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20 items from 2011


James Bond 23: Mendes' Skyfall Starts Shooting, Craig Joined by Finney, Bardem, Fiennes Updated

3 November 2011 10:11 AM, PDT | Thompson on Hollywood | See recent Thompson on Hollywood news »

At a press conference in London’s Whitehall district Thursday, director Sam Mendes confirmed the swirls of rumors surrounding Bond 23, from the new title to casting. Matt Mueller was there. Confirming weeks of speculation, with producer Michael G. Wilson calling it “the worst kept secret in London”, the title of the 23rd official 007 adventure was today unveiled as Skyfall. The choice of location was deliberate, according to Mendes: Whitehall, Britain’s corridor of power, will play host to “a large section of shooting” on the latest James Bond production, which officially begins on 7 November. Fifty years to the day from Sean Connery being announced as the original 007, Mendes introduced Daniel Craig, Dame Judi Dench, returning as M for the seventh time, Javier Bardem »

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Doha Tribeca Film Fest Report: From Banderas in Black Gold to Winners Spurlock and Labaki

1 November 2011 9:04 AM, PDT | Thompson on Hollywood | See recent Thompson on Hollywood news »

The Doha Tribeca FIlm Festival is growing by leaps and bounds; our peripatetic European correspondent Matt Mueller reports from Qatar.Now in its third year, the Doha Tribeca Film Festival in Qatar has some catching up to do with its more established United Arab Emirate cousins, the nearby festivals in Abu Dhabi and Dubai, but enthusiasm and passion are evident among its organisers and programmers – and with the Qatari regime fully backing it with extremely deep pockets, Doha Tribeca is here to stay. If you were a Doha resident, there was no getting away from the fact that a film festival was going on, with posters and banners plastered all over the city and a massive fleet of branded courtesy cars ferrying filmmakers, industry folk, »

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London Film Fest Closes with Deep Blue Sea, Awards for Ramsay's Kevin, Herzog's Into the Abyss

28 October 2011 1:24 PM, PDT | Thompson on Hollywood | See recent Thompson on Hollywood news »

Matt Mueller reports back on the final day and winners of the BFI London Film Festival:The BFI London Film Festival bowed out last night with the European debut of Terence DaviesThe Deep Blue Sea, wrapping up after 16 days, the unspooling of 207 fiction and documentary features and a smattering of Hollywood stars on hand to unveil their projects in front of the UK capital’s cinema-devouring crowd. George Clooney graced the Lff red carpet two nights running for the gala premieres of The Ides Of March and The Descendants. Also putting in red-carpet tours of duty were Keira Knightley, Michael Fassbender and Viggo Mortensen for A Dangerous Method, Woody Harrelson for Rampart, Joely Richardson and Roland Emmerich for Anonymous, Madonna for W.E., Freida Pinto »

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London Film Fest Reviews of New Brit Flicks: Hunky Dory, The Awakening, Wild Bill Are Winners

26 October 2011 11:27 AM, PDT | Thompson on Hollywood | See recent Thompson on Hollywood news »

London critic Matt Mueller finds three winners among the smattering of new Brit films unspooling at the London Film Fest. This year’s London Film Festival has played host to more than a dozen new British features, several of them world premieres. Many fall under the banner of the grim and uncompromising but instantly forgettable social-statement tracts that too many British filmmakers seem in thrall to, as if making your feature an unpleasant ordeal is the ultimate arbiter of artistic success. This year’s entries include Sket, a tiresomely misogynistic urban gang drama, and Junkhearts, the bitter tale of an ex-British soldier suffering from post-traumatic stress (Eddie Marsan) who takes a homeless girl (Candese Reid) into his flat with punishing consequences. Far more effective despite its disturbing »

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Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy Image Gallery with Character Profiles: Oldman, Firth, Hardy

25 October 2011 10:55 AM, PDT | Thompson on Hollywood | See recent Thompson on Hollywood news »

Taking a page from the marketing campaign behind The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, for which these character profiles were done, Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy has a new image gallery on iTunes that profiles the leading men--including Gary Oldman, Colin Firth and Tom Hardy--of the Tomas Alfredson film based on John le Carré's novel. Check them all out here and below. Here is Toh! London critic Matt Mueller's review of the film, which premiered at Venice. He calls it good, but not superb. Here's the trailer. »

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Rio Int'l Film Fest Winners; Rio Seeks More Premieres Like Twilight, More Fast Fives and Woody Allen

