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Thompson on Hollywood

Venice Day One: Black Swan Early Reviews, Machete

Venice Day One: Black Swan Early Reviews, Machete
As a Venice newbie, I got off the speed train from Rome, exited the station to a canal and grabbed a 40-minute ferry to the island the Lido. It's an adjustment. Basically a subway is a ferry here, a taxi is a motor boat or gondola, and houses have water in their basements with a garage for their boat (below). Trucks are boats too; Venice is under constant construction, like New Orleans. The Lido is a lovely resort (a bit like Fire Island or Catalina); I figured out that I needed to rent a bike to get around (I get a silly kick out of passing slow riders on the left). The casino location of the film festival (this is the 67th) is a maze of corridors, high-ceilinged halls, wide stairways and long lines for multiple screenings.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • September 1, 2010 1:25 AM
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  • 1 Comment

First Look: Coen Brothers' True Grit

Here's a first look at the Coen Brother's True Grit, which was filmed (along with another western, Cowboys & Aliens) around the Southwest. Paramount has released this still of grizzled Jeff Bridges and Hailee Steinfeld as Rooster Cogburn and Mattie Ross, respectively.
  • By Sophia Savage
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  • August 19, 2010 6:15 AM
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  • 4 Comments

Craig Nails Down Girl with Dragon Tattoo and Sequels

As I watched Daniel Craig at Comic-Con and the footage from Jon Favreau's Cowboys and Aliens, I crossed my fingers that he would play Mikael Blomqvist in The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. And sure enough, Deadline reports that the deal is done.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • July 26, 2010 8:21 AM
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  • 2 Comments

Comic-Con: Stabbing Over Seat Delays Universal Hall H Panel, Cowboys & Aliens

There were many delays in Hall H Saturday. One of them came around 4:45 PM when one over-wrought attendee stabbed another in the face, causing what the cops called a minor injury. Here's Variety's report. Six thousand movie fans stood in long lines to get into the packed Hall for the Warner Bros. panel that morning, which unveiled Ryan Reynolds as Green Lantern and wowed the crowd with new footage of Part I of the Harry Potter finale.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • July 25, 2010 3:20 AM
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  • 1 Comment

Starz Seeks Next Sopranos, Shyamalan Circulates New Script, 3-D Decline, Jonah Hex Misfire

- In a bid to compete with HBO and Showtime, Starz has acquired the U.S. rights to remake the successful and critically acclaimed Aussie drama Underbelly, based on a real life '70s crime family. Former HBO chief Chris Albrecht (who launched The Sopranos) took over as Starz CEO last December. Vulture reports that Underbelly, along with UK show Torchwood and a planned Camelot saga, spearhead Starz's latest programming push. While the crime theme underlines both The Sopranos and Underbelly, it is new for Albrecht to look outside for inspiration. During his twenty-plus years at HBO, he tended to create original programming in-house. Things have changed; old content finds sizable viewership on channels like AMC, and audiences' appeal can be targeted more globally than locally.
  • By Sophia Savage
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  • June 22, 2010 3:32 AM
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  • 3 Comments

Weekend Box Office: Toy Story 3 Breaks Disney/Pixar Record, Jonah Hex D.O.A.

After a rousing $41 million Friday, universally praised Pixar sequel Toy Story 3 racked up an estimated $109 million three-day weekend, a record, reports Anthony D'Alessandro. That makes Pixar's unbroken string of blockbusters 11 for 11. The western Jonah Hex was dead on arrival.
  • By Anthony D'Alessandro
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  • June 20, 2010 4:06 AM
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  • 6 Comments

RIP: Cinematographer William Fraker

One of Hollywood's great cinematographers, William Fraker, succumbed to cancer Monday at age 86. While D.P.'s can be cranky, Fraker was known for his affability and exacting standards on sets, from Rosemary's Baby, Bullitt, 1941, Close Encounters and One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest to Tombstone and Heaven Can Wait. A Naval veteran of World War II, Fraker attended USC's School of Cinema under the G.I. Bill. He grew into one of the defining film talents to emerge in the 60s and worked productively well into his 80s: his last film was 2002's Waking Up in Reno.
  • By Cameron Carlson
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  • June 2, 2010 8:52 AM
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Weekend Viewing: Appaloosa, Nick and Norah, Religulous

The younger generation--even smart cinephiles--doesn't like westerns anymore. The period is just too far away for them, they don't relate. It's a genre that isn't surviving. It had its place in American history: basically, western tropes have been absorbed into other genres like action adventures and sci-fi fantasy.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • October 6, 2008 9:31 AM
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  • 0 Comments

Westerns Top 100 List Sucks: Shane Number One

Check out this list of top 100 westerns of all time from the Western Writers of America. They should be ashamed of themselves for these woeful rankings.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • July 2, 2008 7:31 AM
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  • 1 Comment

Oscar Watch: Seeking Consensus

While I admire Kris Tapley's attempt to make some sense out of the blizzard of Oscar predictions out there, I remain convinced that until the prognosticators see Charlie Wilson's War and Sweeney Todd, the two films that many of us got invited to see Monday, none of these lists make much sense. Richard Corliss in Time suggests that "audiences will have a great time watching" Charlie Wilson's War, which seemed to play for Oprah Winfrey's Chicago audience. Oprah raved about Philip Seymour Hoffman's performance, as guests Tom Hanks and Julia Roberts (who tried to get out of shooting a bikini scene while four weeks pregnant) nodded politely. My hunch is that Hoffman won't get nommed for best actor for The Savages or Before the Devil Knows You're Dead, but will get a supporting nom for Charlie Wilson's War.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • November 20, 2007 7:13 AM
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  • 0 Comments

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