but 13 Assassins and a Hoodwinked Too! that no one asked for. Several indie gems are mixed in with some less-inspiring releases: we recommend Werner Herzog's Cave of Forgotten Dreams in 3-D and Clio Bernard's documentary on playwright Andrea Dunbar, The Arbor, a film that turns the term 'documentary' on its head but "once you settle in, [Bernard's technique] proves enormously effective," writes ThePlaylist. "Barnard is able to expertly weave the narrative, dropping hints of the darkness early on while never quite giving the game away."
  • By Sophia Savage
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  • April 29, 2011 5:59 AM
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  • 0 Comments

Weekend Preview: Madea, RPattz, Witherspoon & Elephants, Greatest Movie Ever Sold, Incendies

Weekend Preview: Madea, RPattz, Witherspoon & Elephants, Greatest Movie Ever Sold, Incendies
Tyler Perry fans and Robert Pattinson shriekers can flock to theaters this weekend. In the meantime, check out a variety of alternatives from the indiesphere.
  • By Sophia Savage and Anne Thompson
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  • April 22, 2011 7:15 AM
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  • 1 Comment

Weekend Preview: Indie & Foreign Films to See: Princess of Montpensier, Screaming Man, Armadillo

Here's TOH's weekend preview of the mainstream box office contenders. And for the smart-movie demo, here's a look at the weekend's new indie and foreign language offerings, from Bertrand Tavernier's The Princess of Montpensier (gorgeous, as pictured) and Danish war documentaryArmadillo, to Italy's Oscar submission The First Beautiful Thing and the France/Belgium/Chad co-production A Screaming Man, which indieWIRE's Eric Kohn calls Divine.
  • By Sophia Savage
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  • April 15, 2011 6:20 AM
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  • 0 Comments

Weekend Boxoffice Looks Up as Family Toon Rio Faces Horror Comedy Scream 4

Studios keep insisting that spring doldrums will give way to summer-level box office when the right product hits the marketplace. Well, that might be this weekend, reports Anthony D'Alessandro:Looking to buck the box office blues, 20th Century Fox is banking that families will cha-cha into theatres for their 3-D toon Rio, while Dimension Films is planning to scare both old fans and new into its horror four-quel Scream 4. Per Box Office Mojo, the annual box office through yesterday is at $2.4 billion, off 22% from the January – mid April frame a year ago.
  • By Anthony D'Alessandro
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  • April 14, 2011 10:53 AM
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  • 0 Comments

Weekend Preview: Tough Girls vs. Male Juveniles, Must-Sees Hanna & Meek's Cutoff

Comedies Your Highness and Arthur present mainstream escapist fun and antics (from the likes of Danny McBride, James Franco and Russell Brand), as well as thankless supporting females (Natalie Portman, Zooey Deschanel, Greta Gerwig, Jennifer Garner) while Focus's Hanna leads the line of strong female leads (Saoirse Ronan and Cate Blanchett), followed by Meek's Cutoff's Michelle Williams and Soul Surfer's Annasophia Robb and Helen Hunt. Vera Farmiga steals the show in well-reviewed indie release Henry's Crime; Uma Thurman adds star power to Ceremony. The Flixster forecast puts must-see Hanna on top. Details, reviews, pictures and trailers for this weekend's offerings are below.
  • By Sophia Savage
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  • April 8, 2011 5:23 AM
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  • 1 Comment

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