19 October 2011 12:31 PM, PDT | Thompson on Hollywood | See recent Thompson on Hollywood news »

The Rio International Film Festival and its host city are pushing to get their close up, reports Matt Mueller:Rio de Janeiro’s annual film festival wrapped today, but the city wants to keep the spotlight shining, forking out $500K for “picture-postcard” advertising in Twilight: Breaking Dawn and courting Woody Allen to shoot his next film there. The Rio de Janeiro International Film Festival finished its 12-day run today with the world premiere of Walter Carvalho’s music documentary Raul. But what stood out more than the quality of Brazilian films that screened (somewhat lacklustre, if truth be told) was a sense that Rio is a metropolis jostling to position itself as the cinema capital of Latin America – and poised expectantly for its moment in the sun. »

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Adventures of Tintin Early Reviews are Mixed: Delightful, Dazzling, CG Wizardry, Vidgame Action

17 October 2011 11:34 AM, PDT | Thompson on Hollywood | See recent Thompson on Hollywood news »

Despite his stellar review, Toh! London critic Matt Mueller says there are a few drawbacks to Steven Spielberg and Peter Jackson's The Adventures of Tintin: The Secret of the Unicorn. An "almost bombastically annoying" John Williams score, for one, creepy close-ups of Tintin are thankfully few, and a "ridiculously frantic and breathless pace" join what some other critics aren't so impressed with. But there are many fans, which should help Tintin reel in an impressive global box office (October 26 overseas, December 21 in the Us). Check out the early reviews and trailer below: Matt Mueller, Toh! "[It] delivers the frolicking, boy’s-own-adventure goods in delightful, delirious spades. From frequently breathtaking animated imagery to superb vocal outings by its British cast and a tight screenplay (by »

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Review: Spielberg's The Adventures of Tintin: Secret Of The Unicorn

16 October 2011 10:08 AM, PDT | Thompson on Hollywood | See recent Thompson on Hollywood news »

Our London film critic Matt Mueller reviews The Adventures Of Tintin: Secret of the Unicorn, which left him out of breath. The film opens overseas starting on October 26; you'll have to wait until December 21 stateside. Steven Spielberg and Peter Jackson’s inaugural instalment in their planned Tintin trilogy delivers the frolicking, boy’s-own-adventure goods in delightful, delirious spades. From frequently breathtaking animated imagery to superb vocal outings by its British cast and a tight screenplay (by Steven Moffat, Edgar Wright and Joe Cornish) that retains the globetrotting charm of Belgian originator Herge’s comic-book series, the movie keeps a could-be-confusing plot humming along nicely while adding in dollops of wry, affectionate humour. Tintin is a fine example of what can be achieved when some of cinema’s »

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London Fest Opening Night: 360 is “Love Actually… without the laughs," Saatchi Fete Ends Early

13 October 2011 3:44 PM, PDT | Thompson on Hollywood | See recent Thompson on Hollywood news »

Matt Mueller reports from the opening night of the London Film Festival, which ended too early for his taste: The BFI London Film Festival got off to a smooth if uneventful start with chocolate in the seats, Jude Law on the red carpet (a strip of rouge that must be Opening Night’s skinniest gauntlet ever thanks to Leicester Square’s middle being walled off for a pre-Olympics overhaul) and Fernando Meirelles’ 360 on the screen. Climbing on stage to introduce his multinational cast, Meirelles professed to being “quite shocked” that 360 had been selected to open the festival’s 55th edition: “I always imagine that films that open festivals should be bombastic or controversial but this film is more a delicacy than a strong dish…” You »

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London Film Festival: Sandra Hebron Steps Down, Looks Back

10 October 2011 7:00 AM, PDT | Thompson on Hollywood | See recent Thompson on Hollywood news »

As Sandra Hebron’s reign as Artistic Director at the London Film Festival draws to a close, Matt Mueller asked her cast an eye over her final program and look back over her time steering Europe’s largest public film festival.After nine years holding the London Film Festival (Lff) reins (she stepped up from deputy in 2003), well-regarded Sandra Hebron decided that this year’s festival – its 55th edition – would be her last. The decision was partly foisted upon her as she opted not to apply when the British Film Institute declared their intention to merge her post with that of the artistic director of BFI Southbank (the old National Film Theatre). It’s not that Hebron didn’t fancy the added workload, more that it just seemed »

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Venice 2011. Tomas Alfredson's "Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy"

