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Thompson on Hollywood

Rudin Talks True Grit, Producing Quality Films at Studios: "It's harder than it's ever been"

Rudin Talks True Grit, Producing Quality Films at Studios: "It's harder than it's ever been"
Most weekdays, producer Scott Rudin, 52, starts off with an early breakfast meeting or two at a Madison Avenue cafe. One recent week, he met at 8 AM with Lena Dunham, the young filmmaker he plucked to adapt and direct Dash & Lily's Book of Dares, well before Tiny Furniture became a film du jour; he met me the following day at the same hour. How did he find out about Dunham? He has a deal with former assistants Jay Van Hoy and Lars Knudsen, producers at Parts and Labor (The Exploding Girl): he covers their overhead in exchange for them sending him their talent discoveries. That's how he got to see Tiny Furniture. As he was watching it, Rudin realized that he knew Dunham's artist parents, Laurie Simmons and Carroll Dunham. Rudin thinks their daughter is "a total star.”
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • December 23, 2010 5:28 AM
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  • 3 Comments

Holiday Box Office Preview: True Grit vs. Little Fockers

Every year the studios dream of scooping up Christmas holiday sugar plums. Will they find them this season? Anthony D'Alessandro makes a fearless holiday box office forecast:What present do the majors want to open under the Christmas tree? A box office full of cash. "There’s no better time of year for adult moviegoing then the week between Christmas and New Year’s,” says Paramount distribution exec vp Don Harris. “Good movies play well to everybody. The play’s the thing.”
  • By Anthony D'Alessandro
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  • December 23, 2010 1:58 AM
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  • 2 Comments

Oscar Talk: 2010 Ten Best Lists, from "Another Year" to "Winter's Bone"

Oscar Talk: 2010 Ten Best Lists, from "Another Year" to "Winter's Bone"
On Oscar Talk this week, as promised, Kris Tapley and I count down, defend and debate our rather diverse and distinctive top ten films of 2010. While we both include The Social Network and Toy Story 3, we agree to disagree on one of my faves, Lisa Cholodenko's The Kids Are All Right and Martin Scorsese's Shutter Island, which Kris admires. Notable omissions from both lists: 127 Hours, Rabbit Hole, Blue Valentine, Get Low, The Town, Inception, The Fighter and The Ghost Writer.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • December 10, 2010 8:14 AM
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  • 3 Comments

Oscar Watch: NY Times Actors Video Gallery

Let us distract you with The New York Times' Fourteen Actors Acting: A Video Gallery of Classic Screen Types. They look like B & W portraits (and we've included stills here) but are actually mini-videos rounding up faces from the past year: Javier Bardem, James Franco, Natalie Portman, Jesse Eisenberg, Chloe Moretz, Matt Damon, Michael Douglas, Jennifer Lawrence, Noomi Rapace, Vincent Cassell, Anthony Mackie, Robert Duvall, Lesley Manville and Tilda Swinton.
  • By Sophia Savage
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  • December 8, 2010 8:08 AM
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  • 0 Comments

True Grit Early Reviews: "Accessible, Simple, Mythic and Beautiful," "Thirsting For More" [Updated]

True Grit Early Reviews: "Accessible, Simple, Mythic and Beautiful," "Thirsting For More" [Updated]
Anne Thompson's True Grit review headline is: Coens Deliver PG-13 Classic Western, Bridges Owns Cogburn. Here's a round-up of other early reviews [Updated with more]:
  • By Sophia Savage
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  • December 2, 2010 12:48 AM
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  • 1 Comment

True Grit Early Review: Coens Deliver PG-13 Classic Western, Bridges Owns Cogburn

True Grit Early Review: Coens Deliver PG-13 Classic Western, Bridges Owns Cogburn
Finally, the last anticipated Oscar contender has been screened and Wednesday, reviewed. The question is whether expectations of the Coens' True Grit have been overblown. Reaction at one New York screening was mixed. It's not surprising; pure westerns do not play in some quarters. Younger moviegoers don't get the genre; westerns are set in a past that is too distant and foreign. But the Academy, which trends older and male, will be far more receptive, so this well-mounted movie may well hit their soft spot. (The Gurus 'O Gold weigh in). Here is our round-up of True Grit's other early reviews.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • December 1, 2010 5:58 AM
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  • 6 Comments

Star Watch: Burlesque vs. Showgirls, True Grit's Steinfeld, X-Files' Duchovny and Anderson Reunite

- We made the comparison back on November 5 ("Burlesque...the bastard child of Moulin Rouge and Showgirls"), and now The Daily Beast has taken the Burlesque vs. Showgirls concept to new heights. They say that while Burlesque is not a notorious train-wreck like Showgirls (Cher and Christina Aguilera also hold more clout than Elizabeth Berkley did in 1995), it "is not without issues, the script being a big one, but it embraces campiness in a more jovial way, striving to be an updated Chicago or Cabaret, sans the heavy undertone issues, like abortion and anti-Semitism."
  • By Sophia Savage
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  • November 24, 2010 5:21 AM
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  • 0 Comments

True Grit Posters Starring Damon, Bridges, Brolin, Steinfeld: No Country for Old Men Redux

In a reprise of a strategy Miramax employed for producer Scott Rudin and the Coen brothers on No Country for Old Men (which eventually took home the Oscar), Paramount has designed a series of posters for the Coens' True Grit (below).
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • November 23, 2010 10:27 AM
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  • 0 Comments

Oscar Wrap: Blue Valentine's Gosling, Dive-Bombing 127 Hours, Best Actress Death Match

Blue Valentine star Ryan Gosling not only talks to Crazy, Stupid, Love co-star Steve Carell, but self-mockingly poses in tight leather in the rain for Interview Magazine. On his past Oscar nomination for Half Nelson, he says: "it feels weird…not that long ago that I was on a TV show called Young Hercules in which I had a fake tan and wore tight leather pants and fought imaginary monsters." As for working on the smaller indie films he loves, the downside is that "when you’re making them, you’re pretty sure no one’s going to see them," he notes---unless they get a nomination: "[it] in some way affirms those choices by making it possible for people to hear about a film and maybe see a movie they wouldn’t have otherwise seen."
  • By Sophia Savage
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  • October 28, 2010 7:55 AM
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  • 4 Comments

Recycling at the Cinema: True Grit, The Great Gatsby and RED

We all know recycling is good for the planet, but is it good for cinema? Consider three old-is-new retreads: a western remake, a 1920s period piece and a contemporary action flick. True Grit is a remake of a 1969 John Wayne film which was adapted from a novelization of a Charles Portis 1968 serial which first appeared in The Saturday Evening Post. The Great Gatsby started as a lauded 1925 F. Scott Fitzgerald novel which became a film in 1926 and again in 1949 and 1974. Even comedy hit RED, although it is not based on a book or an old movie, still exists--argues Movie City News--due to recycling of the DC graphic novel's plot and characters. There's nothing new here: movies have been adapting popular fiction for as long as they've been around. What's horrifying is Hollywood's current aversion to anything original.
  • By Sophia Savage
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  • October 19, 2010 6:12 AM
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  • 4 Comments

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