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9 items from 2006


Charlotte's Web

15 December 2006 | The Hollywood Reporter | See recent The Hollywood Reporter news »

This review was written for the theatrical release of "Charlotte's Web.""Charlotte's Web," the endearingly enduring 1952 E.B. White novel about friendship and salvation, has been turned into a beautifully rendered motion picture that's full of warmth, wit and wonder.

Where Paramount's 1973 incarnation was a traditionally animated, feature-length Hanna-Barbera production (featuring the voices of Debbie Reynolds, Agnes Moorhead, Paul Lynde and Charles Nelson Reilly), the new version takes its live-action cue from 1995's "Babe", combining real-life critters with CG-assisted animatronics, rather than going the fully computer-animated route.

The result, with its gently contemporized dialogue that still remains quite true to White's original wording, offers a family-friendly primer on the cycle of life that's careful to not overplay the inherent sentiment.

Factor in terrific work by an inspired cast of voices -- including Julia Roberts as Charlotte, Steve Buscemi (a perfect Templeton the Rat), John Cleese (an acerbic sheep), Oprah Winfrey (a chatty goose) and 10-year-old Dominic Scott Kay in the key role of Wilbur, the wide-eyed spring pig -- and you've got a license to spin boxoffice gold that should continue through the holidays and into the new year.

Pitch-perfect Dakota Fanning makes an ideal choice for the role of Fern Arable, the young girl who prevents her farmer father (Kevin Anderson) from disposing of the runt-of-the-litter piglet with the help of his trusty ax.

She finds an adoptive home for Wilbur over in the Zuckerman barn, where the naive porker ultimately learns from the other animals that a spring pig doesn't usually get a chance to see the first snow of winter.

Finding an ally in Charlotte, the barn's socially outcast resident spider, Wilbur is seeking nothing short of a miracle, and ultimately he secures one with the help of the articulate and artistic webmistress.

Director Gary Winick ("13 Going on 30"), working from a script by Susannah Grant ("Erin Brockovich") and "Over the Hedge" director Karey Kirkpatrick, achieves just the right balance of comedy and emotion, while his talented cast -- which also includes the voices of Kathy Bates and Reba McEntire as the quipping bovines Bitsy and Betsy, Robert Redford (!) as the extremely arachnophobic Ike the Horse and Thomas Haden Church and OutKast's Andre Benjamin as a pair of hapless, Heckle and Jeckle-type crows -- are uniformly terrific.

Meanwhile, visual FX supervisor John Andrew Berton Jr. seamlessly blends together the various old-school and new-school technologies, with the latter providing one of Charlotte's gorgeously rendered web-spinning sequences.

Elsewhere, rural Victoria, Australia, makes a genteel stand-in for Maine, while Danny Elfman's humble, eloquent score completes the extremely pleasing effect.

»

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Broadcast Film Critics Association noms

12 December 2006 | ioncinema | See recent ioncinema news »

- Promoting themselves as a barometer for Oscar predictions – this pretty much group all the favorites and safe picks. Leading the pack are “Babel," "The Departed," "Dreamgirls" and "Little Miss Sunshine" each with seven nominations each. Now its in 12th year, the Critics Choice Award is voted on by film critics from almost 200 television, radio and online critics. The 12th annual Critics’ Choice Awards ceremony will be held on Friday, January 12, 2007, at the Santa Monica Civic Auditorium. Best Picture Babel Blood Diamond The Departed Dreamgirls Letters From Iwo Jima Little Children Little Miss Sunshine Notes on a Scandal The Queen United 93 Best Actor Leonardo DiCaprio - Blood Diamond Leonardo DiCaprio - The Departed Ryan Gosling - Half Nelson Peter O'Toole - Venus Will Smith - The Pursuit of Happyness Forest Whitaker - The Last King of Scotland Best Actress Penelope Cruz - Volver Judi Dench - Notes »

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Charlotte's Web

11 December 2006 | The Hollywood Reporter | See recent The Hollywood Reporter news »

Charlotte's Web, the endearingly enduring 1952 E.B. White novel about friendship and salvation, has been turned into a beautifully rendered motion picture that's full of warmth, wit and wonder.

Where Paramount's 1973 incarnation was a traditionally animated, feature-length Hanna-Barbera production (featuring the voices of Debbie Reynolds, Agnes Moorhead, Paul Lynde and Charles Nelson Reilly), the new version takes its live-action cue from 1995's Babe, combining real-life critters with CG-assisted animatronics, rather than going the fully computer-animated route.

The result, with its gently contemporized dialogue that still remains quite true to White's original wording, offers a family-friendly primer on the cycle of life that's careful to not overplay the inherent sentiment.

Factor in terrific work by an inspired cast of voices -- including Julia Roberts as Charlotte, Steve Buscemi (a perfect Templeton the Rat), John Cleese (an acerbic sheep), Oprah Winfrey (a chatty goose) and 10-year-old Dominic Scott Kay in the key role of Wilbur, the wide-eyed spring pig -- and you've got a license to spin boxoffice gold that should continue through the holidays and into the new year.

Pitch-perfect Dakota Fanning makes an ideal choice for the role of Fern Arable, the young girl who prevents her farmer father (Kevin Anderson) from disposing of the runt-of-the-litter piglet with the help of his trusty ax.

She finds an adoptive home for Wilbur over in the Zuckerman barn, where the naive porker ultimately learns from the other animals that a spring pig doesn't usually get a chance to see the first snow of winter.

Finding an ally in Charlotte, the barn's socially outcast resident spider, Wilbur is seeking nothing short of a miracle, and ultimately he secures one with the help of the articulate and artistic webmistress.