6 September 2011 1:07 PM, PDT | MUBI | See recent MUBI news »

"Right here, right now, it's the film to beat at this year's festival," announces the Guardian's Xan Brooks. "Nimbly navigating the labyrinthine source novel by John Le Carré, [Tomas] Alfredson eases us through a run-down 70s London, all the way to a municipal MI6 bunker, out by the train yards. This, it transpires, is 'the Circus,' a warren of narrow corridors and smoke-filled offices, patrolled by jumpy, ulcerous men with loose flesh and thinning hair, peering into the shadows in search of a spy. There's a mole at the top of the Circus, a 'deep-penetration agent' leaking secrets to the Soviets. Control (John Hurt) has narrowed the hunt to five likely suspects. Now all that remains is for diffident George Smiley (Gary Oldman), working off the books and under the radar, to steal in and identify the culprit."

Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy "is the kind of spy film where the »

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‘Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy:’ New Clip & Posters and Enthusiastic Early Buzz

6 September 2011 5:00 AM, PDT | Slash Film | See recent Slash Film news »

One of the most anticipated films of the Venice Film Festival was Tomas Alfredson's Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, which is a new take on John le Carré's 1974 cold-war thriller novel. The film remakes the well-loved 1979 BBC version starring Alec Guinness as retired MI6 agent George Smiley, called back to action to uncover a mole infesting the agency, aka 'the Circus.' This version features  Gary Oldman as Smiley, with supporting players Colin Firth, Tom Hardy, Mark Strong, Benedict Cumberbatch, Ciaran Hinds, Mark Strong, Svetlana Khodchenko, Toby Jones, John Hurt, Stephen Graham and Kathy Burke. The first reviews of the film came out of Venice over the weekend and they position the film as one that fulfills most of the hopes we've developed based upon the material and cast. Notes from a handful of reviews follow after the break, along with four artful posters and one clip from the film. »

- Russ Fischer

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Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy: Early Review Round-Up: "Chilly and Acrid" "Razor-Sharp"

5 September 2011 4:40 PM, PDT | Thompson on Hollywood | See recent Thompson on Hollywood news »

Early reviews praise Gary Oldman (The Dark Knight) in the Cold War spy thriller Tinker, Tailor, Solider, Spy, the film adaptation of John le Carre’s 1974 best-selling novel directed by Tomas Alfredson (Let the Right One In). Oldman plays MI6 agent George Smiley, previously immortalized by Alec Guinness in the 1979 BBC mini-series. Critics say that Tom Hardy also pops in the ensemble including Colin Firth, John Hurt and Benedict Cumberbatch. Focus Features will open the Working Title film on November 18. Reviews and trailer posted below. Matt Mueller, Thompson on Hollywood Alfredson’s approach to Le Carre’s tale is diligent, honourable, astute, a carefully executed whodunit that captures the stark drabness of early ‘70s Cold War Britain (the hair, suits and skin pallor all marvellously »

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Venice Review: Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy Is Good, Not Superb Spy Thriller

5 September 2011 2:00 AM, PDT | Thompson on Hollywood | See recent Thompson on Hollywood news »

Matt Mueller reviews Tomas Alfredson's Tinker, Tailor, Solider, Spy, which made its world premiere in Venice. “Trust no one,” says John Hurt, in fine fettle here as British spymaster Control, in the early stages of Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy. In the case of the talent behind this top-class adaptation, they’re words not to be heeded. Attempting to rival the BBC’s superior 1979 serialisation of John Le Carre’s espionage classic – about the hunt for a Soviet mole in the British secret service (‘The Circus’, as Le Carre dubs it) – with a two-hour movie that couldn’t possibly bring the same depth or subtlety may have seemed a foolhardy proposition to many, but the talent wrangled for the mission is magnificently trustworthy. Swedish director Tomas Alfredson, »

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Review: Clever and Eerie Low-Budget British Shocker, Kill List

2 September 2011 10:47 AM, PDT | Thompson on Hollywood | See recent Thompson on Hollywood news »

From London, critic Matt Mueller reviews Kill List:On the night before its UK release, I popped along to a screening of low-budget British shocker Kill List, followed by a Q&A session with director/co-screenwriter Ben Wheatley and the film’s lead actors, Neil Maskell (Atonement), MyAnna Buring (The Descent) and Michael Smiley. Skitting through genres with nonchalant ease, from observational marital drama to violent hitman thriller to grubby pagan horror, Kill List built up a fair head of steam following appearances at SXSW and London’s recent horror-themed Frightfest, and it’s fair to say the hype is fulfilled. The small crowd of industry folk I watched it with were literally speechless as the credits rolled, still in a state of shock when Wheatley et al gingerly stepped out »