Director Gary Winick (13 Going on 30), working from a script by Susannah Grant (Erin Brockovich) and Over the Hedge director Karey Kirkpatrick, achieves just the right balance of comedy and emotion, while his talented cast -- which also includes the voices of Kathy Bates and Reba McEntire as the quipping bovines Bitsy and Betsy, Robert Redford (!) as the extremely arachnophobic Ike the Horse and Thomas Haden Church and OutKast's Andre Benjamin as a pair of hapless, Heckle and Jeckle-type crows -- are uniformly terrific.

Meanwhile, visual FX supervisor John Andrew Berton Jr. seamlessly blends together the various old-school and new-school technologies, with the latter providing one of Charlotte's gorgeously rendered web-spinning sequences.

Elsewhere, rural Victoria, Australia, makes a genteel stand-in for Maine, while Danny Elfman's humble, eloquent score completes the extremely pleasing effect.

»

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Fanning Hoping 'Hounddog 'Will Win Her an Oscar

31 July 2006 | WENN | See recent WENN news »

Child actress Dakota Fanning is set to shock fans in new movie Hounddog, because she has shot child rape scenes and appears semi-naked. The controversial film written and directed by Deborah Kampmeier is a dark and violent story set in American's rural south - and the 12-year-old's mother and agent are convinced her gritty performance is Oscar-worthy. Agent Joy Osbrink tells the New York Daily News, "It's not just the rape scene - the whole story is challenging Dakota as an actress. And I've never been so proud of her in my life. I've seen the dailies, and in every scene she gets better and better." »

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Dakota Joins Oscars Panel

6 July 2006 | WENN | See recent WENN news »

Little Dakota Fanning has become a major player in Hollywood after being named among the 120 new members of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences. The 12-year-old will join Joaquin Phoenix, Felicity Huffman, Jake Gyllenhaal and Crash star Terrence Howard among the non Academy Award winners who can now vote at the Oscars. »

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Hatcher does double duty in 'Coraline'

23 May 2006 | The Hollywood Reporter | See recent The Hollywood Reporter news »

Teri Hatcher will voice a dual role opposite Dakota Fanning in Coraline, the first animated film from Laika Entertainment, Phil Knight's animation studio based in Portland, Ore. Focus Features has worldwide sales distribution rights to director Henry Selick's adaptation of Neil Gaiman's 2002 international best-seller, which features songs from They Might Be Giants. Hatcher plays both the mother of the title character (voiced by Fanning) and her other mother in a parallel universe. The young Coraline steps into a world that appears to be a much better version of her own reality, but when her artificial parents attempt to keep her there forever, she must escape the dangerous situation and take a brave journey to get back home. »

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Fanning gets support prize from ShoWest

10 March 2006 | The Hollywood Reporter | See recent The Hollywood Reporter news »

Dakota Fanning will be feted as ShoWest Supporting Actress of the Year at the ShoWest exhibitors' convention, which kicks off Monday in Las Vegas. Fanning will receive the honor at the closing night ceremony Thursday at Bally's and Paris hotels. "Since her big-screen debut at the age of 7, Dakota Fanning has impressed audiences worldwide with her unique ability to capture the spirit of each and every character she portrays," said Mitch Neuhauser, co-managing director of the event. Fanning will next be seen in the Paramount Pictures/Walden Media live-action version of E.B. White's novel Charlotte's Web. A Nickelodeon Movies/Kerner Entertainment Co. production, the film will bow in December. The young actress' credits include I Am Sam, Man on Fire, War of the Worlds and the TV miniseries Taken. ShoWest is managed by the VNU Expositions Film Group, a division of VNU Business Media, which also is the parent of The Hollywood Reporter. »

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Walden joins Mandate in 'Emporium'

10 March 2006 | The Hollywood Reporter | See recent The Hollywood Reporter news »

Walden Media has come on board to co-finance with Mandate Pictures Mr. Magorium's Wonder Emporium, starring Natalie Portman, Dustin Hoffman and Jason Bateman. Richard Gladstein and Jim Garavente are producing the film, which marks Zach Helm's directorial debut. Production will begin this month in Toronto. Upcoming Walden films include Carl Hiaasen's Hoot, Thomas Rockwell's How to Eat Fried Worms and the Dakota Fanning starrer Charlotte's Web. The company also is developing the second installment of The Chronicles of Narnia. »

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Spielberg Tries to Force Griffin to Apologize

10 January 2006 | WENN | See recent WENN news »

Filmmaker Steven Spielberg has infuriated U.S. comedienne Kathy Griffin by pressuring her to apologize after she joked his 10-year-old acting protegee Dakota Fanning had been admitted to rehab. Griffin made the joke at last year's Golden Globe Awards, leaving Spielberg fuming. But the 44-year-old insists the maverick director should have been more focused on his War of the Worlds lead Tom Cruise's outrageous declarations of love for Katie Holmes, than her harmless humor. She says, "I think Steven Spielberg has a lot of nerve. I don't care how big you are, you will not trample on my, or anyone else's, First Amendment rights. That makes me furious. "I get a call from the lawyers, and they're, like, 'DreamWorks is furious about the whole Dakota Fanning thing, and they're livid, and Spielberg is personally furious, and DreamWorks is putting you on a list, and they demand an apology.' "As if War of the Worlds didn't have bigger fish to fry. With Tom Cruise losing his (mind) on The Oprah Winfrey Show and the Today show and everything else, they're all worried about my Fanning joke, right?" A spokesman for Spielberg tells PageSix.com, "I think it was made very obvious that people were very upset and they were looking for some sort of an apology. It was a very upsetting thing for a young child and her family. "Obviously, to Kathy Griffin it was a joke, but why make a joke out of (Fanning)? She's a terrific young lady who was there with her family, and it was very upsetting." »

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9 items from 2006


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