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Guillermo Del Toro Talks Pacific Rim, Chasing Tom Cruise, Landing Idris Elba: "Rodin Sculpture"

10 August 2011 8:45 AM, PDT | Thompson on Hollywood | See recent Thompson on Hollywood news »

Some of us got a welcome dose of Guillermo del Toro in Hall H at Comic-Con. London Toh correspondent Matt Mueller sat down with him one on one. Currently locked in “crazy, active” pre-production on Pacific Rim, Guillermo del Toro took time out yesterday to chat about the epic monster movie he’ll direct next for Legendary Pictures and Warner Bros. at the New York City press junket for scary creature feature Don’t Be Afraid Of The Dark. Although he shepherded the latter from conception through to release, it’s Pacific Rim that will mark Del Toro’s belated return to the director’s chair for the first time since 2008 and Hellboy II. And he says he’s chomping at the bit, particularly after coming so close earlier this »

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Page Eight Review: Weisz and Fiennes Give David Hare’s Directing Comeback a Boost

12 July 2011 7:00 AM, PDT | Thompson on Hollywood | See recent Thompson on Hollywood news »

London critic Matt Mueller reviews Page Eight, respected scribe David Hare's BBC-backed bid for respect as a director, which debuted at the Edinburgh Film Festival last month. It was going to take something special to attract Rachel Weisz and Ralph Fiennes back to the small screen: David Hare stepping behind the camera for the first time in 15 years turned out to be it. Directing his own script, Hare serves up a stylish political feature that’s a purposeful throwback to 1960s British espionage thrillers like The Ipcress File and, in Bill Nighy, finds the perfect actor to play his quintessentially English protagonist: Johnny Worricker, a long-serving MI5 intelligence analyst who’s forged a successful career by fading into the background but comes out of the shadows »

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Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2: Satisfying and Glorious Finale

9 July 2011 2:52 PM, PDT | Thompson on Hollywood | See recent Thompson on Hollywood news »

From London, critic Matt Mueller reviews Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 2: For those who felt that splitting the final book of Jk Rowling’s wizard’s-own adventure series into two films was just a cynical ploy to squeeze more cash out of moviegoers, not helped by the hurry-up-already feeling left by Harry Potter And The Deathly Hallows: Part 1, all will be forgiven with this immensely satisfying and gloriously nostalgic finale. Deathly Hallows: Part 2 can instantly be counted as one of the finest closing chapters to a franchise in movie history. It’s also the best film in this storied franchise. Admittedly, this is partly due to the simple fact that it wraps up character and plot strands that we’ve been following for a »

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Amy Winehouse Still Tops Bond Composer David Arnold’s 007 Wishlist

8 July 2011 6:11 AM, PDT | Thompson on Hollywood | See recent Thompson on Hollywood news »

David Arnold, who’s scored every James Bond movie since 1997’s Tomorrow Never Dies, spoke to Matt Mueller shortly before a Memorial Concert in honour of legendary franchise composer John Barry at London’s Royal Albert Hall: David Arnold knows who he’d love to sing the next 007 theme tune: Amy Winehouse. The British composer is a massive fan of her jazzy vocals and spent two days with the singer when she was being courted to sing the title track to Quantum Of Solace. Winehouse’s personal problems prevented her from taking the gig but, although recent headlines suggest the substance-abuse demons haven’t gone away, Arnold feels she’d make the perfect Bond chanteuse. “She’s absolutely the real deal and the problems she has are part of that genius,” »

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Franco Nero Talks Meeting Quentin Tarantino, Django Unchained

29 June 2011 8:56 AM, PDT | Thompson on Hollywood | See recent Thompson on Hollywood news »

Franco Nero was in London recently for the three-day cult film festival Cine-Excess. Matt Mueller reports: While in town, Franco Nero headed over to the Italian Cultural Institute to be bestowed along with wife Vanessa Redgrave with honorary degrees from Brunel University. Decked out in graduation gowns and caps, Nero answered a few questions about his career and, in particular, the enduring popularity of Sergio Corbucci’s spaghetti western Django and his title role as the coffin-dragging gunslinger. “It never dies,” said Nero. “I just got back from shooting a movie in Brazil and everybody was, ‘Django! Django!’ the whole time.” Quentin Tarantino had a similarly effusive response when he finally got the chance to meet his idol in Rome a couple of years back. “The »

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20 items from 2011


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